Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Asian’ Category

This photo was taken on a random street in Bangkok on our search for Chote Chitr restaurant (reviewed on NPR and NY Times – story on that later), it was very near to the restaurant on the main road.  Although the weather was scorching hot and humid, I just couldn’t pass by these hot treats because they invoke a lot of childhood memories for me.  I have actually never had taro chips “hot off the fryer” and it was amazing to me that they had this type of set-up outdoors (but then again, they cook anything by the side of the street in Bangkok).  I bought two bags for the total of about $1.30USD.  The woman tossing the chips was very grumpy and unfriendly but who cares, it was all part of the experience!

Mmmm...hot oil

Fresh taro before being sliced

Tossing hot taro chips with salt

Bag of hot, salty, crispy taro chips

Read Full Post »

Adelaide doesn’t have a huge Japanese population compared to the big three (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) but we do have our share of half-decent sushi places (that are actually run by Japanese, which most aren’t).  Our Chinese and S.E. Asian population on the other hand is very healthy and growing each year.  I am happily able to get a really good won ton mein or Pho or Kuay Teow but we didn’t have a ramen restaurant at all – until now!!  I was sooo excited when I heard that a real ramen restaurant arrived in Adelaide!  In Japan, there are reportedly 16,000 ramen restaurants (in a country small enough to fit into the state of California!)

Outside Ajisen

Outside Ajisen

Inside

Inside the Restaurant

Cheery Little Napkin

Cheery Little Napkin

Fried Garlic to the left, Japanese Chili on the right

Fried Garlic to the left, Japanese Chili on the right

Chashu Ramen

Chashu Ramen

Spare Rib Ramen

Spare Rib Ramen

Ajisen ramen, a chain from Kumamoto, Japan has opened a small outlet on Leigh Street (the tiny lane off Hindley St).  They are open everyday except Sundays and are open for lunch and dinner.  Every time I pass by the place, it is packed!  I had to make a reservation one lunch with two girlfriends so that we could guarantee ourselves a table and that’s rather unheard of in noodle joints!  BusinessWeek Asia says that Ajisen (meaning a “thousand tastes”) is planning to open about 500 outlets in China alone!

Ajisen’s signature broth is the tonkotsu or pork broth with its slightly cloudy, white colour.  Tonkotsu is very different from miso, shio, or shoyu ramen that you can get in Japan.  It is my absolute favourite broth in a ramen and I was very excited!  Because I was judging for authenticity, I decided on a traditional Chashu Men, or in Chinese, Char Siu Mein. Japanese style pork tenderloin sliced thin, floating on fresh noodles in pork broth ($10AU).  Yum!  My friend Katie also ordered the same but Jacqui ordered the ramen with Spare Ribs in the same broth.  Both the pork tenderloin and the ribs were melt-in-your-mouth tender and the noodles were cooked just right, with a slight bite to them.  There were about 20 different ramens to choose from including stir-fried yakisoba.

No ramen eating experience is complete without gyoza.  Although our server forgot about it until after we had practically finished our ramen, the gyoza tasted homemade, was very generous in size with a lovely crisp skin and juicy pork filling.

Gyoza w/Dipping Sauce

Gyoza w/Dipping Sauce

Don’t forget to try some of the fried garlic topping sitting on every table to sprinkle on your ramen.  Beware, it’s very strong!  What I found interesting is that the bottle is written entirely in Japanese with NO translations anywhere but I suspect that people will eventually figure it out.

All in all, you get a lot of food for very little money and I would definitely recommend it (just don’t expect much from the service) – and not because it’s the sole ramen restaurant in Adelaide.  It is definitely a great fast meal before seeing a movie.  Service was rather forgetful and confused but I usually give up getting much service in this city so it wasn’t a huge shock to me.  Definitely a tasty, inexpensive and warming meal – especially in winter!

Read Full Post »

I LOVE oysters.  This is surprising because I hated them as a kid and when I tried my first raw oyster in the mid-90s (at the London Beer Show) , I got violently ill.  Instead of putting me off of oysters for life, I fell in love with them and even did an in-depth study on oysters and pearls in literature for a senior thesis at university.  No one loves oysters as much as my friend Jacqui, who can knock back more raw oysters than anyone I know.  Jacqui was also the friend who introduced me to some of the best oysters I ever had in my life, straight from Barilla Bay farm near Hobart, Tasmania.  We have gorgeous oysters in South Australia as well, especially from the Eyre Peninsula.  Just remember that oysters tend to spawn in the summer and if you happen to eat them in the summer, you may notice a creamier texture (which I do not like at all).  Most people would agree that they are at their best in the winter.

Japanese Fried Oyster

Japanese Fried Oyster

Deep-frying oysters is also delicious.  In Japanese restaurants you’ll often see it sold as “Oyster Fry” or Kaki Fry” (Kaki has a double meaning of both oyster and persimmon in Japanese).  The recipe is super easy and there is no measuring that needs to be done.

All you need to serve two portions:

– 12 to 16 oysters (depending on whether you are having it as a main or an appetizer)

– plain flour

– 1 to 2 eggs

– Japanese panko breadcrumbs (don’t substitute this)

– salt & pepper

– oil

– cabbage

– tonkatsu sauce  (Tasty Island Blog has a great post on tonkatsu sauce) http://tastyisland.wordpress.com/2008/01/13/tonkatsu-is-all-about-the-sauce/

Directions:

Shred cabbage very thinly by hand or with a mandolin.  Divide between serving plates.  It is meant to be eaten with the fried oysters.

Put raw oysters in a bowl and rinse with cold water (you can use salted water but I don’t think it’s necessary).  If you happen to have some grated daikon handy, you can also use the daikon to “rinse” the oysters and then rinse with cold water.  Pat dry with paper towels or tea towel.  Put about 1/2 cup of flour on one plate, a cup of panko on another plate and beat an egg (w/a couple of tablespoons of water) into a separate bowl. Meanwhile, start to heat the oil.

Season the oysters with a little salt and pepper.  Then get yourself situated so that the closest plate to the hot oil is the panko, then the egg, then the flour.  Roll as many oysters as you can into the flour to coat and before dunking them into the egg, dust off excess flour.  Once coated with egg, dip them immediately into the panko and dunk straight into the hot oil.  If you start running out of flour, egg or panko before finishing all the oysters, just simply add more to finish off.

If using a deep-fat fryer, fry until golden brown.  If using a shallow fry-pan, let oysters become golden brown on one side and turn over with cooking chopsticks or tongs until both sides are golden brown.  Let drain on paper towels. Serve with Japanese tonkatsu sauce and hot Japanese white rice.  I like to have miso soup with this as well to round it off to a complete meal.  🙂

Here is a link to another version of this dish from about.com:

http://japanesefood.about.com/od/seaweed/r/friedoyster.htm

Shredded Cabbage & Cucumber as Accompaniment to Oysters

Shredded Cabbage & Cucumber as Accompaniment to Oysters

Oysters Dusted in Flour Ready for the Egg

Oysters Dusted in Flour Ready for the Egg

Oysters Frying in Oil

Oysters Frying in Oil

Read Full Post »

I’ve decided to move the Food Quiz from its own page to a regular post below:

I love food and regardless of whether I have studied it extensively or not, there is no way that I have an encyclopaedia of knowledge…therefore, I have set up this page so that I can be enlightened by people who know more than me about a particular food ingredient or process or anything else that puzzles me.

Food Quiz #1:

I saw this in an Asian grocery store recently and it said that it was packed in Thailand.

Can anyone tell me what you do with pickled Turmeric?


My friend Lia Youngs sent me an email:

I saw your quiz on pickled turmeric, and while I have never had any myself, I think I can give you some background. A few weeks ago, a friend and I took a cooking class at the Davis Food Coop on Ayurvedic Cooking. Afterwards, I was inspired to check out some books from the library, and it just so happens one of them has a recipe for pickled turmeric. Here is an except from “Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing”

All pickles and chutneys will add color, sparkle and taste to a meal. But their main role in the Ayurvedic cuisine is to stimulate agnie, raise the digestive fire and help with the digestive process. Like raitas, pickles and chutneys are eaten in small quantities.

There is also an index in the back of the book, which lists all the medicinal properties of turmeric:

Turmeric is the best medicine in Ayurveda. It cures the whole person…Turmeric helps digestion, maintains the flora of the intestine, reduces gas, has tonic properties and is an antibiotic. Turmeric can be used for a cough, a sty, diabetes, hemorrhoids, cuts, wounds, burns, and shin problems. It helps reduce anxiety and stress.

And here are just a couple of interesting applications:

  • For external hemorrhoids, apply a mixture of ½ teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of ghee locally at bedtime.
  • For general protection from disease, carry turmeric root in your pocket or tie it on a yellow silk thread around your neck

Food Quiz #2

I was in a local Asian grocery store recently and saw this amazing jar of teeny tiny fish all lined up in a jar. It is from the Philippines and I am curious what the fish is used for and even more of a question is, how in the world do the manufacturers get the fish to all line up so perfectly?! They must employ people with little hands that can reach inside the mouth of the jar and align the fish perfectly by using chopsticks or something! Just kidding, but really, anyone have any ideas?

Read Full Post »

I love being in Sydney’s Chinatown area because it is almost like being in Asia – after all, Australia is part of Australasia. I get to fulfill all my Asian cravings whenever I visit and this time, I discovered a bakery that specialises in Asian-style cakes. It is on George St. right in the thick of the action and according to other Aussie food bloggers, it’s been open since 2006 (how did I miss it?!)

Anyway, as much as I wanted to try more as many flavours as possible, I could only eat two cakes to take away with me and I chose the two that intrigued me the most – Calpis Cookie Cake and Mango Mochi Cake. For those of you who do not know what Calpis is, it is a tasty, sweet and milky/yoghurty drink that you dilute with water (like a cordial) or that is pre-diluted with water or soda. It has been a childhood staple in Japan since the early 20th century. What’s funny is that in the U.S. market, it is called Calpico probably because Calpis sounds too much like…yup, you guested it, COW PISS!! And no one wants to be caught dead drinking cow piss…and I digress.

All the cakes in the display were gorgeous and reminded me of Japanese-style bakeries – visually exciting. As for the taste of the cakes, I was just a little bit disappointed. The Calpis Cookie Cake didn’t taste like Calpis at all but tasted more like a non-descript mousse of some kind. The Mango Mochi cake was decent – tasted like the Mochi Ice Cream we have in the states and was filled with a lightly flavoured dense mango mousse. The outer mochi “skin” was very soft and tasty but overall, I thought it was just ok. You can read a blog that I found that raves about this shop and definitely took much better photos than I did:

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: