Simple Pleasures

May 8, 2018 § Leave a comment

Do you sometimes crave for something as simple as a cheese sandwich?

IMG_4248

Last month was a crazy month that kick-off on the week of the Easter break. It was a series of packing and unpacking as we took short trips in and out of the country. Some family and some work obligations. On those trips, we ate well, but of course—more of those in the coming posts.

谢谢 台湾. It was more than a food trip!!

A post shared by Jenn Sy (@jennusy) on

Too well in fact that I craved for familiar and straightforward. This Panini-pressed jalapeño Fontina cheese sandwich hit the spot.

IMG_4251

IMG_4257

Ah… pure pleasure indeed.

Don’t get me wrong, I will never tire of traveling but checking in and out of airports and hotels can wear out a travel enthusiast as myself too. As they say, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. I’ve decided to stay put for a while but only for a little while. I actually spent last weekend planning for another short trip in August. A food trip, no less. LOL! Three months is enough rest, don’t you think?

Advertisements

Nutella Banana Bread

March 14, 2018 § Leave a comment

2014-02-09-16.12.01

I go bananas over bananas, but for a household of two, I end up with brown, overripe, or just too much. By now, I’ve found ways to use them. I make pancakes, I freeze for smoothies (my obsession at the moment), and I make banana bread. I’ve got tons of recipes to choose from too.

2014-02-09-16.16.31-1

So one morning, while the world was fast asleep and I still awake, I looked through my pantry and found a bottle of Nutella staring at me—a gift from Christmas that I didn’t dare open lest I fall into a Nutella binge.   What better way to consume it than to incorporate it with the overripe bananas in the ref and be rewarded with this Nutella Banana Bread.  Recipe here.

2014-02-10-19.30.25

What to Eat in Myanmar: Laphet Thoke

January 11, 2018 § 1 Comment

Myanmar's-Tea-Leaf-SaladCredits: Quick page by retrodiva {designs}

Laphet, also spelled lakphet, lephet is fermented or pickled teal leaf, and it has a very long history in Myanmar. Thoke means salad. Myanmar’s national dish is a salad made of tea leaves.

Laphet-Thoke

Teashops around Myanmar pour gallons of green and black tea every day yet half of the tea consumption is eaten not drunk. An extraordinary characteristic of its national dish is the delicate use of fermented tea leaves.

fermented-Tea-leaf

The slightly bitter leaves are mixed by hand with shredded cabbage, sliced tomatoes, crunchy deep fried beans, nuts and peas, toasted sesame seed, crushed fried shrimp, a splash of garlic oil and slices of chili and garlic. It’s actually a versatile dish that can be eaten as a snack, an appetizer or with rice, a meal hard to miss when in Myanmar, actually. I instantly fell in love with it and prefer to take it as an appetizer – it has lovely textures and flavors that is umami, tangy, and savory in one mouthful.

Myanmar culture is diverse and multi-ethnic and their cuisine is testament to it.

Christmas is Around the Corner

December 4, 2017 § Leave a comment

How is it December already? And darn, why does the year go by so quickly? The season of feasting has arrived. And to prepare for this, I have been challenging myself to eat healthier and to double time on my workouts. This makes me feel less guilty about the unhealthy treats ahead. But you can only eat so much of the healthy stuff because your palate is spoiled with the “not so good for you” stuff.

IMG_4239

This low-carb Almond and Parmesan crusted Tilapia is one of those dishes that don’t make me feel deprived especially if paired with this tartar sauce.

IMG_4236Be sure to make this dip to add to the yumminess.

Love how the almond and Parmesan makes for a yummy crust. What makes this even more a winner is the preparation ease. A quick and easy meal that will definitely be a weeknight repertoire mainstay. For those nights when you wish you have food waiting for you after a long day. Go ahead, try it. Get the recipe here.

So how is your Christmas shopping coming along? Parties will officially start today with our company Christmas party, and I’m still catching up on the gifts department. So in case I don’t get to come back this month — Happy Holidays Y’all!

What to Eat in Hokkaido: Jingisukan

September 23, 2017 § 1 Comment

JingisukanCredits: Jsprague TW Dialog template; papers by Splendid Finns’ You are Awesome and Sus Design’s Saving Memories Kit.

Named after the Mongolian ruler, Genghis Khan, Jingisukan is essentially Hokkaido-style Yakiniku.

family-style-cooking

In a dome-shaped cast iron looking a lot like the helmet of the Mongolian soldiers, thinly sliced meat (in this case, lamb or mutton) is grilled on the table and shared family style much like how the Koreans do it. It also reminded me of the Laotian Barbecue (sans the soup) I so enjoyed in Luang Prabang some years back. An unforgettable meal, that was. Come to think of it, Asian cuisines although diverse in flavors have a lot of similarities, especially in how meals are cooked and shared.

On our last night in Asahikawa, we chose a restaurant close to our hotel, highly recommended on Foursquare.

Facade

The line was not visible when we arrived because it was so long, the weather so cold; we were asked to wait in a room across the restaurant.   It was worth the wait. Right off the grill and dipped in a soy-based sauce, the lamb was superb.

IMG_9069

It was tender and flavorful and not gamey at all. We ordered several cuts and all were satisfying. Do find your way to a Jingisukan place when in Hokkaido. Better yet, if you find yourself in Asahikawa, make sure to look for Jingisukan Daikokuya. It could be your best meal in Hokkaido.

Other Must-Eats when in Hokkaido:

The island of winter sports, hanging cliffs, and endless lavender fields is also known to offer the best food adventures in Japan.

seafood

In fact, it is one of its biggest attractions, specifically its seafood and agricultural products grown on its extensive farmlands.

king-crabs

The prefecture has a massive dairy industry that produces about half of Japan’s milk and other dairy products like butter, cheese, yogurt and ice cream.

melon-soft-serve

The best melon in Japan is grown here too, making it quite a popular flavor for milk and ice cream.

hokkaido-cheesecake

And of course, don’t forget to grab some of Hokkaido’s famous cheesecake.

Jingisukan Daikokuya
5 Chome 4-jodori,3,4 Naka, Asahikawa
+81 188-24-2424

Korea On My Mind

August 22, 2017 § Leave a comment

I’m almost halfway through my Korean visa, and I should make better use of that 5 years that they’ve given me. So here I am planning a mini Korean holiday that is getting me more excited by the minute.

Seoul-Food

I imagine chicken and beer or chimek, mageoli, kimbap, fresh kimchi, samgyeopsal, deep-fried mandu, haemul pajeon, bingsu… My mouth water at the thought of grilled Hanwoo beef that melts in the mouth and I remember our incredible meal in Hongdae. And then my mind wanders to the other food I have to yet to have. I promised to go back for— jjajangmyeon, samyetang, soy sauce crab, sundae (not the frozen dessert but Korea’s blood sausage that got my attention because of these twins) and much more that I’m still not aware of.

So now I crave Japchae. That’s a Korean-style noodle dish that is usually served as a side dish consisting of vermicelli noodles, meat, and assorted vegetables sautéed in soy sauce. This version is without meat, and even my meat-loving hubby gave his thumbs up.

Japchae

Japchae (Korean Style Noodles)

Adapted from this recipe in Epicurious

What You Need:

  • 5-6 ounces Korean vermicelli noodles
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. Sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 med onion sliced lengthwise 1/8 inch thick (1 ½ cups)
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/8 inch thick matchsticks
  • 1 ½ cup mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thick
  • 1 ½ cup snow peas (recipe called for spinach but I didn’t have that)

What you do:

  1. Soak noodles in a bowl of warm water to cover until softened, about 10 minutes, then drain in a colander. Cook noodles in a 3-4 quart pot of boiling water until tender, about 2 minutes, then drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until cool.
  2. Blend soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and garlic in a blender until smooth.
  3. Heat oil in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until it just begins to smoke, then stir-fry onion and carrots until onion is softened. About 3 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms and stir-fry until softened, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add snow peas and stir-fry 30 seconds, then add noodles and soy sauce mixture and toss to coat.
  6. Simmer, occasionally stirring, until most liquid is absorbed, 3-5 minutes.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Ramen

July 14, 2017 § 1 Comment

In a corridor lined with ramen joints, we randomly picked one that could sit all 7 of us.

Kumakichi-Ramen-Chef

We chose an empty shop and hoped for the best. What we had was a white translucent  soup, rich and nutty, accented with pork slices, bamboo shoots, seaweeds, ginger, garlic, half a soft boiled egg, corn and topped with a small piece of butter.

 

Sapporo-Ramen

Strange but hey, it is their specialty, they say. I enjoyed it mainly because I love corn and adore butter. The richness of the broth calls for sharing and I’m glad we did. It was the perfect size to pair with a side order of gyoza.

gyoza

Miso Butter Corn Ramen at Sapporo Ramen Kumakichi; 3 Chome – 8 Minami 5 Jonishi

Believe me when I say that it is the one thing that would get a group of seven to quickly agree on a meal. I mean, who doesn’t like ramen? Even if you weren’t head-over-heels in love with it, hot broth, noodles, and pork would appeal to anyone on any frosty day. And that was how we ended up in the Ramen Alley in Susukino.

Ganso-Ramen-Yokocho

I’ve always been drawn to noodles. It has always been a staple in our house when I was growing up. Though I discovered ramen a while back, I only learned to appreciate it in 2013, on my very first trip to Japan. Even back then ramen alleys are big. It may not offer the best, but it is the easiest way to get your fix. Because Hokkaido is ramen mecca, ramen clusters are everywhere.

Asahikawa Ramen at Ramen Village

So we were on our way back from the Asahikawa Zoo, and we saw a sign pointing the Asahikawa Ramen Village.

Asahikawa-Zoo

And because it is nearly lunchtime, we detoured to find ourselves in the midst of eight of Asahikawa’s popular ramen shops, once again at a lost for which one to enter.

Asahikawa-Ramen-Village

Considered one of the three top ramens in Hokkaido, it is a blend of pork, chicken and a seafood broth flavored with soy sauce. This makes for a rich and complex soup best paired with curly noodles. It also has a top layer of lard to prevent the soup from cooling too quickly in the frigid Hokkaido weather.

 

 

Asahikawa-Ramen

This. This was amazingly satisfying. So glad we spotted that sign on the highway. It was the best detour we had even if we had to ask a store owner who can speak English to call us a cab to get back to the town center.

Tenkin-Asahikawa

 

 

Asahikawa ramen at Tenkin; Nagayama 11-jyo, 4-chome

Actually, there is a third famous Hokkaido type ramen, but it is found down south, in Hakodate, the city of gourmet foods. Another trip to Hokkaido is called for, perhaps sometime in spring so we can explore the southern part of Hokkaido and its ramen, among other things.