Sunday, March 27, 2011


Yeah, I ate that.  Muahahaha

Lucky lucky me was in Beijing the same time L was there.  L is awesome because he hearts food like I heart food.  As soon as I told him that I'll be in Beijing, he knew exactly where to go.  We, along with 7 of his friends/co-worker were to eat at this restaurant hidden in the outskirts of Beijing.  By hidden, I mean off the grid, behind iron gates (no joke),  no streetlights, no signs.  The restaurant is a standalone house surrounded by a budding pomegranate grove in the middle of no where.  And yep, it was tasty.  Oh so tasty.

The 9 of us ate so much food.  Here's a random parade of just some of the dishes (yes, we ate a lot more but the rest of my pics are worse than the ones below.  sorry kids!).  Then we talk lamb.

The salt and pepper mushrooms were delicious.  You dip these in salt and pepper then enjoy the light and crispy umami-ness of mushrooms.

#700 loves them fermented tofu.  They use the super stinky kind and regular salty kind in all matters of sauces.  Like this one:

White eggplant in fermented tofu sauce was super tender and savory but retained a nice bite.

Shredded chicken in sesame sauce.  Tasty and brown.

We like brown food.  Yes we do.  I loooved the cabbage salad on top.  It was tangy, crispy and delicious.  The bottom dish was stir fried black tofu.  This was the first time I've ever had black tofu.  It had a deeper flavor than regular tofu and and a chewier texture.  Tasty.

And then there was lamb

Meat!  In the tummy!  So many flavors and textures beckoned.  So answered, I did.  The lamb was butterflied and spit roasted.  The meat is intensely tender with a layer of awesome crispiness of the skin.  The whole shebang was heavily seasoned with cumin and other spices.  It's like eating a ginormous Xinjiang lamb skewer but with extra crispiness.

Because the entire thing was butterflied, there was no un-crispy skin.  Which meant maximum happiness.  The fattiness of the lamb kept the meat incredibly moist.  

This is going to be hard to believe due to the amount of lamb I eat, but I was not such a lamb freak until about 9 years ago until I visited Tianjing.  The Xinjiang lamb skewers I had there were my gateway into this lovely lovely meat.  So this was kind of like coming full circle.  Except I'm going to keep eating as much lamb as possible.  Hurm... Analogy fail.

Yep, we win!  Yes, we had 9 very very powerful stomaches.  The lamb stood no chance.

Thanks again to L for this amazing experience!  This meal is definitely on my top 10 most memorable list!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Santiago Revisited

I love Santiago and those who live there.  The food is damn good too.  My favorite place that I visited this time was definitely Como Aqua Para Chocolate, modeled after the awesome novel and its tasty food.

The flaky white fish was perfectly grilled.  The crispy skin was topped by a mango relish and supported by simple marinated mushrooms and drizzle of balsamic.  Weird combo?  Maybe, but it totally makes sense that tangy and sweet mango goes well with a light fish, balanced by earth mushrooms.

Then to completely undo the relatively light meal, I finished off a milky custard with bruleed cream and more milky sauce around it.  Custard should really be in its own food group.  Is there ever bad custard?

Chile's proximity to Peru means that there are awesome Peruvian foods to be consumed.  Starting with the cutest cup of pisco sour at El Otro Sitio.

Wooden goblets are definitely underrated.

OMG, these ceviche empanadas were ridiculously good.  Like revelatory good.  The fried dough was so incredibly light.  How did the fresh seafood innards not soggi-fy the empanadas, I will never know.  But maybe if I eat it a few million times, I'll know enough to tell you.  Who wants to sponsor my empanada study program?!

Peruvian chupe is really different from the thicker, stewier chupe of Chile.  This particular seafood chupe was light but filling.  Swirling the runny yolk into the murky broth, it was so satistfying.  I also loved the huge corn kernels!  Starchier and less sweet than the corn we're used to, it acted as additional carbiness.

So I got a suspiro.  Kind of a parfait thing made with condensed milk (my first love!), caramel custard.  Some berries and fruits I couldn't identify were thrown in for health.  Really, the menu had me at condensed milk, it's like my "hello".

Monday, March 07, 2011

Warsaw Soups and Stews

I went to Poland in death of winter.  Good thing Poland is full of warm and tasty soups to sustain.

At Gospoda Poleca, I had bigos, full of sauerkraut and all matters of meat.  The version I had was really salty.  I did have bland bread to cut the saltiness.  Hurm.

But things got better from there.

The next day, I chomped down on some yummy sour cabbage soup with ham at Ceprownia.  This is what I'm talking about.  Sour, savory, and hearty.

Sour is good.  I was so enamored by this next sour soup that I had it twice.

According to wikipedia, zurek is a sour rye soup with potatoes, sausages, and hard boiled eggs.  What exactly sour rye is, I have no idea.  But I loved the slightly murky texture of the soup, made even better by dunking bread in it.

Speaking of murky, one of my favorite soups was a hearty tripe soup at Pod Mesalką Restauracja.  

The tripe was tender and clean flavored.  It was fully of tasty herby flavor.  I would totally eat an entire pot of this.

At the same restaurant on a different night, I sampled another soup.

It was like a Polish version of wonton soup.  Meat dumplings in thin wrappers, soaked in beefy goodness of the broth.

A similar broth was used for a chicken noodle soup I had at Restauracja Delicja Polska.

It was a clean and simple soup, perfect to warm up with after walking around in the cold.  Soup does a body good.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Grand Hyatt Mumbai Eats

I was lucky to stay at the beautiful Grand Hyatt Mumbai for a week, which gave me lots of opportunities to gorge on their awesome buffet.

Like this spread I had at breakfast.  Everything was tasty, but I loved the flat pancake thing on the top, a dal pancake (made with lentils).  I liked the green chutney quite a bit too, it was a bit spicy and went well with the pancake.

And then there was more food for brunch.  Green rice with various butter chicken, curries, and breads.  OMG, the roti was soooo good at the there.  Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  So flavorful that there was no need to eat anything with it.  The plate on the left contained bunch of random Thai/Chinese noodles.  And the small bowls on top were chutneys and  raita.

Then I ate my way thru Indian desserts.  Indian sweets are very very sweet.  They are mostly almond paste, condensed milk, or coconut milk based.  Super tasty, but you really don't need a full plate to feel satisfied.

And you definitely don't need a bowl of yogurt-y saffron-y dessert on top of the plate.  But you should.

More stuff!  I really like the lentil soup in the little bowl and the aloo paneer on the top left.  Love Indian cheese!

Then I ate this random spinach salad thing.  It was actually really good.  The spinach was mixed with chopped nuts and came with a cherry sauce.  Sweet and salty, my fav combo.  The only weird thing was that the spinach was shaped into little hockey pucks.  Who knew hockey pucks can be so tasty.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Dim Sum in Hong Kong

I love dim sum.  Probably because I love anything wrapped in dough (dumplings, pierogies, raviolis, empanadas, etc) and dim sum has a lot of stuff wrapped in dough.  So I was super excited when I had the chance to eat dim sum during my trip to Hong Kong a few weeks ago.  And there were dough wrapped dishes aplenty.

Long noodles with shrimp is probably one of the most beloved dim sum dishes.  Silky smooth rice noodles, succulent shrimp, doused in light soy sauce.

Shu mai is another well known dough wrapped dish, this time with pork and shrimp.

We also ate some non-dough related dishes, like this fried fish ball.  It was full of stinky fish sauce loveliness.  Which I'm a huge fan of.  More fish flavor, condensed.

It was my first time eating fried silver fish, but it won't be the last.  Soft flaky fish fried to a light crispiness.  Oh yes....

I've had plenty of fried tofu before, but this was very different.  It was lightly breaded which gave it another savory flavor dimension.  Definitely on my to eat again list.

One can never eat too many fish balls in Hong Kong.  So we must have it in another form, this time, stewed in a slightly sour cabbage soup.

More dough wrapped meat!  I didn't eat this since I was getting full, but now I regret not trying this char shiu bao.  I can almost imagine the fluffy steamed bun with the sweet bbq pork.  Sad...

There was also another fried tofu, this time topped with scallions.  It was tasty but I preferred the fat pillowy ones above.  The lightening quick chopstick action you see there was getting some lotus leaf wrapped sticky rice chicken.  One of my favorite dim sum eats.  Probably cuz I'm a slave to any sticky rice dish.

Another dim sum first was a jello dessert made with chrysanthemum and goji berries.  It was fragrant and tasty.  Nice light finish to the meal.

Oh wait, I lied, I had another dessert, in the form of mango pudding soup with tapioca.  Maybe not a light finish to the meal, but definitely a very nice one.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Random Brussels Eats

I ate at Café  Leffe twice while in Brussels.  The food was good there, but really, I loved chilling in Sablon, sitting at their comfy outdoor area, and people watch.  

The food was fresh and clean, like the shrimp salad above.  Sweet shrimp and salty parmesan were tossed lightly with bitter arugula.  Perfect for a hot summer day.

Then I negated any healthy eating by ordering some frites to go with my salad.  No regrets here.  The fries were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  My only complaint would be that they were not as liberally salted as I'd like.  In fact, I don't think they were salted at all.  I sprinkled salt on them, but by that time, it was too late.  Salt doesn't stick to non-straight-out-of-the-fryer fries.  Remember that kids.  Remember or your fry tastiness will not reach its full potential.

Another day, I had a salad with lardon, grilled chevre cheese, and frites (or course), washed down with some of the cafe's namesake, Leffe.

There were a generous amount of lardon.  I also loved the walnut chunks sprinkled throughout.  Despite the chunks of cheese and pound of lardon, the salad managed to be light.  I was thankful for the light hand in dressing.  The frites were again under salted, but overall, I was happy with the meal.

I ate lots of moules while in Brussels, it was the start of moules season!  I had it for dinner one night at Restaurant a la Folie.

The mussels were prepared with onions, parsley, the usual.  But it also had thinly sliced fennel, which I loved. 

I also had disks of fried cheese.  Yup.  Another light meal sabotaged by a plate of fried fat.

The final night in Brussels, I ate at Chez Leon, a super touristy place that was known for their mussels.  But I was fairly mussel out at that point, so I replaced one seafood with lots of seafood.

The bouillabaisse came with toast points, aioli, and cheese.  It was hearty in its lovely seafood murkiness, but bright in its freshness.  I especially loved the flaky fish and the prawn heads.  People should really consider making a dish completely out of prawn heads, I'd eat it.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Bits o' Stuff - Cendol

Shaved ice is probably my favorite dessert.  I can eat it for a meal.  I can make room for it after a meal.  In Malaysia, I tried to stuff as much cendol (the Malaysian version of shaved ice) down my gullet as humanly possible.  My favorite was a drink/cendol combo from a street vendor near our hotel in C-town.

It was a shaved ice made with topped with chewy "pasta" jelly, corn, oatmeal, coconut milk, condensed milk, and the star - gula (palm sugar). Then the whole thing was topped of with creamy chai tea. ALL MY FAVORITE THINGS IN ONE GULP.  Holy cow, it was so good. So good that J-me and I walked around in 100 degree heat the next day looking for the vendor.  We found him after much persistence.  Then we returned everyday while there.

I miss it everyday....