Thank you very much to Amelie of Anh and Chi, and Grace (eikcamceramics) for organizing a wonderful and heartwarming “Summer in Saigon” charity event; we also had the privilege to enjoy a surprise sneak preview of Anh and Chi’s short film documenting their family legacy. Your entire team work was seamless and delivery was almost flawless.
Together with 12 other patrons, we enjoyed a 7-course royal feast with superb wine/cocktail pairings; 5 savory courses featured seafood prepared by Amelie’s Mom (Head Chef at Ahn and Chi) and delightful crew, plus 2 scrumptious desserts prepared by the talented photographer/blogger Vy Tran of beyondsweetandsavory; the entire evening was photographed and documented by Vancouver’s talented Norah of nomnomyvr.
It was an evening to remember; 4 hours filled with delicious food, wonderful and interesting conversations, sharing our love and passion for food, for family and life.
Together we have raised a substantial amount that evening through the ticket sales (this is a non-sponsored event) and donations from all patrons, the ceramics created by Grace and used to serve the beautiful food were all auctioned off later; all proceeds went to YWCA’s Peace Fund.
On a very personal note: Watching Amelie’s family documentary brought back many fond memories of visits with my family to their family’s old restaurant Pho Hoang, originated on East Georgia in Vancouver’s Chinatown.
I was absolutely delighted to have met Amelie in person; thank you again to my dear teacher Grace, and Vy, I simply loved your dessert and Norah, it was so great to see you in action! I sincerely hope all our paths will cross once again.
(Disclaimer: I attended this event as a patron, it was an honor to be a part of a charity event).
Ahn and Chi is located at 3388 Main Street, Vancouver, BC. For regular menu information, please check their website.
60 and 88…It’s a privilege to grow old
Growing older perhaps wiser with acceptance or younger at heart?
This is perhaps the question I have been asking a lot lately..
What’s your take?
Attended a friend’s 60th birthday bash ….we had an awesome night celebrating a friend’s milestone and danced to the tunes played by the amazing Phonix dance band, rocking the Motown and funky dance tunes all night long…
During the Powell Street festival weekend, i was invited to volunteer at the Japanese Language School kitchen and helped to serve the beloved “Beiju” seniors (turning 88 years old) birthday lunch…Thank you Laura, so grateful for this opportunity to be a part of this special celebration.
Did you catch the FIFA World Cup? Honestly I was never a big soccer fan and I only started to understand soccer a little better since I went to an actual Whitecaps game last year. We were invited to my food buddy Moto’s house for a fabulous brunch and watch the Croatia vs Russia quarter finals; I was looking for something fitting to bring.. I was in Commercial neighbourhood found Rosemary Rocksalt Bagels (obviously I didn’t know they are there) and picked up half a dozen of Montreal style bagels of different variety; they were fresh and soft with crunchy bits..First impression? We like them, 4 people ate half a dozen of bagels..For sure I will return to their Main Street location to try out their bagel sandwiches sometime.
We paired the bagels with a creamy Croatian Pork Pate and pickles, picked up from Piast, a European Bakery and Delicatessen on Cambie (and 16th Avenue)…it’s a small little shop which has been around for a long time..
Aburi and Vegetable sushi @ Eat at Yui (102-1185 West Georgia Street (Georgia and Bute)
As a pure sushi lover who has a tremendous respect for Japanese cuisine and food culture; the idea of “vegetable sushi” somehow never sat quite well with me. however after my visit to Eat at Yui, the experience has changed my mind.
This little shop opened in May 2017 and it is tucked away within the Vancouver downtown core, located on ground floor inside a commercial building.
Known for their aburi sushi at affordable prices, we had a feast and ordered quite a few items to sample their offerings: their Yui salad, their signature Salmon, Ebi and Tai Oshi, plus their newly added Gindara (sablefish) Oshi, plus a few pieces of their vegetable sushi.
The vegetable sushi was beautifully prepared and the knife work was immaculate; the eggplant cooked and slightly charred (aburi) to perfection with the miso, the asparagus was served with a herbed pesto (I tasted cilantro), and the tomato gunkan sushi, slightly charred and added a hint of mayo, the small cherry tomatoes were cut in a perfect bite size and they were bursting with sweetness, it was put together so nicely and easy for the diner to enjoy. The sushi was put together with care and thoughtfulness, it showed great skills and respect.
They are open for lunch and dinner (except Sundays), they do close early because of operating hours of the commercial building. The service was friendly; it is a small space and they are busy. This is definitely not my first and last visit; I will have to pop by sometime to try their lunch items. As for parking, your best bet is probably on Robson or Alberni Street, then walked down to West Georgia (it’s right at the corner of Bute and Georgia).
The Kerrisdale neighbourhood seems to be going through many transformations, slowly yet surely evolving into a younger and vibrant hood and I am so surprised there is such an abundance of Asian dessert places choose to open in this traditional English neighbourhood.
Met up with WhatJoAte at Dear Fro (2070 West 41st, west of West Boulevard) where we shared a mango ice-cream bingsoo and I enjoyed it! The ice was fine and smooth, the mango was sweet; sometimes it pays off to give the small neighbourhood places a chance.
Usually I am not easily swayed by what is popular or being showcased on Social Media; with all the hype surrounding Nana’s Green TeaI did pay a visit last weekend to find out what it is all about. A Japanese brand famous for their matcha desserts, I tried the Hojicha (my personal favourite Japanese tea) Parfait with warabi mochi, red bean, hojicha ice-cream, hojicha jelly and corn flakes…I savored every bite and finished the entire dessert by myself, although I could do with less red bean, it’s strictly a personal preference. The shop operates 7 days a week, the lineup could be quite long; I was there on a Saturday afternoon around 1530 and waited for 15 minutes, limited seating available for dine in.
Sunny Days easy hikes and walks: West Vancouver, Squamish, White Rock and Langley
Working hard to get back into my walking exercise regimen, particularly during the summer months where the weather is so fine; I try to go outdoors as much as possible! During the Canada Day weekend when my cousin and wife were visiting from New York, we headed to Sea to Sky in Squamish and Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver.
Last weekend I spent time with my food buddies in Crescent Beach, White Rock and Derby Reach Regional Park Trail in Langley, we logged 17000 steps (some briskwalking involved!) for the day!
Here are some photos taken during our outdoor excursions:
Are you trying to go greener? I have been thinking more about this subject over the universal concerns we shared on climate change; gradually I have already reduced the usage of plastic bags, take out boxes, and now trying to more unnecessary packaging.
Recently a new concept (no packaging) grocery store Nadahas opened on East Broadway (by Fraser) and I just picked up a couple of beewax muslin cotton food wraps; I am going to use them to wrap my lunches and snacks and see how they fare, review coming up in the next couple months and see how I can establish a new habit!
Any other suggestions? I would love to hear from you, please email me at : email@example.com
Whew! As we officially entered summer solstice, 2018 has already passed the half-way mark!
On June 27 I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s show on Fairchild AM1470 1030am sharp to share some of the highlights this past month.
Some good news to share I have started a new job as of last week; I am pretty excited about this opportunity and hopefully in the new future I will have more time for updates and blog postings (OO).
Eating Together Day (mine was Eating Together Weekend!)
Did you know June 22 was the 2nd annual Eat Together Day, an event which people are encouraged not to eat by themselves? ( link: from President’s Choice )
Sharing a meal with family and friends does more than feeding our bodies; it is more satisfying, creates a stronger bond and connection between people; communication will definitely improve.
Time Together is Priceless…
Unknowingly on “Eat Together Day” , a few of us from the IG Community shared home-cooked dishes together at Oh Studio; thanks to our lovely hostess Grace Lee from Eikcam Ceramics for organizing this fabulous potluck, you couldn’t have picked a better day.
On the following afternoon, with zumba classmates at an outdoor potluck picnic, thanks to my fellow classmates and teacher Ms. P for organizing.
June 02nd Dietitians at Home Book Launch at Chef Tony’s Chinese Restaurant
on your publication! The talented team of registered dietitians Amy Yiu, Jo Jo Wang and Mengdi Xia, has put together a cookbook featuring 30 ingredients and recipes, filled with beautiful pictures and easy to understand cooking instructions and information on all featured ingredients. It was my privilege to have helped with the editing, thank you very much for your trust and the recognition in Acknowledgements, it was a truly fruitful learning experience.
Follow them on Instagramfor more information on how to purchase the cookbook.
Open “Sesame” – Elmo Baking Co. (Facebook/Instagram bakery)
“Sunny Day….Sweepin’ the clouds away..on my way to where the air is sweet”…
It was a little while back when I first heard about Elmo Baking Co., which operates in Richmond and sells their scrumptious double baked croissants through Facebook and Instagram. I finally got around to ordering (by Thursday night each week) and picked up at the Smokehouse Sandwich (5188 Westminster Hwy, Richmond BC – a small drive in mall located at the edge of a residential area). This double baked black sesame charcoal is robust and flavorful; it is not the buttery flaky type of croissants but definitely live up to its reputation. Next time I will try the Almond Croissant and the famous PBJ (which was sold out at the time when I placed my order): when a chef posted the pbj picture and hashtag it #bravo, it must be good…
The name brought me back to “Sesame Street”… and picking up the order led me back to the street (just down the road from the Sandwich shop) where I used to live when I first moved to Vancouver; sweet memories.
Follow “Elmo” on Instagram or Facebook; DM to place the order (by Thursday night), you will receive confirmation via messaging; pick up on Fridays and Saturdays only.
Local Veggies at Tama Organic Life:
I first heard about Tama’s Organic Life (2828 East Hastings, Vancouver, BC) through Workshop Vegetarian Cafe; they have actually been around for a long time! My friend M reminded me as they used to deliver goodies from North Vancouver to my old workplace… They offer fresh and frozen produce grown by local farmers, dried goods (beans, grains) and condiments; their kitchen serves up delicious Japanese vegan bentos (I had the stinging nettle miso soup and it has so much depth in flavor and not salty at all). They are excellent with recommendations, you can place an advance grocery order for pick up or delivery, eat in at their shop or just shop for a different selection of beautiful in season local grown produce (daikon from Victoria) and hard to find Japanese varieties (mizuna/komatsuna). Parking is available at this strip mall; if you happen to be dropping by Fujiya (on Venables and Clark) for Japanese groceries, this shop is only another 10 minutes heading further east towards Burnaby (when there’s no traffic). Information on website available in Japanese and English.
Thank you Tama Organic life always for your recommendations, truly grateful (OO)
Sunday Brunch (10am to 2pm only) at MaknMing (is back for the summer only! I first talked about their brunch in July 2017 ; some familiar dishes (French Toast YAY) are back with weekly special features (my hubby enjoyed a pork cheek Eggs Benny); no reservations just walk in only. Their cookery is spot on, flavors at once are Japanese yet Canadian; if you like to roll the way I like to roll, this one is for you a whole level better.
After enjoying a scrumptious lunch take a stroll down to Kits Beach which is only a couple blocks away.
And Let It Be…
I was watching the Late Late Show and happened to catch the James Corden and Paul Mccartney’s Carpool Karaoke; Sir Mccartney’s story about the writing of this song and their rendition of this Beatle’s classic was very touching.
The beginning of this month I ended an old work chapter and embraced a new one just mid-month; I just went with my heart and truly grateful for all that has happened, as is, nothing more, nothing less.
The lyrics, particularly this line, echoes my sentiment:
And more than what I am (OO – the unknown Golden Apron)
I attended a three weekend”Form to Feast” free hand building pottery workshop, learning from the lovely Grace Lee (Eikcam Ceramics), a local artist whom I’ve long admired and collected a few pieces of her work; it was a dream come true.
I have dabbled into pottery on and off for a few years now; the series of classes I’ve taken were taught by the fascinating Maggie Boydat local Vancouver Community Centres (through Parks Board, she now teaches at her studio and very well established in the local art community).
Making my own pottery was a natural progression; the concept of serving my food on my own earthenware is a more complete form of self-expression, and to share them with my family and friends, is my full expression of my love for them.
The theme is Wabi Sabi , a Japanese aesthetic centred on beauty of imperfection. Ha Interesting and foreign concept to someone like me, who at times (many times my sister would say) could be so “fixed” in my ways.
The first Saturday was spent “kneading” the clay and shaping our pieces; due to time constraints the clay was well already prepared ahead of time so we actually dived into the creative process swiftly; the second week when we returned Grace already had all our pieces fired up and ready for glazing; and the final class, we just returned to pick up our pieces and enjoyed a Korean Bossam (Pork Belly) feast prepared by our teacher, and shared with our fellow classmates (from two sessions), served on our own creations.
The class took place in Grace’s tranquil studio (love your space) in East Vancouver (Venables area). The class consisted of a small group of creative and accomplished individuals (many entrepreneurs), these days instead of exchanging business cards, phones came out swiftly and Instagram handles were exchanged and now we are connected!
The class was very informal and free-flowing: Grace gave us the instructions, then leave us to work freely and provided us with guidance when required. She was very encouraging and readily answer our questions.
The sessions were filled with lots of carefree exchanges and laughter; the atmosphere was so relaxing and certainly sparked lots of creativity, I truly enjoyed every moment.
On the last Saturday when I got to the studio and saw my finished pieces, I was elated; the sense of fulfillment and excitement were beyond words can express. They are so different from what I’ve always liked ….yet I like them so much…
Perhaps somehow over the course of time my perspective has changed, and through this experience I was able to see it more clearly.
The little verse I wrote pretty much sums up what I have learnt and how I feel…
If you are ever interested in trying out pottery, Grace’s short-term workshops are wonderful options, check the future schedules through her website.
Grace, thank you very much again for your guidance and encouragement; I am so grateful to have the opportunity to attend your workshop, see you again very soon…감사합니다.
Follow mefor more recent updates; remember always adjust the seasoning and ingredients according to your own and loved ones’ dietary needs, and the most important ingredients, COOK with LOTS of LOVE and PATIENCE (OO).
One pot suppers season is back in full swing!!
If you have been following my Instagram accountyou probably notice my claypot has been making a few appearances in my feed since late September…
This month is all about Japanese comfort foods: Matsutake-Chanterelle mushroom rice, Japanese Oden stewand my take on the popular homestyle dish Niku-jaga, which literally means “Meat and potatoes” – I named my dish Cauli-Niku-Jaga (see picture above).
The cooking method for the “jaga” is exactly the same as the making of a regular Niku-jaga with a couple minor tweaks: barley fed pork belly slices were used instead of beef, the addition of two vegetable component : edamame beans and cauliflower florets were added (1-1 cauliflower-potato ratio and about 1 cup of beans); I have also changed things up a little with the meat stewing process. To soften meat I usually use orange juice, the usage of sugar to soften the texture of the meat is a more suitable and great tip from Chef Masa from Masa’s ABC Cooking.
Ingredients and Preparation (2-4 people): (Part of Recipe adapted from Masa’s ABC Cooking)
200 grams of thinly sliced pork belly (Sliced in half, marinade in 1 teaspoon of coconut palm sugar(*my preference only) and 1 Tablespoon of sake for 15 to 20 minutes, set aside)
Prepare all the vegetables: 1 onion (medium size, sliced), 4 potatoes (I’ve used medium size creamer potatoes (usually russets are used) – quartered, edges slightly”peeled”*to prevent breaking up while cooking, in Japanese the method is called “mentori”, then soaked in water for 10-15 minutes, drained), cauliflower (florets – about 1 1/2 cups (to your liking, chopped about same size as carrot), 2 medium carrot (peeled and chopped in rolling wedges, size slightly smaller than potatoes because it takes longer to cook), 1 package of shirataki noodles (blanched, rinsed and drained), 1 cup of edamame beans (frozen and shelled – blanched then shocked in cold water, drained and set aside)
Prepare the dashi stock (recipe in my archives or you can use water) – 700 to 800 ml (I usually make extra just in case I need more, it not available, just use water).
Measure the seasoning: 3-4 Tablespoons Tamari or organic low sodium soy sauce (*can be substituted with regular soy), 3-4 Tablespoons sake, 2 Tablespoons of Mirin, 1 Tablespoon coconut brown sugar (**can be substituted; this is my preference)
Cooking Process all in one:
Over medium high heat, use a large pan (a braiser would be excellent, I used a Japanese donabe) and add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil (something neutral of your choice – canola or grape seed oil), saute the pork slices until slightly browned, removed from pan and set aside.
Add slice onions and carrots, saute until they slightly browned.
Add potatoes to the pan, gently mix well with onion and carrots, then add the drained shirataki noodles, continue to saute, make sure the shirataki noodles do not lump together and do not mash the potatoes.
Add dashi stock to pan; make sure you have enough stock to cover all ingredients
Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat down to medium and skim off the scum. Add seasoning to pan, stir and mix well. Cover the lid and let ingredients cook for approximately 6 minutes.
Remove the lid then add pork slices, make sure the slices are evenly distributed, then sprinkle the cooked edamame beans. When meat is cooked, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Remove from heat and let it stand for while before serving, the ingredients will absorb the flavours!
***Note: This is the step which I have tweaked to keep the meat tender. You can watch his original video for his method and wonderful cooking tips (Masa ABC cooking on YouTube )
If you want a thicker sauce, you can turn up the heat and the sauce will reduce if you cook it a little longer.
For this dish the most difficult part would be balancing the sweetness and saltiness; just keep tweaking and you will find the balance to your liking, remember it also depends on what kind of sweetener you are using. Do not make it overly sweet!
My sources in Vancouver for ingredients: Nikuya Meats (for the pork slices, in Richmond BC), Sakura-ya (517 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC) and Whole Foods (various locations – for Delta’s Fraserland Farms Creamer potatoes).
You know Fall is here when matsutake mushroom (Japanese pine mushroom) becomes available; this year I changed things up a bit and added chanterelle mushrooms, and voila it really works. Remember back in August 2016I recommended Food Video Channel (in Mandarin Chinese) on YouTube (also on Wechat, Weibo) ? Well the chanterelle mushroom mix idea is also from one the videos I watched on that channel, apparently somewhere in Yunnan province chanterelle mushrooms are also available and they usually saute them together with Chinese ham.
It is very difficult to purchase high quality cured ham here in Vancouver; last Fall I experimented with Italian cured pork jowl “guanciale” and lay them underneath the rice, then topped with sliced (torn actually) matsutake (doused with little sake earlier) and the kombu (kelp from the dashi making). When rice is almost cooked (with approximately 10 minutes remaining), I used organic unsalted butter to saute the remaining mushrooms then add to the rice cooker and let everything finish cooking together. It worked beautifully and my family totally loved it.
This year I added the chanterelle mushrooms (thanks to a trip to Vancouver Farmer’s MarketI got the fresh chanterelle) to cook with everything else initially in the rice cooker, repeat the same organic butter saute finishing process. The chanterelle mushrooms were quite difficult to clean, however it added another depth of flavor to the rice and the results were beyond my own expectations.
Because the mushrooms are quite expensive, I use them sparingly. For 3 cups of rice (I used Haiga rice), I use approximately 1/2 to 1 lb of mushrooms (depends on budget, grade and availability).
I used the rice cooker for convenience because my Zojirushi has the “Mixed Rice” setting; the rice is also cooked in homemade dashi, with the standard soy sauce, mirin and sake seasoning (3-2-1 ratio which works very well – always adjust according to your own taste).
My “hybrid” version (that’s what my friend “mydoctorgreen”called it) tries to retain the nuance of the original concept, keeping things simple without over-seasoning, just adding another layer of flavor to enhance and showcase the star ingredient, the matsutake. The chanterelle also did not overpower and they co-existed together harmoniously.
Important notes: Remember the guanciale is a little salty so factor that in when tasting. The rice should be cleaned and soaked prior to cooking; because you are adding mushroom, reduce the water (my experience at least 1/4 less liquid) and the guanciale should be removed before serving. This mushroom rice simple recipe should work well with shimeji and maitake mushrooms also, be adventurous and experiment.
It tastes as good as it looks (OO).
My source for Matsutake mushroom in Vancouver: Fujiya Japanese Food Store on Clark Drive (East Vancouver).
Japanese Oden with Umeboshi flavoring – Recipe adapted from Masa’s ABC Cooking
My Japanese friends taught me how to make oden a long time ago without any specific recipe; just like any regular home cook/hobby chef, sometimes we just make something “on the fly” based on our existing knowledge. When I try to make a new dish, I like to research a few recipes, apply my own skills and tweak things to our tastes, hence the creation of “hybrid” food (like my cauli-niku-jaga).
I don’t get to make oden very often at home because my husband somehow must have experienced a childhood episode which may have scarred him for life, he finds the idea of having oden repulsive. Well that being said, I would cook it for myself when he happens to be away on business trips (Ha ><). The most recent creation happened a couple weekends ago when my friends came over for a gathering.
Recently I have been watching Chef Masa’s channel quite a lot; been busy comparing and tweaking my own recipes, learning new tips and applying new techniques. Changes are also made according to our preference and dietary needs! The more I study about cooking, the more I love it.
This is what I truly love to do during my down time at home.
I highly recommend you to watch his original video for wonderful cooking tips and methods.
This dish is really great for cold weather and the recipe is good for 2 people, be sure to try it out this winter!
Ingredients and Preparation for Soup base: 500 ml homemade dashi, 2 Tablespoons Sake, 1-2 Tablespoon Mirin (I used 2), 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon tamari (*my preference, use regular soy and don’t add too much because it will darken the soup), 1 teaspoon sugar (**I used coconut palm sugar) and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.
Add all the above ingredients in this particular order to the claypot (Japanese donabe), taste and adjust accordingly.
Oden Ingredients and Preparation:
Japanese daikon radish (peeled skin, sliced approximately 4 cm thickness, then use small knife and smooth the edge of the daikon (Mentori method as mentioned and used for the potatoes in previous recipe) – mark an “X” cut in the middle (do not cut through completely), using medium heat, at radish slices to cold water, bring to boil and cook until soften. While daikon is cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Check on the daikon periodically, when cooked through and softened, remove from pot gently and set aside.
Enoki Mushroom: 1 small package, ends cut, set aside.
Napa Cabbage : a small one would do, washed, sliced to bite size, blanched, drained. Lightly squeeze excess water when napa is cool enough to handle.
Japanese firm tofu (approximately half a box, 200 g – slice into squares. Using medium heat, brush the pan lightly with vegetable oil, sear and brown all sides of the tofu lightly. It is easier to handle by using a small pair of tongs.
Japanese konjac (konnyaku): 1 small package, cut into square pieces (approximately 2 cm thick), lightly scored both sides (think Cuttlefish Chinese way, the konjac will absorb the flavor). Then sliced into triangular pieces. Parboil konjac in hot water to get rid of the “fishy” taste, set aside.
Kombu (kelp): The cooked kelp from the dashi making can be added to the oden. Rinse and lightly scrub off the “sliminess” without breaking the kelp, cut into trips and tie into a bow shape.
Chikuwa (tube like fish cake purchased at Japanese food store) stuffed with asparagus: 2 pieces of chikuwa and 2 -4 stalks of asparagus (ends trimmed, blanched, shocked in ice (to keep color) and stuff inside chikuwa. If the asparagus stalks are really thin, you may need two for each chikuwa). Slice each chikuwa into 3 pieces, place 3 pieces of chikuwa on each skewer.
Eggs (2 large eggs) – boiled and peeled, set aside.
Lay all ingredients nicely and get ready to cook in the donabe which you have used to prepare the soup base earlier.
Using medium low heat, keep the soup base in a simmer and add 2 umeboshi (store bought pickled plums – removed the seed); put the napa cabbage, daikon, cooked egg, konjac, tofu and kombu in this order. Turn up to medium high heat, cover with lid and cook the ingredients for approximately 4-5 minutes.
Remove the lid (be careful as it will be very hot!), check the ingredients and if necessary, cover again and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the lid (again be careful) and gently add the chikuwa skewers and enoki mushrooms. cover again and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
The Delicious oden should be ready…once you open the lid, steam will come through and you will see a nice bubbling action; hear a “bub bub bub bub bub” bubbling sound…and smell a whiff of the pickled plums flavor….
**My Verdict: Chef Masa‘s idea of adding umeboshi to the soup base adds freshness and slight “tartness” which my friends and I enjoyed immensely. This is such a wonderful idea which I am trying to work into other recipes. Thank you Chef Masa for all your cooking tips!
In the video he made Japanese napa cabbage rolls; I didn’t want any meat in this dish so I did not replicate the recipe. The cooking time will definitely be slightly longer if you include the cabbage rolls. Other fish cakes (can be purchased at Japanese deli) and Mochi bags (kinchaku – mochi stuffed in fried tofu skin) are great oden ingredients. I avoid eating processed foods so I may skip the chikuwa next time.
I have a bigger size donabe so I was able to cook more ingredients at the same time, and I prepared more dashi.
**Potatoes and Daikon have sharp edges which need to be removed before cooking, otherwise when the pieces cook together in the pot, they will start rubbing and it will cause breakage. The method is called “mentori”.
My sources in Vancouver: Fujiya (Japanese food store on Clark Drive in East Vancouver), Sakura-ya (East Broadway and Fraser in East Vancouver).
Want to know what have I been up to in August? On Wednesday August 31st, 2016 I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on Fairchild Radio 1470 at 10:30am sharp!
If you have any feedback or recommendations, I would love to hear from you! Drop me a line anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Ai and Om Knives” in Vancouver Chinatown
Having the right and suitable kitchen wares certainly makes doing the job better; and a good knife takes you a long way…
I really don’t know much about knives, my limited knowledge came from tips I’ve picked up at cooking classes, or friends’ recommendations and through reading I don’t really like to get too technical with almost everything, I just know what “feels” right and what works for me personally. The last purchase for the “Santoku” was more than 10 years ago (I’m still loving my Wusthof Santoku. Since April I have been on the search for the “right” nakiri ((菜切り包丁) a great vegetable knife). There were a couple of choices but somehow it didn’t feel quite right; I kept thinking I might as well wait and pick up one when I travel to Japan….Until last Saturday…
My hubby always say I like to “tuck” information away and somehow I can miraculously pull it out when timing is right. I came across the posting about ‘Ai and Om”‘s opening on Instagram (through another instagrammer MaknMing) around three months ago; and finally it opened on August 21st.
Last weekend I decided to check things out; I was standing outside their door; just one glance at the display window and there it was….I summoned the courage and went in…
The picture below says it all….and I was happily chopping and dicing away on Sunday..
Thank you for your help, Yvonne and Douglas (and thanks for answering my message!), I will introduce myself properly next time and will be in touch soon!
Check out their store and ask for recommendations: 129 East Pender Street, Vancouver Chinatown.
FoodVideo: Chinese cooking channel on YouTube, WeChat and Weibo:
This channel is so much fun to watch: the videos are short and stylish; cooking demonstrations and instructions are simple to understand; there was this particular video which showcases two simple family style dishes from Yunnan cuisine (something I am not familiar with also); it looked so delicious and simple to make, the names are interesting also, roughly translated to “Red Three Chop” and “Black Three Chop” .
I certainly put “Nakiri” into good use over the weekend. As I am unable to find some of the ingredients (the “black coloured” pickled Brassica juncea – mustard green), I sourced out local ingredients and came up with my versions; I wanted to find out what is the English name of the pickled vegetable used and I contacted the home cook on weibo; I was thrilled to hear from her!
“Triple Red Dice” and “Triple Green Dice” : Great with rice or noodle, suitable for entire family and it’s easy to make. Initially I “googled” the Chinese ingredient and the translation I got was ‘Kohlrabi”, big head vegetable (haha). Have you ever tried cooking with kohlrabi? The first time I had it was at Pidgin Restaurant (more than 4 years ago I still remember the Dan Dan Kohlrabi), and more recently I’ve used the raw kohlrabi for the Dan Dan Noodles (Thanks Nourish Vancouver); it’s the first time I try kohlrabi in its cooked form and it has a very nice sweet flavour.
Triple Green Dice: minced garlic and ginger, minced pork, kohlrabi, green pepper, Serrano chili pepper, shiitake mushroom, green onion, Tamari soy used as seasoning, and finish with Vancouver Island Fleur del Sel. (triple green: green pepper, kohlrabi, Serrano chili pepper)
Triple Red Dice: minced garlic and ginger, minced turkey (non-medicated and free range), heirloom tomatoes (they are in season!), red pepper, Thai chilli pepper, green pepper, Tamari soy used as seasoning, a drizzle of maple syrup and finished with Vancouver Island and Co. Fleur del Sel. (triple red: tomatoes, red pepper and Thai chili pepper).
This is what I truly believe in: Cook with love, always think of who you are cooking for, remember to season and adjust to personal tastes and dietary concerns!
Vancouver Island Salt Co : I met them at the Dinner Party YVR Event and I’ve been using their product ever since..(my personal favourite: smoked sea salt).
As our beloved city of Vancouver kept growing, the little hubs in our neighbourhood kept changing; old favourites might be gone, perhaps finding new love…
Opa! Nammos on Fraser:
I must confess I am not the biggest fan of Greek food but somehow having dined at Nammos twice (Brunch and dinner), I love their fresh and no fuss approach: Family style share plates with great vegetarian options, fresh and light tasting (try their crispy calamari with the beet dip), good size portion and reasonable pricing; the restaurant is spacious and airy, patio seating available…and it’s right next to Earnest Ice cream (OO).
Penang Bistro on Fraser (Used to be Bodhi Choi Heung)
Celebrated a friend’s dinner last week at Penang Bistro (Back to Fraser Hood!); Three things which stand out: the fluffy roti and the pork chop (sweet and sour) with fried kabocha squash; and lastly I must commend our server for his food knowledge and superb service, he understands the menu and the components for each dish very well.
Enjoying the spring weather? I’ve been busy attending classes and redesigning my blog! For the time being, you can find my updates only on Twitter (@GoldenApron) or Instagram (Mygoldenapron). Stay tuned for changes coming soon!
I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on AM 1470 Fairchild Radio on April 22nd, 2015 at 10:30am sharp!
Below is the outline and the content is subject to change according to Ms. Moore and flow of program; I look forward to chatting with her about food and everything else (OO)
Fun on Fraser:
Between East 23rd Avenue and East King Edward Avenue: Vancouver’s beloved Earnest Ice cream is already on this block; check out the Chinese vegetarian restaurant and french bakery!
Bodhi Choi Heung Vegetarian Restaurant: 3932 Fraser Street, Vancouver, BC (Closed on Tuesdays).
We don’t eat Chinese vegetarian food very often; certainly enjoyed their crispy fried taro roll, spring rolls and milk custard (picture not shown; nice hint of coconut); their sautéed pea sprouts were simple yet cooked to perfection; the magic lies within the vegetarian broth which they prepared, the dishes we’ve tried are flavourful and not overly seasoned. Friendly atmosphere and great price range.
Batard Boulangerie Cafe Moderne: 3958 Fraser Street, Vancouver, BC
French country-style bakery which has a little of everything: fabulous seasonal baked goods (their Raisin Walnut bread was to die for), you can stop by to have a light lunch or coffee and dessert: we thoroughly enjoyed their black forest cake in a jar with a nice cup of tea! They also sell their baked goods at the Vancouver Farmers Market, check out their website for menu and information:
Kin Kao – 903 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC (closed on Mondays), Eat in and Take out Available
I discovered this fine little gem on Instagram and went for a light brunch; we enjoyed the vegetarian congee (authentic Thai/Chinese flavour) and Pad Thai (remember to ask for spicy). No reservations so get there early; and we will try their dinner menu next time!
Back to the West side: Au Comptoir, 2278 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, BC
They have been following me on Twitter and I finally made it to the restaurant; an almost-perfect dinner from start to finish; check out their new spring menu, and remember no reservations (this seems to be the norm here in Vancouver for many small establishments).
Hey Vancouverites: Do you know the Winter Farmer’s Market has started since November 02nd, 2013? It is located at the East Parking Lot of the Nat Bailey Stadium (by Queen Elizabeth Park/HillCrest Community Centre).
To show my continued support for the Vancouver Farmer’s Market, I officially became a volunteer as of October 2013 and I had my first stint as the Market Host on the last day of the Kitslano Farmers market. I applied online and attended the orientation in September at the office located in East Vancouver; after completion of orientation, we can sign up for different shifts and postings online.
So what did I do exactly as a Market Host? I followed the instructions from the friendly crew: posting signs, gave directions and answered questions, fill in for a few vendors (who worked alone) when they needed a break and made a few sales for them! It was all “on the job training” and certainly lots of information to remember; I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and met some wonderful people, both vendors and crew/staff from organization. I definitely look forward to learn more and show my support to help develop a sustainable local food system!
For this winter season, I have signed on a few shifts at the Nat Bailey location (Saturdays till April 2014) and Yaletown market (Thursdays until December 19th 2013 only). Come by to say hello, shop and support our local markets (OO). See you around!
For more information about Vancouver Farmer’s Market and volunteering: http://www.eatlocal.org/