June 29, 2008


I am back from traveling Asia, well, more like Taiwan and Japan. Here are some of my favorite fooding events of the summer. My belly is temporarily satisfied with all the Asian flavors. Warning: there are a ton of pictures.

Eating White Bean Sweet Bun in the middle of Ginza, Japan.

Layers of Praline Mousse, Crunchy Chocolate Wafers, and Chocolate Ganache from Sadaharu Aoki.

Who knew the Japanese were so fond of French Pastries especially Macarons? There were endless shops selling Macarons of all flavors, shapes, and sizes. Brought tears to my eyes. I finally got a taste of the famous Pierre Herme Macarons.

Matcha Soup with Rice Balls and Adzuki Beans in Damaru.

I love Takoyaki, and this unadulterated version is lightly salted just for taste.

Fried Chicken Skin Dumplings at a Yakitori Restaurant in Shinjuku, Japan. I normally dislike eating any animal skin (with the exception of roasted duck), but this proves that anything fried tastes amazing.

Petite, perfectly round grapes fresh from the farmer's stand near Mt. Fuji. This is just an example of how cute, miniature, and flawless all fruit in Japan seem to be. They earned my approval.

Look at that deep purple color from that plate of sauteed garlic eggplant.

Steamed Spare-ribs with Sweet Yams from Yong Kang.

I love ending my hot summer days in Taiwan with a plate of shaved ice, and Ice Monster always serves the sweetest mangoes in Taipei.

But, my unfaltering favorite shaved ice spot is still Tai Yi Milk King.

Sauteed Water Spinach in Fermented Bean Curd Sauce from 1010 Hunan Pop.

Pan-fried Turnip Cakes are traditional to Dim Sum. What a great way to try all sorts of goodies.

A new Taiwanese trend is re-vamping traditional "bao zi" into these eye-catching, special flavored buns.

One of the most interesting flavors of this summer, Tea Smoked Enoki Mushrooms tossed with Red Chili and Cilantro.

My cousins and I went on a Tofu Expedition in Sheng Ken, Taiwan. We ate everything including: Steamed Tofu, Sauteed Tofu, Fried Tofu, Grilled Tofu, Tofu Ice cream, Tofu Pudding, Tofu Pannacotta, Tofu Cheesecake. This Tofu on a stick was fried and glazed in a sweet soy sauce, grilled, and topped with pickled cabbage.

Classic Stinky Fried Tofu with Pickled Cabbage.

So peppery! So tasty! Mushroom-Vegetable Savory Pastry. I could eat this day and night.

Like Steamed Soup Dumplings? Try eating Steamed Loofah Melon and Crab Meat Dumplings. Different, but so yummm.

Taiwanese Shaved Ice >>> Japanese Shaved Ice. All agreed. G'bye. Tastespotting!

June 7, 2008

What better way is there...

to celebrate a birthday for a foodie than eating a scrumptious dinner? On this occasion, parents and I went for a quiet, relaxed restaurant tucked away behind a sprinkling pond known as Mignon. It was a lovely evening with excellent service filled with a rare tete-a-tete with the parents.

Sauvignon Blanc as the choice of poison.

Seared Diver Scallops were my favorite of the night, tender with a balance of sweet acidity.

Watermelon and Pear Tomato Salad

French Onion Soup with beautifully melted cheese.

Seared Monkfish and Braised Short Ribs with a Creme Fraiche-like sauce over whipped potatoes.

Roasted Chilean Sea Bass with Mussels and Fingerling Potatoes in a Green Curry Sauce.

Rack of Lamb with Caramelized Fennel came with this tasty tomato and olive salsa.

Of course, I always end the night with cake. Yay.

Overall, I come back a few times per year when I'm in town because the seasonal menu is always innovative with fresh flavors and the service is constantly superb. The rest of my review will be in the 2008 book!

June 2, 2008

Summer parties are always...

enjoyable, especially the kind when you pile a bunch of people in your home and catch up on all the happenings. It's been a long time since I've seen some people, but it was nice update. My mother single-handedly catered dish after dish to feed 20 people. How she does it? I still don't know. And, she always manages an energetic smile. :] She put me in charge of the sweets, so I gladly took charge of the cocktail and cake! I wanted to photograph all the dishes she made, but I was too busy making mango mojitos for everyone and scrambling around to entertain. Oops. Mother made some of my favorites including: Chinese Meatballs with Napa Cabbage, Vietnamese Style Eggrolls, Cold Sesame Noodles, Steamed Spareribs with Japanese Yams, and much more.

Lined up and ready.

Mango Mojito.

Almost done deal.

Done deal.

I re-made a bigger version of my Chocolate Cake with Red Bean Paste and Green Tea Cream Cheese Frosting. Here goes...


3 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup best-quality cocoa
3 sticks margarine
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups fat free sour cream

.25 cup vegetable oil
36 oz red bean paste

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, cocoa together. Combine softened butter, eggs, vanilla, sour cream, and oil until smooth. Add dry mix to wet mix until fully combined, but do not over mixed. Don’t be alarmed if the batter looks sticky instead of runny. Spoon the batter into 2 9-inch cake pans and bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before inverting. Slice the top layer of cake off to make the cake rounds even. Using a serrated knife, spread canned, mashed red bean paste on the top of one cake as if it were thick icing glue. Top the red bean paste with the second layer of chocolate cake. Spoon additional red bean paste into the sides to fill the gaps. When the cake is completely cooled, ice all sides of the cake with matcha cream cheese frosting. Use icing to stick chocolate wafers on the sides.


1 stick butter
4 oz cream cheese
1.5 cups powdered sugar
1.5 Tbsp matcha powder

Let butter come to room temperature. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add powdered sugar and matcha powder and beat on medium speed until fully combined.


We fed a lot of people.