Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hawai'i Noodles - Saimin

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Someone asked me a couple of weeks ago, "what's saimin?"

I grew up on noodles and my nieces are following the family tradition, they love noodles too.  I don't remember having a favorite noodle, except for spaghetti, and what kid doesn't like spaghetti?  Being Asian, we had ramen, soba, somen, and udon noodles growing up.  During my college years, I started eating Korean naengmyeon and Vietnamese pho.  

But it was the summers I spent in Hawai'i having saimin that I remember the most and would now have to say was my favorite growing up.  It's probably because it wasn't something found in Los Angeles, except when my grandma would visit and bring frozen S&S Saimin packages for us.  I usually had to wait for the end of school and spending the summers in Hawai'i for saimin. 

So, what is saimin? 

It's really a cross of Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Japanese, Korean, and Portuguese cultures and food.  How did they all get together and create this bowl of noodles?

Back in the plantation days, these groups would sit down and share their lunches with each other, cultures would cross and a new hybrid is born.  It's not a ramen or chicken based broth like you'd find with wonton soup, it's a base of dried shrimp and a protein such as chicken.  The toppings are simple, some slices of bbq pork, fish cake, and some green onions. 

See What Jay Eats...

Zippy's Saimin

It's such a staple in Hawai'i,
it's on the regular menu at McDonalds
and has been for many many years.

Dry Style Saimin

1750 Wili Pa Lp
Wailuku, Maui HI 96793
(808) 244-7124

Served with a side of soup for dipping
or eat it like me "dry", hence
the name...

I will say, if you do not like dry noodles,
you might want to order something else.

Save room for their manju,
a Japanese confection
with a sweet bean filing.

Wonton Min
saimin with wontons

1256 N King Street
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 841-9983
Closed Sundays and Mondays

My favorite saimin place on Oahu
and they stay open late...

Best way to eat saimin is with bbq beef sticks

On Kauai,
another favorite saimin place is
2956 Kress Street
Lihue, Kauai, HI 96766
(808) 245-3271

Located in an industrial area, just look for all of the 
cars and the line of people and you've found it.
Save room for the Lilikoi Chiffon pie.
They're also a James Beard Foundation
award winning establishment,
how could you not go?

Geez, now I want saimin...

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats

Saturday, June 29, 2013

What is Bibimbap?

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Whether it's Korean barbecue, Soondobu Jigae (spicy tofu stew) or even kim chee, there's something addicting to Korean food.  I love Korean food and want to learn more.

With this in mind, I was honored to be invited to the Bibimbap Backpacker's Table, along with food writers, bloggers, a few restaurant industry folks, and the media.

As a restaurant and food marketing consultant, I'm always asked about Asian food, Korean is always at the top of the list.

I've always said that Korean food could be the next big thing, it just needs someone to explain it to the masses.  Well, I think this is the group to do it.

Today's focus is on bibimbap,
a dish I've had many many times,
but don't really know much about 
the background or tradition.
Other than I like it...

Among the K-POP and fashion displays,
our group was assembling for this bibimbap experience
at the Korean Cultural Center of Los Angeles.

Kim Chee Dip

It had a nice kim chee flavor,
I could have eaten the 
entire bowl.

The Bibimbap Backpackers is a Korean food promotional
team from Seoul, Korea who's aim is to introduce and
promote bibimbap and Korean food around the world.

They've been from the Great Wall in China to the Eiffel Tower in Paris
and many destinations in between.

In 3 years, the the "backpackers" have served about
20,000 bibimbaps at events all over the world. 

What is Bibimbap?
It means "mixed rice" in Korean.
It's an array of seasonal vegetables, proteins,
and garnishes with a hot pepper sauce over rice.

It's a symbol of harmony, peace, and friendship.

See What Jay Eats...

 First Course
Mini Mandoo
Korean style dumplings

I love dumplings and was
a great way to start...

Second Course
Stir fried rice cake

Similar texture to mochi,
with a spicy sauce.

 Third Course
Japchae Salad

Fried potato noodle salad
with soy sauce dressing

Nice compliment to what we've tasted thus far

with bits of tofu and vegetables

 Ganjang Bibimbap
with Pork Belly

Pork belly and kim chee
over rice

All I heard was Pork Belly...

The chef explained today's ingredients
and the importance of the different colors
and the placement inside the bowl

  The mix of using fresh natural vegetables, proteins, 
and rice makes for a balanced meal.

Next is audience participation time!
 The "Before" Shot

 Some of the ingredients for
today's bibimbap.

Notice the different colors, textures,
flavors, and vegetables.

The "After" Shot 
My Bibimbap Creation!

 Can't forget to add the sauce...

Now it's a bibimbap!

Maesil Cha
Asian Apricot Iced Tea

Nice fruity flavor and not too sweet.

It was a great afternoon filled with good food,
learned more about the Korean culture and
sampled delicious dishes.

Now I need to find some bowls so I can
make my own bibimbap at home.

With Tommy and a really big bibimbap.

PSY made an appearance in the picture too...

Kamsahamnida Bibimbap Backpackers!

It was an honor to be included in this experience
and thank you for a wonderful event.

Follow them on Facebook
and YouTube

If you like pork belly and looking for a 
Korean bbq experience, checkout
my "Korean Pork BBQ Heaven" post.

Another Korean BBQ favorite
Honey Pig

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dwell on Design: Kitchens

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 A week after Father's Day in Los Angeles is
at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

June 21 -23, 2013

Why am I interested in Design?
As a consultant and marketer,
I need to know what's coming soon and trending.
Otherwise, I think design is cool...

We knew we're in the right part of the convention center.

The West Hall was filled with everything from
floor tiles, sliding glass doors, solar panels, wall furnishings,
pre-fab homes, designer lighting, and fixtures 

To one of a kind wooden chairs.

But I was here to see the kitchens
and designer kitchen equipment.

The stuff I can't afford...

Here's some of my highlights:

Reminds me of industrial restaurant equipment

Ovens from Germany

Airstream kitchen

Not your father's Airstream

My Show Favorite

An outdoor
Gourmet Pizza Oven 

Not only stylish, but functional as an
outdoor oven.

Cooking Competition
for food bloggers

It did smell really good...

My favorite refrigerator of the show
from Sub-Zero

Maybe it's the window and also
reminds me of restaurant equipment.

A Panasonic Coffee Maker

Not your father's tiki torch

Hi tech looking torch for the backyard...

Kitchen Gardens
from hurbz

See you next year...

So, what did Jay Eat today?
Carne Asada Taco
from the Car Wash across the street from LA Live
at Fernando's Taco Inn
815 W Olympic Blvd.

Even before STAPLES Center and LA Live,
I would have my car washed here so I could
have some tacos before my car was ready for pick up.
You can still watch the cars being washed through the window.

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats

Garden Grove: Brodard Restaurant

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I Love Vietnamese Food!
You can probably tell if you follow me on
Instagram, I do eat pho on a regular basis.

But today wasn't about pho per say.  I met up with
friend and fellow restauranteur Cuong (@lovingpho)
and Co-Founder of Ui-Cha! Pho

When we walked into the dining room,
I noticed that most of the tables had
Nem Nướng Cuốn.

See What Jay Eats...

What is Nem Nướng Cuốn you ask?
Nem Nướng Cuốn
$4.50 for 3 Rolls
$6.00 for 4 Rolls

Grilled pork wrapped in rice paper with a crispy roll, lettuce, 
mint, carrot & cucumber served with Chef’s special sauce.

The grilled pork is like a sausage without the casing
and very good.

If you're like me, you're going to want
the larger order...

Nem Nướng Cuốn
I'm a true believer that it's the sauce that makes a dish.
The sauce served with this dish is very good,
but don't think it's the sauce in this case.

If you like it spicy, add some hot sauce or sambal
to the sauce served with this dish.

In my opinion, what makes this dish work
is the crunchy texture inside.
The sauce enhances it, but it's the texture on this one. 

I've had lemon soda before,
but this was a preserved lemon,
a bit sweet and salty at the same time.

Just be sure to mix in the sugar well
before that first sip.

Bánh Mi Bo Kho

A beef stew with carrots and onions
flavored with five star spice & fresh basil
served with a French baguette. 

Bánh Hoi Brodard

Grilled chicken, BBQ pork, grilled whole shrimp, 
grilled shrimp paste, Nem Nuong & eggroll 
with Asian greens, peanuts, and lime chili fish sauce
served over vermicelli sheets.
(Asian greens not shown) 

Overall, a great meal and conversation,
will be back again SOON!!!

I love learning more about Vietnamese food,
culture, and tradition.  Thanks to Cuong
for the invitation, conversation, and continuing
to share your food knowledge with me.

9892 Westminister Avenue #R
Garden Grove, CA 92844
(714) 530-1744
Closed Tuesdays

Note:  I apologize for misspelled words or missing diacritical marks.

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats