Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Beef udon recipe

I have made this dish a couple of months ago when I caught myself reminiscing about my recent trip to Japan. I loved how Japanese food often tends to be simple but still packed full of flavour. Recipe adapted from Nami from Just One Cookbook (favourite site for Japanese recipes!)

Stock Ingredients:

2 cups dashi
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp soy sauce

Bring stock to boil and adjust taste with salt or extra soy sauce if needed.

For beef
1 tbsp soy sauce
230g of thinly sliced beef (lean cuts preferrably)
1 tbsp oil
1/2 scallion thinly sliced and roughly sliced to about 3cm in length
2 servings of packaged udon noodles

1. Heat a pan with oil and cook the scallion until it is tender.
2. Add meat and allow to nicely sear all round. Add 1/2 tbsp of sugar and 1 tbsp of soy sauce. Allow the mix to caramelize and thicken. Turn off heat at this stage
3. Prepare udon noodles according to packaging. Mine just involves soaking it in warm water until it softens.
4. Place noodles in a bowl, top with the prepared slices of beef, garnish with thinly sliced pieces of scallion and add broth. Serve immediately.

Jonker Street Malaysian Restaurant, Doncaster MELB

After an intensive gym session last Friday, I found myself craving for Malaysian food and decided to take a trip up to Doncaster for some much needed refueling. While being located in a quiet area, especially at night, can be a dead zone for some businesses, I was surprised to see that there still quite a few customers in the restaurant despite arriving 30 minutes before the restaurant closes.

Vast variety of choices on the menu be it ala carte to main dishes for sharing. Had no idea what to pick and decided to play safe and selected items which had a recommended logo next to it.

Pipis - the sauce was well balanced in terms of tartness, sweetness and had a mild spicy kick to it. Slurping each tasty piece of pipi off the shell heavily reminded me of my childhood days back in Malaysia. After spending copious amount of time in the gym, I was hesitant to bite into a piece of deep fried white bread but gave in eventually. It was deep fried to golden perfection yet still moist in the center - such a joy to soak it into the sauce.

Wanton noodles with pork - noodles were prepared to my liking aka not too soggy or chewy and was well seasoned.

Mi hun kue - also known as the rougher sibling of pan mee. For those unfamiliar, both pan mee and mi hun kue are doughy types of noodles and only differ by the final preparation stage whereby pan mee is made via passing through a machine and mi hun kue is torn by hand. Soup had an excellent amount of flavour depth and in terms of pricing, this $11.80 bowl of food was definitely a generous serve. Highly recommended and would gladly polish it off again.

Jonker Street Malaysian Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Japan: Hakata Ippudo in Fukuoka

Our Japan espionage concluded with a 2 day stopover in Fukuoka prior to departing to Hong Kong. Home to hakata ramen, a ramen dish that utilizes thin ramen in a rich, creamy pork broth. Most of us may have already tried hakata ramen in our own countries without realizing it.

I had my eyes set on trying at least an original version whilst in Fukuoka and after a few random turns in the city area, we stumbled upon Ippudo ramen! Having had a good experiences both in Sydney and in Kuala Lumpur, we were eager to pay homage to its originators.

Mentaiko is a spicy type of fish roe that is used a topping for rice dishes or as a seasoning due to its saltiness. I am not a fan of fishy types of food and so, allowed the sister to gorge at it all by herself. Worth a try if you are in the region as it is a Fukuoka specialty and if you really do love it, why not grab it as a take home souvenir?

Shiromaru classic - after brewing in the pot for a good 18 hours, the pork broth is left to mature for an additional 24 hours to extract all the porky goodness from the bones. Creamy and rich, this would be the literal translation of pigs having a bubble bath. Noodles were thin and cooked al dante whilst chashu was soft and tender.

Gyoza - a lesser known specialty and one that surprised me. I loved how crisp the side of the gyoza that touches the pan is and am amazed that the meat filling in it is not dry at all. Simplicity done well and easily polished off by yours truly and co.

Akamura modern - blended with miso paste, this tonkatsu broth was not as creamy and the previous one but it is slightly oilier, in a good way. Noodles used here were of medium thickness, giving diners that extra bite-y texture. Two thumbs up from me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Crazy Wings, Glen Waverley MELB

As a child, I have always been more fond of Western food than Asian food and would often reach out to a danish pastry as opposed to a traditional Chinese biscuit. I still love Asian food but perhaps it's because I only saw it as a form of comfort rather than luxury. Getting my parents to bring us hungry kids to McDonalds or KFC was an accomplishment on its own.

When I was feeling under the weather last Sunday, the one thing I wanted to eat was Chinese food which was what I managed to bring myself too despite having to brace the bitter cold Melbourne weather.

A busy little establishment that sits no more than 20 patrons, the "buy one free one" deal is always turned on although the flavours do alternate. Also a hot pot $25 for 2 diners deal which includes a a plate of thinly sliced meat, a plate of veggies and either a spicy or non-spicy broth to go with.

Fried rice - albeit oily, I didn't mind it and found it seasoned to my liking. Pretty good for a simple dish:)

Honey soy chicken wings - ranging from $2 to $2.20, depending on choice of flavour, there is definitely meat on each skewer. Pretty tasty and a bargain if going for the chicken wing deal.

Crazy wing - the ultimate "treat" of the day. In short, it lived up to its crazy expectations and probably surpassed it for at least 3 minutes. Not something for the faint hearted. Not as yummy as the other flavours though.

Crazy Wing Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, September 19, 2016

BBQ Code, Glen Waverley MELB

While I fancy the "one bowl" concept, popularized by Asian countries, I am a lot more reserved when it comes to barbeque meals because often enough, the protein is not well prepared (imagine overcooking a thin piece of meat or undercooking a thick slab of pork/chicken) and I usually leave the establishment with a toasty scent that ensues a bath soon after.

At BBQ Code, I am glad that my concerns are addressed - staff came around to cook our meat for us and cleaned each hot plate prior to cooking subsequent types of protein. No burnt aftertaste ever again nor any unwanted residues sticking to our food.

One cannot say no to the unlimited refills of side dishes which consisted of kimchi, mashed potato and slices of fish cake. A plate of corn topped with melted cheese arrived at our table and upon querying it's presence, we were told that it is a complimentary dish for every table. Thank you!:)

Beef ribs - I was reluctant to order this initially but no regrets whatsoever once I sunk my teeth into it. Tender, juicy and marinated to perfection. Thumbs up!

Japchae - I cannot go to a Korean restaurant without trying out their japchae. This one was generously coated with shredded carrots, spinach, mushroom slices and pieces of beef. Bonus points for being extra tasty too!

Yuk Jeon - pan fried sliced wagyu beef with salad.

Overall, I would highly recommend this place if you love both Korean food and BBQ. Prices may be slightly expensive but it is well worth it as you do get excellent service and good quality dishes:)

BBQ Code  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, September 16, 2016

Japan: Himeji Castle

Unlike the European castles intended as a leisure escape for royalty, Japanese castles were designed more so as a defense fortress during the warring states. After the feudal period, World War II and a few natural disaster incidences, many of these castles had been destroyed. Himeji castle is one of the last few remaining castles in Japan and is currently undergoing restorations.

We were able to visit the castle in April and even climbed up the castle, which was a daunting task on it's own. I can only imagine the lives of the castle guards working tirelessly around the clock ensuring the safety of it's residents.

Well worth a visit and visitors can still spot imprints from the castle's previous owners on rooftop tiles. Be sure to check out every floor of the castle as it does vary and is an experience on its own.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Japan: Takayama and Hida beef

Woke up early in Kyoto to catch a ride to Takayama, a city located in the mountainous region of the Gifu prefecture. A city suited for travellers wanting to get away from the bustling city landscape, train rides here are not scheduled on a frequent basis and one may need to catch public transport in order to explore the area better.

The sister and I chanced upon festival floats, known as yatai, around the busier parts of the city and each float carried a different symbol. Whilst we did not stick around long enough to witness the procession which is carried out in the afternoon and evening, it was still a lucky encounter for us.

Hida beef buns are a must try in Hida. Meat was soft, succulent and definitely tasty although not sure if I would rate it within the same category as wagyu.

The sister and I may have gotten a little ripped off when we walked into what appeared to be a popular local restaurant serving good quality cuts of Hida beef. My cuts of beef were a little overcooked and dry whilst her's was probably harbouring around the same standards as mine. Would appreciate other recommendations for future visits:)