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Sweedish

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of these crunchy open-faced crackers topped with sharp creamy cheese and fresh tomatoes sprinkled with a little salt. The friend who introduced me to them calls them “Swedish sandwiches” and after the first bite, they are forever a part of my summer cravings. I moved coasts recently, and find myself back in the land of humid sticky summers. Any meal that doesn’t involve turning on the stove or heat is bound to become a part of my regular rotation. Particularly as tomatoes are currently plentiful and cheap, not to mention in season right now.

For one “Swedish sandwich”

- a piece of knackerbrod or crisp bread

- hushallsost ( or any kind of semi-hard cheese, I like Dubliner or a sharp cheddar)

- butter (softened)

- a slice of tomato

- salt

- fresh parsley or black pepper ( if desired)

———

1. Spread a thin layer of butter on the crisp bread.

2. Add thin slices or shards of cheese

3. Top with pieces of sliced tomato. Sprinkle a little salt over the tomatoes.

4. Top with fresh parsley or black pepper (if you like)

And..crunch!

 

 

 

Well, hello again!

It’s hard to believe that it has been more than a year since my last post.

It’s been a busy year, full of trans-pacific moves, goodbyes, hellos, and a lot of yet to be documented eating adventures!

Why not start off with a shave ice review?

shaveeice
I love all forms of ice dessert and syrup, including kakigori (and here), halo halo, ais cacang, and pat bingsu.

But the ice dessert that rules them all? Hawaiian style shave ice! The texture of the ice, made by “shaving” it off of a large rotating block, is lighter and much smaller than crushed ice. This creates more areas for the syrup to flow into, and not just collect at the bottom of your cup or bowl. The ice is then lightly shaped into a large softball sized ball. Then freshly made syrups and a quick swirl of condensed milk are added on top, and a scoop of ice cream at the bottom if you are so inclined.

My favorite is a combination of lemon-line, blue raspberry, and cherry, which usually means I end up with a well earned purple tongue afterwards.

RockinIce Truck @ Los Angeles, California

I feel like in every country I visit, there is one dish or snack that I feel compelled to consume as much of as possible during my trip. In Thailand, it was mangos and coconut milk sticky rice and in Korea, it was hotteok .

In Taipei, it was hot soft soymilk pudding with a sweet peanut soup and sweetened red beans. You can find dou hua 豆花 in many Cantonese dim sum restaurants, usually served with a sweet ginger syrup, and sometime I see it in Japan, drizzled with a black sugar syrup. Taipei serves it up at stalls devoted to Chinese style desserts soups, and you can add a variety of sweetened beans, mochi made of taro and yam, and jellies to your order.

My standing order was dou hua with hot sweet soy bean milk, boiled peanuts and sweetened large red beans. Most stalls serve their dou hua in a light sugar syrup, but I much preferred the hot soy milk instead. The dessert is light and not too sweet, the tofu is custardy and silken in texture, mixing well with the soft peanuts and red beans. I had it for breakfast, and as a late night snack after a day of eating. I even lugged back instant dou hua mix and peanut soup in an attempt to make it at my apartment, but it isn’t the same. I guess I’ll have to make a trip back to Taipei to eat it again :D

Ningxia Night Market @ Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei and I have history.

It is a city that is a food lover’s dream, with so many different and unique flavors, and a lovely attitude towards all things delicious. However, the last time I was visiting Ilha Formosa, I had an unfortunate case of bronchitis. After a visit to a Taiwanese doctor, I was promptly restricted from eating anything spicy, oily, fried or cold. In other words, everything to be found at a street market was off the menu for me. Being ill is probably the only time when I am not hungry, and while I saw a lot of what Taipei has to offer culturally and historically, my experience with Taipei’s food culture was limited to some steamed dumplings and rice porridge that I could barely taste due to my stuffed nose.

 I was so happy to be able to spent some time over New Year’s to finally explore and eat to my heart’s content. I should be a bit embarrassed to admit how many things we ate in Taipei, but you won’t find a shred of regret! I was lucky to go with two friends who love food just as much as I do, and didn’t think I was crazy at all for wanting to try a different night market every night, or take a train out of Taipei just to eat dinner.

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Do you know the happy feeling you get when you dream about eating something all day…and then your dream becomes reality?

For some reason I woke up this morning craving scrambled eggs and toast, but I had to run off to work with just a mandarin orange thrown into my bag. I thought about fluffy just slightly set eggs and crunchy toast until lunch, and though today’s lunch of soup and pasta was good, it did nothing for my craving. So when I got home, I was on a mission to make eggs and toast for dinner, and ended up eating them as I edited some of my grad school essays.

I like my scrambled eggs to be just set and with plenty of salt, pepper and butter.

Here are the steps to how I make scrambled eggs:

Ingredients

  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • salt and pepper

1. In a frying pan, set on the lowest possible heat, melt a generous amount of butter. I usually use about a tbsp of salted butter. Yes, I know that seems like a lot, but I never said my scrambled eggs were healthy >:)

2. While the butter is melting, lightly beat 2-3 whole eggs in a bowl.

3. Once the butter is melted in the pan, swirl the pan to make sure the butter is evenly coated and then sprinkle in salt and pepper.

4. Gently pour in the eggs (Yup, no milk to be found in this recipe)

5. Do not raise the heat, and using a wooden spatula, continuously scrape around the edges and stir the eggs.

6. Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the eggs seem to be halfway set. Turn off the heat and move eggs to a plate. They might seem a bit underdone, but they will continue to set a bit more as they cool. Add more salt and pepper if you like.

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***This post is a bit of a break from the usual sort of thing on this blog.  I was invited by the Japan Travel Bureau (JTB) to become a tourism supporter, and was lucky to be able to attend a 2 day bus tour in Gunma prefecture, along with 13 other foreigners also living in Japan.***

We left Tokyo Station at 8:30am, and drove north for 3 hours into Gunma prefecture.

The first stop on our tour was the Hara Museum ARC, which is an annex of the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. Modern art museums are not my usual tourist spot of choice, but I was impressed with the Andy Warhol pieces as well as Yayoi Kusama’s pumpkin installation. Unfortunately. I wasn’t able to take photos of the interior installations, but the outside of the museum also had some interesting artwork on display.

Next was a stop at Ikaho Green Bokujo, which is a type of farm experience. There are ponies to be ridden, sheep to be walked and bunnies to be petted.

Then it was time for lunch! Mixed pork, beef and lamb barbecue with cabbage and bean sprouts, followed by the farm’s own vanilla ice cream :)

After lunch, it was time to explore the park area and see the sheep dog show. I love the Halloween decorations, it reminds me of pumpkin patches and fall festivals from back home.

After getting our fill of the Green Bokujo, it was time for a stop at the Takehisa Yumeji Museum. Takehisa Yumeji was a famous artist and poet who is famous for his unconventional painting of women and inventive prints and illustrations. There was also an annex with some lovely glass work, and the entire museum area was well designed and showcased Takehisa Yumeji’s many works.

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When we arrived in to Singapore, even though it was nearly 1am in the morning, the food court across the street from our hostel was open and bustling with people getting in their late night makan-ing. (Of course the first thing we did in Singapore was eat! )

Though the pad thai stall seemed tempting, this “dry” fishball noodle dish (mee pok) is a dish that I can’t help but associate with my childhood. In the summer, when the thought of eating a steaming bowl of noodle soup sounds daunting, my mother would make this dish instead.

You can choose from a variety of noodles, from rice noodles to egg noodles, as well as a few different types of fishballs. The flat egg noodles (mee pok) are served tossed in a scallion oil, chili paste and soy based sauce rather than in a broth, though it does come accompanied by a small bowl of soup. The noodles are salty and spicy, cooked until just tender they still retain a little bit of chew. While it may seem like there is an inordinate amount of oil in this, the scallion oil is fragrant and gives the noodles a silky texture that wouldn’t be the same without the oil. (So while your heart may shake a bit, your taste buds will thank you ;D)

 The Fuzhou style fishballs I opted for are slightly dense and mildly fish flavored as you bite into them, and the minced pork filling is a happy savory surprise that make the fishballs match well with the noodles. I love Fuzhou style fishballs 福州鱼丸,  but even in Singapore, they are harder and harder to find. (In Japan, they are nonexistent -_-)

Food Court@ Clarke Quay, Singapore

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