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Archive for the ‘Snack’ Category

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!

 

 

 

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Cheese crackers
Living in Japan, I have a love and hate (but mostly love) relationship with Costco. They have a food court that brings me back to the states, and the sight of 100 count boxes of Tootsie pops and 5 lb boxes of chocochip cookies makes me nostalgic about college and the all mighty purchase order.

The area where I grew up didn’t have a Costco nearby, so when I went for the first time, I was romanced by the tasty polish dogs (only a buck fifty, and it comes with a drink!) and the sheer fact that I could buy a 10 pound can of ketchup, 50 black Sharpies, a sofa, and pumpkin pie the size of a large pizza if I so desired. In college, I had a job that required me to buy food to feed large quantities of people at a time, and for a while, purchasing 4 flats of muffins, and 2 lb cans of hot cocoa mix was normal. Oversized food is one thing, Costco sized food is another. For some reason, I find ridiculously large food, or large quantities of food inherently comical and interesting. (on the flip side, I also find extra small food funny and amazing as well :P)

 So what does Costco have to do with cheese crackers? As my mother says, I sometimes have eyes bigger than my stomach. The last time I went to Costco in Japan, I was persuaded into buying a 2 lb brick of sharp cheddar cheese. (they didn’t have to try hard) I think you can guess where this goes…but the short of it is I ended up having a half a block left, and needed to use it all quickly before the cheese spoiled. I did think about just gnawing on the block, but decided that cheese crackers were the more socially acceptable option.

(more…)

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Japan has never had a shortage of cute animal shaped food, but I always seem to forget to take a photo before munching on an adorably shaped ear. Last Friday, I managed to hold off my baser instincts for the 5 seconds it took to snap a photo of two bear shaped buns before they met their demise.

I spotted this rainbow panda bun at the local convenience store.

It’s supposed to be a Pirameki Panda, a character from a Japanese TV show. Looking at the colors, I expected the filling to be something sweet, like strawberry milk or red bean paste. I was a little surprised when I took a bite and realized it was a normal pork nikuman filling. I started with the yellow light bulb first, before taking out an eye, heh. ;D

Next, I went to Mister Donut for my next victim snack.

Though Mister Donut is doing a promotion with Rilakkuma right now, this is not a Rilakkuma donut. It’s a bear shaped raised yeast donut filled with whipped cream, and topped  with a caramel flavored faux chocolate coating. It is definately not my favorite donut (golden chocolate all the way!), as I’m not really a fan of filled donuts, or fake chocolate.  Just goes to show that sometimes cuteness can outweigh taste when it comes to my better judgement. >_<;;

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I live in a part of Japan known for their grapes, specifically a dark purple variety called Kyoho. So it’s not uncommon to see signs advertising everything from grape juice to grape cookies to grape ice cream. However, when I was on the way to work on Monday, the main street of my town had suddenly burst into bloom with white flags advertising Kyoho grape bread. Grape bread, made with local grapes at a local bakery in small quantities. The very definition of a local limited edition specialty, and you all know how much I love all things gentei♥.

When I went to the bakery yesterday, the head baker apologetically told me all the grape bread had sold out. Apparently, I’m not the only person in the area who has an addiction to limited edition bread. ^^;;
The grape bread comes in two varieties, a mini loaf of standard raisin bread, and melon pan shaped like a bunch of grapes. I raced over today after work, and managed to grab two grape melon pans from the shelf just before a neighborhood granny purchased the rest of the stock.


Melon pan is a popular type of bakery bread which is covered in a layer of cookie like crust. This melon pan consisted of small balls of fluffy bread studded with giant Kyoho raisins, arranged like a bunch of grapes, covered in a grape flavored cookie crust and decorated with a pretzel stick as the stem. A bite revealed the inner bread to be nearly as purple in color as the cookie crust.

The melon has a real grape aroma and color which is pleasantly purple without the use of artificial food coloring. The soft bread goes very well with the slightly crunchy cookie top, and the raisins add just the right amount of sweetness without becoming cloying. I am actually really picky about melon pan, and won’t eat one if the cookie part has lost it’s crunch. (crunchy things should be crunchy!)

If I can ever manage to get to the bakery again while it still has these lovelies in stock, I would definitely buy it again! (back away from my grape melon pan, granny!)

B’langere Marche @ Yamanashi City, Yamanashi, Japan

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So, I’ve been trying to think of a way to present the rest of my photos of the yummy street foods to be found in Korea, and decided to do a massive post 🙂

Here we go!

First stop, the popular all in one corn dog! That’s right, a hot dog battered, then rolled in chopped french fries, and then deep fried. So crunchy and delicious, your mouth and arteries will sing at once ^^;; Really, it’s a pretty tasty snack, just make sure to slather on some ketchup.

Next up, the waffle sandwich! Freshly made thin (not Belgian style) waffle slathered with your choice of butter, jam, peanut butter, chocolate or honey (or a mix of everything!), and folded in half. I’m sure I was not the only girl craving a waffle after watching Coffee Prince (커피프린스 1호점) ^_^

Last stop is the snack booth! Hopefully there is a friendly ajusshi or ajumma manning this pick-a-mix of crunchy snacks. Everything from salty and sweet  rice crackers to fried dough snacks, and flavored nuts. If you are lucky, you might even get a couple scoops of extras as a “service” 😀

Pusan, South Korea

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Happy 2010! I can’t believe that another year has flown by so quickly. Foodwise, winter usually makes me think of baked goods and thick soups, fresh tea and oatmeal, you know, warming foods to chase away the cold that seeps into my uninsulated apartment and has taken over school hallways. >_<

For some reason, all I can think about today is this perfect skewer of sweet strawberries and grapes, dipped in molten red sugar and left to harden in the winter air of a Pusan street market. Candied fruit seems like an unlikely thing to associate with winter, but they make a regular appearance in Japan and China, as well as South Korea. In Japan, tiny apples and plums covered in hard sugar, or apricots and mikan in soft mizuame pop up at winter festivals on New Year’s Eve. In China, you can find tanghulu , the traditional sugar covered hawthorn fruit and foot long skewers of candied fruit from strawberries to kiwi and bananas, wrapped in a thin layer of rice paper to keep them from sticking to each other.

Since the ingredients of a candied fruit skewer are  just fruit, sugar and usually a dash of food coloring, it tastes sweet and fruity…but mostly just sweet. The draw for me is not the flavor so much as it is the texture. The crunch as you bite through the layer of hard sugar into the soft fruit is kind of addicting, and even as you complain that it is too sweet, or that the sugar has stuck in your teeth, you find yourself wanting another skewer the next time you walk past the stall.

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hotteok
Hotteok is a crispy pan fried pastry filled with a mix of brown sugar, peanuts, sesame seeds and cinnamon that turns into a molten syrup as it is is cooked on a open griddle. Usually they are served just as they are, pinched between a small sheet of thin cardboard, and eaten very carefully to avoid wasting any of the escaping sugary filling.

This is a “healthy” hotteok. Well, as healthy as any sugar filled fried snack can be 🙂
The filling includes green tea and black sesame, and is topped with ground soybeans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and ground peanuts. Yum! I couldn’t wait for it to cool down, and bit into it while it was still steaming, and managed to singe my tongue.
You know what you are eating is good when you continue chewing through the pain 😀 The doughy outside reminds me of elephant ears or you tiao.
The paper cup definitely helps catch any runaway syrup, and the sweet sugar and nuts are perfect with the mellow crunch of the chewy outside. Just let it cool off a bit before biting in, but I won’t judge if you can’t wait. I didn’t 😉

hotteok stall @ Insadong, Seoul, South Korea

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