Foodie Friday: Earl Grey Brioche

Earl Grey brioche: bread flavored with Earl Grey tea A lot of Asian bakeries like to infuse tea into their pastries. Usually, there's a splash of matcha in a few items. This time around, though, I wanted to check out the Earl Grey offerings. I found the Earl Grey brioche. The bread was soft and thick. However, it wasn't the same fluffy texture of a classic brioche pastry. I really enjoyed the black striations of tea mixed in. There's something rich about the taste and scent of … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Taiwanese Sausage

Taiwanese sausage: a plump and tender sausageUnlike the dried and harder Cantonese version, Taiwanese sausages are juicier (probably because they use fatty pork). They hold a sweet flavor and may be called "fragrant" sausages. Fresh pork is used, and in Taiwan, local butchers will sell them. They can also be made directly at home. Taiwanese night markets also boast a special variety, known as the double sausage. This is a "small sausage wrapped in a big sausage," which consists of a smaller pork … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Dried Squid

Dried squid: shredded and seasoned squid, typically served as a snack This is a common packaged snack, which features chewy but tender squid. It provides an addictive sweet and salty taste combination. In tea houses, the squid can be stir-fried and served hot to accompany your beverage of choice. Pick up a bag at the local Asian store to satisfy your munchies. … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Asian Cake

Asian cake: a lighter version of an American cake, often topped with a variety of fresh fruitI think I made up the term, "Asian cake," but there is a difference between a cake found at an Asian bakery versus an American one. Asian cakes tend to be lighter and fluffier, with their frosting having more of a whipped cream texture. They also incorporate a lot of fresh fruit, on top and inside the cake. The above cake for an early Father's Day celebration has taro inside it. Indeed, my wedding cake … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Mochi

Mochi: a glutinous rice dessert with sweet filling   Mochi skin has a certain chewy texture that exudes tenderness and firmness at the same time. It was an acquired taste for me to bite into something that had two opposing characteristics. The Japanese version of this treat offers different varieties, including some with a more pastry-like exterior. The ones I tried in Little Tokyo are also very elegantly decorated, with a sprinkling of sesame seeds or a colorful flower. By contrast, the … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese chicken rice: chicken simmered in broth and served with flavorful riceHainanese chicken rice originates from Hainan, a province in China. However, it's very popular in Malaysia and Singapore. The dish boasts chicken with silky skin, accomplished by steeping a whole chicken in bone-based broth at sub-boiling temperatures and dowsing it in ice water at the end. The chicken meat inside remains soft and smooth. (Sometimes younger birds are selected for the dish for an even tenderer … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Fried Tang Yuan

Fried tang yuan: sweet mini glutinous rice ballsTraditional tang yuan are round dumplings served in soup. They can be made by mixing water with glutinous rice flour, combined with lots of kneading. They contain different fillings, like black sesame or ground peanut. (Asian grocery stores also offer pre-made frozen versions that can be tossed into a pot.) In contrast, fried tang yuan remain hollow.   … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Shaved Ice

Shaved ice: a mound of crushed coolness drizzled with sweet syrup and tasty toppingsMy first experience with shaved ice came from one of those stands that distribute foam cups with ice chunks and watered-down fruit flavors. Later, I discovered the joys of shaved ice, Asian-style. This means not just one flavor but multiple ingredients piled on top until the goodness threatens to overflow the bowl. In Malaysia, they serve ice kacang. Typically, four to five ingredients (I personally like corn and … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Beef Rendang

Beef rendang: A Malaysian curry dish bursting with spices and coconut milk goodness This is one of my all-time favorite curry dishes. When done properly, the meat is so succulent it seems to melt in your mouth. Look at the photo, imagine its deliciousness, and then hunt down your nearest Malaysian restaurant (or invest a few hours and make it at home). … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Tea Egg

Tea egg: a hard-boiled egg with a splash of tea flavorI grew up eating soy sauce eggs as a child and found tea eggs later on in life. These appetizers often show up in tapioca drink shops. Typically, they're served on their own, but during my trip to Sun Moon Lake, the chefs complemented them with locally-grown mushrooms. If it's a contest between the actual tea and the flavored egg, the beverage wins hands down for me. Once in awhile, though, it's a nice ethnic twist to a plain breakfast egg. … [Read more...]