Foodie Friday: Bird’s Nest Soup

Bird's nest soup: Broth made using the saliva of birds Bird's nest soup is a delicacy. It can cost a fortune to obtain the saliva that makes up the nest of these special birds. The bird is a swiftlet, a type of swallow. It lives in coastal caves in Southeast Asia. People nowadays also farm these birds to obtain the nests. Bird's nest must be soaked overnight to properly cook. The next day, it is made into a simple broth, often with just the addition of a bit of rock sugar. Hailed for its … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Laksa

Laksa: spicy noodle soup I first had laksa in Malaysia, and it nearly burned my tongue off because of the spiciness level. Ever since then, I wouldn't touch the dish. Nevertheless, I grew brave a few weeks ago and tried laksa again. There's something extremely sensory about getting a noodle soup that's coated in red. Two types of laksa exist: a sour one and a curry-based soup. I'm partial to the curry with coconut milk version. I took a deep breath and tried the soup again. It was … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday First: Buddha Jumps Over the Wall

Buddha Jumps Over the Wall: an enticing soup made with a variety of ingredients I drank this in Taiwan, and it's chock-full of seafood and vegetables. Supposedly, it is so tempting that even a Buddhist monk (who is vegetarian) would jump over the wall to eat it--hence the unique name of the dish. However, I actually found there to be too many flavors to really enjoy them all. Some recipes boast up to thirty ingredients. Here's an article on how one chef makes his dish. That being said, … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday First: Chowder Fries

I tried my first taste of... Chowder fries: French fries smothered in hearty clam chowder During my first official job after college, my colleague introduced me to eating French fries--dipped in mayonnaise. (She told me it's a European thing.) Although I still prefer ketchup, I can see why she enjoyed the creamy consistency. It gives a nice contrast to the crispy friedness. Plus, there's the added plus of fatty flavor. How did I feel about eating chowder fries? It's a hearty, filling … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Pigs’ Feet

Pigs' feet: stewed porcine hooves Ah yes, the wonderful smell of soup. But what's in this savory broth? That's right, pigs' feet. It's a great confinement stew, filled with rich nutrients for new mothers. The meat itself is braised, so it falls right off. There's also a gelatinous texture to some of the tasty bits. If you don't think too hard about what you're actually eating, it's a pretty hearty dish for a winter's day. What's a great stew for wintry days?   … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Wonton

Wonton: tender dumplings, often boiled Want the quickest meal ever? Toss some wonton with instant ramen noodles. Wontons have a delicate wrapper. In modern-day Chinese, eating them is often known as "swallowing clouds." (The original definition is very different.) Their soft exterior melts in your mouth and contrasts well with the heartier stuffing. (By the way, I hear they have great shrimp wontons in bulk at your local Costco.) During the Tang and Song Dynasties, poets even wrote … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Oxtail Soup

Oxtail soup: savory broth made with the tender, fatty meat This tender meat falls right off the bone, particularly after hours of stewing. It also infuses a very hearty flavor into the broth. It's a bit of work to eat around the large bone in the center, though. I'm disappointed to learn that the meat does not come from an ox (a great Chinese zodiac symbol)--it used to, but nowadays, the cuts are from cattle. My favorite facts about oxtail: Origins: A French noble asked for a tail from … [Read more...]

My Top 5 Soup Cures

"A good bee never takes pollen from a fallen flower." -Chinese proverb We need to fill our bodies with good things, nourishing foods. Sparked by my post on colds and congee, I've been thinking about nutritious soups I've encountered. Here are my top five soup cures: 1. Special Sesame Chicken Soup--provides energy for new mothers In "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," it says, "Water, water everywhere. Nor any drop to drink." This is the opposite of what happens with this chicken soup; … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Beef Noodle Soup

Beef noodle soup: hot soup with stewed beef, noodles, and vegetables               I'm watching the rain splatter my windowpane, and I can feel the chill creeping in through the walls. It doesn't rain very much in Southern California (cue the Albert Hammond's song). When it does, though, I hanker after a hot dish. What's better on a rainy day than soup? You can find an award-winning recipe of beef noodle soup here. Beef noodle … [Read more...]