I’m not sure how the history started but we grew up with Mantao (Chinese Steamed Bread) paired with a pork belly dish with pickled vegetables (Khao Yok) This trip to Taiwan I was determined to try some – Many opened in Bangkok and i saw a few in the USA but i felt it seemed uniquely Taiwanese although i have read that it was inspired or brought by immigrants from Fujian Province. For those who haven’t heard a Gua Bao or Bao as it’s popularised from USA is the Bao (Mantao – Steamed Chinese Bread) + Pork belly cooked til soft and in 5 spice powder + sweetened roasted ground peanuts + pickled mustard greens + fresh coriander. In my next article i will explore how to make it on my own but this is what we had in Taiwan.
I think this store had their own take on it which consists of the traditional 5 Spice Pork Belly + A thin Peppery Pork Chop Patty + a slice of Cheese and the traditional flavorings.
I thought it tasted alright but if they could melt the cheese somehow it would have been alot better.
Will try to create a homemade version soon, anyone with recipes please share them 🙂
Working abroad isn’t bad. Working in Tokyo isn’t bad. However when the weekend arrives this is what happens:
You live in CBD district where it’s surrounded by Offices and restaurants and Cafes that ONLY OPEN during Monday to Fridays.
Colleagues spend time with Family. Left all Alone.
It actually is a lonely feeling but after days of eating one pot noodles and what ever is selling at Lawsons or 7 – 11; due to many restaurants do NOT offer English Menus and even have signs not accepting Non Japanese Speakers you find yourself going to the Tourist Spots. Shibuya. Ueno. Shinjuku etc. Japan is actually one of the most polite cultures I encountered and I’m Thai…. Thailand is a different concept – If you don’t speak the language they will guess something until they get it right. I assume in Japan it’s not worth the hassle.
So i found myself getting off in Shibuya mercilessly trying to follow the google map. (which from personal experience and my sense of direction had a part to play) It took me 30 mins to find – apparently google map doesn’t work so well in Japan and especially South Korea.
When you arrive its on the basement floor but theres a sign before you step down on the staircase. Being remarkably early there wasn’t any ques as of yet.
Walking down a flight of stairs you will see a vending machine. This is how you order:
They also have something called the second round noodles. Kan Dama – Which means after you finish your bowl they will refill it with 1 order of noodles – 190 Yen or half bowl of Noodles 130 Yen. Interesting! I assume it’s not to waste any of their thick broth. There are extras such as their special vinegar, half boiled eggs and extra onions for toppings.
After you paid, a waiter will show you to an empty booth.
Walking to your booth there are hangers to hang up your coat as well as tissue paper and toothpick dispensers on the wall.
The food arrived and you can smell the porkiness. Mine was with 1 clove of garlic, extra rich soup, medium dashi and medium noddles. The noodles was on the thin side which i prefer i’m not a fan of too thick ramen noodles. The broth is very fatty. I’m sure there’s alot of pork richness in there as well as lots of pork fat emulsified into the soup and probably marrow. The mouth felt like cream. Light, yet a dense texture. The pepper paste wasn’t too spicy maybe should have ordered 10. I think the best way to go is to eat some of the noodles with the broth, then with the chilli paste and then with the vinegar to cut the richness. The egg was a half cooked egg with a slightly runny yolk, the pork felt a tiny bit dry to me although dunk it in soup and it’s fine. The wood ear mushroom i think helped give that nice texture. The vinegar has a slight body to the acidic taste. Expensive but you need some vinegar to cut through the fat. Quite an interesting experience. Lonely eating but not bad. Honestly i preferred this to Ipudo. However, i had Ippudo in Thailand so maybe it can’t be compared. Do buy their instant ramen home as a souvenir to friends and family. Maybe you can bring a bit of Japan back home.
Arrive early to beat the ques and dont get lost! Allocate about 1500 yen per person or 1000 with plain with no additionals.
Making the trip to New Orleans for work and a quick stop over to LA just for Top Chef favorite M. Voltaggio’s new Inkwell restaurant proved to be a bit sad and disappointing. Considering the miles flown for food it was a let down. The hype and maybe the expectation was too high. First we reserved way advance and the restaurant was quite empty. Service was friendly but sometimes a bit snobby when we said the food was salty. I don’t like people to tell me how the way the dish is supposed tot taste. Salty is Salty. Period.
Masculine Minimalistic look – Black Leather Sofas, White Walls Clean lines very sleek look.
The drinks we ordered were the blended whisky and sloe gin. Prices were sort of reasonable i mean for the amount you expect to pay at a restaurant and from a Top Chef restaurant no less.
The blended scotch tasted ok not memorable however the sloe gin tasted like a chinese medicine brew with a coffee aftertaste. Like not good. You can smell it and a lingering after taste in your mouth. The menus seemed kind of reasonable for some dishes and pricey for others. Again I ate at Craft many years ago and prices was higher although the food was impeccable. (Skirt steak was still soft 5 hours later)
The waitress suggested 5 dishes to share for the two of us but we went a bit over board as it was a loong way from Thailand. The waitress also said the kitchen will determine the order of the courses according to taste. Sounded smart to me.
All components was yummy. Tomatoes fresh – Lovely Taste – Feta strong and Delicious. Yet the dish had no ooomph to it. It was not something you remember forever.
Of the evening this was one of the dishes that i will remember. Simply well dressed greens – Crispy delicious Pork Ears. And underneath.. A supremely eggy pudding/custard that was so fine, delicate without being too eggy even if it was very egg yolk. Together the combination was marvelous. I admit. Savoury, Creamy, Sharp Vinaigrette, Crispy Pork, crunchy greens, soft smoothness on tongue from pudding. 10 / 10
Cheese was delicious and the puffy Chip was delicious. Stops there. The creamy corn was saltier with every bite and we informed the waiter but he said that was how it is and that it’s not salty. So we left it at that.
The tartare was yummy (but not memorable) we didn’t see any Vietnamese flavours aside from the asian herbs on top. The mayo was the star of the dish – Airy, fluffy cloud of deliciousness. I will remember this mayo forever. 9/10
The interesting part of this was that the fish dishes came after the heartier savoury beef tartare. Even in the menu the meat dishes was listed after the seafood ones.
I thought this dish was rather well executed, i think the delicate tuna meshed well with the celery root. However I didn’t really understand the tofu mustard. Didn’t taste like tofu or mustard.
The balance of fattiness and the crispy celery root was well done. The green powder wasn’t really needed as there was so little of it and can’t taste the flavour but i thought it was quite fun and easy to eat. 9/10
Unfortunately things are going downhill. The octopus was burnt and over cooked. Like a dog’s chew toy. Quite awful sadly. The pasta was way undercooked – Not al dente. You can see the raw pasta in the middle when you bit into it. The flavours seemed alright however i couldn’t get past the rubbery octopus and hard pasta. It was very sad.
I was really looking forward to this dish. I love bellys of every animal. It’s fatty, rich and tender. Strangely it was stringy, chewy and not a great texture of lamb belly. The pine nuts felt like it’s past it’s prime. When nuts aren’t creamy but has that stale taste it’s a bit of a huge let down. The yogurt curds was delicious. Creamy, sourish and thick. That was it. Kind of heart breaking at 30 bucks for delicious yogurt. Curds…..
Sadly it was a memorable evening but i remember more of the bad bits rather than the good. I think it was the expectation and considering i was a huge fan. I would rate the overall experience at 4/10. More of an ink blot than ink.well……
Near the Famous Angkor Wat is the Bayan Temple, (made famous by Tomb Raider & Angelina Jolie) built in the late 12th century or the late 13th century during the reign of King Jayavarman the 7th, i believe it was abandoned and the only of one of the temples where nature took over…
It really does take your breath away. It’s beautiful and majestic, its amazing how nature takes over civilization and finds a way to thrive and co exist. The trees just grew on the stones that built the temple. On the way out i encountered a group of handicapped people who were playing traditional Cambodian Instruments, it was very lovely and reminds of us how lucky we are and how people still fight to be treated as normal if not even more admirable.
I admit, Siem Reap has great charm and if you’re a history buff and love architecture, you will love this place!
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