All posts tagged: eat

Review: The new “affordable” omakase at Sushi Ishikawa (NYC)

The Upper east side of Manhattan is going through a culinary resurgence with millennials moving into the neighborhood and the opening of the Q subway extension that now connects the area to the rest of Manhattan. Part of this change is the opening of Sushi Ishikawa, a 23-seat restaurant helmed by executive chef, Don Pham.  Chef Pham’s sushi pedigree includes positions as the former executive sushi chef at O Ya, executive chef at Geisha, sushi chef at Morimoto and head chef at Kitaro. Sushi Ishikawa offers two omakase menu priced at $85 for 12 courses and $125 for 15 courses. The restaurant has a lot of buzz as the hot new “affordable” omakase in Manhattan. Did the restaurant live up to the hype? I made a reservation for two through Resy, their online reservation system. A credit card was required to confirm the booking as the restaurant has a very strict cancellation policy. You have until two days prior to the reservation to cancel without incurring a $85 per person fee. Upon entering a simply …

Review: Tim Ho Wan – NYC Location

Tim Ho Wan (“THW”) is a Hong Kong dim sum destination that was awarded a Michelin star in 2010 for its Mongkok (HK) location and aptly named the “cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world”. Earlier this year, THW opened its first US location in Manhattan East Village to a lot of buzz and corresponding crazy lines. One Sunday, my group of six ventured to this NY location to see what the hype was all about. My first impression of dim sum at THW was that it was a tamer and more Americanized experience. The restaurant has only 60 seats in a small space so dim sum carts are not a viable option. For me, the fun part is seeing dim sum carts whizzed around a banquet room tempting  diners to flag them down. At THW, the menu has been stripped down to essential dishes. Getting a table at the restaurant was an experience in itself. We arrived late around 12:00pm assuming that the wait would be 1 to 1.5 hours. The wait turned out …

Sticky Rice with Baby Red Jackfruit / Xôi Gấc

Xôi gấc or sticky rice with baby red jackfruit is the essence of any holiday feast. The red color comes from the baby jackfruit, a fruit exclusive to southeast Asia, and signifies luck.   The fragrant aroma comes from the seed of the jackfruit and resembles vanilla. This rice dish has become a staple of everyday meal in Vietnam and is often eaten for breakfast or as a snack. In the US, you will often see this xôi gấc at any Vietnamese family gathering as it is inexpensive and easy to make, feeds a large crowd and everyone loves it. Sticky rice can also be made in advance since it is usually served at room temperature. Try this red sticky rice for your next meal. Difficulty: Easy / Servings: 6 / Time: 8 hours to soak the rice and 30-45 minutes to cook Ingredients: 3 jars (5.6 oz. jar) of frozen baby red jack fruit pulp with seeds or 2 jars without seeds. (I prefer the jar with seeds. This can be purchased at any …

Vietnamese Banana Cake / Bánh Chuối Nướng

Vietnamese Banana Cake or Bánh Chuối Nướng is a cross between a bread pudding and a spongy cake. One can see the French influences on Vietnamese cuisine with this cake. Add a few spoonful of creamy coconut sauce and you have a delicious desert anytime of the day. Difficulty: Easy / Servings: 8 / Time: 2 hours to prepare and 1 hour to cool Ingredients: 10 whole steamed sapa banana (approx. 2 frozen packages found in any Asian supermarket). 8 slices of white bread 4 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter and 1 teaspoon of melted butter to coat the pan 1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 1 tablespoon of tapioca starch 4 tablespoons of sugar 1 egg 2 cans (14 oz) of coconut milk 2 tablespoons of condensed milk 1 cup of milk 1 tablespoon of white wine or rum 9 inch spring form pan Directions: Cut 4 bananas length wise and cut the remaining 6 bananas into thin round slices. Add the bananas into a large mixing bowl and add …

Vietnamese Pantry Essentials

Vietnamese cuisine is well known for its freshness, uses of herbs and the complexity of flavors. We have a history of French colonization leading to the richness and diversity of dishes within the Vietnamese cuisine. There are a few key essentials that are used often in our cooking. This post will highlight the key essentials that we used in all of our recipes on this blog and the brands that we like. Amazingly, I was able to find majority of it on Amazon! The Basics 1. Fish sauce – This is the ingredient that is the foundation for Vietnamese cooking. Fish sauce is made from fermenting anchovies in sea salt over a period of 12-14 months. I was surprise that you can get this at Walmart. My family uses Viet Huong Three Crab brand fish sauce. 2. Soy Sauce – There are many different brands out there to choose. We do not have a specific one to recommend but my family tends to cook with Maggi or Knorr liquid seasoning in place of soy sauce. Soy Sauce …

Green Beans with Garlic and Roasted Peanuts

An easy vegetarian dish for a weeknight dinner is green beans sautéed with garlic and topped with roasted peanuts and fried shallots. Add a side dish of fried egg and rice and you have a complete and healthy meal. Try this simple vegetable dish for dinner tonight. Difficulty: Easy / Serving: 2 / Time: 30 minutes Ingredients: 1 pound of green beans 3 tablespoons of garlic (rough chop) 3 tablespoons of olive oil 2 teaspoons of soy sauce ½ teaspoon of fish sauce 1 teaspoon of mushroom seasoning  2 teaspoons of sugar 1 teaspoon of sea salt ½ teaspoon of ground pepper a handful of roasted peanuts a handful of fried shallots (optional) 2-3 scallions (white portion) to garnish (optional) Directions: Add enough water to a pot to cover the green beans. Season the water with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Once the water comes to a boil, add the green beans and allow them to boil for 2 minutes. Remove the green beans and rinse right away with cold water to …

Bún Bò Huế / Huế Beef Noodle Soup

Bún Bò Huế is a popular beef noodle soup originating from the ancient imperial capital of Vietnam. The soup has a great combination of salty, sweet, sour and spicy with a strong citrus fragrance. This soup is served with a plate of condiments including various herbs, vegetables and rice vermicelli noodles. To get the right balance of flavors require boiling pork bones and beef shank with lemongrass and fermented fish sauce for hours. Spicy chili oil is added to the broth during the process to add a kick.  Bún bò in Huế is not the fiery spicy broth that most people associate with in the US. It is a generally mild and complex broth. The spiciness is added according to people’s taste afterward. This is my mom’s recipe that she learned from a famous Bún Bò Huế vendor in Huế. Difficulty: Medium / Servings: 8 bowls / Time: 3-4 hours to prepare Ingredients: 1/4 cup of ruoc  (shrimp sauce) 6 quarts water 1 lb boneless eye round roast beef 4 lb. pork small knuckle 3 lb pork leg chop …