All posts tagged: featured

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 …

What to pack for Iceland for Winter and Spring

I recently went to Iceland in the middle of March and, like most people, I was furiously googling on what to pack leading up to the trip. The weather is so unpredictable that Iceland can get three seasons a day, if not within a few hours. Even though my group went in the middle of March, the weather was winter in some areas and early spring in others making it difficult to pack efficiently. Furthermore, I do not own any real gear for trekking through uneven terrain and the unpredictable weather of southern Iceland. At the same time, I did not want to spend more money on a new wardrobe that I only wear once. This packing list is what I ended up bringing and is what works for the Icelandic weather. Ski or snowboarding gear If you have snowboarding or ski gear, you are half way done. It rains in Iceland…a lot and at random times. It can be sunny one minute and pouring the next. I ended up bringing a waterproof and windproof Marmont …

Chè Khoai Môn / Taro with Sweet Rice Pudding

Taro is one of the most versatile root vegetable in Vietnamese cuisine. It is used often in both savory and sweet dishes. One of the more popular rendition of taro is chè khoai môn or taro with sweet rice  pudding. Steamed taro is added to a ginger syrup, mixed with sticky rice pudding and topped with a spoonful of coconut milk. This desert is deceptively simple and is also a wonderful snack or dessert. Difficulty: Easy / Servings: 6 / Time: 1 hour Ingredients: 2 cups of sweet rice 4 lb. of taro peeled 1/2 cup of julienne ginger (approximately 1 large ginger root) 2 cups of sugar 1 can of coconut milk 1/2 tablespoon of tapioca powder 1/4 teaspoon of salt     Directions: Peel and cut the taro into fist size segments. Steam the taro for 30 minutes. It will be easier to cut the taro into smaller cubes once the taro is cooked. Once the taro is cooked, cut them into 1 inch cubes. Heat a pot with 6 cups of water …

5 Days in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona has been on my bucket list for a long time, but I did not have the opportunity until recently. My goal was to really explore Barcelona at a leisurely pace. My friend came on this adventure with me and we settled on a Tuesday to Sunday itinerary. In this post, I will highlight our trip to Barcelona and what we learned from it. Day 1: Tuesday (Arriving in the afternoon) We arrived in Barcelona in the early afternoon and both of us took separate taxis from the airport as we were in different terminals. Prior to this trip, my friend and I were warned to be cautious of taxis and pickpockets in Barcelona. I did not truly believe that Barcelona was an unsafe city as it is an international European destination.  Unfortunately, the following taxi incident shook my faith in the city. After getting dropped off a block away from my destination, my taxi driver grabbed a 50 euro bill out of my hand and drove off after I disputed the fare. The fare …

Five Spice Roasted Quail / Chim Cút Rôti

Chim Cút Rôti or Five Spice Roasted Quail is a common appetizer in many Vietnamese restaurants. Quails are marinated for at least a few hours, then pan fried and covered in a sticky sweet and salty sauce. This is not a dish for date night as you will end up using your fingers to eat the quails. However, the mess is worth it for this finger licking treat. Difficulty: Easy / Serving: 4 / Time: at least 3 hours to marinate and 30 minutes to cook Ingredients 6 quails (You can find frozen quails at the Asian supermarket.) 1/4 teaspoon of Five Spice seasoning 1 tablespoon diced onion 2 and 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic 1-2 cloves of garlic 1 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder 6 tablespoons of coco rico soda 3 tablespoons soy sauce or Knorr liquid seasoning 1 and 1/2 tablespoon of sugar 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 and 1/2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil 1/2 teaspoon of annatto oil (optional) A few stalks of cilantro (garnish) …

Restaurant Review: Pagu – Japanese Spanish Fusion (Boston,MA)

I had an opportunity to visit Boston for the weekend and Pagu was on the top of my list for dinner. Boston has recently seen a surge in restaurants exploring fusion cuisine and Pagu is a promising star. My friends and I made a reservation for Friday and were asked to put a deposit of $25 per person for the reservation. This was something new to me, as a required deposit was more prevalent at ultra-exclusive restaurant where a meal can easily costs a few hundred dollars. Pagu has average pricing, which made this policy a bit perplexing. Once we arrived, we were quickly seated at a table far removed from the kitchen bar that we had requested. After speaking with the host, we were promptly moved to the kitchen counter. This is a seating area surrounding the beautiful open kitchen where one can watch the magic happen. For our meal, we selected a few different tapas to share and they were either hit or miss. The service was attentive overall and the staff tried …

Beef Noodle Bowl with Soy Marinade

Vermicelli noodle bowl is a simple dish that has endless variety. In today’s post, we will be making a version with thin slices of beef marinated with a simply soy and oyster sauce. This is an easy meal to make for one or for a large group very quickly. Ingredients: 1/2 pound of beef eye round or similar steak cut 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce 2 tablespoons of coconut soda 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder 1 cucumber 1 carrot 1 Romaine lettuce or green of your choice A handful of mint 3-4 tablespoon of minced garlic 1 tablespoon of diced onion 1 Thai chili (optional) 1 lime 1-2 stalks of green onion Sea salt Ground pepper Sugar 1 bushel of vermicelli noodles Directions: Slice the beef as thin as possible. Marinate the beef for 15 minutes with 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of diced onion, 1 tablespoon of garlic, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder and 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper. Julienne …