Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Christmas in South Carolina

Location | Bluffton, South Carolina

This year I decided to spend my mom’s birthday, December 23rd, until January 2nd in South Carolina. My parents live in Bluffton, right outside of Hilton Head Island, so besides being in a resort area, it’s warm during the winters… well, except for this year. Not only was it cold, but it also SNOWED. Ok, I went down south to escape the cold weather, but unfortunately, it followed me.

Cousins digging into the food

First we had a really great Christmas dinner. My cousins had all come down from Michigan, Taiwan and California. They had gone to Disneyworld the week before, and then drove up to my parent’s house. We had a traditional Thanksgiving!? meal. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, candied yams and various other dishes. I love Thanksgiving food!

Cooking crab. He look so sad.

The last day of 2010, my parents and I went to a seafood purveyor and got a dozen blue crabs and a lot of shrimp. We brought them home and steamed the crap out of everything. Above is the sad crab.

My dad pulling stubborn crabs out of the bag.

The crab’s claws weren’t tied together, so they were really stubborn when we tried to pull them out of the bag. We required my dad’s assistance in getting them into the pot.

Steamed Shrimp.

The final dish was the steamed shrimp. Doesn’t it all look good?

[Flickr Set]


01 2011

Beer and Governors Island

Location | New York, NY The New York Brewfest was on Governors Island. The website describes the event as:

NY Brewfest is a craft beer sampling event sanctioned by the New York State Brewers Association. A commemorative 4-ounce glass is given to all attendees at the Information Booth/Entrance. Admission allows samplings from over 300 styles of handcrafted beers from more than 100 breweries. Great local foods will be available for purchase, and New York bands will perform throughout the evening. The event is a venerable gumbo of the Empire State’s creativity.


Needless to say, I was sold. I actually had a “Connoisseurs’ Pass” which allowed an extra hour entrance to the event (well worth it). We had free reign over a lot of booths and A LOT of beer.

View from the Governors Island Ferry

Now, I am not a very large person. Drinking a lot of beer, even out of a 4oz cup, was probably not a good idea for someone with little to no tolerance. I became incredibly hyper during this event.

At least we ate some food...

So, Greg decided it’d be good to feed me. What’s good at a Brewfest? Well, spring rolls, burger, and homemade chips. We even had some ice cream after. Well, after an hour or 2, Greg decided it was time to go so I followed him out as I was feeling pretty tipsy from all the alcohol coursing through my veins.

View from the island

I actually let him go home, while I stayed on the island and laid out on a blanket… and took a nap. I woke up later and actually took a long walk from Wall Street to SoHo (after getting off the ferry, that is).


06 2010

Breakfast, Coffee and the California Academy of Sciences

Location | New York City

Well, back to New York on an awful red-eye flight. (Don’t fly red-eyes, it’s so not worth it). On my last day in San Francisco (Monday) I woke up at Anna & Eric’s place and put everything away for them. Then I headed out to have breakfast with my friend Albie at a Crossroads Cafe, which was near my friend’s apartment.

The weather was bad – torrential downpour – so Albie and I opted to take public transportation to the Ferry Building so that Albie could meet our other friend and I could meet up with my college friend, Justin (whom I refer to as Twurtleson, don’t ask).

After parting ways, I went to Blue Bottle and ordered coffees and more granola (so damn addicting) and was picked up by Justin. We drove to a Taiwanese restaurant called, Spices, located in the Inner Richmond area of San Fran. We had lunch and then headed to the California Academy of Sciences. Can I tell you, it was pretty sweet.

This fish is grumpy.

Justin was in control of my camera, so I don’t have full artistic integrity over these photos, but the boy wanted to play with a new toy. So the ones w/o him in them, are photos taken by him.

Justin explores the seas.

There was everything, a lot of fish, I touched a sea urchin (weird), jellyfish, alligator, stingrays (you’ll see one of the photos he took at the end, I highly suspect that was his favorite part since I found a million stingray photos), butterflies, fossils… and just a lot of cool things.

A butterfly lands on a boy's finger.

We also checked out the roof top, despite the rain.

On the "Living Roof"

There were about 50 more pictures that look exactly like this...

After all of this, we went to pick up my friend Eric, go pick up my baggage, then head to meet my (other) friend Angel for dinner. We just had some food and Justin and I parted ways while Angel drove me to the airport.

Overall, it was an amazing trip. I was so happy to be able to hang out with Ngoc and company, as well as see old friends and make new ones! If you’re interested, full set of photos here.


05 2010

Old Friends, Reunited.

Location | SoMa, San Francisco

The morning began in a slight frenzy. I found my friend, whom I call Panda, in his room practicing guitar. I got ready and we went to have brunch with our two friends, Angel and Andrew. They met us at a restaurant called “Bill’s Cafe” in San Jose. After polishing off our food (we are kind of beasts with food… we’ve known this since our time together in Taiwan), Angel, Andrew and I headed to Palo Alto to check out Santana Row, an outdoor shopping mall and Stanford‘s campus. Panda headed off to church.

Santana Row - Andrew, Angel and me.

Santana Row was ok (and unaffordable). We ended up going to Stanford’s campus pretty quickly and just walked around. The campus was eerily quiet, but they were in the midst of finals (plus it was the weekend). We hung out in the oval lawn in front of their main campus building.

The famous columns at Stanford's campus.

Panda met up with us again, but we had gone to downtown Palo Alto by that point (we were sitting at Starbucks eating a crepe I had bought across the street and drinking iced tea and coffee). Panda drove us to San Francisco where we met up with some of his friends (one was Jeremy Lin‘s older brother – random coincidence) and we had really good Vietnamese food at Turtle Tower in the area of Outer Richmond (not the one in the Tenderloin). I hadn’t had good Vietnamese in a very long time, so it was especially nice to have good spring rolls and a hot bowl of noodles.

My friends are really hungry...

We headed out to Humphry Slocombe, one of the most unique ice cream places I’ve been to. They only have a few special flavors a day, but flavors included things like Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, Chocolate Sea Salt, and Strawberry Balsalmic. I chose the Chocolate Sea Salt and Strawberry Balsalmic (so good!). My friends were a little freaked out by the flavors, but I loved it.

Me, Panda, Angel and Andrew at Humphry Slocombe

After wards we hung outside for a bit, doing some awkward dances (thanks to one of Panda’s friends) and then I was dropped off at my friend’s apartment near the Embarcadero.


05 2010

Prison. Bread. Middle Eastern Food.

Location | South Bay, San Francisco

We went to Alcatraz, despite many of us being hungover (not I apparently). Ngoc’s sister and I actually woke up early and walked down to the Ferry Building (which is NOT a short walk) and got coffee and the absolute most wonderful yogurt and granola combination that I’ve ever had in my life. I’m absolutely addicted to those flavors. The yogurt was the lemon flavor from St. Benoit, a local French-style yogurt. The owner was selling the yogurts in these adorable ceramic containers in the farmer’s market. Combine the yogurt with the delicious granola of Blue Bottle and you have yourself the most winning combination. You would not believe the flavor. It is an absolute MUST If you’re in San Francisco to combine the 2 flavors.

Alcatraz was interesting. It seemed almost TOO CLEAN for a prison. I think it’s because I went to the State Penitentiary in Philly last year, so this one wasn’t as interesting because it wasn’t as dilapidated. Ngoc and James went completely though the whole audio tour. I think I got through about track 26 of 40 something before I couldn’t listen anymore.

First part you see of Alcatraz

After Alcatraz we went back to the Embarcadero where we said goodbye to Ngoc’s older brother who was flying back to Vegas. We then walked around all the piers and went to see the sea lions at Pier 39.

They were all floppy and noisy

We were picked up by Justin at Boudoin Bread at Fisherman’s Wharf. He was taking us to dinner, but the original place we wanted to go to was packed, so we had to settle for another option. Furthermore, Eric and Anna had a nightmare bus situation, so they were very late in meeting us. It was fine, we ordered some delicious Middle Eastern food before we ran back to Justin’s car because it was freezing. Justin dropped me off at the BART and I was on my way to the South Bay while he took Ngoc and James to the airport.

In the South Bay, I was picked up by my favorite Panda, Eric Chang! And he took me back to his house where we sat around chatting into the night until it was time to pass out.


05 2010

A Brooklyn Adventure

Location | New York City

The weather was amazing this weekend. After a crazy night out with some good friends, I woke up early and headed to Brooklyn for brunch at Buttermilk Channel. I met up with Jiye and Christine and we were easily seated.

I actually didn’t know what Buttermilk Channel was known for, but their eggs looked amazing. I ended up order a spinach, goat cheese and mushroom scramble. It came with a biscuit and hash browns. I also ordered some bacon-encrusted almonds for the table (which turned out to be not so great).

Salmon & cream cheese scramble

Christine ordered the salmon & cream cheese scramble. Jiye ordered the salmon platter. There was also a (terrible) coffee cake.

After brunch, we went to Jiye’s neighborhood and hung out at Tazza and had something to drink.

Then I met up with Winnie at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. It’s currently cherry blossom season and we wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Winnie & me in the cherry blossom promenade

They also had some beautiful tulips, especially the double tulips (which looked like a few tulips within each other).

Double Tulip

The gardens didn’t take too long to get through, about an hour and a half. After that we decided that we wanted to eat dessert – at Junior’s! So we took the subway and went to try out the famous Junior’s cheesecake.

I love cheesecake!

Winnie got the Devil’s Food Cheesecake and I got the Strawberry Cheesecake.

Overall, it was great weekend. May 1-2 is the Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanical, but I don’t suggest going (it will be PACKED). This weekend was packed… craaaazy. If you do go, enjoy!


04 2010

Before I Pass Out… Day 1 Taichung

Location | 4th Floor of Grandma’s Building, Taichung, Taiwan

I’m about to pass out. Since Thursday at 8am until now Saturday (in Taiwan PM, in the US AM) at 9pm… I have slept a total of… 4 hours on an airplane.

I should be out of my mind by now. I think the only thing holding me together is some coffee, then tea, then more tea. Today wasn’t too eventful. I’ll pick off where I left off in my last entry.

So at noon I met up with Doris, a friend I made from my internship at the National Palace Museum in 2005. We went to a branch of Chun Sui Tang ( 春水堂 ) located in a small department store. Yay for bubble tea and snacks. Afterwards we walked around and even went to a Jazz festival!

Myself and Doris at the Taichung Jazz Fest

Myself and Doris at the Taichung Jazz Fest

Then it was back home (but not after meeting Doris’ boyfriend — awww so nice for dropping me off). They came and visited my ah-ma (grandma). Then we went to dinner at a Japanese resturant. 9-course meal for NT$350 or US $10.83. Crazy right? There was salad, fried tofu slice, chawanmushi, hand roll, fried rice, sashimi, miso soup, fruit, and taro jelly).



Taiwan food is awesome! Tomorrow is crab + Peking duck + more Japanese!!!! Plus my uncle is taking me to a sashimi joint + all you can eat oysters. Freaking awesome. I love food people and my family is definitely a food family!


10 2009

A History of Bubble Tea (and Other Taiwan Foods)

Location | New York City

Bubble Tea, Boba Tea, Pearl Milk Tea (珍珠奶茶), whatever you may call it was invented in Taiwan sometime during the 1980’s. Very few people know that it was actually invented at one of my VERY FAVORITE tea shops in Taichung: Chun Shui Tang Teahouse (春水堂). Although there’s another tea house in Tainan (southern Taiwan) that also lays claim to inventing bubble tea, we all know that Taichung is superior (heh).

Chun Shui Tang originated bubble tea through experimenting with cold milk tea. If you ever have a chance to visit any of their locations in Taichung, please try their milk tea with small bubbles. You will get the frothiest milk tea imaginable, with perfectly cooked bubbles. Furthermore, their thick sliced toast with condensed milk or peanut butter is mouthwatering delicious for what it is.

Everyone should also try to cook the bubbles themselves! It’s really rewarding when you get the perfect consistency and realize that you can make your own instead of crossing your fingers you don’t get a bad batch every time you go to a tea shop in Chinatown and/or St. Marks.

Taichung is also known for their suncakes (太陽餅). They come in various sizes, but my favorite are the large suncakes. Flaky on the outside and soft, sweet and gooey in the center. Originated by a branch of the Lin Family (not directly related to me) there is a mile stretch of stores on the road into Taichung where you can find hundreds of variations of suncakes.



The oyster omelette is a food enjoyed all over Taiwan (and parts of SE Asia and China).  I bring it up here because my aunts (on my dad’s side) run a restaurant that specializes in oyster omelettes.  A mixture of egg, starch (to thicken) and small oysters then a nice sauce on top makes for a delicious snack! Top that with fried tofu or any other items and you have the perfect Taiwanese street food.

Another perennial favorite is stinky tofu. As awesome as it sounds (/sarcasm), it really does taste good. Because it is fermented tofu, you can literally smell it from a mile away. If you get your wits about you and suck it up, it’s worth a try. Really. Really, just plug your nose and eat it!

How does something so delicious looking smell so bad?

How does something so delicious looking smell so bad?

As I further my hunger… other favorites:

  • Oily Rice (油飯) – rice baked with oils, pork, shitake mushrooms and dried shrimp
  • Ba-Wan (肉圓) – a bowl with a translucent dough stuffed with meat, served with a sweet or spicy sauce and cilantro
  • A-gei (阿給) – Danshui’s (north of Taipei on the coast and my home for the summer of 2005) specialty – fried tofu stuffed with clear noodles and fish paste
  • Oyster Vermicelli (蚵仔麵線) – clear noodles thickened with oysters and in soup
  • Ground Pork Rice (魯肉飯) – what NYC Cravings is pretending to make, but in reality it’s not a glop. Ground pork marinated in soy served over rice with pickled mustard greens
  • Radish Cake (蘿蔔糕) – using white radishes that are mashed into a paste then steamed until it solidifies into a gelatinous “cake” shape. Pan fry, serve with soy sauce, AMAZING.
Radish Cake

Radish Cake

I am so hungry as I read the Wikipedia article on Taiwanese cuisine (to remind myself of what else to write about). My goal is to eat my way to Taiwan. If I come back about… 20 lbs heavier, just be nice.

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10 2009