Malaysian Style Pasta Soup (Mien Fen Kao)


This is my mom's recipe, and I have been making this dish since I was in elementary school (really!). My mom would usually prepare the fried shallots, fried anchovies, the soup stock and the pasta dough, and we would cook it whenever we are ready to eat. Very DIY.

Ingredients (serving size of 2):
Soup Stock - one cup of dried anchovies and 1/2 lb of pork belly
Dried anchovies
3-4 shallots
yau choy (chinese vegetables)- cut to half
1-2 cups of white flour

1) Boil a stockpot full of water with dried anchovies (use stock sachet) and pork belly for about 2 hours.
2) Mix white flour with water slowly in a mixing bowl until a smooth dough is formed. Set aside the dough and cover.
3) Cut shallots into thin slices and peel off the heads of the dried anchovies. Fry shallots and dried anchovies with oil (separately) with low to medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Set aside the fried shallots and fried anchovies.
4) Remove the pork belly from the stock pot around 1-2 hours later and until a fork to gently pull the meat from the pork belly. Season with some salt and pepper and set aside.
5) On a separate soup pot, pour about one bowl of prepared soup stock and throw in the yu choy, bring to boil. Then use pasta maker to create flat/thin slices of dough, which you then tear into small pieces and throw into the boiling soup.
6) After 1-2 minutes, remove the soup and pasta and place into a serving bowl. Garnish the soup with shredded meat, fried anchovies, fried shallots and serve while hot. Enjoy!

Salmon & Salsa served with Rice


I found this easy recipe on and I modified the recipe a little to suit my taste. I thought it turned out pretty nicely.

Ingredients (serving size of 2):
1 cucumber and 1 medium size tomato - finely diced
2 tablespoons of finely chopped chives
sprinkles of yuzu (a type of Japanese citrus) concentrate or use lemon as substitute
salt and sugar to taste
2 Salmon Fillets
Balsamic reduction
2 bowls of cooked rice

1) Prepare some Japanese short grain rice /Jasmine rice in the rice cooker.
2) Create salsa by mixing chopped cucumber, tomato and chives in a bowl with yuzu concentrate, salt and sugar. Set aside.
3) Lightly season both sides of the salmon fillets with salt and pepper, and fry in a non-stick pan until done.
4) Serve cooked rice, salmon fillet and salsa on a plate. Drizzle some balsamic reduction on the fish and serve while hot.

Jive Turkey


441 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, New York

Phone: 718- 797-1688

Gan really wanted to have fried turkey for Thanksgiving. But instead of wasting a pot full of oil to fry just one turkey, I thought we should buy it from Jive Turkey in Brooklyn. I looked up its website the week before Thanksgiving but obviously it was too late as the turkeys were all sold out online, so we decided to try our luck and drive to Brooklyn on Thanksgiving Eve to pick it up.

There was already a long line outside of the store when we got to Brooklyn in the evening. When I joined the line, I was immediately told that they were done for the day. But we managed to find out from a store personnel that we might be able to get Jive Turkeys from Bob Law's Seafood Cafe in Prospect Height, and we bought it there.

I am not a big fan of Turkey, but Jive's Fried Turkey definitely taste much better, more juicy and flavorful. But it wasn't cheap, especially during Thanksgiving - it costs around $80 for one classic turkey!! I will probably order from Jive Turkey way ahead of time next Thanksgiving, since I really want to try their Peach Bourbon Turkey.

Traditional turkey from Fresh Direct, courtesy of Kim and Shien Jin. The Thanksgiving set, which comes with sides such as mash potatoes, sweet potatoes, cream of spinach etc was quite worth it. Look at the size of the Turkey Thigh!!

Socarrat Paella Bar


259 West 19th Street, New York

Phone: 212-462-1000

I was researching on what to eat for dinner on Friday night and Socarrat Paella Bar caught my attention. From the review, seems like this is the kind of restaurant i would like - small and cozy, with a focus on their namesake dish - Paella.

I called ahead to see if I can get a reservation but the maitre'd politely told me that they would only take reservation from 5pm - 6pm, which was too early. So Wan Yin, Chee Ping, Gan and myself decided to just go there around 7pm and wait for a table. It wasn't too long of a wait, and we got a good corner seating area on the long communal dining table (which occupies the whole restaurant).

As soon as we got seated, we went crazy ordering from the menu -- Vegetales Asados, Pork Belly, Duck, and Suckling Pig tapas and an order of Paella de Pescado & Mariscos for four. From the first tapas to the last, we were just so impressed. The Pork belly and suckling pig were cooked so well, crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Our favorite tapas was definitely the duck - imagine a nicely cooked duck breast served with caramelized fried onions and mash potatoes. It was so good that ordered a second duck dish as our "savory dessert"! And the Paella, it was the best damn paella i have eaten in the city. flavorful and just right. I couldn't get enough of the burnt crust from bottom of the paella pan.

Socarrat has just opened not too long ago, and it's already so crowded when we went there. It's a matter of time the restaurant gets even more popular. So be sure to check it out soon!

Specials - Pork Belly

Gambas al Ajillo - sizzling shrimps, garlic, hot red peppers

Vegetales Asados - Roasted Leeks, Scallions, Endive and Romesco Sauce

Specials - Duck with caramelized fried shallots and mash potatoes

Specials -- Suckling Pig

Jamon Iberico - 24 month dry-aged Spanish Ham

Specials - grilled octopus

Paella de Pescado & Mariscos - paella with chunks of fish, shrimp, cuttlefish, mussels, clams, squid and scallops

Dessert - not on menu

Socarrat Paella Bar on Urbanspoon

Japanese Bento Lunch


Where: Harborside Financial Center, Plaza 5, Jersey City (side entrance near Amiya)

When: around 9.30am daily

We are seriously deprived of good food here in Jersey City. But I have to say, once in a while, there are random food vendors that show up and sell home-cooked food that is both satisfying and reasonably priced. For instance, there is this seller who comes to Harborside Plaza 5 daily (around 9.30am) and sell good Japanese bentox lunch set for no more than 8 bucks. I have tried their beef sukiyaki, ramen, chuka (chinese) bento, curry katsu etc, and they were quite good.

Mitsuwa Tuna Cutting Event November 2008


595 River Rd, Edgewater, New Jersey

Phone: 201- 941-9113

We had a fantastic time at the Mitsuwa Tuna Cutting event last year, so we decided to inform more people to attend this year. This is definitely an annual event not to be missed, especially if you love sushi/sashimi- the supplier of the fish is the same distributor to some of the top sushi restaurants in the city such as Sushi Yasuda and Masa. This was also the only place (and the only time) you can get top grade toro for reasonable price. I am already looking forward to next year's!

400 lbs Giant Blue Fin Tuna

TORO, fresh off the belly of the Giant Blue Fin Tuna. still lukewarm!

the yaokuis

Bon Chon Chicken


314 5th Avenue, New York

Phone: 212-221-2222

I have no idea what special sauce Bon Chon use to marinate the chicken prior to frying, but they are absolutely to die for - crispy, flavorful and totally addictive (nickname: Ganja Wings). You have two options when ordering the chicken - soy garlic or spicy. I recommend trying both, although you should stay away from the spicy wings if you can't handle spicy food. I also recommend ordering just the wings because to me the wings taste better. Be sure to also try their delicious frozen yogurt and lychee sochu while you are there.

*Bon Chon Chicken is also sold at Boka, 9 St. Marks Place (212-228-2887)

spicy wings and soy garlic wings

*pictures taken using iphone camera



77 N 6th St, Brooklyn, New York


In a city where a good meal can cost more than a pair of good boots (yes that's all I think about lately), I have always thought that it is impossible to find a restaurant that offers excellent dinner tasting menu for less than 100 bucks, until we ate at Zenkichi. Believe it or not, Zenkichi restaurant offers Omakase menu for just $48 for 7 courses of some of the most amazing Japanese dishes. As Gan puts it, "Zenkichi is so good, it's not even funny".

Zenkichi is a Tokyo style Modern Japanese brasserie located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The restaurant is very discreet and private, and it offers tremendous privacy for its customers. Once you are seated at your "booth", you waiter will roll down the bamboo blinds at the side of your table and disappear. You would not see him or her unless you press the service button or when your food arrives. Definitely not a see and be seen restaurant. But apparently this type of restaurants are very popular in Tokyo and thanks to its Japanese owner, we were able to experience this interesting dining concept here in NYC.

The Omakase menu at Zenkichi changes every 5 weeks and the ala carte menu changes every 3 months. When we went there last week (there were four of us), we had the Late Autumn Omakase menu which consist of Miso soup, Raw Tasting (Masu Sashimi, Taraba Crab and Snow Peas, Maguro Carpaccio), Sweet Duck Salad, Kue Negi Tempura, Grilled Plate (Saikyo Miso Cod, Rocksalf Jidori Chicken), Hokkaido Scallops Uni Cream Sauce, Pork Kakuni and Blue Shrimp Sushi. Dessert was a combination of Sweet Potato Pie, Yogurt Honey Ice Cream, Banana Bavarois and Grapefruit Agar Gelee. $48 per person for this much good food (of course not including drinks, alcohol and ala carte dishes), it's truly out of this world. Be sure to also check out its gorgeous winter garden, if it's not too cold.

Nigori sake - my new favorite sake

Raw Tasting- Masu Sashimi, Taraba Crab and Snow Peas, Maguro Carpaccio - Arcric Charfrom Alaska

Sweet Duck Salad - Simmered duck, poached egg, watercress, sweet duck dressing with pine nuts. one of my favorite dishes at Zenkichi

Kue Grouper & Negi Tempura - Kue grouper and scallion tempura

Pork Kakuni - pork belly slow cooked for 3 days!

Hokkaido Scallops Uni Cream Sauce

Grilled Plate - Saikyo Miso Cod and Rocksalt Jidori Chicken

Blue Shrimp Sushi - award winning "Angel shrimp" from New Caledonia

Yuba Tofu Ankake- Warm tofu wrapped with Yuba (thin soymilk wrap) served in tiger shrimp clear broth (ala carte)

Grilled Miso Oysters - Meaty oysters grilled on the shell with red-miso sauce (ala carte)

Anago & Cream Cheese Tempura - Cream cheese wrapped by soft seawater eel (ala carte)

Dessert- Sweet Potato Pie, Yogurt Honey Ice Cream, Banana Bavarois and Grapefruit Agar Gelee

Kyo Ya


94 East 7th Street, New York (cross street: 1st Ave)

Phone: 212-982-4140

If our friends Alf and Nan didn't tell us about Kyo Ya, we probably would not have gone there until we see the restaurant on Michelin Guide (It was just awarded one Micheline Star for 2009). On top of that, Kyo Ya restaurant is discreetly located in the basement of a building in East Village and there are no signs outside. So this is definitely not the type of restaurant where you can just walk in and get a table.

The restaurant's interior is clean, modern Japanese. The menu is simple, light, delicate and traditional, with a focus of fresh and seasonal ingredients - kind of reminded me of the kaiseki dishes I had at Minoko in Kyoto. Speaking of kaiseki, Kyo Ya is actually known for its kaiseki ryori, which is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner (or lunch). However, the 10 course kaiseki dinner at Kyo Ya must be ordered one day in advance and doesn't come cheap - $120/$150 per person, not including drinks/alcohol.

Eating at Kyo Ya was one the most pleasant dining experiences I have had in New York; the restaurant is unpretentious, the food was excellent, the service was good and the atmosphere was relaxing and calm. I love every single dish we ordered, but the most memorable ones were the Yuba and Uni Yoshino style, Hokkaido Sishamo (male/female sishamo), black cod miso glazed and assorted Uni and sashimi (specials). The assorted sea urchin and sashimi dish in Kyo Ya was so delicious that it converted Gan into a sea urchin eater. For desserts, we ordered the black sesame ice cream and custard with mochi. They were amazing as well.

The great thing about eating at Kyo Ya is that you can be there as long as you like and there are no distractions, other than good food, excellent sake (a must try - Dassai 50, Junmai Ginjyo) and great company!

Yuba And Uni Yoshino Style - sea urchin on tofu skin in crystal clear sauce

Hokkaido Sishamo - grilled male and female sishamo smelt from hokkaido

Mushroom Tempura

Black Cod Miso- Glaze broiled tsubu miso marinated cod

Kurobuta Kakuni- slowly cooked pure berkshire pork belly

Chawanmushi - steamed egg custard cup with glorious ingredients

Kamadaki Rice For 2 - seasonal mixed rice cooked in clay pot. requires 1 hour of cooking time

Assorted sea urchin and sashim (specials)

Black sesame ice cream

Mochi and custard dessert

Kyo Ya on Urbanspoon