I have been interested – perhaps obsessed is a better word – with Japanese food for many years now. There is something that is at once minimalist and at the same time luxurious about the cuisine. Japanese cooking emphasises simple and elegant preparations that highlight the unique flavour profiles of the ingredients – rather than the more Western technique of trying to “elevate” dishes with complex sauces. The simplicity and sheer sincerity of Japanese cooking wins for me every time. For example, the Japanese will, with unwavering confidence, put a single piece of pork on a plate with a side of plain shredded cabbage and serve it to you….just like that…because it is in itself pork perfection.
Tokyo might be my favorite city in the world. It’s got an amazing mix of world class food, an incredible culture, a rich history and well…lots of quirky and cool things to see and do. Of course when you go to Tokyo, you should go to Shibuya and see the famous crossing, have yakitori and a beer on the street, buy electronics in Akihabara, etc… but there might be some items you should consider adding to your list of must-do things when visiting Tokyo.
If you are a foodie / epicurean nerd like me, you might think you know it all. But do you? Take this quiz and find out.
If you know all of them already, then congratulations! You are like a foodie encyclopedia. If not perhaps you will acquire some new knowledge that will take you that bit closer to becoming a foodie guru.
As far as many Asian countries go for visiting foreigners, Thailand is certainly among the most relaxed with regard to customs and rules. Having been a top destination for tourism for over 60 years, Thailand is known for its warm hospitality and uniquely welcoming ways. However, that is not to say that anything goes. While the Thai customs may not be as fixed or rigid as Japanese or Chinese, there are still some big DO’s and DON’Ts to be mindful of when traveling, greeting and eating in Thailand.
….because you can make them quickly and easily at home, and oh so much better. I remember when I first started to cook and I used to doctor up jarred tomato sauce with herbs and such. I felt very clever about making it “better” – until my mother said, hey, basically you can use plain old tomatoes and make a REAL sauce doing very nearly the same steps. A mind blowing food moment for a teenager – cooking is… easy?!?
…because you can make them better at home.
Before I moved to Asia, I used to regularly buy these items in the supermarket. And actually a bit after I moved as well….until my then Singaporean boyfriend said…what? You don’t make your own chilli sauce? He was shocked. Appalled. Perhaps even a bit ashamed. Apparently a woman without her own recipe for sambal is not marriage material. Ha! Well the Singaporean boyfriend is no longer in the picture, but the recipe for sambal is.
Brunch has always been a tradition for me. From the early days after university, after a too late night out – we used to go to a place called Joe’s in NYC and get these amazing Belgian waffles. And then later when I was married…just a relaxed way to ease into the day after a lazy morning. In Istanbul we used to go to grand old hotels and enjoy the luxurious brunch spreads of various cheeses, olives and breads. And nowadays in Shanghai, it’s become a traditional as well because it is a common time where everyone can get together no matter what stage of life…a mixture of singles, families and such. And while brunch is about gathering together to share a meal, let’s not forget the most important part – the FOOD!
Salt is the world’s oldest flavoring – the first written reference is from the Book of Job, dated 2,250 BC. The history of salt is surprisingly rich and in fact so many words in our language are derived by salt – in ancient times the guards that protected the salt road, Via Salaria, thus the word “salary” was born. Salad is called as such because the Romans also seasoned green vegetables with salt. And you may not remember from grade school, but Christopher Columbus’ explorations were to locate salt, not the new lands in and of themselves. It may not be surprising that with such a rich history, salt is still a rich topic among foodies and chefs worldwide.