Meme: Five things to eat before you die

Posted on August 22, 2006 by Aun

One of my favourite food writers and bloggers, Melissa from The Traveler’s Lunchbox has just tagged me with her very first meme. “Things To Eat Before You Die”, also known as “The Foodblogger’s Guide to the Globe”, asks participating bloggers to list five amazing food experiences that they think everyone should have at least once in their lives. I’m more than happy to take part — as I said, Melissa is one of my favourite people on the Web — plus I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone else’s lists.

Melissa actually tagged both me and my wife S. S is a tad swamped on a couple projects this week, but she promises to post her own list soon, tagging 5 other bloggers as well.

So, without further adue, here are 5 things I think everyone should eat at least once.

1. Macarons from Pierre Hermé

No other single cookie has as many devoted fans around the world. But no other single cookie has ever tasted as good as one of Pierre Hermé’s macarons. If you haven’t had the fortune of visiting either of his Paris or Tokyo outposts (or haven’t had any really generous friends hand-carry them home for you), you have no idea what you are missing. These are simply the sexiest, most sinfully delicious cookies on the planet.

2. Sakura ebi

I was introduced to Sakura ebi at Iggy’s, one of Singapore’s best and one of my favourite restaurants. Since it opened, it has featured a Sakura ebi pasta dish on its menu. It’s one of the two or three dishes there that I’ve become completely addicted to. Sakura ebi are tiny shrimps, measuring only 4 to 5 centimetres in length. They have a lovely, powerful taste and a fantastic, slightly crispy texture. They’re most famously cultivated in Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture, where they are harvested from Suruga Bay twice a year. Apart from Japan, Sakura ebi are cultivated only in Taiwan. While Iggy’s is able to serve fresh Sakura ebi, its difficult for the rest of us to buy this delicacy fresh. Fortunately, most Japanese supermarkets stock packets of dried Sakura ebi, which when heated a bit before serving, are almost as good. Inspired by Iggy’s, I’ve been making my own Sakura ebi pasta at home, basically by adding these tasty pink shrimps to my classic mentaiko pasta recipe.

Chubby Hubby’s Sakuri Ebi Mentaiko Pasta
Serves 4

1 packet dried Sakura ebi (around 20g)
1 small onion, diced
2 tbsp butter
1 packet mentaiko (usually has 3 to 4 sacs)
1 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
1 tbsp prawn oil
150g cappellini or linguine

Put the butter, prawn oil and the mayo in a mixing bowl. Scrape the mentaiko out of the sacs and into the bowl. When the butter is soft, mix the ingredients together. Sauté the onions. Mix them into the mentaiko sauce. Boil your pasta. Drain the pasta and mix it with the sauce. On a very hot frying pan, quickly heat up the Sakura ebi. Toss those into the pasta. Serve.

3. A really proper frito misto in Venice, Italy

I love fried foods. And I’ve always enjoyed a good frito misto — which is essentially a mixed plate of battered and deep-fried seafood and vegetables. But until I started taking regular trips to Venice, I never really knew just how good frito misto can be. The best I have had is at Ostaria Boccadoro, a small, humble eatery off the tourist track. I first discovered this great little place in the summer of 2005. I’ve been back several times since and the frito misto has been consistently outstanding. Despite being deep-fried, the seafood is never overcooked. The range of seafood is fantastic — fish, shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams, the most amazing small soft-shell crabs and, of course, squid. They are all always terrifically plump, tender and full of natural flavours. The batter is always crisp, very light and never oily. The ostaria’s owner is very amusing. He demands that anyone eating his frito misto must do so with his or her hands. Maybe it’s a psychological thing, but to be honest, I think it does actually make the dish taste better.

Ostaria Boccadoro
5405/a Campo Wildman, Cannaregio
tel: 041 5211021

4. Corner Bistro’s bistro burger

I couldn’t create a list of must-have food experiences and not include Corner Bistro. This dark, neighborhood bar in New York’s West Village has a very special place in my heart. It was where my friends, flatmates and I spent many a night, wolfing down bistro burgers and throwing back pints of McSorley’s Ale. The burgers here are fantastic (among the best I have ever had). They’re especially good at 2 in the morning, after a long night out and just before you head home to crash.

Corner Bistro
331 W 4th St
New York, NY 10014
USA

5. Sushi at the crack of dawn in Tsukiji fish market

I have to admit that this is something I haven’t done yet but have been meaning to do for the longest time. Friends who have gone have raved about the fantastic quality of the sushi and sashimi served at the little restaurants within Tokyo’s main and most famous fish market. I hear rumours that Tsukiji is considering closing its doors to non-trade, i.e. foodie tourists like you and me. If this is true, we all had better visit sooner rather than later.

Time to pass the meme along. In order to stick to Melissa’s spirit of picking bloggers that represent as much of the world as possible, I’m tagging:

1. Greedy Goose in Singapore
2. Jam-Faced in London
3. Cook Sister in South Africa
4. Spiceblog in Australia
5. Tasting Life in The Netherlands

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. 2-minute Noodle Cook August 22, 2006 at 3:43 pm

    It’s that beautiful serving plate again! I’ll have to watch out for the shrimp when I get there in October :)

  2. Jeanne August 22, 2006 at 6:10 pm

    Oh wow – what a great list! And I’m sooooo with you on the Pierre Herme macaroons. Heaven. And I’ll post my list soon – thanks for tagging me!

  3. Melissa August 22, 2006 at 7:33 pm

    What a great, great list, and a recipe to boot! Of the things on your list I’ve only had the macarons (yum!), so I’ve obviously got my work cut out for me :) I’m particularly intrigued by the sakura ebi, which I’d never heard of. Thanks for a stellar contribution, and I look forward to S’s picks when she gets the chance!

  4. R Ong August 22, 2006 at 11:19 pm

    Hey YOU! Kudos on the LHL NDR shout out!

  5. Anonymous August 23, 2006 at 12:14 am

    I agree with you that the macaroons are amazing.

    But I wouldn’t have sushi at the crack of dawn though, they do it nicely enough at 9-10 am (when the tourist buses have left). If you ever end up at Tsukiji, don’t stop at the sushi, the cooked food outlets serve as good as any you will find in inner Tokyo.

    Btw, I told my parents about sage, and they loved it! Thanks!

  6. eatdrinknbmerry August 23, 2006 at 3:06 am

    Hi Aun,

    I read Meme #5 and thought you might be interested in reading this. I was lucky enough to eat sushi at the Tsukeji Fish Market. Great experience.

    http://eatdrinknbmerry.blogspot.com/2006/05/japan-food-hunt-1-6am-sushi-orgasmic.html

  7. Jennifer Klinec August 23, 2006 at 7:32 am

    What a great idea – its fascinating to read about the foods that have captures a place in everyone’s ‘flavour memory’!

    It got me thinking about what my own top 5 list would be. Its a tough choice, but I think it would be:

    1. Foie gras lollipops at the De Leuf restaurant in the Netherlands.

    2. Paella Negra in the town of Port de Soller, Mallorca, Spain.

    3. A muffuletta sandwich at the Central Grocery store in New Orleans

    4. Grilled meat, flour tortillas, fresh salsa and baby onions that had been charred directly in the coals in the Benito Juarez market in Oaxaca, Mexico

    5. Pizza with moreton bay bugs and coriander pesto in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Looking forward to reading about other people’s top 5 lists!

    Jennifer

    Eat Drink Talk

  8. ilva August 23, 2006 at 4:57 pm

    You are right, fritto misto is someting to be eaten with your hands and preferably next to the sea. When I get back to Italy I’m off to the sea, I know a little place close to Pisa where you can get a wonderful fritto misto made with local fish and sea food and now I’m going to stop because I’m drooling!

  9. enuwy August 23, 2006 at 7:45 pm

    Congratulations on having your blog mentioned and showed on national tv! Some how when he started talking about Singapore blogs, I had a feeling you’d be featured.

  10. -cyberK- August 23, 2006 at 7:54 pm

    chubby hubby … great blog! d@mnit.. i was just in japan & missed out on the macaroons! did manage to go to sushi-bun at tsukiji and it was an amazing experience. While we are on Tokyo, 1 to add to the list: Tonkatsu @ Maisen, Omotesando .. black pigs from heaven .. so yummy!

  11. keiko August 23, 2006 at 10:39 pm

    Sakura ebi and mentaiko – you’ve made me homesick… again :) Absolutely beautiful pictures, as always.

  12. Jeanne August 23, 2006 at 11:01 pm

    Homework done:

    http://cooksister.typepad.com/cook_sister/2006/08/5_things_to_eat.html

    Thanks for inviting me to take part!

  13. Anonymous August 24, 2006 at 1:25 am

    Ahh..the pierre herme macaroons are awesome..the queen of macaroons has to be the Ispahan (=

    Speaking of macaroons, La Duree in Paris makes really yummy chocolate macaroons as well. *slurps*

  14. lobstersquad August 24, 2006 at 2:38 am

    well, it looks like we´ll have to travel an awful lot before we die. great tips.

  15. risingsunofnihon August 24, 2006 at 3:38 am

    Your list is amazing, and it has given me a few upcoming travel ideas too. I used to hate to admit that I plan trips around food venues, but now I don’t feel ashamed in the least!

  16. a l i c e August 24, 2006 at 4:51 am

    My partner in crime and I have eaten at one of the small sushi stalls surrrounding Tsukiji, not at dawn, but around 9 or 10 am. Fantastic! We caught stern looks from the chef, however, when we were unable to finish everything off. Sacriligious, I know, but we really just didn’t have the room for it. We are still feeling ashamed and guilty about this 2 years later….our deepest apologies to you chef, wherever you are!

  17. Homesick Texan August 24, 2006 at 9:02 am

    Get on a plane to Tokyo–now! While the Tsujiki sushi stalls are amazing, even better is the generosity of the fish mongers. Language barriers aside, some are very willing to slice a piece of fresh tuna for your eating pleasure. Plus, the photography opportunities are endless.

  18. christine August 26, 2006 at 12:37 am

    Very interesting list! I wish I had known about those darn Pierre Herme macarrons when I actually had a chance to try them. I’ve heard/read so much about them already! :)

  19. scubagolfer August 28, 2006 at 12:27 am

    I’ve only come across your blog quite recently & am now addicted in coming here, checking out your new posts. What a wonderful blog.

    Being a Canadian-Chinese who lived in Tokyo for some time, I’ve tasted a lot of nigiri-sushi & sashimi at Tsukiji. Frankly speaking, the food there is certainly of great value for the money. However, “Edomae” sushi of similar or higher quality can be found in lots of places in Tokyo.

    Kudos & keep the great articles/pictures/recipes coming!

  20. Mae August 29, 2006 at 5:01 pm

    What a delicious list! Pierre Herme Macarons is one of the things i really must try.

    Btw, i’ve linked your Hainanese Chicken Rice as one of my lists! I dream of going to Singapore very soon to sample it :)

  21. Sam August 30, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    1 out of 5 only – i have only done the macarons from your list. so much to eat, so little time…

  22. Anonymous September 3, 2006 at 3:42 am

    Hey Chubby Hubby! We’re new to your site.. I’m a huge fan of pasta as well, and we’ve just tried the mentaiko pasta with sakura ebi. Weren’t able to get the 4-5cm sakura ebi in London so we had to make do with smaller ones… Nevertheless still a fantastic recipe! Keep them coming!

  23. Anonymous September 3, 2006 at 11:03 pm

    hmm the tuna auction is already closed to the public.. the whole tsukiji will be moved away in a few yrs i heard

    kw

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