Wednesday, September 4, 2013

FOOD!

I thought I'd post a blog on all the fun food I had the pleasure of eating this past July on my mini-Asia tour.  It starts out pretty safe, but then swiftly catapults into unknown territory.  Flavors and smells I'd never experienced before.  As a person who is definitely in the "live to eat" category, I am game to try almost anything non-meat related (the only animal products I eat are fish, eggs, and dairy.  yes, (sigh), I am a pescetarian.  I'm embarrassed of that word for some reason.).

On another note -- I would love to know what the craziest thing you've ever eaten was (that you actually liked).  Leave me a comment here or on Facebook, and I'll enter your name in a drawing to win a free Priscilla Ahn t-shirt and poster zine!  I've never done this before, and I don't know why I'm doing it now.  It just sounds fun.

Ok... here we go!


JAPAN

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Like I said, this starts off tame.
Egg omelet and fresh OJ in my hotel room in Tokyo.  Looks pretty lonely, huh? 

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Ochazuke - basically a rice bowl with toppings (fried egg, tuna sashimi, shiso, green onions and pickles).  After eating a bit of your rice bowl, you can add either hot green tea or dashi stock (in my case, dashi), to the rice, making it into a sort of rice soup.  So delicious and very comforting!

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This was a grilled Stingray Fin, with a side of mayo.
Reminded me of Korean Jippo, slightly chewy, salty and sweet.

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Vegetarian Ramen

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At an Okinawan restaurant, Adan, we chomped on some of these refreshing Water Eggplant.  They were served nice and cold, on this hot and humid night.

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Red Snapper Sashimi

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Octopus!

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Goya!
I wish I could find these in L.A.  Native to Okinawa, this hard vegetable has a slightly bitter taste.  But mixed with a little ume (plum) dressing, it is very oishii as well as nutritious!

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Soba with Summer vegetables.
Sometimes I eat soba for lunch and dinner in the same day.  It is so refreshing and light on a hot Summer day.


KOREA

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Ddukbokki
Rice cakes in a red spicy sauce, served with fish cakes and green onions.  
We ate these in Hongdae, in Seoul.  The Ddukbokki in L.A. doesn't even compare.

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Seafood and pork stew.
I didn't have any of this because of the pork, but I did try a tiny sampling of the crazy rice cake in the lower right corner of the bowl.  It was amazing!

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Gaerun Jim - Korean Egg Souffle
One of my childhood faves.  This pot was humongous!

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Hot and spicy seafood soup.
Not exactly Jjamppong, which is my all-time fave, but still good. 



TAIWAN

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Lo mein noodle with a spicy sesame sauce.
So tasty!

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Fried taro cakes.

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Tofu and blood sausage in a spicy sesame sauce!
I didn't have this, but it smelled amazing!

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Beautiful, warm, gooey mochi with sweet cream and crushed peanuts on top.

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The largest mango ice slushee in my life!

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Soup dumplings!!!
From the restaurant Din Tai Fung.  They have them in the U.S.!
I highly recommend this place for dumpling lovers, or even dumpling beginners.  

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Soup Dumplings.
These little guys actually have a little bit of broth in them, hence the name, soup dumplings.
The broth can be scalding hot if you're not careful!

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Red Bean Rice Cake.
I grew up on red bean and rice cakes, so I really loved this dessert.  Not too sweet.  Almost healthy tasting!

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On our last night, stuff got nuts!
Since my friends in Taiwan know that I love soups, and hot and spicy ones at that, they took us to a Hot Pot restaurant.
Pictured here is a hot pot, divided in two, for the meat eaters at the table.
The lighter colored side is made from a bone broth (I think), with jujubes and other crazy roots and herbs.  The darker side is dark from the red spices, and from the chunks of duck blood.  You heard me right.  Duck blood.
Obviously, I didn't have any of these.  

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I had my very own vegetarian pot, filled with medicinal herbs and roots.  I felt like I was getting healthier by the spoonful.  Truly!  I've never had anything like it.  Such a special treat!
Once my pot started to bubble, I filled it with seafood and fish dumplings.

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Spicy peanuts with green onion and clear brown jelly noodles.
I loved this side dish!

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The table was steaming with hot pots, as we sipped plum tea to whet our whistles. 

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My raw seafood plate I added to my hot pot.

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For dessert, plum shave ice.

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The chaotic aftermath.

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This restaurant was gorgeous inside.
I wish I'd grabbed a card so I could tell you the name!

Anyway, those were my food adventures this time around.  Don't forget to tell me one of yours!  :)

love,
p. a.

39 comments:

  1. I am from Indian descent and have eaten some unusual food when on vacation in India, but my most memorable meal was with my Finnish friend when I had Reindeer Jerky. It's a little saltier that beef jerky and supposedly "leaner" than deer jerky. It's something I wouldn't mind having again, but wouldn't ask for if given a choice of food. :)

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    1. Every now and then my Dad and brother make their own deer jerky. I'm kind of addicted to it, even though I don't eat meat anymore. >.<

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    2. Did you choose a winner by any chance? It's nbd, just wondering haha

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  2. one thing that I absolutely love to eat is pig stomach pepper soup! I don't know if it qualifies as 'crazy', as it is certainly pretty normal here in Asia, but when I was younger I would NOT have had any kind of innards, however I have warmed to it in recent years :) another thing I didn't like before but have recently acquired a taste for is a pork and sea cucumber dish that my grandmother makes.

    on a side note, love your music, priscilla! been listening since 'dream'. really want to see you live one day!

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  3. I tried live octopus in Korea, and it was delicious! Except one of the legs managed to sneak out and attempted to attack my nose...the true thrill of that moment was that it was dipped in....wasabi!!!

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  4. Incredible. All these dishes are so different and creative sounding! I'd love to try the majority if not all of these things.

    In the mean time, the most exciting thing I've tried and really liked, was a seriously fresh oyster shooter made at the beach in the Dominican republic. MMMM.

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  5. recently i've gotten really into korean goat stew. i didn't grow up eating meat other than beef or chicken so it was slightly adventurous for me, lol. i also had amazing pheasant for the first time in south carolina this summer. it was so juicy and tender!

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  6. it's not that uncommon, but growing up i always enjoyed having "100 year old" eggs with my rice porridge! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_egg :D

    ps. hope to see you play in LA real soon, priscilla!

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  7. That hot pot place is called 老四川 (Lao Sichuan). I love that place too! ;) Glad you like it

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  8. Have'nt much to say in the weird department. Eaten a lot of Australian bush tucker, native fruits and spices. Snake, goanna etc ,but these days I rather take photo's and be a good neighbor and enjoy their company than eat them. I've gotten to know many creatures too well and their lives and place to indulge so i have minimal meat in my diet.

    Australia's range of native foods and fruits and spices are yet to make the international stage and are going to be big.
    I spent a lot of time with older West Indian friends . One of the Uncles was John Wayne's cook for a while and cooked twice for the Queen so my dishes are a blend of Asian, West Indian and Australian bush cooking. There are many fine edible weeds around and blendings. I always have fruits through my chopped salads. From oranges, Australian natives and Mangosteins etc. My favourites are taro and kasava based stews with green banana's, oxtail and seafoods, but i've overdone the habenero's for decades and my exhaust pipe doesn't hold up too well anymore so the special chilli sauces are only special occasion these days.
    One highlight for me is Australian bush tomato and davidson plums with Tasmanian pepper-from a bark , as a sauce and spread and a soup base with sticky rice cooked in banana leaf with scollaps.
    Thanks for the browse through the foods. Are there any Hawaiian dishes that stand out for you?

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    1. I'll have to google what "bush tucker" is! Your Uncle was John Wayne's cook?? How cool! Your stews and your highlighted meal are making my mouth water. Wow!!!

      I can't really say that I've had really "traditional" Hawaiian dishes, as I find most of them to have some kind of meat in them. But I do love me some Poke!

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  9. Mrs P, that rice cake tastes like NOTHING. I remember my first time arriving in Korea and been given a yellow and pink rice cake. Unaware of the impending disappointment, I smiled gleefully at the thought of bananas and strawberries dancing around in my tongue only to get...NOTHING. NADA. ZIP! My heart has never felt so betrayed in my life!

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  10. I once had Squid in its own black ink in Guatemala. That's about as crazy as I've ever gotten. But I'm like you, I'm in the live to eat category. :)

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  11. Noticed you had a good number of vegetarian dishes. Just wondering, have you every considered adopting such a diet?

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    1. I was Vegan for 1 year, but finally gave over to fish, and then cheese, and then eggs again. >.< I was a very unhealthy Vegan though. I didn't take the time to make sure I got all the nutrition I should have. I'm definitely trying to cut back on my fish intake though.

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  12. You just made me homesick for goya! My mom's family is from Okinawa, and she cooks with it all the time. Besides goya, mimigaa (pig ears) are also a popular snack there. I also went on a random canned food hunt in Tokyo and came up with horse meat. I know, sounds gross, but it tasted like beef stew meat.

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  13. When I was visiting my cousin in Seoul, Korea, I was pretty excited and filled with the thrill of adventure since it was my first time ever going to Korea, so I was practically open to trying/seeing/visiting all the amazing places she'd mentioned in her emails, and she told me of one vendor that she would go to almost every other day because it was "So delicious, it's definitely different, but you gotta try it." So I obliviously went off with her.

    There I was, all giddy and smiley with eyes wandering aimlessly as we walked down the streets until our noses started to slowly fill with various aromas of Seoul's streets. I was so caught up in my own world that my cousin actually had to grab for my arm because she'd already stopped - and that's when it happened. I don't know HOW in the WORLD I hadn't even noticed it, but suffice to say, my smile dropped and completely hung in disgust; it was a vendor selling Fried GRASSHOPPERS.
    o.m.g, Priscilla, I couldn't even - how - what the - NONE of that was ever mentioned in ANY of her emails, "EW" that's the only word to describe how I felt and reacted, BUT, of course, I have manners and didn't show it [maybe for like the first 5 -okay 10- seconds, but still] so I just looked away and whispered, "You're crazy, that's gross, no, you eat this?!" I get that my reaction is not the first and that it's simply a cultural difference, in my home country and the neighboring ones people also eat insects - but not ME. I'd never tried it and practically swore I wouldn't, it was just ... EW [T-T "]

    Alas, my cousin was just as hardheaded and persistent as I would be had it been me telling her to try spicy grilled catfish [she HATES Fish, of any kind, she's crazy >0>"] - SO, to sum it up: I refused, practically frozen in place, she took advantage and left me to buy a bunch, we went to sit at the park, she held one out for me, I gagged, flapped my hands in protest, shook my head, she bopped me, and as I said "Ow!" - shoved it in my mouth.
    ... Isn't it FUN to have such relatives? ... [ =_= "]
    As I sat there screaming bloody murder internally and vowing total revenge, my tongue took a second to register the taste: it was salty, smoky, and [after asking Goku to bless me with his strength to bite down] REALLY crunchy, surprisingly. It honestly reminded me of your common bag of BBQ chips.. only, NOT BBQ, nor chips OR common [back Home] and quite frankly, nasty to look at and had the possibility of cricketing even if it is fried; overall, it was an honestly tasty [somewhat scarring] surprise.

    In the end, though, I'd need to be blindfolded in order to eat it again, and that night I exacted my revenge by cooking catfish and fish related side-dishes for dinner [^^]v

    THE END.

    P.S. Have to take the chance and let some fangirl-y-ness [wut?] out and say: I adoreeeeee youuu Priscilla~ <3 !! ^^

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    1. If only it had been that: Cute, and not "EW" [T∇T"] Hahaha~

      P.S. Took me a minute -more like 5- to calm down after finding out that YOU, Priscilla, the lovely and wonderful, replied to me - asjfsdfsdkjks. MADE MY NIGHT <3

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  14. Kind of (and by kind of, I mean ridiculously) jealous! I've always wanted to go to Korea and try the street food, especially ddukbokki. Major noms. Your adventures look so fun though! That's the fluffiest egg jjim I've ever seen.

    As for the craziest thing I've ever eaten, it has to be cow tongue or baby octopus. I guess those are relatively common in Korean cuisine, but being an American baby, they were real ventures for me!

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  15. hi! :) the craziest thing i've ever eaten was bird's nest soup in taiwan! i think it's made of bird spit...
    well, i'm vegetarian now, so good thing i actually had the opportunity to try that while i was still a meat-eater!

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    1. Wha-wha?? That might be a topper for craziest food!

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    2. Hi!
      Bird's nest (sparrow's nest) is actually considered very expensive and nutritious in China, and in fact it is quite tasty if it is cooked with rock sugar or milk :-P
      anyway I understand bird's saliva sounds unpleasant :-/

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  16. My Mom is Japanese (yay for hapas!) and lives in SoCal. Anyways, goya or "bitter melon" can be found at a lot of ethnic markets, especially if they cater to asian cuisine.

    Hope you find some. Thanks for sharing Priscilla ... you've just made me hungry :)

    -Hiroshi

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  17. I once ate pickled fish intestinses in Japan, Sado Island. It was like small worms in a pink sauce, a local speciallity of the island. Very akward to look at. Once you got over the idea it was pretty awesome in combination with the other dishes. If you would eat only that, it would be way too salty... greetz, Deborah

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  18. I had to look up goya because they look so much like the bitter melon we eat all the time in our Chinese fare and yup, it is! You should be able to find it in any Chinatown. I've eaten stinky durian which I love and have been lucky enough to come across in Burma-durian ice-cream! Also had durian over sticky rice covered in coconut milk in Thailand and it is super yummy :)

    Sunny

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  19. There is a very small town in Korea called Jeongno Sam-ga that serves the most delicious and mild seafood stew, called kalguksu. I was visiting Korea (Apgujeong) for work and one of my best friends happened to be in town, visiting her aunt and uncle in Jeongno Sam-ga. He family took me to a shack-sized restaurant where you bring your own stock pot, and they fill the whole pot with freshly cut and cooked thick flour noodes (Like homemade udon noodles), vegetables, a miso-like broth, and tons of seafood (mostly mussels). There is nothing like that homemade soup or that beautiful community and restaurant. I don't think it is there anymore, but if you're ever touring around Korea again, you should try a bowl of Kalguksu!

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  20. Yummy food! I enjoy eating Korean and Japanese dishes and hopefully I can visit them very soon!

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  21. Just saw this Priscilla - you're becoming quite the foodie! :) Hope to see you around soon!

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  22. priscilla....tell me something. please let me get what i want this time..... please, for once in my life.....i love everything about you.....

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