Category Archives: Asian

Mid-Autumn Festival

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!  I’m celebrating with some moon cakes.  I got these at an Asian market.

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They came in a nice tin with a pretty gift bag.

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Aren’t they lovely?

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One has salted yolk and one doesn’t.  I like the salted yolk one best.  It was a bit salty with a peanutty taste (from the peanut oil).

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Last year, I tasted one a friend had gotten from a bakery.  Of course it was better–much more pronounced peanut flavor, flakier crust and very delicious.

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Ramen Dinner

Guess what I had for dinner last night?

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Homemade with marinated eggs.  Yum!

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Japanese Fast Food Coming to Times Square

Wasabi, a London-based Japanese fast food chain, will open its first U.S. location in Times Square at Seventh Avenue and West 40th Street on Monday, February 24, 2014.

From the English site, Wasabi looks like a fun place to get Japanese favorites like sushi, bento boxes and noodle soups.  Everything is made in-house every day.  They use sustainably sourced yellowfin tuna and salmon.  There are at least 50 types of sushi to choose from in the form of hosomaki(thin rolls), futomaki (fat rolls), nigiri (thinly sliced fish over rice), gunkan (torpedo-shaped pieces), hand-rolls and onigiri (triangles of rice wrapped around a choice of savory filling).  Also, the sushi is individually wrapped.

Not sure what fast-food ramen would be like (isn’t that an oxymoron?), but Wasabi has ramen as well as soumen, made with super-thin rice noodles, and tanmen, made with thick rice noodles.

Two for Tuesday: Volcano Roll

The volcano roll is one of my favorite sushi rolls.  I don’t see it often on NYC menus, and when I do, it’s not how I like it so I don’t order it in NYC.  My favorite volcano roll is at Neo Asia in Raleigh, NC.  It’s a warm roll with a scallop-mayo topping that is very delicious!

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I recently tried a new restaurant in North Raleigh, Sushi One, and they have a volcano roll that stands up to Neo Asia.  Its topping has cream cheese and is equally delicious.

sushi one

Swad Indian Cuisine

Swad Indian Cuisine is fairly new to the North Raleigh scene.  It’s located in a strip mall that houses one of my favorite restaurants, Neomonde.  Because Neomonde is a very casual spot and the strip mall is pretty much your average strip mall, I wasn’t expecting Swad to be so lovely inside.  It looks as if it should be in Manhattan.  The design is sleek and modern, and it has a fully stocked bar.  There is also a lunch buffet area.  The dining area is very comfortable.  I went midweek and it wasn’t crowded.  We were promptly seated at a booth.

To start, I got the Swad tikka–tender boneless chicken bites marinated with Indian spices served on small skewers.  These were very flavorful.  The chicken was very moist, which was nice, but I think it could’ve been cooked a bit longer.

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For entrees, we shared two vegetarian dishes:

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Maharaja malai kofta–hand-rolled spiced potato balls cooked in India’s rich creamy sauce

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and

paneer masala–oven-flamed homemade cheese cooked in succulent tomato based cream sauce.

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Both of these dishes were delicious.  I enjoyed sopping up the sauce with Peshwari naan (sweet naan stuffed with dry nuts, raisins, cashews and cherries).

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In addition to the excellent food, the service at Swad is attentive and friendly.  Thanks to Swad, this area in North Raleigh no longer lacks an upscale restaurant.

Coconut Ladoos

When I saw the coconut ladoos recipe on Aromatic Cooking, I knew I had to make them.  Little balls of coconut sweetness?  I’m there.  They did not disappoint.  They are really yummy!

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Lunch: Umami Shoppu

I really wanted to try the ramen at Umami Shoppu in the West Village, but when I went here for lunch, I was craving sushi.  So I ordered a lunch special of two rolls and salad for $9.  A great deal in NYC!

My salad:

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My sushi:  a Philly roll and a salmon avocado roll.  A great value for lunch.  I do want to return to try the ramen some time, as it sounds delish!

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Dinner: Sushi Zen

It’s not easy finding a restaurant with a short wait on a Saturday night in the Theatre District, but we did at Sushi Zen.  The friendly and welcoming hostesses sat us within 15 minutes.  The main dining area is comfortable with a zen-like feel to it.

We ordered appetizers from the streamlined menu:  asari clam miso soup and fresh corn tempura to start.

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My friend enjoyed the soup, and I really liked the corn tempura.  I don’t order tempura, but the fresh corn sounded good.

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For sushi, we got the salmon avocado roll–salmon roe, avocado and kaiware sprouts; negi toro pickles–fatty tuna, scallion and pickled daikon radish; yellowtail with scallion; and futomaki–snow crab, egg custard, gourd, spinach and pickles with bonito flakes.  We enjoyed the sushi, but we also thought it was a bit expensive.

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For the price, service was also a bit slow and not as attentive as it could’ve been.

Ramen Week: Day 5: Tabata Ramen

Tabata Ramen is a small restaurant in the beginning of what is the Hell’s Kitchen wasteland.  (Well, in my opinion.)  I have wanted to try the ramen here, as it is busy at lunch whenever I pass by.  There is a small dining room in the rear of the restaurant.  There is also an extensive list of ramen with very reasonable prices.  And the upside, for noncash carriers, is that Tabata takes credit cards–unlike other ramen shops.  I opted for the shio ramen with pork because it’s my favorite.  I think Tabata makes a decent ramen–if you are in the area and craving it, but like Sapporo it also has a more commercial than homemade taste to it.

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I also got the spicy pickled cucumbers.

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My friend got the vegetable ramen and the fried shrimp appetizer.  She also felt the ramen was unremarkable but she liked the shrimp.

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Ramen Week: Day 4: Sapporo

Ramen has become a trend in New York City, but Sapporo has been serving it in the heart of Midtown since 1975.  I had been wanting to try it for a long time since I would walk by on my way home from work.  It does a brisk business and was busy the day I visited too.  There are a lot of ramen dishes to choose from.  I opted for something a little different, shio butter-corn ramen.  I was deciding between that and the tomato ramen, ramen with tomato and basil–an Italian twist.  I opted to stay Japanese with the shio butter-corn ramen.  I liked the taste of the butter in the broth, but I do prefer it without butter.  I like that this ramen had a good helping of bok choy, as I think I’d like more vegetable in my ramen.  Like Bassanova Ramen, there were more noodles than broth here.  The broth tasted good because of the butter and salt, but it and the noodles had more of a commercial taste than homemade.

Sapporo

I also got char siu buns, and they were OK but nowhere near as good as Totto Ramen’s.

Sapporo bun