Category Archives: food

A Curse and a Candy All in One

Here we are at lovely Insa-Dong, in Seoul, a hot tourist spot for anyone looking for some traditional korean goods. This can range from key chains and pencil pouches to traditonal brushes and old-fashioned snacks.

The snack I’d like the especially highlight today is 엿 [Yut]. This Korean sweet dates back to God knows when and is made from boiling malt and rice into a thick syrup and letting it harden into a hard, chewy candy.

Yes, that giant almost indistinguishable blob is in fact Peanut Yut. Normally, on a smaller scale, it is cut up into bite-size pieces and powdered with malt flour. In this case, a guy shaves of pieces of it with a plane. (No, not a flying plane, but a wood plane.) He then takes the shavings and puts them on a chopstick for your easy enjoyment.

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The Freshest a Chicken Can Get

Being in a relatively rural area of Korea, at least compared to the metropolis of Seoul, I have been able to get some of the freshest organic, free-range, what have you, poultry from a local lady that raises the chickens and ducks herself and will butcher them right then and there for you.

No, I don’t have pictures, because it’s just slightly too graphic to post…okay actually I didn’t bring my camera when I went with my aunt to pick up a chicken. Besides, it’d feel slightly out of place to be taking pictures when the bird’s guts are being pulled out. Although I did find it amusing I wasn’t put off in any way about eating the chicken even after seeing it go from clucking to gutted to on my plate. Then again, I have never really been squeemish about anything.

More importantly though, dear friends and/or strangers of the internet, is the reality of eating freshly killed, only-been-dead-for-45-minutes chicken. That is REAL chicken.

My aunt just boiled it whole in a traditional Korean chicken soup with ginseng, jujube, garlic, and salt, and I was in heaven. The meat was chewy, because these chicken was able to actually move around, but so intensely flavorful. It wasn’t because of the seasoning, but because of the chicken itself was delicious.

I know it was the chicken that was tasty because, I ate some of it raw.

 GASP! Yes, I know, it goes against everything the FDA tells you to do about chickens and salmonella and all that. But breast meat has never tasted so good as when it’s raw, like sashimi. Dipped in some sesame oil and salt, it has an intense natural chicken flavor that you could never get from a supermarket.

Now for the disclaimer: DON’T go out to a supermarket and try to slice yourself some chicken sashimi. Not matter how many organic, free-range claims it makes, it is impossible to care for the chickens properly on such a large scale. The risk is too high for contracting salmonella or any other serious diseases. My aunt has been getting poultry from that lady and has known her for a good 15 years. She knows how the chickens are cared for and trusts the lady enough to be able to eat the chicken raw.

With that aside, if you ever have a (trustworthy) opportunity to try raw chicken, I suggest you do. It’s not crazy, I’ve eaten a chicken tartare at a restaurant with a different aunt. There people out there that eat raw chicken! And see, I’ve lived to write about it!

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Chai for Thai off Bedford Ave

Ah yes. Finally I’m reviewing another restaurant. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I was out with my bf in Williamsburg and we decided to venture towards Chai. I’d eaten there before and was pleasantly surprised. He’d gone there plenty of times with his roommate and his roommate’s girlfriend.

Normally I don’t like Thai food at all, mostly because the first time I had it was just awful and that experience has tainted my opinion of it ever since. But this place was pretty nice. It has a very cozy and stylish decor with a relaxing pool with flowers.

The best part is the lunch special from 12pm to 4pm: $5.95 for an appetizer and entree with your choice of chicken, beef, or tofu. I don’t know if the price made the food better or if the food made the price even better.

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Korean Food (quick and dirty)

My lack of Korean food lately has put me into a withdrawal of sorts. I’m moody, irritated, hungry, and insatiable. The most Korean thing I’ve been eating lately has been Kimchi fried rice. But now with final portolios and projects due, I definitely don’t have time to make anything myself. Sigh. At least I’ll be able to go home in a little over a month and eat real food.

Kimchi Fried Rice

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Party-tested, Guest Approved

I found a recipe on the NY Times website for these delectable Mushroom Rolls. A friend’s birthday was coming up, so I decided it’d be a good occasion to make/test them.

Mushroom Rolls

8 tablespoons softened butter

½ pound mushrooms, chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions

Salt and freshly ground blackpepper

10 slices white sandwich bread, not too thinly sliced

1/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, chives and scallions and sauté until the mushrooms release water. Continue to cook until the water evaporates and the mushrooms are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Cut the crusts off the bread, and then roll each slice with a rolling pin so that it is really, really flat. Butter the bread heavily on the top side, and when I say “butter,” I mean “drown.”

3. Spread the bread lightly with sour cream and then follow with a thin layer of the mushroom mixture. I use a spoon. You can use whatever you want. Roll the bread up so it looks like Pepperidge Farm Pirouette cookies (which are cylinders, for anyone who is unaware of this baked treat). Spread more butter on the bread and roll in the Parmesan cheese. Wash the goop off your hands. Arrange, seam-side down, on a cookie sheet and put in the oven until the rolls brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cut each roll into 3 pieces. Serve hot (you can warm them up in the oven). Serves 10, as an appetizer.

The recipe itself looked delicious, but it take quite a bit of effort to crunch them out. Here are some tips to help you out should you decide to try on your own. Continue reading

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The French and Their Pâtisseries

I heard about Madeleine Pâtisserie through some friends, but I never actually went until today, which is unusual, because it is so close to school. I finally walked in, thinking of getting someone a gift.

I’m not going to get into the decor of the place; I’m going straight to the macarons.

The first thing you see upon entering is the large case of macarons. They do sell other pastries, like croissants, madeleines (that look about as equally delicious as their macarons), and tarts. But the macarons are definitely the main attraction. There are a large array of them and in quite a multitude of colors. But don’t be daunted by the sheer number of them, there is a little chalk board off to the side with a list of all the flavors ranging from almond, caramel and dark chocolate to blood orange and white russian. Some of them are even lightly brushed with gold dust. Good golly. Continue reading

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Upon the Boardwalk

The weather has been unusually warm for January in New York; It seemed like the perfect time to hit the beach. I got together with my friend and boyfriend, and we made the trip out to the (in)famous Coney Island.

Here’s a fair warning to everyone: the trip doesn’t take the 45 min. the MTA website says it takes. It took an hour and a half to get there on the F from 14th street. So, definitely bring a book along or have really good company. The train does travel above ground occasionally, but there aren’t much sights to see. That is, unless you’re into enormous cemeteries and rusted train stations. Continue reading

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