Friday, July 29, 2011

4th of July

Obviously this is a month delayed, but I took the pictures so I might as well blog about them =)

I think it is now an established H.o.P. tradition to celebrate the 4th of July at Smooth Obturator and Triple T's pad by the beach since you can see multiple fireworks shows from the neighboring cities.  I think last year we did steak, but this year my brother wanted to do ribs and bbq chicken.

The rubs were prepped with a dry rub and then smoked for a couple hours on the grill.

They came out quite tender, smokey, and delicious.

The chicken was very well prepared since they soaked in brine for a full night before being rubbed in two different dry rubs, one home made and one store bought.  I actually preferred the store bought one, but I can't remember why.  Either way, it was the brining that made all the difference.  The meat was just sooooo darn juicy!  You think just throwing some dark meat on the grill is the key to good bbq chicken, but now I know the secret!  BRINE BRINE BRINE!

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Random Chiang Mai Eats

Chiang Mai was really where I got my street food on, and maybe that's how I got typhoid, but that's another topic for another day.  Our hotel was right next to the Night Bazaar where they had stall after stall of cheap goods, t-shirts, knick knacks, and in short, JUNK.  After many years of traveling I have finally learned to resist the lure of shiny pretty junk.  I will admit there were some cute things I lingered upon and contemplated buying, but the better part of me said "NO, no to junk!"  Anyways, Dumpling Man and I tried to zoom past all the junk to find the food.  We found this amazing and very clean food court.  Average price for anything was $1!

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Random Bangkok Eats

If you ever go to Bangkok, you HAVE to go to the Siam Paragon Mall.  You may say to yourself, why would I want to fly thousands of miles to go shopping?  This is true, some of you world travelers look down your nose at people who "waste" time and money to do all the things they could easily do in their home countries.  However, the Siam Paragon is more than just a mall with expensive high end stores and a movie theater no less.  It houses the LARGEST, and that is probably the biggest understatement of the century, foodcourt I have ever seen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The following pictures really do the place no justice, but the foodcourt literally occupies an entire floor of this mall.  It's endless stalls of food as far as the eye can see in ALL directions.  I'm sad I did not know about the foodcourt here or I would have penciled in a culinary tour of this place and skipped the hotel breakfast.  Alas, I could only look, wonder, and regret.  I managed to squeeze in some boba and sausage.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Huen Phen

Now to resume my culinary tales through Thailand...

After Bangkok, we headed north to Chiang Mail.  Chiang Mai differs from Bangkok on many levels.  First of all, the weather is considerable cooler and drier, dry in that the humidity is less, but it rained a whole lot more.  Secondly, the hustle and bustle is toned down quite a bit.  Chiang Mai seemed like a more controlled chaos.  And lastly, food in the north is much more different than anything I've had on the rest of my Thailand trip.

Khao Soi
Khao soi is a "Burmese-influenced...soup-like dish made with deep-fried crispy egg noodles, pickled cabbage, shallots, lime, ground chillies fried in oil, and meat in a curry-like sauce containing coconut milk."   I've had khao soi before not really knowing what it is and I thought it was weird and so I didn't really appreciate the rich spicy flavors.  This time around, I grew quite fond of all the differing textures from the fried noodles, soft egg noodles, bits of shallots and pickled mustard greens and the varying levels of intense flavor, the heat, the creaminess, the spice.   The portion at Huen Phen was pretty paltry, but it was enough to judge quality.  This was certainly better than the street food version I had.

Kanom Jeen Naam Ngeow
I never had this dish until I came to Chiang Mai, but it seems to be almost as popular and representative of Northen Thai cuisin as khao soi.  It consists of hand made rice noodles served in a pork-tomato based curry soup.  This version had plenty of blood cubes, which I did not enjoy, and ended up pushing to the side.  While khao soi was dominated by a coconutty curry taste, this was marked by a deep tomato flavor which I liked a lot.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The Pouter knows whats up when it comes to food.  She was the one who recommended Seoul Garden to me and I have loved that place ever since.  So when she raved about Seongbukdong, I knew it had to be good.  What is this strange sounding place, you may ask?  Well Seongbukdong specializes in galbijim or Korean braised short ribs.  I am happy to say I was NOT disappointed, and neither were my friends, Nancy Rheeeeeee, LoMa Linda, and Big Head Talks A Lot.

Brown Rice
I just had to include this picture of what they call brown rice.  Anybody would tell you that this rice is purple!

Pretty standard fare.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hiko Sushi

So I actually came to Hiko for a birthday treat from Smooth Obturator and Triple T.  Hiko had been on my radar for some time after some really rave reviews from Ghetto Booty Talks A Lot.  This was many years ago, when he said Hiko was some of the BEST sushi he has ever eaten.  So finally I had an opportunity to try this place, which oddly enough is closed on the weekends.  To me, it seems strange to close on the weekends (the busiest dining time), but maybe that means the sushi is super fresh since fisherman aren't working on the weekends supposedly.

I've never been a huge fan of tuna since its pretty tasteless.  To help offset the bland nature of this fish, it is often bathed in a sea of ponzu, topped with finely chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds.  I thought this preparation was pretty standard, but I still think Sugarfish edges this one out.  There is just something so tasty about their ponzu sauce.

Luscious and delicious.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011


For all of those tired of the updates about Thailand, this one's for you...

The San Gabriel Valley has no shortage of dumplings.  In my experience, most of the dumplings are just OK, never really achieving that yum-inspiring lip-smacking deliciousness of Luscious Dumpling, which I am convinced has to use MSG.  Most taste like something you could have whipped up at home.  As for soup dumplings, Din Tai Fung simply reigns supreme.  J&J makes a good attempt at putting out regular and soup dumplings that taste better than something home made.

Snow Pea Leaves sauteed in garlic
I would love it if I were able to buy these vegetables in any market, Asian or non-Asian, at the same quality as the restaurants.  I've purchased these once in NYC Chinatown and while I did not prep them properly, they still did not have that same freshness or tenderness.  Here the veggies were plentiful, and although not top quality like at the pricey Chinese seafood restaurants, still pretty delicious.

Niu Rou Mian beef noodle soup
I thought the concoction at this particular place was a tad on the bland side but Dumpling Man likes his food to be tame and simple, while I tend to lean toward food with kick and punch.   The portion was certainly more than generous for the price, not an uncommon finding in the SGV.

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Friday, July 15, 2011


So from Phuket, we headed toward Bangkok.  Here we would partake in the wedding festivities of my dear friend Bruin Bear.  Bruin Bear is NOT Thai, but she got married in Thailand.  Awesome, I know.  Awesome for us guests, since we got to eat and party for a couple days straight.  Because the wedding took up most of our time in Bangkok, we didn't eat out much.  On our one night when we were on our own for dinner, I managed to find a pretty good restaurant that was just walking distance from our hotel.  Nara was reviewed on Trip Advisor as being liked by tourists and locals alike.  It was a pretty hip trendy looking restaurant with pretty good prices.  My only complaint is that the portions were on the smaller side but we just ordered more food.

Papaya Salad with Crispy Fried Pork
This was a pretty standard, but delicious papaya salad, topped with some crispy, fatty, tender cuts of pork.  I wish there was more of this to go around.  The spoiled brat in me was upset I had to share.

Tapioca Balls with Ground Pork
Panda Bear felt a special bond for the "blue balls" so he just had to order them.  We were all very suspect of the possibility that any "blue balls" could be good "blue balls" but these were in fact very tasty.  It consisted of ground seasoned pork encased in mochi like goodness.  Again, they were so small and I wanted more!

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Thursday, July 14, 2011


So after the previous nights less than impressive seafood, I got lazy and did not take pictures of the ONE meal with what ended up being the best tom yum kum soup I've ever tasted and freshest most tender prawns in red chili sauce.  What I believed to be Aroonsom Food Park, was actually probably the Patong Seafood Park that was serving this amazing food.  In any case, what's done was done, and I only have the memories in my head to remember that meal.

For our final dinner in Phuket, we really wanted excellent seafood even if we had to pay out the nose for it.  We were tempted to walk back to the Patong Seafood Park, but instead opted for something different and went with Savoey at the recommendation of the concierge.  We had an inkling it would be pricey especially after seeing it was an indoors, air conditioned, bright, and clean dining establishment.  By the time we had braved the ladyboys and ping pong show offerings of Bangla Road, we were hot, tired, and hungry and just wanted to eat.

Prawns in Red Chili Paste
Dumpling Man, Panda Bear, and Token Bear went off to hand select our seafood that was to meet its doom at the hands of boiling water and vats of scalding hot oil.  The prawns were good, but they just weren't as amazing as the previous night's prawns.  They seemed a bit tougher, perhaps from being overcooked I suspect.  The sauce also didn't seem to penetrate the meat as well, just lacked that punch.

Steamed Mussels with Thai Herbs
These were kind of bland.  The Thai herbs like lemongrass and garlic added fragrant flavors but I think this one needed some salt.  They were great after dipping them in the crazy chili garlic fish sauce dipping sauces.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Baan Hat Rawai

 After a long day of doing absolutely nothing at the hotel (ie: gym time, pool time, beach time, jet skiing, massages...torturous I know!) we figured it was time to get out and headed 45min south toward the tip of Phuket Island to Promthep Cape to check out the beautiful sunset.  The long hot muggy ride felt longer than it actually was, since it was NOT in the luxury of an air conditioned taxi van, but rather an oversized tuk tuk like this

Unfortunately, this time of year is rainy/monsoon season in Thailand so that day was particularly cloud and not good for trying to watch the sunset.  We made the most of it and stopped by a restaurant nearby.  Our tuk tuk driver wanted to take us some place else but we were distrustful of his intentions, however this restaurant ended up being my least favorite of the trip, so maybe we should have taken him up on his recommendation.

Shrimp with Red Chili Sauce
Not so plentiful on the shrimp, but good nonetheless.

Fried Rice
Nothing spectacular

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sea Hag

Apologies for my absence from the blogosphere.  I've found myself at a bit of a transition in my life, ending one chapter and starting a new one.  Hopefully, this next chapter will leave me less overworked and underfed, which will allow for new and different food adventures.  To kick things off, I'll be blogging about my recent vacation to Thailand.  We (Dumpling Man, Care Bear, Token Bear aka Random Bear, Panda Bear, Little Bear, and myself) hit up Phuket, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai (just Dumpling Man and myself).  Yay! for hot as balls humidity, fun in the sun, more temples and buddhas than I could count, and elephants that paint flowers and trees.  As for the food, I tried my best to find authentic Thai eats but we could only do so well without speaking the language.    We definitely relied on pictures and English translations, so we couldn't go too far off the beaten path.

Sea Hag is probably one of those restaurants frequented by tourists since its in a pretty busy/touristy area of Patong Beach on the island of Phuket, but it was pretty solid start to our exotic vacation.

Squid Salad tomatoes, onions, lime, chili, cilantro, glass noodles
Complements of the house!  The squid was a bit chewy, but I never met a Thai salad I didn't like.  I love the combination of salty, sweet, tangy, and spicy.

Larb Gai ground chicken, lime, chili, onions, rice powder
Another Thai favorite of mine.  It was sort of a paltry serving, but I enjoyed it.

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