• ต้มข่าไก่ (Tom Kha Gai). Sour and Spicy Thai Coconut Milk Soup with Chicken

     ต้มข่าไก่ (Tom Kha Gai) is a popular coconut milk based soup in Thailand and Laos, and one of my favorite Thai dishes. The Lao version uses dill instead of cilantro (coriander), which makes an interesting difference. I stuck with cilantro (coriander) for this recipe. The combination of savory, spicy and sour is just perfect. It uses ingredients that may be difficult to find in some places, so I have included substitutions in the recipe below. Once you have the ingredients it is unbelievably simple to make!

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    ต้มข่าไก่ (Tom Kha Gai).
    Serves 3
    Sour, Spicy Coconut Milk and Chicken Soup
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    Prep Time
    10 min
    Cook Time
    1 hr
    Total Time
    1 hr 10 min
    Prep Time
    10 min
    Cook Time
    1 hr
    Total Time
    1 hr 10 min
    1077 calories
    24 g
    24 g
    108 g
    15 g
    34 g
    431 g
    678 g
    9 g
    1 g
    69 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    431g
    Servings
    3
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 1077
    Calories from Fat 942
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 108g
    167%
    Saturated Fat 34g
    169%
    Trans Fat 1g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 13g
    Monounsaturated Fat 56g
    Cholesterol 24mg
    8%
    Sodium 678mg
    28%
    Total Carbohydrates 24g
    8%
    Dietary Fiber 4g
    14%
    Sugars 9g
    Protein 15g
    Vitamin A
    26%
    Vitamin C
    376%
    Calcium
    8%
    Iron
    38%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    Ingredients
    1. 1 large chicken breast, or 2 large legs, deboned, thinly sliced
    2. 1 bunch enoki or straw mushrooms
    3. 1 16oz can coconut milk (Chao Koh brand is best)
    4. 1 box chicken broth
    5. 2 T sugar
    6. 4T fish sauce (soy sauce can be substituted)
    7. juice of 3-4 limes
    8. 1/2 handful cilantro (with stems)
    9. 1/2 thumb sized piece galangal (ginger can be substituted)
    10. 1 stalk lemongrass, bottom part only crushed well (lime zest can be substituted)
    11. 5-6 kaffir lime leaves (more lime zest can be substituted)
    12. 1-10 thai chiles depending on spice tolerance (10 will be atomic!)
    13. Optional (for chili oil garnish)
    14. 1 cup flavor neutral oil
    15. 1 handful dried red chilis
    Instructions
    1. Add coconut milk and chicken broth to pot, bring to boil.
    2. Add all ingredients except lime juice and chicken.
    3. Allow to simmer, for 1-3 hours, longer is better.
    4. Strain out and discard all ingredients.
    5. Test for seasoning, if not salty enough, add more fish sauce
    6. bring back to boil, add sliced chicken
    7. finish with lime juice (be liberal, it is the key to the dish)
    8. add mushrooms in last 5 minutes of cooking
    9. Optional
    10. blend oil and dried chilis very well on high setting
    11. strain well (through cloth if possible)
    12. Serve with plain jasmine rice, garnish with chili oil and cilantro leaves
    beta
    calories
    1077
    fat
    108g
    protein
    15g
    carbs
    24g
    more
    A Taste Of The Road http://tasteoftheroad.com/
  • Medium Rare Photography, my food photography business, is launching soon!

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    Hi everyone. Just wanted to give an update on my constantly evolving photographical endeavors. I have been researching, website building, and preparing to launch a local business to offer food photography services to restaurants , cookbook publishers, and caterers. I still need a few things (mainly lighting equipment) before I start trying to attract clients. In the meantime, check out the website @ www.mediumrarephotography.com I learned a  ton making this website, and it took many hours, but it is finally presentable.

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  • The BET (Bacon Egg Tomato) Breakfast Sandwich

     After an early morning photography drive through the Napa Valley

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    I was ready to cook a substantial and tasty breakfast. This is by no means a fancy recipe, but it was absolutely delicious, and photographed very well! Try it out for brunch sometime

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    BET Breakfast Sandwich
    Serves 1
    Poached eggs and bacon, on sourdough with tomato and fresh dill.
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    Prep Time
    10 min
    Cook Time
    15 min
    Total Time
    25 min
    Prep Time
    10 min
    Cook Time
    15 min
    Total Time
    25 min
    819 calories
    80 g
    437 g
    36 g
    44 g
    14 g
    403 g
    1921 g
    7 g
    0 g
    18 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    403g
    Servings
    1
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 819
    Calories from Fat 321
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 36g
    55%
    Saturated Fat 14g
    70%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
    Monounsaturated Fat 13g
    Cholesterol 437mg
    146%
    Sodium 1921mg
    80%
    Total Carbohydrates 80g
    27%
    Dietary Fiber 5g
    21%
    Sugars 7g
    Protein 44g
    Vitamin A
    37%
    Vitamin C
    29%
    Calcium
    14%
    Iron
    42%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    Ingredients
    1. 1 ripe vine tomato
    2. 5 strips bacon
    3. 2 eggs
    4. 2 large slices sourdough bread
    5. 2 T butter
    6. fresh dill
    7. salt and pepper to taste
    Instructions
    1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a simmer
    2. fry bacon to desired crispness
    3. Slice tomatoes
    4. pan fry sliced sourdough with butter in a pan on medium high heat
    5. swirl the simmering water with a large spoon to create a whirlpool
    6. drop eggs one at a time and cook for 3-4 minutes until whites solidify
    7. Remove with a slotted spoon and season with salt an pepper
    8. Arrange as pictured and top with chopped dill
    beta
    calories
    819
    fat
    36g
    protein
    44g
    carbs
    80g
    more
    A Taste Of The Road http://tasteoftheroad.com/
  • Savory Seared Soy Scallops With Edamame and Pickled Root Vegetables

    I always love visiting the family in Santa Barbara, and I always try to cook up one meal for us all to share. For this visit, I decided to visit the new seafood purveyor in town, where the scallops caught my eye. Wanting to put an East -Asian spin on the dish, I picked up some edamame, which I absolutely love, and often eat as a snack at home.

    I have never marinated scallops and though this would be the perfect time to try it out! I used a mixture of soy, ginger, rice wine vinegar, and sugar, my go to Japanese flavor combo. I only marinated for about 3 hours as the scallops easily absorb liquid. I made an emulsified butter sauce with the same mixture for the edamame, which was outstanding!

    I also pickled some beets and carrots to cut through the salty richness of the scallops and beans. The end result was fantastic and everyone raved about the edamame! Find the recipe below, and if you can’t get (or afford!) fresh scallops, this would work well with anything from chicken to beef.

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    Soy Scallops With Edamame
    Serves 4
    An East Asian spin on seafood
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    Prep Time
    3 hr
    Cook Time
    30 min
    Total Time
    3 hr 30 min
    Prep Time
    3 hr
    Cook Time
    30 min
    Total Time
    3 hr 30 min
    757 calories
    99 g
    38 g
    24 g
    34 g
    9 g
    961 g
    4286 g
    62 g
    0 g
    11 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    961g
    Servings
    4
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 757
    Calories from Fat 205
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 24g
    37%
    Saturated Fat 9g
    44%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
    Monounsaturated Fat 5g
    Cholesterol 38mg
    13%
    Sodium 4286mg
    179%
    Total Carbohydrates 99g
    33%
    Dietary Fiber 18g
    74%
    Sugars 62g
    Protein 34g
    Vitamin A
    244%
    Vitamin C
    86%
    Calcium
    45%
    Iron
    49%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    For the pickling
    1. 2 large beets
    2. 2 large carrots
    3. 2 cups apple cider vinegar
    4. 2 cups rice wine vinegar
    5. 1 cup sugar
    For the dish
    1. 8 large fresh scallops
    2. 4 cups fresh edamame (frozen will work)
    3. 2 small heads belgian endive
    4. 1 T chopped ginger
    5. 1 cup soy sauce
    6. 3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
    7. 5 T sugar
    8. 1/2 stick butter
    9. pepper to taste
    10. chive flowers for garnish (optional)
    For the pickling
    1. Cut beets and carrots into 1 cm cubes.
    2. Mix the vinegars and sugars with a whisk.
    3. Add the mixture equally between two ziploc bags and add beets to one and carrots to the other.
    4. refrigerate overnight.
    5. Cook in liquid until just softened.
    6. Strain and reserve for service.
    For the dish
    1. Combine soy, vinegar, sugar and ginger, whisking well.
    2. Marinate the scallops in 1 cup of the mixture in a ziploc bag for 3-4 hours.
    3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the edamame.
    4. Cook until tender.
    5. While the edamame is cooking bring the remaining soy mixture to a simmer in a saucepan.
    6. Slowly incorporate cubed butter until emuslified, taste and add sugar/vinegar as needed.
    7. Toss cooked edamame in butter sauce and keep warm for service.
    8. Bring a heavy pan to medium high heat, add vegetable, or other high smoke point oil.
    9. Sear scallops 2-3 minutes per side, to maintain a rare center which should be translucent.
    For service
    1. Spoon sauced edamame onto the plate and rest the scallops atop it.
    2. Use endive leaves as cups to hold the pickled vegetables.
    3. Garnish with chive flowers
    beta
    calories
    757
    fat
    24g
    protein
    34g
    carbs
    99g
    more
    A Taste Of The Road http://tasteoftheroad.com/
  • Faux Bone Marrow: An Experiment With Veggies

    Bone Marrow can be a very polarizing dish. Some people will drool at the mere mention, and others are repulsed at even the suggestion. While it is not something I get the chance to enjoy often, I definitely fall into the first category. Seeing how bone marrow is rather hard to come by if one doesn’t have a good butcher in town, I decided for the latest family get together to do a veggie-centric (though decidedly NOT vegetarian) representation of bone marrow.

    The dish centers around daikon, cut into small cylinders and hollowed to resemble a cut of bone. These were then soaked in bacon fat and baked to al dente. I used pureed beets cooked with white wine vinegar and rendered beef fat for the (marrow) filling. This lent the richness and fatty mouthfeel of real marrow, while maintaining a fresh pop from the beets and tangy vinegar.

    I can’t recall how the idea came to me , but there are a number of similar recipes floating around the net. This one however is my own creation, and resulted in a really colorful and eye-popping presentation. Find the recipe below, and try it out for your next dinner party. The animal products CAN be omitted, but where’s the fun in that?

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    Faux Bone Marrow
    Serves 8
    A veggie-centric, but not entirely vegetarian representation.
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    Prep Time
    15 min
    Cook Time
    45 min
    Total Time
    1 hr
    Prep Time
    15 min
    Cook Time
    45 min
    Total Time
    1 hr
    177 calories
    8 g
    22 g
    16 g
    1 g
    7 g
    152 g
    84 g
    5 g
    0 g
    9 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    152g
    Servings
    8
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 177
    Calories from Fat 141
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 16g
    24%
    Saturated Fat 7g
    34%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
    Monounsaturated Fat 7g
    Cholesterol 22mg
    7%
    Sodium 84mg
    3%
    Total Carbohydrates 8g
    3%
    Dietary Fiber 2g
    9%
    Sugars 5g
    Protein 1g
    Vitamin A
    3%
    Vitamin C
    35%
    Calcium
    3%
    Iron
    3%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    Ingredients
    1. 2 medium daikon (~3 inches diameter), peeled
    2. 3 large beets, peeled
    3. 1 handful finely cubed beef fat
    4. 1/2 cup rendered bacon fat
    5. 3 T chopped parsley
    6. 1/4 cup heavy cream
    7. 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
    8. 2 T sugar
    9. salt & pepper to taste
    Instructions
    1. Add cubed beef fat to a small, deep pot. Cook over low heat until rendered and light brown (30-40 minutes)
    2. Cut the daikon into 3-4 inch cylinders and hollow out the middles with an apple corer (a paring knife will work too). Rub with bacon fat until well covered, season with salt and pepper. Put in a preheated 425 degree oven for 25 minutes.
    3. Cube the beets and add the vinegar, cream and sugar to a pot, add water to just cover. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender with a fork. Season with salt and pepper. Blend well and keep warm for service.
    4. Check the daikon, it should retain some firmness, while developing some delicious browning on the edges. When done, sprinkle outside with parsley.
    5. Combine the rendered beef fat with the beet puree.
    6. Spoon and swipe puree onto small appetizer plates. Place daikon cylinders on top, and pipe or spoon in the puree.
    beta
    calories
    177
    fat
    16g
    protein
    1g
    carbs
    8g
    more
    A Taste Of The Road http://tasteoftheroad.com/
  • Delhi: Business Class Upgrades and Goat Brain Curry

    Kathmandu had been, for lack of better words, a life affirming experience. Opening the door to the taxi, departing the Suwal Mansion was a difficult decision. I felt so grounded, I truly did not want to leave.

    The airport was predictably chaotic. And the line for immigration was both snakelike in length and snalelike in pace. An hour later I finally made it through immigration and security. I had to run to catch the bus which had thankfully waited for me on the tarmac. I boarded the plane and did the usual routine of showing my boarding pass to the stewardess. I gave her an inquisitive stare when she pointed me to the first, big, cushy chair on the plane. A second look at my boarding pass confirmed I was in fact seat 1A. Many fellow travelers will be aware of the fabled “upgrade”, much discussed, but rarely experienced. Not only had I been upgraded to business class, but I also had the window seat facing the Himalayas on one of the most stunningly gorgeous flights in the world. What had I done right to deserve this?

    So many people think Kathmandu is way up in the mountains, which it's not. Here's a good shot to show perspective.

    So many people think Kathmandu is way up in the mountains, which it’s not. Here’s a good shot to show perspective.

    The view was indescribable.

    The view was indescribable.

    I was acutely aware that India was going to be more chaotic, more dirty, and more frustrating than Kathmandu. I had formulated a rough plan for destinations, but hardly had a set itenerary. I had booked a hotel in new Delhi, without doing much research, aside from a glance at tripadvisor. I would soon learn that this was to be a rather terrible decision.Pahar Ganj, by the quick skimming I had done on the internet, was referred to as the “backpacker area” of New Delhi. I was soon to learn that the term “backpacker area’ held two completely different meanings between Southeast Asia and India. The street was a psychedelic maelstrom of rickshaws, neon, and burnt out hippies sipping tea in darkened alleyways.
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    My hotel was central to this madness. I stepped out of the taxi, as he helped me with my bag from the trunk. I reached for my wallet… “No! don’t show any money here! We must go inside the hotel first.” The words “Welcome to India” were all too apparent in my mind. My time in Delhi was interspersed with frustration, boredom, and thankfully one night of enjoyment. I had reconnected with an old classmate from Le Cordon Bleu Bangkok who was a Delhi native. Arjun and I were not particularly close when studying in Bangkok, but our mutual love for food, along with his hospitality, and willingness to show me another side of Delhi made for a great night.
    After a walk through a park, we headed for a few drinks, and discussed the gastronomic options of the evening. I had read about a famous reataraunt, Karim’s, which was located near the oldest mosque in India.
    We parked in a makeshift parking lot, “fly by night parking” as Arjun referred to it. The restaraunt was a few blocks down the road, and we were soon immersed into a street scene which seemed right out of Pakistan. Aside the largest mosque in India was an Imam bellowing political rhetoric relating to the upcoming elections. If nothing else, i knew this was going to be an extremely authentic meal.
    Karim’s was celebrating it’s hundredth year in business, and as we walked in the dimly lit hallway,

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    Note Karim’s Great Grandson, top left.

    the first thing we saw was Karim’s great grandson overseeing the preparation of an array of various curries in large silver cauldrons.

    Scenes like this let you know you're in for a truly special meal.

    Scenes like this let you know you’re in for a truly special meal.

    Karim’s serves strictly Halal food, and the clientele, hundreds of people on any given night, are predominately strict Muslims. The cover of the menu was a picture from Time magazine, which named Karim’s as one of the best restaraunts in Asia.

    You can read all about it if you click for fullsize.

    You can read all about it if you click for fullsize.

    The menu itself only consisted of 3 simple pages, which in my opinion is always a good sign, as any restaraunt that tries to create too many dishes, often fails in upholding quality. One item that immediately stuck out from the menu was Goat Brain Curry. I jokingly suggested it to Arjun, who said he was a big fan. We ordered a huge array of meats, breads, kababs and of course goat brains. Up until this point I had been quite careful about what I had been eating in India, but considering this restaraunt had been in business over 100 years, I was pretty confident that I would be safe.

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    From Bottom: Mutton curry, Goat Brain curry, and Chicken Biryani.

    The curry itself did not differ in appearnce from any other. The oily orange-brown sauce covered up the real treats within. With the confidence instilled in me by the beer earlier that evening, I scooped a spoonful onto my chapati (indian flat bread) and lifted the previously semi-conscious matter into my mouth…. I had no idea what to expect, aside from the vaguely disconcerting description of “creaminess” which I had previously read about…. I say this without any boastfulness that accompanies eating exotic foods, GOAT BRAIN IS DELICIOUS! I put aside any mental (hehe) associations, and just savored the texture and flavor. I’ve since been trying to find a worthy comparison to relate the texture to. The best I can come up with is…. a mixture between Foie Gras and Ricotta Cheese…. I am so sorry as I know this will not contribute to many of my readers partaking in brain curry in the future. All I can confidently say is, if you are in Delhi, please do not pass up the opportunity to visit Karim’s, and if you are even the least bit adventurous, go for the brain curry. Live a little

  • Nepali Thali

    Thali, literally translated in Nepalese in Hindi as “plate”, is a platter of various dishes in small bowls which varies from region to region in  South Asia. The platter almost always centers on rice, dahl (lentils), and a starchy bread which is dependent upon the restaurant or region.  Other than that, the dishes can be a wide range of curries, veggies, meats, and sweet components such as yoghurt with honey.

    This particular Thali was ordered on the lakeside of Pokhara, and consisted of freshly caught fish curry, dahl, curried potatoes, mango achar (fermented pickled mango… blargh), rice, sweet fresh yoghurt and papadam, which is a flat crispy bread made with gram flour and regional spices. I am continually amazed at the cheapness of amazing food here. This was a nice restaurant on the lake, and all this food was about US $3….. haha heaven!

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    According to my Nepali friend this was “OK” Thali. I thought it was amazing!

  • Som Dtum Tai (Green Papaya Salad) with Deep Fried Mackerel and Sticky Rice

    Som Dtum

    Any trip to Thailand would be remiss without having at least one plate of Som Dtum. Som Dtum literally translated means “pounded sour” with the word “dtum” being onomatopoeia for the sound created by the mortar and pestle when the dish is being prepared. As with many of the world’s greatest dishes, Som Dtum began as a peasant food, which used the limited range of ingredients available in the region. Thailand is world renowned for utilizing very intense and contrasting flavors, and Som Dtum encompasses nearly all these flavors into a concentrated salad that is absolutely bursting with flavor. There are as many versions of Som Dtum as their are villages in Thailand, and some can be far too strong for the typical western palate. These more “fragrant” versions use ingredients such as fermented crab (Bpu Kem) and fermented fish paste (Pla Ra). These ingredients are an extremely acquired taste, one I am definitely yet to acquire. The most popular version amongs foreign travelers is Som Dtum Tai, and will be the focus here. DSC_2744  Som Dtum is traditionally eaten with glutinous rice (sticky rice) which is eaten by hand and used to soak up the liquids that come from the salad. Another popular accompaniment is Gai Yang, which is Thailand’s answer to barbecued chicken. I chose to buy some fresh mackerel from the local street market and deep fry it to accompany my plate. What follows is a recipe for Som Dtum Tai. Some ingredients may be rather difficult to acquire depending where you are. Green papayas in particular are quite uncommon, and can be substituted by green mango, or even cucumber.  

    Som Dtum Tai
    Serves 4
    Sweet, Sour, Savory, Spicy
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    Prep Time
    30 min
    Cook Time
    5 min
    Total Time
    35 min
    Prep Time
    30 min
    Cook Time
    5 min
    Total Time
    35 min
    143 calories
    26 g
    0 g
    4 g
    4 g
    1 g
    318 g
    558 g
    18 g
    0 g
    3 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    318g
    Servings
    4
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 143
    Calories from Fat 34
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 4g
    6%
    Saturated Fat 1g
    3%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
    Monounsaturated Fat 2g
    Cholesterol 0mg
    0%
    Sodium 558mg
    23%
    Total Carbohydrates 26g
    9%
    Dietary Fiber 5g
    19%
    Sugars 18g
    Protein 4g
    Vitamin A
    53%
    Vitamin C
    243%
    Calcium
    5%
    Iron
    7%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    Ingredients
    1. 1 pound green papaya
    2. 2 Thai chilies (add more pepper if you want it hotter!)
    3. 1 large clove of garlic
    4. 2 strings long bean ( or green beans, cut into 1 inch lengths)
    5. 3 tablespoon roasted peanut
    6. 5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
    7. 1 tablespoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)
    8. 2 tablespoons lime juice
    9. 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
    10. 1 teaspoon chopped dried shrimp
    Instructions
    1. Peel the papaya.
    2. Holding the papaya vertically, contniually tap with a sharp knife while spinning the papaya to create vertical incisions.
    3. Using a vegetable peeler, peel downwards to create thin shreds of papaya.
    4. Quarter the cherry tomatoes.
    5. Thinly slice the thai chilis (wear gloves to avoid getting any on your hands).
    6. Toast the peanuts in a dry skillet on high heat until slightly scorched.
    7. Put all the vegetables into a large mortar an pestle and add the sugar, juice, and remaining ingredients while constantly pounding to infuse the papaya with the combined liquid.
    Notes
    1. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, a reasonable substitute is a large mixing bowl and potato masher or similar utensil.
    beta
    calories
    143
    fat
    4g
    protein
    4g
    carbs
    26g
    more
    A Taste Of The Road http://tasteoftheroad.com/
  • Omi-cho Market Kanazawa. Unparalleled Freshness.

    As much as I would be able to say about the beauty and absolute aesthetic perfection of the seafood available here, I think just a small description will do these pictures justice. Again, the most striking thing about this market was the complete lack of any smell of fish!

     

  • Tsukiji Fish Market. Sushi, Knives, Heaven.

    Well I did my best the first morning by arriving at the Tsukiji Fish Market at 5 AM to be in line for the first-come-first-served admission to the tuna auctions. Unfortunately it was all booked out, and you have to get there before 3:30 am to reserve a spot! That’s just not going to happen being there are no trains running at that hour. Instead I chose to go today and browse the open market at a more reasonable hour. 

    I arrived at 9 am, and found the place absolutely packed. Oh yeah, it’s Saturday… A bit discouraged, but I carried on. I made my way through the crowds at the main entrance and instantly knew I was going to like this place…

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    Like a kid in a candy store

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    To be honest I almost shed a tear when I saw this shop.

     The employees were super friendly and spoke some English, so I asked them to recommend me a “Santoku”, which is a type of knife around 7 to 8 inches, with a very slight bevel to the blade. It is, in my opinion the most versatile knife in the kitchen. I browsed a number of extremely expensive hand forged knives (one cost nearly $1800!), but being on a budget I settled for a nice carbon steel model which was only about $100. The employees took great care in wrapping it in 5 layers of newspaper, cardboard and bubble wrap, and told me very explicitly “Check-in luggage! Check-in luggage!” haha, thanks guys!

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    “This is my knife, there are many like it, but this one is mine”

     Leaving the knife shop with a beaming smile on my face, I entered into the cramped and bustling corridors of the market. It was an assault on the senses, but the one thing I did not smell whatsoever was fish. Yeah this place is fresh!

    The first shop to catch my eye was selling Tamagoyaki (卵焼き), which is a sort of fried egg on speed.

    DSC_7556

    Mr. Tamagoyaki

    It’s made by folding dozens of paper thin layers of fried egg over one another to create a sort of egg cake. It is typically flavored with sugar and rice vinegar. Every version I have tried before has been way too sweet, but this…. this was amazing! super tender and a perfect balance of sweet and acid from the vinegar. 

    I continued to politely shuffle and shove my way through the packed crowds in the narrow alleyways. I was offered a sample of some strange form of seaweed I had never seen before. I’m pretty sure it’s rude to refuse anything offered to you in Japan, but that doesn’t matter as I was going to eat it anyway. It was interesting, and very hard to describe, squidlike in texture with a melting finish, sounds horrible, but I assure you it was amazing. I ended up buying some dried seaweed as a gift for friends in Thailand. Thai people can’t get enough of the stuff!

    I wanted to try every one of them!

    I wanted to try every one of them!

    I turned a corner and saw this huge decapitated tuna head on display, and a master butcher doing his dance. Unfortunately he had already filleted the majority of the meat from the carcass, so I didn’t get to observe the true handiwork.

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    “Waddur Youuu lookin at?”

    I was getting hungry after sampling all these new and amazing foods. Of course I was planning on eating sushi here, it’s the freshest sushi in the world! All I needed was a promising looking restaurant. To be honest I had no idea what I was doing, so I did what any confused tourist would do, I looked at the pictures!

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    If you click and zoom to full size you can read the menu (100 yen=$1)

    I was ushered in and blasted by the Sushi chefs yelling “Irasshaimase” or “Welcome” in unison. It was so loud I was actually shocked and just stood there for a minute before bowing half-assedly and going to my seat, pretty sure they’re used to that haha! I opened the menu and was relieved to see English, I was also relieved to see the prices were not astronomical. I browsed the menu and spent a good amount of time observing the chefs in action. The deftness with which they form the sushi is amazing. here’s a short video I took to give you an idea.

    Knowing this was going to be a once in a lifetime event, I ordered one of the most expensive sushi platters.

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    Grand total $45. I apologize for the terrible photo, the lighting was strange.

    From left to right top row: Uni (sea urchin roe), Salmon Roe, Tamagoyaki, Tiger Prawn, Unagi (grilled eel with sweet soy)

    Bottom row: Maguro (lean tuna), Otoro (fatty tuna, the best!), Toro (medium fatty tuna), Squid, Clam (I think?), and Mackerel.

    I’ll just leave this one to the imagination, because I’ll never accurately describe the relish with which I consumed these recently alive fish. I’m pretty sure my knees were trembling. I walked out in a sort of blissful haze, not quite able to make sense of the commotion surrounding me. 

    Everything after that lacked a certain luster, and I decided I had seen enough for the morning. I needed some decompression time, so I headed back to my favorite little coffin in the sky.