Saturday, September 20, 2014

Simple Chilled Dungeness Crabs

I haven't had my Dungeness crab cravings fulfilled for a while so I decided to hit up to the nearest seafood market to get some to make for dinner. Always make sure you pick crabs that are fresh and super alive by making sure when they select one it's actively moving and trying to free itself. Never pick one that is barely moving. Also make sure that all the legs and claws are in still intact, I've encountered many times where after a closer inspection I noticed either a leg or the claw was missing!!I personally have tasted Dungeness crab(s) served hot and cold and I think the sweetness of the crab is enhanced when it's served chill but it's up to you on your preference.


Dungeness Crabs
Seafood rub or Salt will work just fine
Ginger (Optional)

Rice Wine vinegar (Optional)


1) Fill your pot with water enough so that when you insert the crab, it's fully submerged.
2) Add Seafood rub or Salt to the water and bring to a boil
3) Add the Crab(s) into the boiled water and lower the heat to Medium-Medium low
4) Set timer to ~7-8 min/lb (If you have multiple crabs in the pot, just base it on the average weight of each crab, NOT the combined weight!)
5) After the time has elapsed, immediately take the crab(s) and dump it into Ice Cold water or pour Cold water over it for it to chill.
6) Optional but for best flavor, would suggest once the crab has reached back to room temperature or lower, put it in the refrigerator for couple hours to fully chill before consuming.

When I was in Osaka, Japan recently I went to a famous renowned place for Snow crabs and they serve it with Rice Wine vinegar as it enhances the sweetness of the crab. It's not mandatory but it's worth a try.

How do I eat it??

Good question! Flip over the crab such that it's upside down. Observe a triangular flap/tail at the bottom and lift it up and remove. Notice a little hole is now visible, simply just use both of your hands to spread it open (refer to the pictures below) and voila!


Dungeness Crabs

Seafood Rub or Salt is just fine

In you go!

Boil at medium/medium-low heat at ~7-8min/lb

Immediately rinse crab to cool down and refrigerate for couple hours.

Observe the triangular flap/tail

Lift it up!
To open! Before!

To open! After!


Remove these things as it's not edible!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Chinese Salmon Fish Head and Tofu soup

It's time to start sharing some recipes I have followed in my kitchen. This is a traditional hearty Chinese Salmon Fish Head and Tofu soup. It's super cheap to make, super easy to make, and it's very healthy.  Tomatoes good for vitamins and reducing changes of getting Prostate cancer, Tofu good for calcium, and Salmon is great for getting your Omega-3s.


Salmon Head
Tofu (Firm texture preferred)
Tomato Paste
Carrots (optional)

Cooking Method:

Pressure Cooker


1) Oil your pressure cooker and throw in sliced ginger strips (helps get rid of any fishy smells)
2) Sear the Salmon Head so it releases all the delicious healthy fish oils out to fuse into the soup
3) Add in diced tofu and tomatoes
4) Depending on your taste buds, add couple spoonfuls of tomato paste. For some sweeter flavor to the soup; consider adding diced carrots
5) Now add water to the pressure cooker. Usually to avoid it from getting too bland or too diluted, suggest adding enough so it's slightly under the current height after adding all the ingredients to the pot.
6) Raise temperature to HIGH and close the lid and wait until it pressurizes (varies depending on pressure cooker) and then lower the temperature to MEDIUM-LOW.
7) Set a timer for 30min
8) Once 30min has elapsed, depressurize the pressure cooker and add salt and pepper to your liking to the soup and voila!

Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival!

It's that time again where you eat get to delicious traditional Chinese Moon Cakes because a woman decided to choose the moon as her residence after escaping from her own troubles on Earth on the 15th day of the 8th month in the Chinese calendar.

For those that don't know what a Mooncake is, it's a Chinese round bakery dessert that's made of lotus seed paste that's surrounded by a thin crust that usually has a salted duck egg inside as the core. Usually the norm is to have one salted duck egg in each one but sometimes it can be either none or up to 3!

How many do you like to have? Personally, I like having none in mine, I think it's a waste of space and would much rather have more lotus seed paste than a salted duck egg.

Two reputable brands: Kee Wah and Maxim respectively

This one is White Lotus with one Salted Duck Egg in each

This one is regular Lotus with no Salted Duck Egg


Cross Section
Maxim brand was better this year

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Homemade Sushi Rolls

It's a sushi roll kind of night.  I spent at least 45 minutes browsing through Yelp trying to find a good sushi place with fairly priced sushi rolls.  Unfortunately I came across either really good places with insanely high prices, or very mediocre places with affordable sushi.  The only solution to this dilemma, was of course, to make my own sushi rolls.

I am by no means an expert at rolling sushi, but I certainly had some of the basic components necessary to construct a roll.  Rice cooker, check. Bamboo mat, check. Sharp knife, check.  So now all I needed to do was to stock up on some great seafood!  I went to a local Zion (Korean supermarket) and picked up some BBQ Unagi (Eel), sashimi-grade Salmon, Masago (Fish roe), Uni (Sea urchin), Imitation crab, an avocado, and a zucchini (I meant to get a cucumber but stupidly picked the wrong vegetable...what? they were right next to each other!).

Step 1: Line the Bamboo mat with clear plastic wrap
Step 2: Make a thin layer of rice (seasoned with sweetened rice vinegar) in the shape of a rectangle
Step 3: Place a layer of Nori (seaweed) over the square of rice (slightly smaller than the size of the rice rectangle)
Step 4: Line the stuffing/ingredients along the center
Step 5: Roll gently and incrementally, squeezing the roll lightly as you go along
Step 6: Lay some thinly sliced sashimi and/or avocado over the top of the roll. Give the entire roll a nice squeeze again with the Bamboo mat.
Step 7: Cut your roll (wet and wipe your knife each time to avoid squishing your roll or having the roll stick to your knife)

You can probably find good step-by-step videos on YouTube.

I'll just provide pictures of the final products :)

Roll 1: (Inside) Avocado, zucchini, imitation crab with japanese mayo and sriracha. (Outside) salmon and avocado. Top with Masago (Fish roe).
Roll 2: (Inside) Unagi, imitation crab with Japanese mayo and Sriracha, avocado, and zucchini. (Outside) Unagi and avocado. Top with masago.


Grocery List

Sea Urchin and Masago (Fish roe)

Flavoring Agents

Rainbow Roll

Making of Dragon Roll

Dragon Roll

Finished Product!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Line up for Delicious N' Bouncy Fish Balls/Slices Noodle Soup!

I was rather disappointed in the fish balls that were offered in Taiwan and was reminded how much better it was in Hong Kong. My parents took me to a place that they thought offered decent fish balls. I trust their judgment since they are very selective eaters. Also it makes it a LOT easier when you see a line up just to get seated at this place. It's called Tak Cheong Noodle or in Chinese (德昌鱼蛋枌).  They display a lot of rolls of Fish logs that will be cut into slices for you to eat which is usually accompanied with some soup noodles.  Basically you come here for Fish ball/slices noodle soup with a side of Fried Fish skin. It's quite the comfort food and sadly it's just not available or close to being decent in the United States.

As you all probably know, Hong Kong's real estate is super expensive and yes you'll most likely have to share a table with complete strangers. It's quite normal in Hong Kong. This usually happens when you eat in a small group where there's free seats for the taking for strangers to join you. It also doesn't really help when they aren't very socialable and just keep to themselves; usually makes for some awkwardness at the table but Hong Kong is a fast city and people just come for the food and leave on the double to their next destination (probably another place to grab another small bite or drink).

I got the standard  Fish ball/slice combo with wide rice noodle and also some Pork balls. I love Pork balls. If you have never heard of them, you should try it some time (provided you eat Pork). Full of flavor and just goes very well with soup noodle. For only 26 HK dollars or about  ~3.50 US dollars you can get a bowl of Fish balls/slices noodle soup. So cheap! Aside from fast food like McDonalds, it's really hard to get something decent at these prices. I'll be sure to be making a stop here next time I am there. It's in Kowloon City, Hong Kong. Closest MRT station would probably be Lok Fu.

Name: Tak Cheong Noodle (德昌鱼蛋枌)
Address: Hong Kong, 福佬村道88號
Google Maps: Click Here!
Tel: +852 2718 3838

Store Front

Fish logs

Fried Fish Skin!

Fish ball/slice Wide Rice Noodle Soup

Pork Balls a la carte


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Delicious All You Can Eat Hotpot in Taipei

Nothing craves my appetite more on a cloudy, rainy, and cooler day than an All You Can Eat (AYCE) hotpot! I used the good ol' handy Ipeen app which is basically a near identical copy of the Yelp app that's most commonly used in the US to find this place. The place was called Ma La (or direct translation Horse Spicy). Don't worry there's no actual Horse meat served here...phew! The original name of the restaurant was supposed to be called "Numb and Spicy" because the nature of the Sichuan peppercorns used in their broths create numbness along with spicy sensations when consumed. Their restaurant name was a play on pronunciation of the words Horse and Numb.

For 498 TWD or $16 USD, you can have all you can eat for lunch. It's 598 TWD or $20 USD for dinner. There were apparently cheaper options like hole-in-the-wall ones but they may not have been all you can eat but I just wanted to go to one that was nearby since we were getting tired near the end of the day to explore too far away from our hotel for dinner. This is actually not bad of a price but it may be considered expensive for locals there as food is ridiculously cheap and rarely do you see fat or heavy people here. They don't eat too much or they have high metabolisms. There is a mandatory 10% service charge which isn't too bad considering how most of the US demand for 18%+ in service charges these days and get really upset at a 10% tip.They gave a 2 hour limit per table in case people tried to take advantage of their buffet.

You start off by selecting the broth(s) of your choice, you can choose two if you like or just one broth. Choices are:
  • Spicy Mala 
  • Vegetables and Herbs
  • Northeast Pickled Vegetables
  • Protein Egg Whites
We got the first two because the others didn't seem particularly interesting to us. Next you get to order your meats and vegetables which they had a ton of varieties to choose from. Here were some possible choices (basically what we ordered):

  • Sea cucumbers (it's not a vegetable but a real living sea creature!)
  • Oysters
  • Scallops
  • Fish balls
  • American Fatty Beef
  • Angus Beef
  • Mussels
  • Crab
  • Razor Shell Clams
  • Pork Shoulder
  • New Zealand Beef Loin
  • Baby Bok Choy
  • Enoki Mushrooms
  • Tofu
  • yeah...we are more carnivores...didn't order much vegetables
 Next you get to choose your drinks and your very own custom dipping sauce.

Drinks which were also all you can Drink! Included alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Choices were:
  • Red Wine
  • Honey Lemon Juice
  • Coke
  • Sprite
  • Heineken Light
  • Taiwan Beer
  • Milk Tea
  • Calpis
  • Lemon Tea
  • Green Tea
  • Coffee/Espresso/Cappuccino/etc
  • Herbal Tea
 They had a huge range of sauces/toppings you choose from to make your sauce. There's no real right or wrong combination as long as it tastes good!

To finish off, you can feast yourself on fresh fruits or their awesome Haagen-Dazs or Movenpick ice cream! This was a first time I've seen such famous brands being all you can eat!!

Definitely recommend giving this place a try! Let me know what you think! They have several locations but the one I went to was near the Taipei 101.

Name: Ma La (馬辣頂級鴛鴦火鍋 信義旗艦店)
Address: 台北市信義區松壽路22號3F (NEO19) Taipei, Taiwan 110
Google Map: Click Here!!!
Phone: +886 2 2720 5726