Friday, April 10, 2015

Beef Lengua from Scratch!

This is the first time making beef lengua from scratch and boy was it rewarding. I took out my awesome pressure cooker again to cut the time. The ingredients are relatively straight forward and you can either make tacos with it or just eat it with rice! Here's what I did!

Share if you like this post! =) Let me know what you think in the comments below!


2.5 lb of Beef Lengua (Tongue)
Cooking Oil (used Avocado oil)
3-4 Garlic Cloves
Worcestershire sauce


1) Wash and rinse beef tongue with cold running water and pat it really dry
2) Generously salt, pepper, splash Worcestershire sauce on the beef tongue all around

3) Dice loosely some cilantro to insert in the pressure cooker
4) Cut half a lemon to insert in the pressure cooker
5) Splash some cooking oil and mince the garlic cloves to flavor the beef tongue before searing
5) Heat your pressure cooker to medium-high and sear the beef tongue on all sides

6) Pour enough water such that it fills up to half of the beef tongue vertically

7) Pressurize and set timer to 60 minutes

8) Once time has elapsed, depressurize and remove the thick outer skin and discard

9) Now dice them into cubes and the smaller the better as it may get too chewy if not diced small enough.
10) Serve!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Crispy Roast Pork Belly (Hong Kong Style)

Where I live, it's pretty difficult to get good Chinese food.  So imagine how awful it feels when I have a sudden craving for HK style BBQ and am unable to satisfy my desires without having to drive >100 miles!!!  The only solution was obvious: make it myself.

Now I used to be very daunted by the very prospect of having to make BBQ items, especially things that classically require a rotisserie oven or high heat commercial grade broiler.  After doing some research on the web, I found that people all around have figured out ways to make crispy pork belly at home in a conventional oven.  The recipe I am about to share is an amalgam of various techniques I read from fellow home cooks.

- a slab of pork belly (~2 lbs); WITH skin on, of course
- 2 tsp five spice
- 2 Tbs Shiao Xing rice wine
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp powdered white pepper
- 1 Tbs white vinegar
- 1 cup coarse salt
- a sharp, thick needle


1) Thoroughly clean and dry your slab of pork belly
2) Rub five spice, fine salt, sugar, and white pepper on the meat side of the pork belly.
3) Then rub in the rice wine.
4) Allow the pork belly to marinate in these spices overnight, skin side up
5) The following day, pat dry the skin side again.  Start poking holes ALL OVER the skin (only to the thickness of the skin, without going into the flesh)
6) Brush the white vinegar over the top of the perforated skin.  This helps to dry out the pork skin as you cook it, allowing it to become crispy.
7) Using foil, create a foil tray for the pork belly, making sure that the side "walls" of this foil tray are flushed up against the sides of the pork belly.
8) Apply coarse salt over the top of the pork belly. This salt is not intended for seasoning your food, but rather to create a salt crust over the skin.  The purpose of the salt is to soak up moisture from the pork skin as you cook it.
9) Bake in the oven at 395F for 50 minutes.
10) Remove from the oven, and remove the salt crust.

11) Place the pork back in the oven, skin side up, and BROIL on high for 10-15 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and CRISPY.

12) Serve with Hoisin (Seafood) Sauce!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Shilin Food Night Market in Taipei!

Taiwan is known for their night markets and Shilin is considered the largest and most popular one in the city. They usually open from 4pm and open very late sometimes as late as 2am. What makes this special is that you get the opportunity to sample a bunch of various tasty morsels for a snack or even for your dinner at pretty cheap prices. They'll also have desserts and fruits covered for you as well! There were some peculiar items that they offered as well but I'll just let the picture show you what they are. ;)

Have you been to a night market? Which one is your favorite? Please share if you like this post! =)

Name: Shilin Market (士林夜市)
Google Maps: Click Here!

Fresh Fruits!

Live Shrimp

Assortment of Snacks

Nice "rocket" ships

Oyster Omelet with Tomato sauce  "Oh Ah Tsien"


Soft Shell Crabs


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fresh n Hot Malasadas

On the drive from Kona to Hilo at the Big Island lies a hidden pit stop to those craving Malasadas! For those who don't know what it is, it's a Portuguese pastry made of yeast dough that are deep-fried in oil and sprinkled with sugar. Basically a donut! If you love donuts, you'll love Malasadas! They are traditionally not served with fillings but they offer lots of fillings here that work quite well.

For only $1.06 a Malasada, it's not bad in pricing. It'll be 50 cents extra if you want a filling.

Store Front
Here were the available fillings when I was there:

Bavarian, Chocolate, Pineapple, Apricot, Raspberry, Cherry, Lemon, Strawberry, Guava, Mango and Apple.

Have you drove past this without making a stop? Shame on you! Totally missing out! Please share if you like this post! =)

Name: Tex Drive in
Yelp: Click Here!
Google Maps: Click Here!
Address: 45-690 Pakalana St, Honokaa, HI 96727

Malasada with Bavarian filling

So light and fluffy!

MMmmmm fresh!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Yummy Yakitori in Osaka

There's something very special with how Japanese people "bbq" their meats. Not only are they so keen to detail/treat cooking as a very sophisticated yet delicate art; they also go that extra mile by grilling with domestic Japanese chicken and using binchotan! Binchotan is a kind of charcoal made from oak which burns without smoke and is considered the most favored charcoal in Japan. It's also known as the highest  quality activated charcoal for purifying water! Once you've gone Binchotan, you can't go back!

I somehow got a seat without a reservation in a very packed house. After struggling with the language barrier; I was just told (via some other local eater that spoke some English) that if I could finish after 1 hour I could dine right now. If you don't speak much/any Japanese then prepare to write in Japanese what you want using your smartphone as they don't have an English menu and not much pictures to point at. With all these obstacles I had to face, it was still one of the best Yakitori spots I have encountered yet so far. Everything was cooked to perfection with the right seasonings. For those daredevils, I tried their raw chicken and although I wouldn't say I loved it, it was not bad. Don't worry there's a much higher quality standard in Japan when it comes to Chicken that you don't need to worry about getting "Salmonella" from consuming raw chicken. Each item I ordered were all highlights to me but if I had to get really picky, their Karage (Japanese fried chicken) was one of the best I ever had. Highly recommend this place to eat authentic Yakitori if you are in Osaka. I was the only foreigner in the building. Share if you like this post! =)

Front Entrance - hidden in a random alleyway
Name: Takadori Umedaten (たか鳥)
Address: Naka Dori Ranger Building 1F, 16-12 Doyamacho, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Google Maps: Click Here! 

The Professionals!
Marinated Chicken with Onions and Carrots
Binchotan Grill! (smoke is from the chicken reacting with the charcoal)
Grilled Chicken
Chicken Gizzards
Chicken and Green Onions
Crispy Chicken Skin
Chicken Wings
Chicken Intestines
Seared Chicken - Rare!
Chicken Meatballs - Tsukune

Japanese Fried Chicken - Karage
Peace! I'll see you again!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Back to Italy but not really....

The last time I went to Italy was probably about 5 years ago and boy do I need to go there again! It brought many memories and epic Italian food! I recently came across a place that brought back a glimpse of what I missed! The entire staff all seemed to have a thick Italian accent so it definitely felt very authentic! I have gone there twice now and I am convinced it's one if not the best Italian restaurant you can get in San Diego. I give to you Buona Forchetta! Everything I ordered so far have been very delicious, perfectly seasoned, and very authentic to what you would expect if you went to Italy for food. I don't praise many Italian restaurants but this one is without a doubt worth mentioning and sharing! I might regret doing this though because then I'll have to wait longer before I get seated =)
Store Front
Name: Buona Forchetta
Yelp: Click Here!
Google Maps: Click Here!

Here are items I have tried; sometimes pictures will speak volumes of how good it is so I'll just leave the photos for you to drool on!

Wild Boar Ragu Polenta Cake
Pork Shoulder Mushroom Risotto
Lobster Fettuccine
Salmon Arugula Ravioli with Saffron Sauce
Lamb Shank Risotto
Margarita Pizza