Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Asia's Sweet and Savory

Bacon-wrapped mochi

I just got back from a quick trip to Japan and Korea. I had a lingering cold and I was coming from North America which meant I was stopped, questioned and had a thermometer stuck into me at every port of entry.

But once that was over I got to see my family and friends and enjoy all the food I so dearly missed. Bacon-wrapped mochi was a new one for me, but it works. Juicy, crispy, chewy.... more yakitori shops need to put it on the menu.

This honey toast was a homemade collaboration:

Honey Toast

They charged a whopping $6 at the mall food-court, so we instead bought a 1/2 loaf at the next-door bakery, gutted and toasted it, then doused it with honey and ice cream. Results were pretty similar. It's really about how fresh of a loaf you can find.

Soy sauce-flavored Kit Kats, anyone? I've decided to start a Kit Kat collection. There's just way too many random flavors to pass up.

Soy Sauce Kit Kat

This is actually Cold Stone Creamery. I guess "MARVELOUS CREAM!" does sound better. I wonder what the nickname is...."Maba-kuri"?:

Cold Stone in Japan

And now to the savory. This is a warm cup of chawan-mushi -- steamed egg-whites and dashi broth mixed with bits of chicken and vegetables. I thought it was quite pretty:

Chawan mushi

In Los Angeles, a 3-pack of natto will set you back $1.99. At this Japanese market it's 65 cents. Sigh:

Cheap Natto!

Ever wanted to know where bamboo shoots come from? The GROUND!:

Takenoko (Bamboo shoots)

This was my first meal in Korea. My brother and I slipped into a random corner shop. The menu was completely in Korean, but that didn't deter me. The place was packed so I knew it either had to be good or cheap; It was both. I hand-signaled the waitress to give us of what the other guy was having. Out came a hot bowl of somen noodles in a very simple broth. I kept adding hot sauce and sweated out my cold:

Korean somen soup

Some street vendors may have fooled me with bland, meatless potstickers, but this cart was a gold mine for one of the tastiest desserts I've ever had. Hotteok is a fried pancake-donut filled with melted brown-sugar and chopped walnuts. Fluffy, golden, crispy. They can cook it upon order and it's less than a dollar:

Tasty Korean desserts

This was in the middle of a busy shopping arcade. They're eating the same sort of somen soup I had earlier. Gotta love Asia. Down with sanitation codes! :

Pusan, Korea

The sights and sounds of the Pusan's fish market:
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Todd said...

Hey, nice to see you back on your blog again! Looks like you had a tasty trip to Asia. Dem Asian food is cool!

Gastronomer said...

WOW! Asia rules like no other. It's been far far far too long since I've dined upon a stumpy stool. Looks like you ate very well.

EatTravelEat said...

Amazing. So much good food and interesting items in Asia! The honey toast looks fabulous. I have never thought of putting ice cream on toast, but I have with honey.

Bacon wrapped mochi sounds like it would become a new trend :). The contrasts of textures would be a sure hit!

Chubbypanda said...

So awesome. I can't wait for my trip to Asia.

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Mikey said...

Awesome! One of my favorite things about passing through NRT airport is the last chance to stock up on unusual Kit Kat flavors. Love the Soy Sauce, although my favorite hands down has to be the green tea with azuki.