Wednesday, April 22, 2015

egg

Brunch (noun/verb): A weekend activity or meal that commences anywhere between 10:30am and 2pm. Tis a time where hungover folk unite from around the city and attempt to regain a grip on their lives via overconsumption of eggs, toast, hollandaise sauce, bloody marys and mimosas.

Having that been the case last Saturday, Adam and I decided to venture into Brooklyn and scope out notorious breakfast/brunch place, "egg".

Nestled deep in Williamsburg, this southern style breakfast/brunch/lunch restaurant perfectly captures Brooklyn's quirky vibe while staying genuine to southern cuisine with their hearty grits and biscuits. Egg brings a twist to the table by incorporating fresh, simple, and wholesome flavors into their dishes.


My stomach steered me towards their chorizo & poached eggs topped with jalapeños and was generously accompanied by toast and a biscuit. Adam went straight for the gains with poached eggs, bacon, toast and a hash brown mound.

The biscuit was crumbly enough to be authentic but solid enough to hold the weight of their homemade fig marmalade. A bite of sweet to follow a bite of spicy from a forkful of chorizo, ketchup and egg topped with a jalapeño sliver perfectly subdued my hanger and left me content and rejuvenated (more or less). Adam, equally content with his lean but plentiful smoked bacon, haystack hash brown and perfectly poached eggs reclined back in his seat and finished the meal off with a satisfied arms-over-head stretch.
There was quite a line to get in, but it goes by fast given everyone has some place to go and some people to see in the city so don't let it discourage you when you go!

The restaurant had a perfectly simple design in terms of decor and dish execution & presentation. A humble little nook for a hearty and healing meal all at a great price makes egg a great place to go with your broke college friends for some real simple & delicious cooking.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Chinese Cuisine: A Manual For Gweilos

Having grown up in Southern California, I was raised on the notion that Chinese food meant everything on Panda Express’ menu: Orange Chicken, Broccoli Beef, and Kung Pao Chicken. While these sugar-drenched and soy sauce soaked dishes perfectly suited my stringent eating habits, I was light-years away from eating true Chinese cuisine such as cong you bing, Peking duck, and xiao long bao. This is the Chinese food history and tradition birthed. This is true Chinese cuisine.

I was introduced to this authentic side of Chinese food 4 years ago when I moved to Hong Kong. What’s truly disheartening, though, is that most people never get the chance to visit China. This exquisite style of cooking and these traditional recipes therefore go untapped and die in their minds under the façade as being Orange Chicken and Broccoli Beef. However, hope is far from lost. There are some people who have yearned to obtain a deeper understanding beyond what textbooks and websites can provide and have moved their lives overseas to experience this fruitful culture and indulge in this cuisine for themselves.

Gweilos (guh-why-lows): Hong Kong slang for foreigners

While this term has been slashed with racial deprecatory, it has healed slowly over time – now to the point of being playful jargon. I view being a gweilo as an honor in disguise. It allows me to help pioneer a way for fearful foreigners to take charge of their curiosity and travel abroad to understand misunderstood cultures. By traveling and experiencing these cultures myself, I am able to indulge in history, tradition, and cuisine. I encourage them to slurp up the broth of xiao long bao alongside new Chinese friends, to joyously press their fingers into a soft cha siu bao, and experience the unique texture of Phoenix Claws for the first time. Eating these beloved dishes will give them a glimpse into how China ticks.

For the adventurous and the modest, these are some great starter dishes to help you set foot on your culinary odyssey.
Xiao Long Bao (see-ow-long-bow)
Also known as Shanghai steamed soup dumplings, these little satchels of broth and pork filling warm you from the mouth down to the stomach. Their delicately thin dumpling exterior encompasses a warm stock and floats a morsel of pork and vegetable filling.
Cha Siu Bao (cha-shoe-bow)
Resembling a generous dollop of whipped cream, these steamed barbeque pork buns are lighter than air but as filling as pound cake. Their sweet interior is coaxed perfectly by the fluffy white bun it is nestled in. Filling, but not overwhelmingly so, these are a perfect way to balance out other oily dishes commonly found in Chinese cuisine.
Siu Mai (see-you-my)
These dumplings are filled with either pork or seafood and vegetables are wrapped in a distinct, thin yellow noodle and garnished with crab roe, or sometimes even a diced carrot. Dabbed in soy sauce, these dumplings bring a salty and acidic taste to your palette. With no overwhelming seafood taste, they are a great way to wean onto other seafood dishes you will find in China.
Steamed Shrimp Rice Noodles
Steamed and folded into rectangular packets, shrimp and chopped herbs are presented to you wrapped in moist noodles laid one on top of another. These dense and somewhat slippery noodles make them difficult to work with for first-time chopstick users, but the reward is worth the battle. They are mild on flavor but full of satisfaction.
Phoenix Claws
Here is when having an open mind and adventurous spirit come into play. Phoenix Claws, also known as Chicken Feet, are a customary delicacy. They are slimy in nature and you must spit out the bones when consuming. Apart from its texture, the dish possesses robust undertones of aniseed and fennel to give it an unmatched unique taste. Their texture is widely loved by the Chinese whom value texture over taste. Consider this a 4 out of 5 ranking on the scale of adventurous eating.

For the diner with a sugar inclination, these street-side treats are worth finishing off a delectable dim sum meal with.

Egg Puff Waffles
Like a regular Belgium waffle, but with round bulges instead of square coves. Served by its self or drenched in condensed milk, peanut butter or chocolate, there is something to love for everyone with a mild to severe sweet tooth.

Egg Tarts
This famous dessert is known for its flakey pastry shell and sweet egg custard filling. Baked in the oven, these gems come out of the oven with a heat scorched top and a thick custard middle. After taking a bite of both shell and filling, an explosion of moderate sweetness from the egg custard and buttery slivers from the shell melt together and coax your mouth into a silky delight.
Bubble Tea
Originating in Taiwan but loved throughout Asia, bubble tea helps wash down even the densest of foods. Its light tea base is originally mixed with milk and poured over ice and tapioca balls. It is a fun way to indulge on the hottest of summer days and keep it nostalgic on the coldest of winter nights.


Chomp through these dishes & you will be well on your way to understanding Chinese cuisine!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Stormchasing Juno


BOSTON, MA: Monday afternoon students all around the Northeast rejoiced in a harmonious *ding* of an email with the subject "CLASSES CANCELLED DUE TO JUNO BLIZZARD".

And then the frenzy - Snapchat & shopping - began.
 
CVS - Wiped clean of EasyMac and Ramen, but fully stocked on substitutes.....
3:38PM - Some more interesting than others...
With every pocket, nook and cranny was stuffed with apocalyptic goods (i.e. Reeses Puffs, Cheetos & "ginger" beer) I waddled home to celebrate with the mates.

10:32AM - DAY OF THE STORM: We woke up this morning in a bliss of zero immediate responsibilities. The only thing beckoning for our attention was the deserted town, washed in white, begging for us to go and jump.











That spot was not that deep...
Aftermath: writhing in pain.
11:03AM: After getting to grips with the terrain, we ran back inside, tightened our boots, grabbed the GoPro & ventured on.







Long story short, my pants are only so thick and I can only take so much snow in between my toes. So after an hour of frolicking we called it a day...until later anyway. Can't keep a kid at heart down for long!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Climbing the Dragon's Back

Yes, I know I can't technically blame anyone who hasn't been to Hong Kong but I can't help but blame them for never having been to Hong Kong. I know it's expensive to fly all the way out here knowing next to nothing about what it has to offer - because when people hear Hong Kong, they immediately think "China", "Communism" and "Umbrella movement" because they have no idea about the 1324563 other things that make HK a diamond embedded in a lump of coal which makes it my favorite place in the world.

Take Dragon's Back for instance. This hike goes along the spine of several hills on the south eastern end of the island and gives you a true bird's eye view of the beauty this island has. Beach spots Shek O and Big Wave Bay very deservingly steal the show on this hike.
Bird's eye view indeed...
After a 20 minute sprint up the stairs & power walk down a few paths, you get the most rewarding view for all the calories expended. 





The whole shebang takes about an hour and a half to complete - a very fair trade for the mountain of endorphins it releases during & post hike. There's not enough time in a day to truly digest the magnificence you just experience and it's enough to keep you on a high for the rest of your week, guaranteed.

Once you're on your health & fitness roll post hike, you can venture into Shau Kei Wan and grab some fresh apples & pears from the local farmers' market.


 Or other goodies....whatever floats your boat....
But when in Asia, we do like the Asians! So the fam and I got dim sum snacks instead. 
Beef balls & siu mai are healthy, right?
No matter which food group you decide to pursue, you can go back home feeling full in your stomach, sore in your legs, and buzzing with happiness in your head. 

This hike is one of said 1324563 things I love about this place. So if you're looking for even the smallest of reasons to fly out, here it is.