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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

J'aime udon

LOCATION: Kunitoraya, 39 Rue Sainte Anne, Paris
CATEGORY: Japanese, Udon
1. Tenzaru Udon
2. Komachi Udon
3. Tonkatsu
(...and some small starters and more tempura)
DRINK: Paris' finest tap water
WE THINK: This is the real deal for udon in Paris. Literally. There's a sticker on the door certifying this to be the case, distinguishing Kunitoraya from the many Korean/Chinese 'pirate' Japanese restaurants in Paris. We sat at the counter which sort of made us feel like we were in the way in someone's slightly too small and crowded kitchen, but it's the place to sit if you want to appreciate all the hard work that goes into cooking perfect udon noodles. Although all our food was cooked to a high standard, the zaru udon was the highlight - simple and yummy. Think a messier and less sophisticated version of our London favourite, Koya.
OUR TIP: Avoid the long queues of Japanese expats and tourists by hitting Kunitoraya for a weekday late lunch.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sunday BBQ

LOCATION: The Stranger-Jones residence, London
1. Teriyaki chicken marinated in soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar and ginger
2. Yuzu chicken marinated in rice vinegar, mirin and a healthy dose of yuzu mustard
3. Ribs marinated in fennel seeds, smoked paprika, brown sugar, chilli, salt, pepper and a splash of cider vinegar
4. Miso onigiri (rice and miso paste, grilled, wrapped in nori)
5. Salad with new potatoes, red onion, celery and sprouts dressed in soy sauce, mayonnaise and shiso leaves from the garden
DRINK: 1. Prosecco. 2. Mint tea with fresh mint leaves from the garden
WE THINK: A truly great British barbeque for the following reasons: 1: It didn't rain. 2: The food was magnificent and, due to a bunch of no-shows, abundant. 3: It didn't rain.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wow!-these-are-even-better-than-the-other-dumplings dumplings

Get your dumplings from the outdoor stand next to the entrance 
4 Sheng jian bao
With chilli sauce
LOCATION: Xiao Yang Sheng Jian Bao, Huanghe Lu, Shanghai
CATEGORY: Shanghainese, Snack food
DRINK: the delicious soup inside the dumplings
WE THINK: Argh so good! Just across the street from our other favourite dumpling spot in Shanghai, Xiao Yang serves up the most delicious sheng jian bao (fried pork soup dumplings with sesame seeds) we've had.
OUR TIP: Go on an empty stomach! As with normal soup dumplings, bite a little hole, drink the soup, don't burn your tongue, close your eyes, breathe, enjoy...

"Wow-so-tasty-gotta-have-more-of-these-now" dumplings

Shanghainese soup dumplings (xiaolongbao / tang bao) with pork and crab meat
(separate order of ginger-vinegar dipping sauce)

Egg and seaweed broth
LOCATION: Jia Jia Tang Bao, Huanghe Lu, Shanghai
CATEGORY: Shanghainese, snack food
DRINK: Ice tea
WE THINK: The dumplings in this place are unreal. How do the ladies at Jia Jia Tang Bao manage to fit so much soup into such small dumplings without bursting the skin? And how can the soup taste so much better than anywhere else? It's hard to write about these dumplings without getting a bit emotional. It's like talking about a bunch of good friends you don't know when you'll see again.
OUR TIP: (for the uninitiated) bite a small hole in the dumpling and drink the soup before dipping the dumpling in the ginger-vinegar sauce. Don't burn your tongue. Close your eyes. Breathe. Enjoy.

Friday, August 20, 2010

(Slightly unethical) deliciousness in Shanghai

Stir-fried ferns
Steamed Chinese radish
Steamed yams
Jellyfish tossed in chilli and sesame
Pork belly with Chinese mustard
Double-cooked Shanghai-style fish
Steamed crabs
Sake-infused Foie gras
Sharks-fin soup with abelone, scallops, swim bladder, sea cucumber, morels, porcini and chicken
Shanghai-style blanched prawns
Steamed grouper
Freshwater crabmeat ragout on baguette
Stir-fried celery, wood ear mushrooms, carrots and lily root petals
Chilli-fried lobster's tail and head
Roast duck in steamed mantou bun
Dessert: Hasma (snow frog's fallopian tubes) cooked in papaya, served hot
LOCATION: Tian Di Yi Jia, Bund 18, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, Shanghai, China
CATEGORY: Shanghainese, Chinese-western fusion, gourmet
DRINK: Mumm Cordon Rouge champagne, Chateau Chauvet, Bordeux 2007, Chateau Pontet-Canet, Pauillac 2004, Chateau Lascombes, Margaux 2005
WE THINK: Although we oppose the consumption of shark fins and find it deeply disturbing to harvest fallopian tubes of rare snow frogs - and particularly wrong to do this during the frogs' sub-snow hibernation (women: watch your tubes while sleeping!) - we also know a thing or two about Chinese social etiquette, and are fully aware of the guanxi suicide we would be committing if we had declined what our hosts were serving us this evening. Besides...the damage had already been done. Let's just say we sacrificed ourselves and our ethics for the sake of I EAT EVERYWHERE! In case it's not apparent from the substandard photos, the food in this place is divine and you can easily steer clear of ethically dubious dishes. Apart from possibly making it easier for you to sleep at night it will also render your meal considerably less expensive (as an example, the dessert was RMB 250/person, ca. £24 or 1/5 of the average monthly income in China...way pricier than the fruit platter!).
OUR TIP: Bring a dictionary (or a smartphone). Even though the menu comes with English translations, some of the dishes are so outlandish (ever heard of hasma before?) that you may wish to consult a dictionary or Wikipedia before placing your order.

Norfolk addiction...

LOCATION: The Victoria at Holkham, Holkham, Norfolk
CATEGORY: British, Seafood
1. Local Wells lobster salad with minted new potatoes
2. The Vic's classic haddock and spring onion fishcake with mango and chilli salsa
3. Dressed Cromer crab with new potatoes and red onion salad
4. Forest mushroom and truffle risotto
DRINK: Pint of 1664
WE THINK: The eating introduction spot to Norfolk was this nice little spot in a place called Holkham. Was sceptic about the much hyped seafood boom of Norfolk until this feast, which was a pure impulse stop for some starving tourists. Much to our surprise the simplicity of the menu, letting the local produce speak for itself, was as magnificent as any snazzy joint in any major city. This County is well worth a visit for any foodie and a must for all y'all seafood addicts!

Rats like noodles too! (they do)

The liangpi food stall
Preparing liangpi
The finished product: cold noodles with peanut, beansprouts, cucumber, gluten
Al fresco dining
LOCATION: A dirty alley in Shanghai (somewhere around Wuchang road)
CATEGORY: Chinese, Street food
WE THINK: You don't have to eat liangpi noodles in a dirty alley (like this one) in a Chinese metropolis, but we've discovered that they generally taste better if you do, and they can prove hard to track down elsewhere. So... although we could have brought back our favourite cold noodles (ubiquitously served in a plastic bag inside a styrofoam box) to our air-conditioned hotel room, sitting al fresco on a sticky plastic stool in 35C degrees heat next to Chinese topless men (not shown in photo) somehow seemed like the better option. yum. yum. yum. We could eat this every day.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Nerdy barista skills!

LOCATION: Environment Hair Salon
DRINK: Cappuccino
WE THINK: The boys at Environment have either way too much time on their hands or are totally OCD about the coffee they serve to their clients. Pretty nice surprise when going for your hair chopping to be presented with little warm touches like these... Respect!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Go Ape in Cape... town!

LOCATION: Superette, Capetown, SA
CATEGORY: Global, Brunch
FOOD: Scrambled egg topped with cripsy bacon and fried cherry tomato on sour dough bread with mixed leaf salad
DRINK: Cappuccino
WE THINK: Great breakie spot in Capetown, well prepared food from fresh local produce and excellent coffee too. Defo a must when in the most beautiful city in the world... or town should I say.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Best Ploughman's Lunch?... YES!

Lamb Ploughman's Lunch with Anchovy Fritters, Blue cheese
and traditional Ploughman's garnish
Fish'n'Tripple Fried Chips with homemade tartar sauce and mushy peas
Apple Crumble with homemade hazelnut ice cream

LOCATION: The Bull and Last, 168 High Gate Road, Kentish Town
CATEGORY: British, Gastro Pub
DRINK: Pint of Larger
WE THINK: Best Ploughman's we've had ever! Great produce, nice presentation and lovely atmosphere...
OUR TIP: Choose your time to go as it can be full of dog walkers and smelly wellies.. Try the scotch eggs with a generous slab af mustard... ADDICTION WARNING!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Italian simplicity...

LOCATION: Gusto, Westbourne Park Road
CATEGORY: Italian, Brunch
1. Poached eggs with Smoked Salmon on bed of spinach with toast
2. Mozzarella, Avocado and Rocket salad with tomato and pine nuts
DRINK: Cappuccino and Fresh Orange Juice
WE THINK: These Italian boys know what good standard and proper produce is! Good coffee too though it's hard to challange the peeps from down under these days... Nice varied yet simple breakfast/brunch menu
OUR TIP: Ask for the pine nuts to be roasted in their salad, nothing worse than the bad aftertaste of fresh pine nut oil...

When seal watching in North Norfolk...

LOCATION: The Orange Tree, Hunstanton, Norfolk PE36 6LY
1. 1/2 Dozen Thornham Oysters
2. Fricassee of Monkfish, King Prawns, Wild Mushroom's, Chorizo, tripplefried beans and spinach
3. Veal and Crab Mash with pea shoot and brocolli
4. Salmon medley, poached, smoked, pickled and pan fried with mint mushy peas
DRINK: House white
WE THINK: Not to miss this wonderful gem in tiny Hunstanton when seal watching in North Norfolk.