Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Coffee in New Orleans

Coffee first came to North America through New Orleans back in the mid-1700's. It was the time when French brought coffee with as they began to settle new colonies along the Mississippi.

The uniqueness of coffee served in New Orleans is "The taste of coffee and chicory" -- it was developed by the French during their civil war which they imported coffee by mixing it with ground, roasted chicory root (which they could grow locally). It is added to the coffee to soften the bitter edge of the dark roasted coffee.

The original cafe in New Orleans must be "Cafe Du Monde" -- where I visited was the original one in French Market, French Quarter. This stand was established in 1862 and is open 24 hours.

Must try items at Cafe Du Monde are : Coffee (of course) and Beignets.
The recommended coffee of Cafe Du Monde are Black Coffee or Cafe Au Lait (which -- is black coffee mixed half and half with hot milk).

Beignets are square French -style doughnuts, covered with powdered sugar (icing sugar). The texture of beignets is like a Chinese "Youtiao or You Tiao" or "Pah-tong-kho" in Thai -- which is a long, golden-brown, deep fried strip of dough. However, Beignets have more of butter aroma.

To know more about coffee culture in New Orleans :

About Cafe du Monde :

American Dessert

As soon as I reached hotel in New Orleans, I ordered American dessert. Actually it was in the room service (late nite meal).

From the picture, there are a warm chocolate topped with Rasberry sauce and Vanilla Ice-cream (Haagen-Daz).

Actually I did not expect to be this big. There are 3 big scoops in a bow, and a big (approximately 2.5 inches height and 3 inches in dimeter). Ha Ha Ha, I finished it all -- it's so yummy (thick chocolate) !!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Hot Udon at Narita Airport

Since I had a 4 hour transit in Narita Airport, of course, Japanese Food. I needed a hot one since it would increase my energy for almost another almost 20 hours till the destination.

Here were udon that we (I and others from my company) had at "TATSU" in Terminal1

1) Wakame Udon -- Hot Udon with Japanese Seaweed
2) Kitsune Udon -- Hot Udon with Fried Tofu
3) Tempura Udon -- Hot Udon wth Fried Shrimp

Even I feel that Udon is not freshly made (instant), I was appreciated it very much since I thought of another long hours from Tokyo to Chicago in plane.

Simple for a start to USA Trip

This is a starting point of my journey to USA (it was will a long trip from home). My first meal was simple at airport lounge -- toast with black coffee ...

The trip started from Bangkok (Suvanabhumi Airport) --> Tokyo (Narita Airport) --> Chicago (O'Hare Airport) --> New Orleans (Louis Amstrong).

Below are some of my inflight meal in United Airlines -- just wonder why don't serve Japanese Food (since it was transited at Tokyo) ?!?!?

In addition, flying with United Airlines economy, there is an optional to buy an "Economy Plus" Level. As they said, more leg room proivded. It is true !!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Last meal over Japan's Sky

I flew Singapore Airline to Japan -- it was a direct flight from Bangkok to Tokyo. Talking about service, no doubt very perfect !!!
Meal, of course, was also perfect too (even it's economy class) ... They served drinks & snack (peanuts) followed by menu of the meal. Main meal was a mix of oriental & Japanese meal ... What I liked most is that it contained Zaru Soba & Sembe !!!

Note :
- The most basic soba dish is Zaru Soba which is boiled and then make cold noodles. It would be eaten with a soya based dipping sauce (tsuyu), wasabi, nori seaweek, and negi (Japanese leek).
- Sembe is Japanese rice cracker

The last amazing thing for me was ice-cream -- It was not normal ice-cream, but it was a Fauchon Brand !!! Fauchon is a luxury food shop in Paris, similar in stature to Fortnum & Mason in London.

See ?!?!? as I told " You can find any (luxury) brand in the world in Japan" ....
I Love Japan --- Promise, I will be there again ...
Bye Bye for now, Japan ...

Shinkansen cart girls

In Shinkansen, there are cart girls who push the snack and drink carts down the aisle (from carriage to carriage) ...

On the cart, it consists of beverage and light snack ... from drinking water, hot tea, hot coffee, to extruded packaged snack ... and sandwiches. However, there is no Ekiben !!!

What I like about this cart girl is that she will always slide the door before enter the carriage and bow to passenger before entering in. Likewise, she would bow again to passenger before leaving the carriage .... Japanese Culture !!!

Noted that Coffee in Shinkansen Service is brew coffee. However, it was put into small boiler (located at the top of the cart). When I ordered it, she poured directly to the foam cup (JR Central Passenger as I travelled in Japan central area) together with stirer, sugar sachet, small milk cup, and of course tissue napkin -- cost 300Yen.


Japanese rolled omelet is called tamagoyaki or dashimaki. It's also known as a Japanese-style egg roll.

There are many types of tamagoyaki. Some are sweet and some are salty. Also, it can be added fillings in to make it colorful. Tamagoyaki is usually cooked in a rectangular omelet pan.

see how to make tamagoyaki :

It used to be said "To judge which sushi shop is good, you can judge by their tamagoyaki" ... However, nowadays we cannot since there's company (manufacturer) deliver tamagoyaki to some of sushi shop.

At this shop, I was able to tell that they made this by their own since it's so fresh, so juicy ... so good ... melt in my mouth !!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sukiyaki Set

Nabe of Nabemono is a cooking pot plus mono things, stuffs, kinds) is a term referring to all varieties of Japanese steamboat dishes.

Sukiyaki is one kind of nabe -- consists of meat (usually thinly sliced beef), slowly cooked or simmered at the table, alongside vegetables and other ingredients, in a shallow iron pot in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin.

Our ingredients cooked with pork, shrimp (instead of beef) are: Tofu, Negi (a type of scallion), Leafy vegetables, Mushrooms, Konyaku, and Udon.
I have learnt that there are two ways to prepare sukiyaki as :
1) Kantō (Tokyo) region : the ingredients are stewed in a prepared mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sake, and mirin
2) Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto region), the meat is first grilled in the pan greased and other ingredients are put over these. A raw egg has been broken into a bowl, one egg for each person.
However, when we asked the shopkeeper, she told us to put pork and shrimp first then followed with vegetable & udon ...
That's it, my last dinner in Japan -- so huge !!!

Japanese Strawberry : Ichigo Daifuku

During the period I went to Japan, it's the season of strawberry. Thus, I saw lots of strawberry contained on/in/under/inside food !!!

But the most impressed one was in traditional mochi dessert --- This shop is on Ginza (which is known as an upmarket area of Tokyo with many department stores, boutiques, restaurants and coffeehouses). This shop sells traditional Japanese dessert but the most popolar is daifukumochi (or Daifuku in short, literally "great luck", is a Japanese confection consisting of a small round mochi stuffed with sweet filling, most commonly anko (sweetened red bean paste).

As this is strawberry season, this shop has a special item "Ichigo daifuku" which contained strawberry and anko (red bean paste), inside a small round mochi. This mostly eaten during the spring time. It was invented in the 1980s. Many patisseries claim to have invented this type of daifuku, so exact origin is still vague.

I've never tasted anything like this before. It.. so soft , so strawberry from outside through inside. I love Japanese Strawberry ...

Tokyo Midtown : Onigiri shop

Tokyo Midtown is a composite urban district with a new style. It comprises a package of six buildings set with greenery. This town features a variety of facilities such as stores, restaurants, offices, hotels and museums.

Talking about foods & cafe section, I impressed with the B1Floor here. Lots of shops located here under Tokyo Midtown.

One of my favorite shop was an onigiri shop called "Komedokoro Raijinkow" -- There were many types of Onigiri (Rice Ball) from traditional filled with pickled ume fruit (umeboshi), or salted salmon, and any other salty or sour ingredient.

In the big picture, there are two types of onigiri ; (a) salted onigiri wrapped with seaweed (b) white sesame onigiri (c) Oolong Tea
We decided to take seat to have a proper eating since this shops has a space for eat-in at the back. However, more of take away (take home) were preferred. The eat-in seating mood were set as in the past (Traditional Japanese) as brown woody tone.

More information about Tokyo Midtown :

Monday, April 14, 2008

Japanese Green Tea Dessert

If coming to Japan, we must experienced Japanese Green Tea Miracle. One of the miracle is in Japanese Sweets and Tea.

One shop we went into were "Kyo Hayashiya" at Tokyo Midtown. This shop is very famous on matcha (green tea) dessert (actually anything made by matcha from desserts, roll cake, biscuit, to udon). It was established in Kyoto since 1753 -- of course, famous came with long queue in front of the shop.

The most famous Matcha-producing regions are Uji in Kyoto (tea from this region is called "Ujicha"). Matcha is generally expensive compared to other forms of tea, although its price depends on its quality

What we ordered were :
1) Japanese Shaved Iced Dessert (Kakigori) serve with green tea ice cream, mochi, and sweet bean paste.
2) Macha : Macha is a fine, powdered green tea -- Because matcha can be bitter, it is traditionally served with small sweet.
More information of Kyo-Hayashiya :

During the time we went to Kyoto, we tried to eat at Kyo-Hayashiya -- but with the long queue, we decided not to queue in and go to the next shop (along the way to Gion Area). We ordered :
a) Green Tea Parfait ice-cream (green tea ice-cream with layers of green tea sponge cake topped with green tea whipped cream. b) Another set is Mitarashi dango with macha. Dango is a Japanese dumpling made from mochiko (rice flour), often served with matcha green tea. Mitarashi is a syrup made from shouyu (soy sauce), sugar, and starch.

How to make Matcha :
Place a small amount of matcha into the bowl, traditionally using a bamboo scoop called a chashaku, then add a modicum of hot (not boiling) water. Then mix by whisking consistency, using a bamboo whisk known as a chasen (until no lumps left in the liquid and no ground tea remain on the sides of the bowl.

Mos Burger

MOS came from the initial letters of "Mountain Ocean Sun", is a fast food restaurant chain that originated in Japan. Actually, it is now the second-largest fast-food franchise in Japan after Mc Donald's. Yes, this is Japanese fine buger shop.

Interesting menu is MOS Rice Burger -- which use a bun made of rice mixed with barlet and millet. Below right is the picture of 'kaisen kakiage rice burger' (fresh seafood shrimp fritter rice burger).

Seating normally have Counter or Normal Table. At this shop, at the front, there is a signage inform number of seat available in each floor.

American Coffee in Japan

I noticed that I can find any product (especially food) in Japan. For example Coffee Shop, not only Starbucks, but also Tully's.

Tully's is an American brand which operated and franchised specialty retail stores in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Arizona and its global alliance partner in Japan (by Tully's Coffee Japan. Tully’s premium coffees are available at more than 400 branded locations.

On the other hand, I also found Dean & Deluca Espresso Bar here in Tokyo. Dean & Deluca Retail Shop was set up by Joel Dean and Giorgio DeLuca majority in USA. Since Dean & Deluca retail store has fresh-roasted coffees from around the world, they are able to service customer with Dean & Deluca Espresso Bar. Don't mention about Dean & Deluca Retail Shop in Ropponghi Hill (a very big one)