My Eatinerary for Taiwan

This month I’m traveling to Taiwan to visit my relatives. I’m excited because I don’t get to see my family too often and when we get together, we always EAT. If you know anything about food in Taiwan, then you know that it’s GOOD. From street food to restaurants to all different types of cuisine, Taiwan is a foodie’s paradise. Eating out is actually very cheap and probably cheaper than eating in. In my family, food is definitely a way to express love, so I know it’s going to be an eat-a-thon while I’m there.

Here are the three dishes I MUST eat in Taiwan:

waterspinach
空心菜 (Kōngxīncài) or water spinach that is simply stir-fried with garlic… it’s one of my childhood favorites.


紅油抄手 (Hóng yóu chāoshǒu) or red oil wonton. This is a Sichuan dish, which I first experienced at Shilin Night Market in Taipei. It was love at first bite.


Last but not least, a Taiwanese staple that I grew up with: 牛肉麵 (Niúròu miàn) or beef noodle soup. This can be made with different variations of broth. Some like it spicy, some like it with tomato, but I like mine clear, especially when it comes from a place called廖家牛肉麵 (Liào jiā niúròu miàn). This place has one of the best beef noodle soups from my memory; so if you’re ever in Taipei, check it out:

Address: No. 111之14號, Jīnhuá St, Daan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Phone: +886 2 2351 7065

I could go on and on with night market foods, desserts, drinks, etc., but these three dishes are definitely my top cravings!

What are your favorite Taiwanese dishes or your favorite dishes to enjoy with your family?



Originally written for and published on MichellePhan.com

Seoul Sausage Ain’t Just About the Sausages

Having won season 3 of Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race,” being tweeted about by Bobby Flay as “LA food tip of the year,” and even making appearances in Michelle Phan’s “Week in Photos,” there’s definitely a lot of buzz about Seoul Sausage out there.


#AsiansTakingPicturesOfFood

I have been a fan since I first learned about them at the Korean BBQ Cook-Off in 2010. Back then it was all about their Korean fusion sausages. Three years later, with their storefront off of West LA’s Sawtelle, my taste buds and stomach are pleased with the evolution of Seoul Sausage’s menu. While sausages are still the main entrees, it’s the other menu items that are actually my faves!

1. Galbi Poutine – This is MY food tip of the year. Double fried fries topped with shredded braised short rib meat, homemade crema, scallions, and kimchi pickled onions. I ALWAYS order this one, because it is sooooo freakin’ good. And while I probably shouldn’t because it’s quite a hearty portion, I can eat one serving all by myself.

2. Da KFC – Korean Fried Chicken. It’s da bomb. Not your typical fried chicken found in Koreatown although it does come with Korean pickled radish. It’s perfectly crispy with the right amount of spiciness so that it’s not overly hot. And it’s paired nicely with some jalapeno kimchi cheddar cornbread. Mmm!

3. Balls. Say what? Yes, balls of rice combined with a variety of ingredients fried to perfection and served with different dipping sauces. Currently, there are three on their menu: Flaming (for the Korean flavor/kimchi lover), Osaka (for the Japanese curry lover), and Spam Musubi (for the spam/Hawaiian food lover).

Because everything on their menu is pretty darn good, your best scenario is going with a group of friends and ordering the “Seoul Pack” (one of everything) so that you can try all the deliciousness!


Looks like Michelle digs the Spicy Pork sausage.

Seoul Sausage Company
11313 Mississippi Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(310) 477-7739
seoulsausage.com

What’s your food tip of the year?



Originally written for and published on MichellePhan.com

Crazy for Coconut Water

I think the first time I had coconut water was at a Vietnamese restaurant when I was a kid. Back then, coconut water was definitely not trendy. In fact, I didn’t care for it that much. As my palette has changed over the years, I’ve come to really enjoy the taste. While I would prefer a fresh, young coconut over the packaged kind, it’s not always easy getting ahold of the real thing. So with all the boxed, bottled, and canned coconut water that’s available now, I’m on the hunt for the best one. Here are a few that I’ve tried and liked:

Perhaps one day I will conduct a legitimate taste test to be a legitimate coconut water connoisseur (if I do, I will be sure to write a follow up). As an amateur, I will say that I’m not a fan of the ones that contain additives or flavors. For me, it’s all about 100% pure coconut water.


Scooping out the meat is the best part! Mmm!

Nothing beats a fresh, young coconut. Coconuts in their young stage of growth pack the most health benefits. According to Wikipedia and WebMD, coconut water is packed with potassium, antioxidants and cytokinins (anti-aging hormones). And as one of the highest natural sources of electrolytes, it’s a great way to replenish after a sweaty workout. If you’re lucky and you live by an Asian market, you can probably get a box of 9 for about $10!


Hydration and antioxidants… how can coconut water not be good for the skin? Yup, that’s me happily drinking a fresh young coconut and my skin looks pretty darn good.

Would I drink coconut water everyday? Maybe. But it can definitely get expensive and plain H2O is still the best way to hydrate. What if I lived under a coconut tree? Yes, I would drink it everyday.

Learn more: The Truth About Coconut Water

What’s your favorite brand of coconut water?



Originally written for and published on MichellePhan.com

Homemade Sweet Potato Lattes

‘Tis the season of pumpkin spice lattes and eggnog lattes, but I’d like to take this moment to give thanks to the sweet potato latte. The sweet potato latte is not a real latte in the sense that it is not made with espresso, but it is certainly a warm and delicious treat for the winter!

I first discovered the sweet potato latte while living in Los Angeles’ Koreatown. You can almost find it at any Korean cafe, but if you know Korean cafes, then you also know that they can get a bit pricey! So for those on a budget or not in the proximity of Koreatown, I invite you to try the sweet potato latte in the comfort of your own home!

Ingredients for a single serving:

  • 2 tablespoons of sweet potato (baked)
  • 1 tablespoon of agave (or honey or maple syrup)
  • 1 cup of vanilla almond milk (or soy milk)

This is definitely not the proper way to make a latte, but this is how I do it:

  1. Bake a sweet potato (sometimes I bake a few at once and refrigerate them for later use)
  2. Boil milk
  3. Add sweet potato, sweetener, and milk to blender (I use a Magic Bullet)
  4. Blend then pour into your favorite mug!
  5. Top it off with some sliced almonds and/or cinnamon if you want to be fancy. Enjoy!

Obviously, all recipes can be modified to fit your personal taste. For example, you might want to use less or more sweet potato. You might even want to try it with a Japanese purple sweet potato! Be adventurous—this is your sweet potato latte!

What’s your favorite type of latte or non-caffeinated warm beverage for cold winter days?



Originally written for and published on MichellePhan.com

My Week in chEATS

Next month, I begin to contribute food blogs for MichellePhan.com. In honor of this, I present to you “My Week in chEATS” inspired by Mish’s “Week in Photos” series. For those who don’t know, I actually try to eat healthy most of the time by avoiding bad carbs, sugar, and processed foods… but sometimes or A LOT of times, I like to cheat or treat myself (now, which is it?). On top of that, I’m currently on Day 75 of my 90 Day Challenge, in which I really shouldn’t be eating any of the below:


Pie Hole after church on Sunday. Yes. Pie for lunch.


Unfortunately, I wasn’t satisfied with Pie Hole’s pumpkin pie, so I picked one up from Urth Caffe and saved it for Monday breakfast.


THEN Stella, my partner in crime with all the pie, decided to commit an even greater crime and bake pumpkin pie from scratch… leaving me with a whole one! It’s ok, I ended up passing it along to some friends after I consumed 1/4 of it (equating to 1/4 stick of butter and 1/2 lb. of sugar… gross).


Indian food for dinner. I love Indian food. However, I try to avoid carbs and heavy meals at night… but shoot… I was craving it. Mango lassi and all.


Post-Thanksgiving “Thanksgiving” dinner potluck. OH. I CHEATED BIG TIME alright. I didn’t even take photos of all the desserts that I dug into.


Late night El Taurino after catching Mike Schmid at the House of Blues on Wednesday night. My usual order: Carne Asada Tostada.

The worst thing about all these chEATS is that I missed all my workouts this week due to being sick :[ The best thing is that I got my fix of Urth Caffe’s pumpkin pie in which I have no regrets.

What did you indulge in this past week?

Philly Cheesesteaks in Hollywood

A while back, Aiko and I got to spend a day eating Philly cheesesteaks for Mnet’s “BPM” or “Beats Per Mnet.” I was recently informed that a clip of our episode is online (looks like the episode aired a month ago~ oops, had no idea!):

This clip doesn’t really show it, but we ate at two different spots: Hoagie Steak Out and Boo’s Philly Cheesesteaks and Hoagies. At Hoagie Steak Out, we tried the Superman Deluxe and the Rising Sun. Both were really good. While this place does not boast an authentic Philly cheesesteak, their fusion twist of one sure is delicious! At Boo’s, we got to taste a more authentic Philly cheesesteak. I had the Original Steak with Cheez Whiz. To be honest, I didn’t quite like it as much as the ones we tried at Hoagie’s, although, I do have to say that the leftover half from Boo’s was pretty amazing after I reheated it in the microwave the next day.

Anyway, if you’re ever craving a Philly cheesesteak in LA, definitely check these spots out~ Boo’s for a more authentic taste and Hoagie’s for something different!

Tsujita Seoul Sausage Snow

(Tsujita LA + Super Seoul Sausage Bowl + Snow Monkey). Sounds delicious, huh? Well, that’s what I ate last Super Bowl Sunday!

Started the day with some pre-game Tsujita LA tsukemen with Michelle Phan:

Then spent most of the day at the Super Seoul Sausage Fest Bowl eating sausage after sausage (trust me, this video could’ve been really dirty):

And of course, there’s always room for dessert! Snow Monkey‘s a new fave:

Good food. Good company. Good times.

Dessert

For some reason, while I’ve been in Hong Kong… I must always have dessert.

I just need that sweet ending or I’m totally not satisfied. It might be because I haven’t found HK food to be all that spectacular (no offense, HK peeps!). I think coming from Taiwan where every single meal was sooo good… then coming to HK, I was quite disappointed with the food (don’t get me wrong, there have been a few exceptions, i.e. dim sum, specialties like pigeon, and some Western and non-Chinese cuisine). Anyway, I’ve found that I get more satisfaction from dessert than the actual meal. And most times… I look at the dessert menu first now. Haha. It’s weird, cuz’ I was never really a dessert person until HK!

RoRo’s Chicken

Tonight, I had Lebanese food for the very first time! My dear friend, Jeannie Mai, who is quite the health-conscious foodie (you can find her reviews on Yelp), took me to RoRo’s Chicken and ordered me a buncha things to try…

A lil’ bit of Shawerma, Chicken Shawerma, Kafta kabab over rice with salad and Baba Ghanouj. Btw, I forgot to take a photo before eating… so this is midway through devouring the goodness.

“What’s this Baba Ghanouj stuff? Hmm… Ooo, yes, it is GOOOD.”

So what’d I think of RoRo’s Chicken? Delicious. I totally loved the Shawerma (great with their garlic butter!) and the Baba Ghanouj was yummy, too. Super filling.

Ahhh, what better way to wind down after an amazing dinner? Good company, sweets, and wine! P.S. – That bottle of wine was given to Jeannie as a gift from Mario Lopez. Just had to mention that. Haha.

Ramenbox.com

With every New Year comes NEW ideas! I’d like to introduce Ramenbox.com to y’all. “The world’s first customizable box of ramen.” I have a feeling this is going to be quite popular with college students and well, people like me who don’t always have the time to cook or don’t know how to cook. Haha.

You can pick from over 50 choices of premium instant noodles and have it all packed and shipped to you in one box!

My dear friend, Becky Wu, and her friend, Howard, came up with this awesome idea. The site launched on New Year’s Day and I had to order myself a box! I am very pleased to say that the shipment came via FedEx within 5 days and was definitely packed with care (and love!).

I should be angry that they spilled coffee on my packing slip.

But it’s ok… Becky hooked it up with some extras! 😀

My general thoughts of Ramenbox.com: The site is really easy to use! The price ain’t bad for what you get. The shipment came within 5 days and was packed nicely. And well, what else is there to say? Besides that I think it’s a great idea!

Here’s what they have to say about themselves: Because of its unique idea, a lot of people ask us how Ramenbox.com® came to be. We can only say it was born from hunger. Hungry for the world to finally discover they had more options than just plain old Top Ramen® and Cup O’Noodles®, and hungry for….well, for amazing instant ramen. We thought, instead of driving to three different supermarkets to grab all of our favorite instant noodles (you know you have your favorites too), we thought wouldn’t it be great if one place had them all? So we let the idea stew in our heads for oh, 3 minutes and presto, Ramenbox.com® was cooked and ready. The worlds first, customizable Ramenbox.

Ramenbox.com

P.S. – I will be sure to submit my review of each package of noodles I try! I ordered a variety of them! So far I know the Green Tea Chlorella one is good (even though it might not sound good~ haha)! 😛