Quinoa was one of those ingredients on our list of things we didn’t cook with and couldn’t pronounce. Turns out, this grain-like edible seed packs quite the nutritional punch. Full of protein, fibre, iron and calcium, quinoa is great for gluten-free diets, vegetarians and those who are lactose intolerant.
Ayaka managed to avoid quinoa her entire life. That is until her brother had to adopt a gluten-free diet. She was pushed out of her culinary comfort zone and had to work with this unfamiliar ingredient. The resulting experiment turned out to be a delicious one. Continue reading →
Dining at an ethnic restaurant is supposed to transport diners to the exotic country of the cuisine’s origin.
Most of the time they do not.
The end result is palate numbing combination of forgettable fusion and perpetual fortune cookies with traditional recipes being tailored to suit Western palettes. Huong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant however is the rare exception.
Taking a cooking course abroad is the great way to expand one’s kitchen prowess while experiencing a country’s culinary culture. You get learn new skills and prepare authentic regional specialities with the added bonus of being able to eat your homework. It is also one of Ayaka’s favourite travel pastimes, being a firm believer that anything that ends with food in your stomach must be good. When our latest cookbook Jeffrey Saad’s Global Kitchen: Recipes Without Borders arrived at our door, it immediately drew our attention as it connected with our shared weakness for travel and ethnic foods.
Bistro Taiyo Sushi Bar & Izakaya, located in the heart of Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter has served up authentic Japanese home-style cuisine for years. Under new ownership since 2011, Takeshi Hirose and Shin Koshimizu have given it a sophisticated remodel while still keeping true to the character and friendly atmosphere of its previous incarnation. From the moment you are warmly welcomed by the gracious all Japanese staff, you feel as though you’ve stepped into a small restaurant in Tokyo, minus the happy hour crowd in suits. The space though modest, features a sleek sushi bar where one can get a front row seat of sushi chefs in action. In addition, there are tables lining a bench and wooden chairs with traditional paper lanterns floating from the ceiling. While we do recommend that you pull up a seat at the sushi bar, we grabbed a table in anticipation of the serious spread we planned on ordering. The extra table space was needed. Continue reading →
Vietnam will always have a special place in both of our hearts and our livers (thanks to the mass consumption of Vodka Vietnam). We met and worked at a pho restaurant and spent the better part of two months backpacking through the bustling streets of Hanoi down to the serene waters of the Mekong Delta. It’s only fitting that our first food post paid homage to our ongoing fling with Vietnam.
Salad rolls (Goi Cuon) are a popular light Vietnamese snack food served cold or at room temperature. Ubiquitous in Western pho houses everywhere, our version comes with a West Coast twist; with smoked salmon lox and grilled scallops replacing the usual chicken and shrimp. For added flavour, we grilled our veggies, marinated our scallops in spicy peanut sauce and used Thai basil as well as cilantro. While most Western recipes calls for a peanut dipping sauce, our rendition is served with the traditional fish sauce (Nuoc cham). This was an experimental recipe with delicious results. These can be made well in advanced, perfect for entertaining guests.