Oh, home. I love home. Whenever I go home I find that I’m in this room most of the time, watching either my mom or grandma prepare breakfast, lunch, dinner, and/or some snack. During every waking hour of the day, someone is always in the kitchen prepping or cooking. This past Christmas, I learned how to make Braised Pork Over Rice (卤肉饭), a classic Taiwanese comfort food. I have yet to meet a single person who doesn’t enjoy this.
Finished product! The pork belly that we used was a bit too fatty… hence all of the extra oils. Feel free to use less fatty meats or skim the fat (or eat it like me because it has so much flavorrrrrr). The recipe is very simple and very similar to my Red Cooked Pork Belly that has become quite popular.
Couple pounds of pork belly (sorry, this recipe isn’t super precise but it’s also because it doesn’t need to be). Blanche the pork belly (aka. dump slabs of the meat into boiling water for about a minute and take out). This gets rid of some of the gamey flavors. Then chop them up into 1cm thick bits.
Diced onion, garlic, and ginger.
Star anise, cinnamon, ginger, a few bay leaves, and rock sugar (not pictured). Continue reading Shi’s Kitchen: Taiwanese Braised Pork Over Rice (卤肉饭)
380 Lafayette St. (between 4th and Great Jones St.)
New York, NY 10003
Pardon my absence, but I’ve been super busy on the receiving end and giving end of what I have come to hate with a passion: the flu. I definitely remember a time when the flu was just a minor annoyance that actually came with tremendous benefits, such as missing school and being taken care of. The pains from the flu have gotten exponentially worse as I’ve aged. Yes, I would much rather go to work than feel like a train ran over my body and a thousand samurais lived in my throat.
Anyway, after more than 30 hours of sleep over three days and over 30 cups of water, I am now well enough to blog for you. You’re welcome!
M.B., Y.N., L.S and I recently got brunch at Lafayette, a very New York style French restaurant, reminding me of Balthazar. I’m going to say upfront that my experience at Lafayette was also very similar to Balthazar: mediocre food in a nice, bustling, classic New York feeling restaurant. M.B. and I got orange and grapefruit juices to vitamin C up our morning before our meal.
After at least 15 minutes perusing the menu, Y.N. and I both finally settled on the Smoked Salmon Benedict on Brioche with Sauce Choron ($21). I really actually wanted the breakfast sandwich but it was a $16 breakfast sandwich that I know wouldn’t have been as good as a Sausage Egg McMuffin. So I decided to at least get something worth a bit more, like smoked salmon. Continue reading Lafayette: skip the brunch and have a croissant
191 Chrystie St
(between Delancey St & Rivington St)
New York, NY 10002
Brunch is not just waking up too late on Sunday for breakfast but too early for lunch in NYC. Brunch is its own category of gastronomy here where people plan brunches weeks in advance. There’s the ladies-who-lunch, boozy-brunch, birthday-brunch, or any-occasion-brunch. Regardless of which it is, brunch is an activity that New Yorkers are willing to shell out the time and money for.
Freemans is a pretty classic NYC brunch place. Most people have heard of and have been to it. It’s tucked into a tiny alley that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The food is American comfort food. I’ve been here twice and my impressions both times were that they do all their food well. There’s nothing fancy or spectacular. The vibe is very much simple and rustic, just like how Gordon Ramsay would like it. Pictured here is the Skillet Eggs, Bacon, Spinach and Gruyere with buttered sourdough toast ($12) that I ordered. Portions are adequate, neither stingy nor doggy-bag worthy. My skillet eggs were runny and creamy, coating the bacon and spinach with a layer of yolky goodness. Continue reading Freemans for Brunch
80 Spring St
(between Crosby St & Broadway)
New York, NY 10012
The first time I came to NYC as an “adult,” I was a college sophomore rebelliously skipping Friday classes to make the 5-hour trek to the big city. The only meal I distinctly remember having was at Balthazar. We went for dinner and I remember it feeling super NYC… busy, trendy, with a hint of stuffiness. I hadn’t returned since…until Y.N. invited me to join her and L.N. for brunch. LAW and I decided to go for the bread (they have a bakery next door known for its baguettes) and for the company, of course.
Y.N. read my mind and asked if we could share the bread basket ($21.00). L.N. was on the same page and had apparently already asked for a bread basket… on the house. L.N. manages a number of restaurants in NYC, including Dos Caminos (which I need to check out), so he has the hook-ups. For a bakery that supplies so much bread to numerous restaurants and cafes in Manhattan, I expected more from Balthazar’s bread basket. It wasn’t bad. The croissant was buttery and light. The pecan sticky bun was fresh and properly glazed. The golden raisin walnut bread was dense and flavorful. But nothing stood out… the breads weren’t particularly moist, chewy, soft, or crusty. The bread wasn’t hot or cold. It was room temperature. Really nothing to write home about. Continue reading Balthazar, a NYC Classic for Brunch
9 E 18th St
(between 5th Ave & Broadway)
New York, NY 10003
Thanks to M.B., I was lucky enough to be invited to sample Rosa Mexicano’s new brunch and late night menu to be offered from February 23rd to March 10th (starts tomorrow!). I stepped out of work for about an hour and a half on a Tuesday morning and started off the day with a shot of tequila. Rosa Mexicano skips coffee.
I was then offered a chaser, a Chilled Horchata de Coco, which is a classic Mexican beverage made from pressed rice milk infused with coconut. The smooth and creamy flavor of coconut soothed my stomach from the tequila and prepared me for the rest of my meal. The aftertaste was subtly of sweet rice. Mr. Howard Greenstone, president and CEO of Rosa Mexicano, explained to us that they chose to add more sugar than typically added in traditional horchatas to better suit the palate of Americans. I appreciated his honesty. Truly. One of my pet peeves is when Chinese restaurants that clearly know they are not making Chinese food, market their food as “authentic.” There’s nothing wrong with a good regional twist. Continue reading Rosa Mexicano kicks off their Flavors of Mexico series with a new Desayuno menu – officially launching tomorrow!
I love Japanese Tofu (日本豆腐). Despite it’s name, it is actually a Chinese tofu made with eggs and soy milk. They are sold in tubes in Chinese supermarkets and are much more expensive than regular silken tofu – for good reason. The eggs make the tofu particularly smooth and silky and the extra protein makes it slightly more filling than traditional silken tofu. I also love the slightly eggy flavor. This was my first time making it and I’d like to say it was a success! Continue reading Homemade Stir-fried Japanese Tofu
I randomly decided to buy pork floss from HK Supermarket the other day because it is possibly one of the greatest comfort foods. I grew up eating this and always felt that we, the pork floss and I, had a very special relationship. It was a little weird like I was*, kind of funny looking**, and often misunderstood***. It was also always looking out for me. Anytime a bland food would force itself upon me, Pork Floss would always be on the rescue to make life a little sweeter, saltier, and tastier.
Anyway, with Pork Floss readily available in my kitchen cupboard, I decided to make a Taiwanese Club Sandwich for brunch. This is a type of sandwich that you can find in every bakery in China or Chinatown. Like the banh mi from my last post, this is a East-meets-West fusion kind of sandwich.
Continue reading Taiwanese Club Sandwich
Delicious potato pancake (aka hashbrown) … it was crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. It soaked up the yolk from the poached egg perfectly. The egg was just the way I like it. The smoked salmon was a nice salty addition to the egg/potato combination. The fresh greens were nothing special but made me feel somewhat healthy.
Definitely want to try their pumpkin pancake served with cinnamon yogurt next time.
A lack of ingredients in the pantry has led to some creativity. Fried up some marinated ground pork and spicy green peppers. Cooked the meat until it was dry and slightly crispy. Also scrambled some eggs together – lately, I’ve been throwing the eggs directly into the pan without beating first. This way, the eggs whites cook quicker and I can have soft orangey egg yolk in my scramble. Anyway, put the meat dish and eggs on top of an english muffin half and grilled the sandwich. I used honey wheat english muffins; the honey ended up complementing the spicy peppers very well.
Clinton St. Baking Company
4 Clinton St
(between Avenue B & Houston St)
New York, NY 10002
BEST buttermilk biscuit sandwich I have ever had. We waited in line for an hour and a half (we also went at prime hour, Saturday at noon) to have breakfast here. The biscuit is not overly buttery (unlike the one at Popeye’s, which I also really like) yet somehow still tastes so damn good. It is slightly crumbly, which pairs perfectly with their homemade tomato jam (what ketchup tries to be). The scrambled eggs are creamy and the hash browns are crisp on the edges and soft otherwise. You can still taste bits of sea salt crusted on the crispy edges of the potato… mmm… Continue reading Clinton St. Baking Company: Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich