The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

cheapo dinner

I hadn't eaten food from Chinatown in a while. Since it conveniently appears en route from campus to my dorm, I dropped by. On a Saturday night. Oops.

You know how it's usually hard to choose something from a Chinese restaurant menu because there are 500 choices? It can go both ways.

le menu
taho or turnip cake?

There's a shop on Mott Street that sells loads of tofu and noodles. And...this stuff. Even though I've passed it innumerable times, I've never tried it. With every other eating place either packed to the brim or closed/near closing, I relenquished two $1 bills in exchange for some unhealthy but life-sustaining (eh, at least for one night) food.

turnip cake
turnip cake

The turnip cake had a nice crust all around, my only complaint being that I couldn't cut through it with my plastic fork (which is why someone invented knives; good work). I dipped each bite in brown goo/oyster sauce but turnip cake tastes fine without sauce. If you've never had turnip cake before, I can't really describe. Yeah, if I were less lazy I could, but you know. Lazy. Just trust me when I say that it tastes good.

hot taho
hot taho

Taho is a dessert of silky tofu and sweet syrup. It would be better with honey (to satisfy my sometimes insatiable sweet tooth) but since it comes with a little container of syrup, I used that. Diluted by the tofu water in the container, my first thought was "Damn, I wish it were sweeter." I decided to just drink some of the syrup to see how sweet it was's pretty sweet. If I get taho again, I should probably drain it first of something. However, it's not one of my favorite foods--I've eaten it once so far this year, and I had it once last year--so I don't know when I'd feel like trying honey taho.

I wasn't planning to eat a $2 dinner; who would? I thought I was going to eat dinner and see a movie with some friends, but the plans didn't pan out. No one's to blame, but I felt really...depressed. As you can see, I don't partake in many social activities so when something comes along that I might be interested in, I usually take advantage of it. Not only did that dinner plan come about, but my old roommate from last year invited me to her apartment for a Harry Potter party. I didn't feel like going by myself though, so I skipped that (also, I didn't want to be surrounded by food I couldn't, yes, damn food). My mood was basically killed after waiting in the library (which isn't a fun place to sit in, if you've ever been there) for half an hour, unable to reach my friend's cell phone.

Despite being depressed, I was still hungry. No, not starving, but my stomach wanted something. Roaming around Chinatown was somewhat depressing as every restaurant looked crowded and I didn't want to wait long for something (I've never done take-out from any of the restaurants but I suppose most of them do that). I went to Fay Da Bakery on Mott Street with a hankering for a taro rice ball but there were so many people with arms outstretched with dollar bills and pastry-filled trays lining up on the counter that I figured it was best to leave.

The day before, I decided to actually cook a meal. Hell, I have a kitchen! And some cook-able food. And a baking tray. I should do something with those components.

roasted potato onion stuff in a bowl
roasted potato onion stuff

So I did. I roasted two potatoes and one and a half onions (the half was leftover) in a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes, during which the fire alarm went off TWICE because of the heat. It wasn't like the kitchen became a furnace, so I guess the alarm is just super sensitive. To avoid having my eardrums blasted with high pitched beeping, I'm just going to...not roast anymore. Not like I ever did it before.

Tired. Time for bed. You'll hear my asthma-rant later.


Kathy / October 16, 2005 4:09 AM

Yay! you went to my favorite spot for taho. I think it's the only dessert that LA does a better job of than NYC. I bought those exact same turnip cakes from the exact same place for the end of semester F&C presentation (I did my paper on dim sum). And yes, I went to there alone also:) Man. If only we knew each other last year!

Mila / October 18, 2005 3:59 AM

Radish cakes are one my favorite dimsum foods (along with all sorts of siomai, hakaw and other dumpling styled foods). I don't know what radish cake or taro/turnip cake is in chinese, I would just point at it in the tea houses. I also bought them by the half kilo in China, as they're a popular chinese new year food.
Here in Manila, taho with syrup is a street food, hawkers sell them by the cup along the roads. For better quality taho, there's a restaurant that steams the freshly made taho in a bamboo container. It's soft and delicate, without that bad grainy soy aftertaste. We also add sago balls to the the dish for added texture.

Beth - The Zen Foodist / October 18, 2005 2:12 PM

My favorite restaurant in NYC's Chinatown is called Joe's Shanghai. The only problem is that this is everyone else's favorite restaurant, too. So it's very crowded, but worth every minute of the wait. If you ever go there, try the pork dumplings, scallion pancakes, and cold noodles! Now, I want to jump on the next JetBlue flight! :)

Jason Truesdell / October 21, 2005 4:09 AM

Sometimes simple, basic, inexpensive food is the most memorable. Actually I like fresh soft tofu with a little ginger and a splash of soy sauce... nothing else is necessary, if the tofu is fresh.

I frequently make green onion pancakes at home, but I've not yet attempted turnip cakes... sounds like something I should play with.

Amruta / December 3, 2005 5:58 AM

wow i was just doing research on Chinese food and came by this and interesting entry! so much so that i actually 4got my project and went on reading! anything for yummylicious food!!!

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