The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

backtracking through Japanese, Chinese, and pastry foodstuffs

If you don't follow my flickr account, you'll miss a lot of stuff. I've somehow managed to procrastinate not only in school work but also in blogging, which makes you wonder what I do with the rest of my time...

EATING, READING FOOD BLOGS, AND EDITING FOOD PHOTOS, perhaps. My life officially has no meaning. Yet here I am, to recap a few weeks of things I failed to mention. Be afraid. Very. Afraid.

BUT FIRST, there's still my questions about blogging. They're not super-important, as I think my paper is screwed anyway and it's unlikely that I'll let any of you read it even though I quoted some of you because it's kind of horrible, but if I get a good grade I'll change my mind. One problem is that I realized I "needed" scholarly sources. I gotta say, the scholarly world ain't that interested in food blogs. I have found information about blogging in general that I suppose I'll shove in for the sake of having something that looks valid, but that information is about more professional-level blogging. There are innumerable (well, I could count them...but no) newspaper/magazine articles about food blogging but that's not the same as a journal of some sort.


But back to food! It's time to go back. Waaaay back...[cue wobbly filter that makes you feel like you're going back in time because for some reason going back in time involves making the scene look like the top of a lake disturbed by flying rocks. Also, cue the dinkly chime-y music.]

covered in curry
curry noods

Before my food production final, I went to Men Kui Tei with my classmate/friend Nancy. I'm not a big ramen fan, but I do love curry and I had yet to eat a combination of the two. Curry ramen is basically ramen in soup...with lots of curry plopped on top. Mysterious dish, this is not. Tasty? Yeah. I can't think of anything that was wrong with it besides that it was GINORMOUS, HOLY CRAP, IT'S A SATELLITE DISH FILLED WITH NOODLES. (Okay, I'm exaggerating...but it's kinda huge.) The noodle texture didn't taste too soft or hard to me and the soup was full of curry, aka tasty delicious. I guess I still prefer rice with curry, but of course, you can't go wrong with noodles and curry or any carb and curry combination (I haven't had something like "curry on toast" yet, but I don't know why that wouldn't work). I also got a small grilled eel donburi, meaning that as usual, I ate enough for two normal people, or 10 babies. The restaurant is clean and bright and much larger than it looks from the outside. Lots of ramen, lots of rice dishes, lots of small plates, and not enough room in my stomach to hold it all in. God dammit.

I put in spices
spicy congee

Wouldn't you want to wake up to that bowl of congee every morning? Eeeeevery moooorning? Don't you like glistening oil and unidentifiable rice mash? I went to Congee Village with "congee is my comfort food, gimme now" Mary. The restaurant doesn't say this up front, but part of their policy is to rape your eyes with shiny bamboo. It's everywhere. It's not awful looking--it gives the place a warm, "I'm stuck in southeast Asia" feel. You could say the MoMA rapes your eyes with stark white walls. Why am I using "rape" so much? It's not funny! (But you kind of is. Unless you have experience with it. In which case, it's not. Sorry.)

Bottom line with Congee Village: congee good, dumplings bad. I don't know about you, but the congee I ate growing up was watery rice crap where you could see all the rice grains swimming in flavorless, opaque water. The only way to make this stuff taste good (and I love rice!) was to eat it with condiments, like pork floss and sweet pickles (of course, the congee wasn't meant to taste good...but still). The congee at Congee Village is like a blended rice porridge with much more flavor than any other congee I had (because they had none). However, I still needed to add chili sauce to make it more to my liking: BURNING HOT. Okay, not that hot. Kinda hot. I got the preserved egg and pork congee since I figured I never eat preserved egg and I rarely eat pork. Preserved egg? Not my thing. This kind of pork? Not my thing. It was still good though and easily the best congee I've ever had.

pumpkin trifle
pumpkin trifle

After bonding over congee like all slightly Chinese girls do, we headed to my favorite bakery, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, where my eyes caught sight of seasonal pumpkin trifle. "Pumpkin cake, eggnog puddin' and whipped cream": lordy. Why don't more bakeries make trifle? Pudding? Cake? TOGETHER? Hell, there should be a place that ONLY makes trifle. I'd live there...and die there from obesity. Do you really need me to tell you what the trifle tasted like? Channeling the spirits of Teen Girl Squad: SOOOO GOOD.

chocolate bomb trifle
chocolate bomb trifle

I got the chocolate bomb trifle so Mary and I could try two things. It wasn't as good as the pumpkin, not because it was bad by itself but because pumpkin pwnz most other things. Despite that it wasn't as swoon-worthy as the pumpkin trifle, I ate the whole thing. Horrified, I was. Mary didn't finish hers and, in a moment of intelligence, bought the leftovers home. Maybe I should do that someday, if I don't eat everything in my path beforehand.

hand pulled noodles

Since I've never had hand-pulled noodles before, I thought I may as well try them. Yes, I live life to its fullest: "I'M GONNA EAT ALL THESE NOODS BEFORE I DIE." From reading Plate of the Day, I found out that I lived about 10 minutes away from Foo Shing Hand Fresh Noodle Shop (hand fresh, people!) and after getting some things from Hong Kong Supermarket, I picked up a little bucket of beef noodle soup for $4 from the tiny shop where a dude in the back thwacks a dough log into long, thin strands of noodly goodness, hand fresh style!


They have other stuff, but you know me: not Chinese literate in any shape or form! Never will be! My brain has proven itself immune to Chinese; you can ask my parents. I asked the woman at the register what their menu was and she told me three or four things. I may not know Chinese but I can count (maybe), and it seems like there are more than four things. Translation, please.

So...noodles, fresh from the hand; how are they? Pretty good. They certainly taste fresh, unlike any other noodle I've had. However, I like noodles more al dente, so maybe I'm just not up for the fresh texture. Despite that they noodles tasted soft, they held up well to my chopstick jabbing, which I wasn't expecting. Soup was fine, beef was too tendon-y for my taste, but there are people who just like to eat PLAIN BEEF TENDON (them crazies) so I suppose they'd like this beef.

pretzel croissant

One morning before work I was walking around and thinking about food despite not being hungry, as usual, so I stopped (or walked a few blocks out of my way) into City Bakery to experience their flaky demigod: the pretzel croissant. The pretzel croissant is a $3 croissant with a salt-sprinkled shell that is harder than those of regular coissants but retains mega-layered squishy innards.

pretzel croissant innards
pretzel croissant innards

I'm glad to say it was worth $3, although I wasn't so enamoured by its buttery pastry-ness that I'd feel the need to eat it again. It's...well, you can see. This isn't one of those croissants that disappointingly resembles a hot air balloon in air-to-substance ratio. It's not especially pretzel-y but I guess that's a good name.

Choux Factory cream puff

Despite not being much of a cream puff fan, I went to Choux Factory last week since I was curious to try it and figured I may as well continue my "eating crap" theme of the day and destroy my immune system. Their cream puffs are pretty small but tasted fine to me. The filling is heavier and more like pudding than Beard Papa's, which I think is more airy and whipped cream-esque. The puff is interesting looking, like a rock mid-explosion. Thankfully it doesn't taste like a rock: crispy outside, soft inside. I don't have cream puff standards so I'll just was good. Not something I'd need to try again, but it was a nice snack.

sandwich innards
spicy chicken sammich

On Monday I went to Cafe Zaiya with Diana for a quick bite before going to the ITP show. I couldn't decide on any of the rice-based dishes, so I got a sammich, which is more like a burger-sammich than a tea-sammich. They carry both kinds but you know me...I like my fried chicken cutlet. This sandwich is officially my new favorite thing at Cafe Zaiya, not that it's amazing but it's just good. It's spicy, has a lot of chicken, doesn't overdo the sauce, and the bun is substantial (as it should be, from a bakery). Also, it's cheaper ($3.75 or so) than any other sandwich I've seen that would be anywhere near as delicious (to me, at least). IT WINS! THE SAMMICH! OH GOD. Maybe I'll eat it for lunch today.

...I ate more, but I think that's enough.


Kathy / December 21, 2005 8:09 PM

Holy moly, you did a lot of eating! I'm so envious! Especially of the PUMPKIN TRIFLE - it's like all the best things about the holidays mashed together in the most wonderful dessert.
How did Choux Factory compare to Beard Papas? I went to Beard Papa's quite often last year after they handed me more than a dozen coupons for free cream puffs outside Kimmel.
I heard so many people rave about the City Bakery pretzel croissants but am glad to know I'm not missing out on anything spectacular. Will be in the city during spring break, so we should meet up! :)

bowb / December 22, 2005 12:04 AM

argh! the pumpkin trifle!

a man walks into the post office with cake and ice cream in one ear and pudding and custard in the other. "may i help you, sir," says the counter girl. "you'll have to speak up; i'm a trifle deaf," the man replies.

the chocolate trifle looks pretty good too.

pumpkin / December 22, 2005 11:08 AM

You are my kindred soul! Now I don't feel so bad that there is chocolate and peanut butter ground into my yoga mat.

Ani / December 22, 2005 3:23 PM

I love spicy too. I have two good recipes with pumpkin if you like. A pumpkin trifle and also pumpkin bars(the best)! But it has eight sticks of butter in it. I kid you not!!

Su-Lin / December 22, 2005 5:17 PM

I too grew up with congee that has the whole grains of rice still visible in a watery broth. I have since learned that this is the Teochew style congee while the Cantonese style one is the thick kind.

Simon / December 22, 2005 9:08 PM

Yo , Foo Shing Hand Fresh Noodles are awesome eh? I love the oh so ghetto fabulous interiors too. The fluorescent lights, the tv propped above the door playing HK videos, the dude in the back whacking the dough - he just needs to have a half burnt cigarette hanging out of his mouth to make this restaurant a Steven Chow movie scene.

Cool glad you liked the place. Let me know and I will try to translate the menu - although my Chinese is pretty horrible.

-Simon AKA Plate Of The Day...

Mila / December 23, 2005 1:25 AM

Love the innards pictures. Thanks for a year of vicarious eating with you through the blog. Merry Christmas, er Happy Holidays, etc....

roboppy / December 23, 2005 2:43 AM

Kathy: FREE PUFFS?! Good god, where was I when this happened? I remember going on the day it opened and they had samples but I guess I didn't go around Kimmel...much. Dammit! As for how they compare, they're kinda...different. I'd just go for whatever's cheaper, to tell you the truth, which I think is Beard Papa's. The pretzel croissants are good, but I'm not a huge croissant-person...definitely try em out though! And yes, we shall go fooding.


Pumpkin: Eehee! At least you have a yoga mat. I JUST SIT ALL DAY...NEEEVER MOOVING.

Ani: Eight sticks of butter? Bring it on.

Su-Lin: Thanks for the info, I never knew that! I don't know my Chinese provinces, nuh uh.

Simon: Ghetto fabulous, yeah! Like a hole in the Asia. Sadly, I haven't seen any Steven Chow movies except for a tiny excerpt in class once. I NEED TO SEE ...A FULL MOVIE. As horrible as your Chinese may be, it cannot surpass the horribleness of mine!

Mila: Thanks, happy holidays to you too! Everyone loves innards! I mean, figuring they're not those of a cow being hacked in a meat processing plant with the guts being pulled out by guys wearing hard hats and gloves...anyway! Boop.

Simon / December 23, 2005 12:36 PM

Ok Robyn, here's the translation - Had to ask my GF for a little help (Left to right)

1) Beef Stomach (tripe) Hand Noodles
2) Beef Tendon Hand Noodles
3) Roast Duck Hand Noodle
4) Lamb Hand Noodle
5) House Special Hand Noodle

The others are just soup from there on.


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