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Showing posts from August, 2013

How to Make a Ramen Egg - Recipe (Hanjuku Egg, Nitamago, Ajitsuke Tamago)

People complain that it's hard to get around in Japan because you're literally lost in translation. This isn't true for a number of reasons which I won't go into now, but especially when it comes to food.

Most restaurants, even the high-end ones, have amazing plastic models in their windows called "sampuru" which show you pretty much exactly what you're going to get; when you get inside, the menus often contain pictures; and a lot of more casual places make you order in advance from a machine which has photos of all the dishes (it's a bit like buying a car park ticket, but what you get in return is a hell of a lot more fun).





I loved using these machines because you could easily build up the craziest order possible without any confusion - press this button for extra noodles, that button for tempura on the side - but my favourite button was the one which got you a ramen egg.

A ramen egg, if you're unaware, is the second most delicious soft-boiled egg i…

How to Make a Ramen Burger - Recipe

Hot on the heels of the food trend known as the cronut comes the Ramen Burger.

Made popular by Keizo Shimamoto, writer of the blog Go Ramen! and now ramen chef in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, this culinary mash-up is a sister to MOS Burger's famous rice burger, this time using ramen noodles as the unlikely burger receptacle - ie the ramen is the burger bun.

And like MOS Burger, its roots come from Japan - unsurprising as Shimamoto, a second-generation American Japanese-American, ditched his career in finance to study the art of ramen in Tokyo itself.




The Japanese forerunner to the ramen burger is more traditional - all the usual elements are there, including cha shu pork, naruto fishcake, menma bamboo shoots, spring onions - portable ramen - whereas the American Ramen Burger is a proud fusion, much like Shimamoto himself.

The most famous of the old-school ramen burgers comes from Furusato-tei in Kitakata City, but the ramen burger in its present form was introduced to the world by fast foo…

I Don't Like Crickets ... Sous Chef and the Rentokil Restaurant

Growing up in Britain as a Burmese child was weird in a lot of ways.

One of these was that my diet was entirely Burmese at home. I didn't really cook or shop for food for myself till I was at college, so I genuinely never realised for example that asparagus made your wee smell (in fact, I used to think that there was something up with my future in-laws' plumbing, since their house was the only place I ate the stuff).




And I didn't know that avocados could be savoury as I'd only had them in milkshakes and ice cream, and I only got to eat fish and chips from a bag when there was a power cut. I had my first McDonalds when I was 12 - and yet I had my first cricket when I was 8.

Crickets - those chirpy little beggars with too many legs and antennae. Known as payit in Burma, and sold on the streets of Mandalay and Yangon in huge bamboo trays, they were meaty and crunchy and incredibly delicious, fried in lashings of garlic, ginger and salt.

I knew that they weren't your usual…

Shan-Burmese Cauliflower and Carrot Pickle Recipe

Pickling is in my blood. As you know, I'm Burmese, but Burma aka Myanmar is made up of over 100 ethnic groups. A large part of me is Shan, one of the more prominent of these ethnic groups, who primarily live in a rural, hilly region in Burma known as the Shan State.

Traditionally tall and fair, and cousins to the Dai people in Thailand, the Shan are rather fond of pickles (and noodles, and pork - often the three in combination).



The classic Shan pickle is mohnyin-tjin, but as wonderful as this is, it takes a little effort and patience to make (by patience, I mean at least a week, kimchi-style). 

This recipe is for one of my favourite overnight pickles, using cauliflower and carrot, both of which are hard to come by in lower Burma, but plentiful in the Shan State.




Though of course carrots and cauliflowers aren't rare in the UK, you may not find the pickling spice Shan hnan ("Shan sesame") in this country - although if someone can look at the photo below and let me know if…

Burmese Rainbow Salad Recipe - Let Thohk Sohn

A friend of mine was mocking the recent craze for food mash-ups - cronuts, doissants, townies, what have you. She suggested the world should come up with a dish combining noodles and rice called "nice", so I mentioned to her that us Burmese already have a dish comprising rice, noodles AND potatoes (the Atkin's diet was never going to work in Burma).

This triple-carb beauty is called let thohk sohn (or let thoke sone) which literally means "hand-tossed everything", but I've seen it called "rainbow salad" which, to be fair, makes for pleasanter nomenclature. Let thohk sohn is perfect picnic fare, as well as a pretty awesome desk lunch.



Eaten cold or at room temperature, it's technically a salad (the Burmese for salad is "a-thohk" ie "tossed"), but its flavours and textures make it as far from a droopy bunch of green leaves as you can possibly imagine.

In Burma, you'll see let thohk sohn for sale by gaon ywet thair - vendors…