Saturday, August 11, 2007

Adventures in Pan Asian Cuisine

I'm thinking more and more seriously about going abroad to teach English to speakers of other languages. I've checked a few books out of the library, and started surfing the internets looking for other information.

One thing I've learned from my globe trotting friend Mistress J. is that people in developing countries eat 'weird' food. Breakfast pastries containing spicy chunks of fish, dried little fish whole, and most disturbing of all - Pizza Hut pizza ;) . While my tastes are quite a bit more adventurous than my father's - still the most exotic foods I've tried have all been Americanized versions of 'ethnic foods'.

So I decided to start trying new foods. Lucky for me there's a huge pan-Asian market near me. I just started looking through one of the seafood aisle. I saw several things I couldn't identify. Most were called "Fish Cakes." I asked the woman next to me how you eat them, and she said you put them in a soup, you can add a bunch of different kinds (she pointed to a few different packages), chicken, and udon noodles. Sounded easy enough. Oh, and she recommended that I use frozen udon noodles "Because they're really chewy." Hmmm.... Do I want chewy noodles? I wondered. But I figured I'd just do as she said. Now, it's important to point out that I don't really eat fish. I love sashimi, crab, and lobster, but I don't generally eat cooked fish.

The top package is frozen udon noodles with soup, the middle is tempura fish cakes, and the one on the bottom is boiled fish cakes with beefsteak plant. (I have no idea what a beefsteak plant is.)

So I took out a can of chicken broth & just dumped everything in. The noodles came with two packets - one was a sauce and one was like sesame seed crispies.

And here's how it turns out. It was actually really good. The noodles were indeed chewy - pleasantly so. The boiled fish cakes tasted about like you would expect a boiled fish cake to taste. I didn't love it, but it was okay. And the tempura fish cakes were really yummy. They taste like the inside of an eggroll... like shredded carrots & cabbage. And I really liked the now soggy sesame crispies. Very good. My first experiment with new food = A.

Oh, and I picked up this little guy.

It's called a lotus egg bun. Sooooo yummy, it's an egg bread filled with a sweet paste - presumably lotus flower paste, it's a delicate floral flavor, almost like jasmine. This one gets an A+ for cuteness and super yumminess.
Ok - I recognize that these were relatively tame selections, and there were a lot of things I was afraid to try (pickled plums, huge radishes in a cloudy liquid, huge prickly fruits). But you know, baby steps. Any recommendations for what I should try next?


Sue, aka seiding said...

Good for you for trying new food. I get in a rut really easily and stop trying new stuff. I like to eat pizza for breakfast!

Michael5000 said...

Oh, dear. You know, I don't love this about myself, but I am a very picky eater. I don't like trying the new, and I don't like eating outside of my comfort range. You can imagine that this can get tricky at my work....

Batty said...

That looks fabulous! I can't go anywhere exotic because the husband is allergic to more foods than he can eat, and I'd be afraid of having to take constant trips to the ER. But that lotus egg bun sure has me drooling all over the place.

Bezzie said...

I'm just hungry reading this. Give me a bit to think of a suggestion!

Magatha said...

Yeah, I go down to the markets in Chinatown when I'm in San Francisco. I love going to Japantown especially. I just got a new sushi set this weekend. Now if only I could find good take home sushi!