under construction

i probably won’t be updating for a bit. i’ll been working on overhauling my site for the next few weeks. i haven’t designed a site for a while so it’s going to take some time. i can’t wait to unveil my design eventually, stay tuned!


bubbies LOVE

if it’s in mochi, as a cake, or on a cone, bubbies just know how to do ice cream right. the quality of their ice cream has always topped any other ice cream shop on this island. i know not everyone can have a place this great but you could always buy some online.

curry house LOVE

mmmm curry! curry house has been one of my favorite stops for a great comforting meal of japanese curry since high school. while most people order their curry with rice, my order is usually the curry udon with spinach and a side of corn cream croquette (above). the udon was only added in a few years ago in the hawaii menu.
why do i love this place? because i’m a huge curry lover and their prices have always been reasonable. theres a good selection of sides to go with your curry, everything from kim chee to cheese. i would have to say most people love the chicken katsu curry with cheese. yep, cheese! cheese on curry is one of the greatest ideas EVER. everyone has their own personal combos and the menu also has premade combos as well. they once served black curry here (blackened from squid ink) but took it off the menu. i think people didn’t like getting their teeth stained. heir curry also taste a bit different from those block ones you buy in the market. my friend who worked there in high school told me what their secret is and well… it should stay a secret.

papaya salad and fried beef jerky

being Laotian i couldn’t have a food blog without mentioning papaya salad or tum mak hoong/som tam. it is a dish that defines me and what i would ask for if i could if i knew i was about to die. it is just one of those dishes that can not be eaten alone. i mean, of coarse you could but it just wouldn’t be the same. if papaya salad is made in our home, you can find us all sitting around and enjoying it together.
traditionally, this dish is prepared with a mortar and pestle with all the ingredients thrown in and pounded together. i’ve tasted it at restaurants that don’t do this and it just isn’t the same! every Laotian usually has one in there home, my mom actually brought hers all the way from laos and we’ve never had to replace it in the past 25 + years. you can also make other traditional sauces in this mortar pestle but that’s another post.
shredded green papaya
1-2 cloves garlic
a few pinches of salt to taste
1 Tbsp sugar
1-3 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp shrimp paste
half the juice of a lime or lemon
1-4 thai birds eye chili
padak (fermented fish) i added this ingredient but i always ask my family not to add it because i can’t stand the smell! i guess i’m a little too americanized but it is traditional to use this.
half a tomato sliced up (we use tiny tomatoes growing in our garden, any tomato will do!)
small dried shrimp (optional)
crushed toasted peanuts (optional to top off with)
1. throw your garlic in with salt and smash it up a bit and throw out the garlic skin

2. add in your chilis and smash it up with the garlic

3. put your shrimp paste in with some of the fish sauce and mix the paste and fish sauce so the paste gets diluted a bit

4. add everything else and pound tasting in between and adjusting it to your taste (i love mines to be very spicy with lots of lime)
while most people use green papaya you can also make it with other vegetables. my dad loves to make it with shredded cucumber or long beans. you can always do a mixture too, i love the papaya with long beans.
what to eat it with:
cabbage, cucumber, lettuce, rice noodles, sticky rice, pork rinds, fried chicken, fried beef jerky
eating it with vegetables like cabbage help with the spiciness of the dish. i had mines with fried beef jerky that my mom made. you basically get your meat sliced thin, marinate it in soy sauce, sugar, and garlic. dry it for a few days and fry it in oil when ready to eat. maybe i’ll make a post about this later.

nhem/nam khao

rice balls before frying

nam khao is one of my favorite laotian dishes. it is basically almost like fried rice but made with deep fried rice balls broken up and then eaten with lettuce. i guess it is more like a crispy rice salad. while there are many different ways to make it, this recipe is how my mother taught me to make it.

what you need:

2 1/2 cups of rice
1 cup of ground pork
7 kaffir lime leaves minced
2 cloves of garlic minced
3 shallots minced
4 Tbsp parsley diced
4 Tbsp green onion diced
1 1/2 Tbsp red curry paste
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 egg
dried chili peppers
2 rolls of som moo (cured pork), if you can’t find this at your asian market you can add ham or spam and also add some lime to the dish to substitute for some sourness. if you don’t want to add meat, just don’t! add vegetables instead 🙂
enough oil to fry rice balls (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches high in the pot) and chili peppers

what to do:

1. After your rice is finished cooking, let the rice cool down enough to handle with hands.

2. While you’re waiting for this you can also cook your pork in a pan and season it with salt, after cooking for about 2 minutes let it cool enough to handle. if the pork is a little pink still its ok, you’re going to fry it with the rice.

3. After both ingredients cool down throw them both in a bowl. Heat your oil up to medium high. Add the garlic, shallots, grated coconut, lime leaves, sugar, salt, and curry paste with rice and pork. Mix everything well so there are no chunks of rice. Crack the egg into this mixture and mix. Add half of both the green onion and parsley in last and form about two inch balls by packing the rice by cupping your hands. This makes about 9 rice balls. (have a bowl of water on the side to dip your hands in so that the rice does not get stuck on your hands)

4. Once the oil is hot enough, fry the rice balls till they turn golden brown (about 5-7 minutes).

5. While your rice balls fry you can clean your lettuce and break them into individual pieces and also clean your mint. You will use the lettuce to hold your rice mixture and also garnish it with mint.

6. After your rice balls finish cooking, throw your dried chilis in to fry for a bit. Just dont let them burn! Let your rice balls cool.

7. break apart your som moo. you can add it in as is or cook it for a bit. i like to cook it a bit so the meat isn’t so sour but it’s your choice. if you’re adding ham or spam just dice them up and cook these in a frying pan.

8. add the broken up som moo (ham or spam) into a bowl along with the fried rice balls that you have broken up so there are no large pieces of fried rice left. mix well. top with leftover parsley and green onion. you may also top with toasted crushed peanuts if you like. serve with your lettuce, mint and chilis on the side. if you used ham or spam, serve with a lime wedge.

(for the above picture i used fresh thai chilis to top it off with because i couldn’t find my dried ones. if you don’t have whole dried chilis just used fresh or crushed red chili peppers)

shabu shabu vday

i had a lovely valentines day weekend with my bf. we prepared our own shabu shabu at home and i also made some special heart sushi for fun.

make your own shabu shabu at home!

broth: i know alot of people just use water for a healthier option or just chicken broth but i love some added flaver. for my broth i used 1 part chicken broth mixed with the same amount of water. one large spoon of miso paste, two large spoons of spicy korean soybean paste, about a large spoon of oyster sauce, half a chopped round onion, 2 cloves of garlic, and some salt and pepper. mix that all up, bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

sides: you can use whatever you want. for our meat items we had cow tongue, beef flank, chuck, meatballs and fish cake. for the meats, try to get them sliced thin. if you can’t buy it thinly sliced than you can always freeze the meat a bit and take it out to slice yourself. you can use almost any vegetables you want like won bok, enoki mushrooms, beansprouts, and green onions. the noodles we used were bean thread (long rice) but you can use anything you like. mochi is also a nice addition but we forgot to buy some at the market. also, cook some rice to eat with your meat.

sauces: the more sauces the better for me! these sauces are used for you to dip your meats in. there are recipes out there to make your own sauces but i just prefer to buy them premade. our favorite sauce is the sesame paste which is the tan colored one in the middle of the sauce dishes because it sticks nicely to your meat. i also love ponzu with some freshly cut chilis.

( i’ll add a tutorial on how to make the heart sushi on my next post. )

city cafe

nothing is better than shave ice at the end of a beach day. went to watch some turtles, ate at pizza bobs and ended the day at city cafe for some amazing shave ice. i got coconut flavor with vanilla ice cream, grass jelly and mochi balls. their shave ice is so soft, maybe softer than waiolas. the lady who made our shave ice and drinks was so friendly. they also have blended iced coffees, breakfast sandwiches and bubble drinks. see what people have to say about them on yelp.
city cafe
1518 Makaloa St.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814