Tag Archives: seafood

Rakhine style eats at Yangon’s Min Lan

Min Lan (မင်းလမ်း), perhaps Yangon’s best known seafood restaurant chain, serves amazing and delicious Rakhine-style fare. We paid tribute to this local favorite, dining at the chain’s Sanchaung Township location within hours after landing in Rangoon.

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Nha Trang – San Gabriel

Nha Trang is a Vietnamese restaurant embedded deep inside a narrow strip mall on Valley Blvd., a stone’s throw away from my childhood home in San Gabriel. Nha Trang gets name from a seaside city in South Vietnam, but it’s really just known for 2 kinds of noodle soup: bun bo Hue (originates in central Vietnam) and bun rieu. The place itself is small and cramped. Parking can be difficult. Nonetheless, people are always willing to wait because their noodles are good.

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ToBang Korean Cuisine – Santa Clara, CA

ToBang Korean Cuisine
1052 Kiely Blvd
Santa Clara, CA 95051 

Restaurant.com coupon: link

$25 off $50 coupon for $10, why not! This place has the best customer service out of all the Korean restaurants I have ever been to.  Usually you need to go with a Korean-speaking friend in order to get good service, but this is not the case at this place.  They treated us so well, brought us refills on banchan and rice paper without asking (to the point where we actually had to tell them to stop), asked us constantly if everything was okay for us.  My friend and I were so shocked with the service, we were just expecting to be ignored and given our food!

Anywho, the restaurant is small, and there isn’t much seating, it’s very spaced out, and there is a huge draft so it’s cold inside, but the good thing is that you won’t smell too much afterwards.  We were seated and we gave them our coupon, so they explained to us the restrictions very kindly and asked us what we wanted to drink.  The yogurt soju is not part of the deal, but we ordered it extra since this was a celebratory dinner.  I believe it was $12.99 for a big pitcher, and they only have yogurt flavor, but it was so good and definitely a creeper.

Originally, we wanted to order the seafood pajeon as our appetizer, bulgogi and kalbi as our meats, and combination tofu soup.  When we ordered though, the waitress told us the pajeon was on the house!  So we ordered panfried dumplings for an appetizer instead.  We knew it was way too much food for just 2 people, but we decided to get it and take leftovers home.

The banchan were just like any other place, except they had string potato strips that I’ve never had, and also they had sliced pickled Korean daikon that were huge and instead of using regular vinegar I think they used red vinegar since it had a pink hue to it.  That was really good with the meat.  When the pajeon came out, I died a little inside. It was so good!! Crispy, warm, with a perfect amount of octopus in it…it had been so long since I had it.  I still can’t believe it was free.

The bulgogi and galbi were spectacular, and much more than what BCD gives per portion.  They had asked us before ordering the galbi if it was okay, since usually they marinate it for 2 days before, but since they ran out, they had marinated this batch that day only.  We were fine with that, and when we got the meat, the chef came out to make sure it was okay with us.  It tasted like it had been marinated for days!  So juicy, tender, and well seasoned.  They were good pieces of meat too, with little fat on them.  Yum!

The combination tofu soup was a little bland for me, since we had ordered medium and it was not spicy at all, but there was a lot of tofu and huge chunks of meat and seafood, so that made up for it.  Panfried dumplings were so crispy!  Fried to perfection and even though I have no idea what the filling was, it was good.

The waitress brought us fishcake and rice paper refills, and gave us a whole pitcher of water when we asked for it.  She was kind and funny, something seriously lacking in the waiters and waitresses at other Korean places.  Our bill came out to be $54 after the $25 discount, plus the soju, tax, and tip (tip is calculated based on the whole order, which was roughly $80), and we were so happy with their service that we gave them another $5 tip on top of everything and wrote them a note on the back of the receipt.  We also got 2 complimentary yakult drinks to finish off the night!

I am definitely coming back to this place, the customer service alone is good enough to pull me in, but the free pajeon, yakult, and the tasty high quality food is the real main catch!

~Nicole

New Capital Seafood – Rowland Heights

Before the food arrived.

Every year, my mom’s side of the family gathers for a Chinese-style banquet dinner to celebrate Father’s Day. I’ve missed this event for the past four years, because of conflicts with finals. This year, I finally had the chance the chance to join again to indulge. At dinner, my mom jokingly quipped that we were having an eight-course dinner because ‘eight’ in Chinese (八) sounds like ‘dad’ (爸).

The reservations were at New Capital Seafood in Rowland Heights, one of the few major restaurants in the area to serve Chinese banquet meals. I’m personally not too fond of fancy feasts (pardon the unintentional pun), because the portions are overwhelming and the dishes are pretty bland (texture-wise and in taste).

Since it was Father’s Day, there was a huge hoard of families waiting in the lobby and outside, since the restaurant was packed to the brim. Luckily, my aunt had made reservations for a banquet room a few days before.

Savory soup: fish maw

Traditionally, Cantonese meals include two soups, a savory soup presented at the beginning, and a dessert soup at the end. The fish maw wasn’t excessively salty, but it wasn’t particularly appetizing either. Nonetheless, I drank two bowls of it.

Shao wei platter of roasted meats, jellyfish and seaweed

Along with the soup came a cold cut platter of roasted meats, including char siu pork, chicken, seaweed, jellyfish, and roasted beef. Since most of my family doesn’t consume beef, it all went to waste, for both tables.

Walnut shrimp with mayonaisse

Next was the much beloved candied walnut and shrimps with mayonnaise, one of my favorites of the night.

Stir-fried scallops with asparagus

Next were the stir-fried scallops with asparagus. I like the special attention to presentation. But the dish was just alright. Greasy and boring by the second serving.

Braised sea cucumber with mushrooms

The fifth dish to be presented were the braised sea cucumbers with bok choy and mushrooms. Sea cucumbers were so sparingly used, I found only a sliver to try… Not that sea cucumbers are particularly tasty. P.S. A lot of Chinese folks think that sea cucumbers are a panacea, curing everything from sexual dysfunction to high cholesterol.

The king of all kings: the dragon shrimps (龍蝦) aka lobster

The king of all courses was the rock lobster, fried with a starchy batter. I couldn’t get a shot of the entire lobster (not least because my prime lens makes it hard to take photos of large objects), but because the lobster was humongous, much larger than I’ve encountered at most restaurants.

Eating lobster is tedious, because of all the shells and compartments you have to gnaw your way through. These darn crustaceans… Nothing special, if you ask me.

Peking duck served with fish crackers and mantou

Another one of my favorites for the night was the Peking roast duck, eaten with little mantou-like breads, on which hoisin sauce is slathered on. The duck was finely sliced, and the skin was crispy and the meat tender. Also, the meat wasn’t as fatty as I anticipated.

Soy sauce chicken

As we headed toward the end of the meal, we were served soy sauce chicken and a plate of fried (and uncut) noodles. As the name implies, the soy sauce chicken was pretty salty. I didn’t try to attempt seconds.

Dessert soup: red beans and tapioca with lotus seeds

After all the main course dishes were taken away, a server dropped off the final dish of the evening, a dessert soup made of red beans, translucent tapioca pearls and lotus seeds. I thought the soup was very watery and diluted. Most likely, the restaurant was rationing this dessert soup, because of a busy night.

A cup of chrysanthemum tea

I loved the tea that was served for the evening though. The chrysanthemum tea was very crisp and full, with the subtle fragrance of chrysanthemums. The Oolong tea had a nice kick and aroma as well.

A note on the service: I was perturbed, as was the rest of my family, at the pacing of the meal. The servers frequently came into the room to bring out one dish after another, as if they wanted us out as quickly as possible. Also, the servers were removing plates left and right, even though we were clearly not done. I can say that within 30 minutes, all of the major dishes were served, which is highly unusual at a banquet style meal. I understand that it was a busy night, but it’s downright rude to rush a special meal.

Peace,

Justin

New Capital Seafood (半島海鮮酒家)
1330 S Fullerton Rd, Ste 207
Rowland Heights, CA 91748

Lobster time

Lobster time!

My mom brought home two 1 1/4 lb lobsters today. We were trying to think of the best/easiest way to cook it, so my mom suggested to just steam it. I’m not a fan of eating seafood with butter. I never got the hyped about it. I’m so used to eating it fried, and cooked in house garlic special sauce.

In Indonesia, seafood is usually steamed and eaten with a side sauce. I didn’t take a picture of the sauce, but basically crab or lobster is usually eaten with a chili sauce. The chili sauce that my mom made was just a combination of ketchup and a chili sauce we call “cap jempol” (pictured below)

It’s a nice garlic, chili type sauce. It’s very smooth, but packs a large kick to it.

It was really good and simple meal. I ate the lobster with some rice. It was a nice dinner on a cold day.

❤ josie

Boudin Café – San Francisco

Okay, been totally lagging on posting up reviews of our NorCal trip this spring break. Sorry, Josie!

We stopped over at SF’s Fisherman’s Wharf to try the famed Boudin Café, somewhat of local landmark.

They have all sorts of cutely-shaped sourdough breads and a cool basket/conveyer belt system across the cafe to transport breads from the ovens to the shelves.

ZOMG crab sourdough breads and more galore!

Basically, all of us ordered the Best of Boudin, $7.29 for 2 items of your choice.

Laurie and Michelle got the Romaine hearts salad with sourdough croutons & grated parmesan cheese, along with a clam chowder bread bowl.

Alvin and I ordered a crab cake sandwich (around $8), along with a Best of Boudin, which included half a tuna salad sandwich and a clam chowder bread bowl. Twas delish, but portions were admittedly small…

The tuna salad sandwich, with lettuce, sliced tomatoes on bread was your standard fare, but the sourdough gave the tuna salad a nice kick.

The clam chowder bread bowl was yummy too. The warm toasty bread bowl was surprisingly moist and chewy.

Environment: Cafeteria style, with orders taken at the counter. Pretty casual and informal. There are factory tours upstairs too.

Service: Self-serve. See above.

Verdict: ‘Tis a SF staple!

Address: 160 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94133 | map

Peace,
Justin

The Hungry Cat – Hollywood

Nom nom nom.

I ate at The Hungry Cat, a seafood resto, for LA’s annual DineLA Restaurant Week with a fellow foodie, Shelly! It was my first ever DineLA experience and I was pleased, but not impressed by the food.  We ordered the prix fixe meal for $22 a person.

However, the resto is pretty difficult to find for first timers. We missed it while walking up Vine Street, because it’s located deep within a plaza, hidden behind another restaurant.

We were seated next to a pretty interesting man, whose whole family is basically involved in the culinary industry. He even asked me for my food blog URL, but I forgot to give it to him… Sigh. Coulda gotten discovered.

Environment:
The resto’s decor is charming, really. I have a penchant for cats (in case you didn’t know already…meet Coca!) and there were framed cat pictures all over the walls. Even the signs to the men’s and women’s restrooms were cat-themed.) There’s also a lot of natural light coming in from huge windows, which made the place feel bigger.

Appetizer: Salmon Beignets, Horseradish Creme Frâiche and Arugula. The arugula was pretty bitter, but I must admit that these was my favorite part of the meal. The beignets were fried to perfection

Entree: Grilled albacore tuna, farro verde, roasted vegetables and a meyer lemon agrodolce. The grilled tuna was not cooked enough. Mind you, I’ve never had parsnip before, so it tasted like banana to me for some reason.

I love it when I don’t need to stage a shot like this.

Desserts: Pumpkin Beignets with Candied Bacon and Heiss Rose Ice Wine.
I wasn’t carded when I ordered the ice wine, for some reason. I guess I look 21+… The only other time I’ve had ice wine was at a vineyard in Canada, but this one had a strong alcoholic afterburn. That’s all I can say about it. I’m not very educated about wines.

The pumpkin beignets were underwhelming at best. They were pretty bland to me and didn’t taste much like pumpkin. The candied bacon bits were scrumptious and crunchy though.

Address: 1535 Vine St., Los Angeles, CA 90028 | Yelp

Peace, Justin

Mussels with Fish Roe and Mayonnaise sauce

Ingredients:

  • Frozen mussels
  • Seasoned fish roe
  • 1/4-1/2 cup mayonnaise

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lay out a baking pan and put aluminum foil on top (for easy clean up).
  3. Lay out the amount of mussels you want to bake
  4. In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the fish roe. You can use probably 1/4 cup of fish roe, and add a little salt and pepper for taste.
  5. Put a spoonful of the mayonnaise fish row on each mussel, then bake for 12-15 minutes.

This is a dish that I really like and enjoyed making. My mom used to make this for me and my brother every now and then, and I never realized how simple it was to make it. The preparation really only took me about 10 minutes. Not a big deal.

For the fish roe, I went to my local Asian market, and in the cold/frozen section where they tend to sell stuff for sushi, like salmon fillets and pink ginger and stuff, I found packaged fish roe. My mom mentioned that sometimes they come in a can, but I haven’t seen it yet. The fish roe I bought came seasoned, but I don’t really know what kind of seasoning was added to it.

Try this out, it’s a quick dinner..and definitely can feed quite a few people. The frozen mussels I bought came from a box which was only around $5. I only made half of the box, and it was enough to feed myself, Nicole, and even my roommate. So try this out!

❤ josie