Spam is a local staple in Hawaii, and musubis (quick rice balls or snacks) are the ideal vehicle for this versatile mystery meat. It’s something I kind of grew up knowing and eating as a kid, despite not being born and raised here, and in its prevalence and simplicity, it has quickly become a go-to, comfort food.
I could’ve left it in its “natural” form (just the spam over rice with some nori), but I couldn’t resist. The kid in me still likes to play with my food. And, this was way too cute to keep to myself.
I’ve recently returned from an amazing and eye-opening trip to Guatemala. And, boy, do I have lots to show and tell!
But what better way to recap than to simply show you a mass of vivid photographs and tell you a compiled version of the “7 Things You Must Know about Guatemala,” according to my own unforgettable experience. Continue reading →
Remember the last time you were on a deadline and desperately pressed for time or just way too exhausted from work or life to even remotely consider mustering up the energy to look through the fridge (except to retrieve that last ice-cold beer you saved for yourself behind the carton of milk – oops! sorrry, honey!), let alone make dinner? Remember the last time you picked up your phone just to call your friendly neighborhood pizza place to rescue you rather than calling your significant other to let them know that dinner is ready to be served? I do. In fact, it seems as though it’s all I ever do lately.
I grew up loving pizza. I don’t know anyone who didn’t. It was, in my opinion, a luxurious reward for good behavior. In other words, it was a parent’s laziness or lack of time resulting in a most marvelous treat of a meal for us as kids, and even as adolescents. In most cases, it was the meal succeeding a busy day of fun to which everyone would gather around for a slice or two.
However, instead of having to call for an instant pizza, I can now proudly say that I can make my own – albeit, not quite as conveniently. Pizza is a most wonderful thing. Endlessly versatile, it’s hard for anyone not to love some variation of it. Now, pair that gourmet handmade pizza of yours with a bold glass of wine or better yet, a homemade sangria and this, my friends, is what being a mature adult is all about. Continue reading →
I’m not a bad daughter. In fact, I fancy myself as quite the opposite. Despite the distance and years between us, my parents and family in Korea are constantly in my thoughts and everyday actions. I am, for lack of better way to put this, my father’s daughter. As a child, I cringed and pouted when people would tell me I either was or looked exactly like my dad. “I want to be like umma, not appa,” I’d repeatedly whine. With this, my younger sister followed in my footsteps and we’d compete to claim inheritance of mom’s svelte and gorgeous physical features. As we’ve grown older, however, we’ve come to realize that while my sister may look more like my dad than I do, she acts more like my mom. Me? I am exactly like my dad.
From our stubby toes and absent-mindedness to our love for foreign languages and moments of silence, we are one and alike. My dad similarly bestowed upon me an appreciation for food in all forms. At the young age of 4 or 5, I had my first taste of gourmet cheese. I will never forget my dad in the kitchen, gingerly cutting the wrapped lump of German Butter cheese (Butterkäse) into generous slivers and placing each over slices of apple with his stumpy, callused hands. The first bite is one I will always remember, soft and buttery flawlessly paired with crisp and subtly-sweet. This flavor was only to be sharply, beautifully contrasted with the various salumi, or cured meats, he then allowed me to try. In addition to the more simplistic joys I grew up eating (instant mac & cheese, spaghetti with meat sauce, or spam, eggs, kimchi, and rice), the more complex and matured flavors of cheese and meats also have the ability to take me back to my not-so-distant, treasured childhood. And though it is always an honor and pleasure cooking for you, appa, if you were here for this upcoming Father’s Day, I wouldn’t think twice about taking you to Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar. For memories sake. Continue reading →
During the whole stuck-in-limbo-at-an-airport ordeal, Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches seriously ameliorated the unfortunate situation at hand; now, I’m hooked. While I’ve always loved the distinct and contrasting flavors and textures of these sandwiches, they only became a craze when I had the perfect banh mi sandwich – hitherto unrivaled. It was the classic and unmodified version, the image of sandwich perfection. It was love at first bite.
The sandwich is packed with amazing flavors that distinguish it from all other sandwiches. It typically consists of some sort of meat, garlic aioli, cucumbers, pickled daikon and carrot matchsticks, cilantro, and thin slices of jalapenos. It’s spicy, sweet, salty, cool, tangy, soft and crunchy all at once. You get the whole package all between a warm and crusty french baguette. Per history, these Vietnamese sandwiches exemplify French influence with an Asian twist. How can you resist? Continue reading →
In a place where dreams are reality, a backyard barbecue would happen every other day or so. Sadly, this is certainly wishful thinking, seeing as I don’t even have a backyard. I do, however, have a terrific and spacious lanai. Although, even then, it can only be used as our dining table as an excuse to feel ‘outdoors’ for our deliciously-cooked-in-the-oven barbecue meal. Mind you, it was still just as fabulous as the real backyard deal.
Nothing screams summer (albeit nearly over) like barbecued ribs. I swear, it has to be universal. I’m sure everybody has their own form of barbecue that epitomizes the sunny summer season. If this isn’t the case, it needs to be because otherwise they don’t know what they’re missing out on! Continue reading →
I know it sounds completely unappetizing, but I promise it isn’t. That isn’t even the actual name of the dish although it easily could be. As I’ve mentioned once in a previous entry, canned foods are vital to the average college student’s diet. Fresh and organic ingredients are, at times, unattainable luxuries and due to the high prices of such luxuries, I am often forced to compromise…But, there’s no need to fret for taste is definitely not something I compromise, ever. So, as I was saying, canned foods are the ultimate source of sustenance for the economically challenged. Regardless of its association to poverty and what not, it holds so much personal value. To me, it represents convenience, preservation and ultimately survival in whatever manner you want to take it.
Seriously, people, don’t you just hate it when you go grocery shopping and buy fresh produce only to let it rot because life got in the way? Yes, you know this has happened to you too. It is impossible to avoid the inevitable and yet while we, by nature, are made resilient and able to thrive off adversity, our poor little fridge friends are quite the opposite. As we get stronger and wiser day by day through our incessant experiences and obstacles, whatever you bought and stored in the fridge is only curdling, perishing, withering and wrinkling with time. It breaks my heart every time I neglect to utilize newly purchased produce and am then forced to say farewell..*sigh*