Dessert Must-Have: Iceskimo Serves Up Snow in San Diego

 

It seems as though more and more of my friends have become self-proclaimed “foodies” (yes, by “friends” I also mean me) and have been instagramming every new food experience. More recently, my hometown friends have been frequenting a local shop called Iceskimo. I don’t know if it was the hype or the adorable round logo that attracted me, but I had to check it out.

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After some research, I found out that this Taiwanese dessert was originally called xue hua bing, which translates into “snow flower.” Fittingly, the dessert is now commonly called “snow.” Using the same ingredients for ice cream, the mixture is frozen into large cylindrical blocks. The blocks are then put on a rotating machine that shaves the block down into super fine ribbons of snow–the perfect melt-in-your-mouth texture.

 

Once entering the building, I was welcomed by vibrant colors and a buffet of sweet toppings. My excitement was building up like I was my 7-year-old sugar-loving self again.

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The secret to Iceskimo’s success is their modern approach to the Snow which allows the customer to customize their dessert however they please. With snow flavors like Lychee and Black Sesame, and toppings like red bean and almond jelly, this place is definitely a level up from your typical frozen yogurt spot.

Not to mention their hospitality! Thank you to the worker who was generous enough to add more condensed milk to my cup.

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Snow needs to be added to Audrey’s list of mouth-watering desserts stat! I highly recommend you try out Iceskimo if you’re ever in San Diego, especially during those summer days.

Who am I kidding? It’s good any time of of the year.

 

All photos courtesy of Iceskimo.

 

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Video of the Day: Korean Girls React to American Snacks

 

While there are many, many, many, many, many videos of Americans reacting to Asian food and pop culture, the reversal is less common. Now a new YouTube series called “Korean Girls React” flips the Americans-react-to-Asian-culture video trend on its head.

In this video, Korean girls taste American snacks for the very first time and give their honest opinion of it. The snacks include goldfish, poptarts, rice krispies, salt and vinegar chips, twizzlers, cheez-itz and warheads.

While there were obviously many different opinions, a couple of interesting trends emerged. Most of the girls agreed that the poptarts tasted too artificial. One girl even complained that “it tastes like a candle.” Rice krispies seemed to be a favorite amongst most of the girls whereas the twizzlers and warheads were very, very unpopular.

One thing that viewers all over the world should be able to relate to are the complaints that the snacks were too unhealthy or fattening, followed by later admissions that the snacks are too addicting to be left uneaten. Ah, the power of junk food!

Food Trend Alert: What’s Hawaiian Poke And Why Does Everyone Love It?

 

Do you cringe at the thought of eating raw fish or skip out on sashimi at a sushi restaurant? Well, you may soon be warming up to the idea because Hawaiian poke is becoming increasingly popular in Southern California. Perhaps locals are taking more Hawaiian vacations and the demand to bring those island flavors home are high. Or maybe more of our island neighbors are moving to the mainland. Whatever the reason is, Hawaiian poke is welcome to make its tasty mark.

In Hawaiian, “poke” means “to slice or cut.” Traditionally, the dish consisted simply of fresh cut fish with sea salt, candlenut, seaweed and limu (algae). It wasn’t until the 19th century that other vegetables, such as the Maui onion, were incorporated. According to food historian Rachel Laudan, the poke we are familiar with today did not become popular until the 1970s. Although it is only recently that food fanatics are feasting on this tasty yet healthy dish, poke is not new to the food industry. It has been quietly waiting in various American restaurants, served only as an appetizer and waiting to be discovered as a main dish.

Northshore Poke Company's tuna mixed with their Waimea sauce, which is similar to spicy mayo.

Northshore Poke Company’s tuna mixed with their Waimea sauce, which is similar to spicy mayo.

Modern poke is a salad typically made with cubed raw fish (usually tuna), sea salt, seaweed, tomatoes, onions and soy sauce. However, with its growing popularity and poke restaurants slowly popping up, there are now several variations of this dish. At some restaurants, such as Northshore Poke Company, patrons may customize their food by selecting their type of fish, flavor, spice level and whether they would like their fish served as a salad or in a rice bowl. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, there are also poke nachos and poke tacos.

Raw fish isn’t always the most appetizing term, but Hawaiian poke is packed with so much flavor, it certainly won’t leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.

Feature image courtesy of Northshore Poke Company.

 

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Three Chinese Medicinal Herbs to Get You Through Winter Aches and Pains

 

Dried seahorse is for asthma. Deer antlers for circulation. Ginseng promotes energy. What does lingzhi do again?

With winter around the corner, I thought it best to find out. So I visited a Chinese herbalist shop to see exactly what I would needin preparation for the season.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is actually quite unique in that it treats your body rather than the specific disease. There is a very famous saying in Chinese medicine — Tong bing yi zhi, yi bing tong zhi — meaning, “one disease can have different treatments; different diseases can have the same treatment.” Let me explain. Chinese medicine is really about regulating balance in the body and letting your “qi” — the energy of the body — flow freely. Sometimes you get forces, either internal or external, that put the body out of balance, and that is why you get sick. Some of these forces include coldness, hotness, dampness and dryness. TCM tries to counteract imbalances in the body with herbal medicine, thus bringing the body back into balance. Keep in mind that two people can have the same disease (e.g., a cold) for different reasons. Maybe one has a dry liver and the other has too much heat in his or her body. TCM is treating those reasons, those “imbalances,” in the body rather than the actual disease itself.

It can get quite complicated, but for now, all you need to know are these three Chinese herbs that I think are absolutely essential for the winter season. They’re not too hard to find — most Asian grocery stores carry them — and all three are very affordable.

 


 

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Astragalus Root
This root is used to strengthen the immune system and is often prescribed to treat colds and respiratory issues. Astragalus root can be consumed as a tea or as an addition to something like chicken soup. For tea, add some red dates or jujubes for a sweet and natural flavor.

 


 

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Dong Quai (Angelica Root)
Dong quai, or Angelica root, is used to promote circulation in cold hands and feet during wintertime. This root helps with fatigue and anemia, and is also a great herb for alleviating cramps. It is usually consumed in the form of a concentrated soup or elixir. (See recipe.)

 


 

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Tremela
Tremela is a fungus that functions as an antioxidant for the skin. Given winter’s dry weather and rampant indoor heating, tremela can help the skin retain moisture. It is used quite often as a beauty supplement in Asia. Tremela can also be consumed in soups. (See recipe.)

 


 

Keep in mind that Chinese herbal medi- cines usually need to be mixed with other complementing herbs for it to take full effect. Usually these “medicines” are taken in the form of herbal soups or elixirs. Here are some easy soups for you to try.

 

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–STORY BY CHRISTINA NG
This story was originally published in our Winter 2014-15 issue. Get your copy here!

 

 


Healthy Asian Food to Start Your New Year Off Right

It’s that time of year again. January means everyone is excited and determined to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions. We’re going to go ahead and guess that one of your 2015 resolutions is to eat healthier. Well have no fear! We’re here to help you tackle that goal while still eating yummy Asian food. Here are five flavorful and healthy Asian foods that can be incorporated into anyone’s diet.

 


 

1. Japchae

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Image courtesy of Maangchi

Love noodles but want to eliminate carbs from your diet? Try japchae, which is made from Korean sweet potato noodles called dangmyeon. Topped with healthy veggies and occasionally fried eggs, japchae is usually served as “banchan” or an appetizer to a meal. Eat up!

 


 

2. Bok Choy

Image courtesy of daily hiit

Image courtesy of daily hiit

Bok choy is essentially Chinese cabbage. With only nine calories per serving and 0.1 grams of fat, bok choy is great for when you are ready to eat lots of tasty, flavorful greens veggies.

 


 

3. Kimchi

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Image courtesy of Maangchi

Now, it’s time for Korean cabbage. If you can handle the spiciness, load up on the kimchi. Low in calories but high in fiber and antioxidants, kimchi helps regulate the cardiovascular and digestive system while providing vitamins that help reduce aging effects and blood sugar levels. Like japchae, kimchi is a quintessential Korean banchan dish.


 


 

4. Dal

Image courtesy of The Wanderer

Image courtesy of The Wanderer

Dal is quite simply spiced Indian lentils. Lentils themselves are one of the healthiest foods out there: lentils help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and have a lot of protein without a lot of the fat. There are many different ways to make dal but all add flavor and comfort to the superfood that is lentils.

 


 

5. Sriracha

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Yes, really. The cult of sriracha has practically taken a life on it’s own and it’s all for the better. The red pepper chili sauce boosts metabolism and endorphins (which make you feel happier) while lowering blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels. Pour it up!

 

10 Asian Soups to Keep You Warm Over the Holidays

 

On a blistering cold night, a steaming hot bowl of soup is the tastiest cure to the shivers and well, almost everything else right? Now that winter is full steam (sorry) ahead, here are ten different Asian soups, from the popular to the underrated, that you should try eating and possibly try making this winter!

 


 

1. Kuy Teav

Image courtesy of khatiya-komer

Image courtesy of khatiya-komer.com

A Cambodian delicacy, kuy teav is a Camobidan Chinese pork noodle soup made from a clear broth and flat rice noodles. Kuy teav is usually enjoyed as a breakfast dish from street vendors, but we feel that it’s comforts will last throughout the day!

 


 

2. Soba

Image courtesy of kampai.us

Image courtesy of kampai.us

Unlike the popular ramen, soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour. Soba can be a year round dish and is typically served either hot and in a soup for winter or chilled with a dipping sauce for summer. Also, soba differs from udon in that soba noodles are thin while udon noodles are genuinely thicker.

 


 

3. Laksa

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Image courtesy of rasamalaysia.com

A spicy Malayasian-Chinese fusion dish. There are three main types of laksa: curry laksa, asam laksa and sarawak laksa. Curry laksa has a coconut curry base, while asam laksa has a sourfish soup base, and sarawak has a sambal belacan base. No matter which type of laksa you choose, it’s sure to give you a kick!

 


 

4. Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

Image Courtesy of S.O.F.A.T BLOG

Image Courtesy of sofatblog.blogspot.com

There are many different types of beef noodle soups out there. However, the red-braised beef noodle soup was invented by Chinese refugees in Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War. Today, Taiwan considers this red-braised beef noodle soup a national dish. With it’s tender beef and spicy broth, it is sure to be a comfort during those chilly months.

 


 

5. Tong Sui

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Image courtesy of singforyoursupperblog.com

Tong Sui literally means “sugar water” in Cantonese and is a soup dessert that is a Cantonese delicacy.

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6. Bakmi Ayam

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Image courtesy of chikupunya.wordpress.com

Bakmi ayam, or often shortened to mei ayam, is an Indonesian noodle soup that is very simple but delicious. The main ingredients are wheat noodles, chinese bok choy (cabbage), and slices of chicken and mushroom. Eaten separately or together with the broth, the soup is delicious either way!

 


 

7. Sinigang

Image courtesy of PanlasangPinoy

Image courtesy of panlasangpinoy.com

Sinigiang is a Filipino dish. A tamarind-based soup, Sinigiang is usually sour because of ingredients such as guava and ripe mango.

 


 

8. Soondobu Jjigae

Image courtesy of LTHforum

Image courtesy of lthforum.com

Soondubu jjigae is a spicy Korean tofu soup. It’s typically served in a hot stone pot with other dishes such as rice, meat, or banchan on the side.

 


 

9. Milagu Rasam

milagurasam

Image courtesy of rasam.co.in

Milagu Rasam is a pepper tamarind-based South Indian soup. Supposedly, both the black pepper and tamarind are natural heat-inducing ingredients for the body. Either way, milagu rasam is a tasty method to staying warm!

 


 

10. Bun Mang Vit

Image courtesy of PhamVo's Kitchen

Image courtesy of mailancuctruc.wordpress.com

Pho is probably the most famous Vietnamese soups, but Bun Mang Vit, a duck and noodle soup, is also another tasty option! The main ingredients here are duck, bamboo shoots and vermicelli noodles, but the lemongrass, ginger and chili give this soup a nice kick.

 


 

What soups will you be eating this winter?

Video of the Day: How White People Order Vietnamese Food?

 

Who doesn’t enjoy a warm and delicious bowl of pho? According to this recent video, “How White People Order Ethnic Food,” Caucasians can’t get enough of it. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not. We love when people have an appreciation for food outside of their own culture. You love Asian food and you’re not Asian? That’s great! Unfortunately, as this video points out, some foodies may like the idea of ethnic food more than the actual food itself.

This three minute comedy sketch features two people who believe Vietnamese food is “like the best for you. So healthy. That’s why they live forever.” Yup, it sounds problematic already.

The woman orders some pho… but the veggie version. Except she wants no veggies, no broth, thicker noodles and a thick sauce. The man orders “kyung yong,” with the chicken subbed with pork, no rice paper and an endless list of more impossible demands.

What’s a waiter to do with all these requests? There seems to be only one solution..

 

 

He brings out macaroni, chicken nuggets, ketchup and lettuce.

As funny as watching the video can be, how accurate do you think it is? Is this more prevalent for Americans ordering ethnic food because of the melting pot of cuisine here? Tell us your thoughts!

 

What Can $5 Get You in Asia?

 

In this recent Conde Nast Traveler slideshow, writer Caitlin Morton explores the different treasures five dollars can equate to around the world. And you guessed it, a majority of it is food. Not to mention a stack of beautiful bracelets from India! Here is the round-up, as relayed from Morton:

 

1. Hanoi, Vietnam
Four bia hoi (a thin draft lager that costs about 40 cents a glass) and two bowls of pho.

http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-11-11/what-5-will-get-you-around-the-world/

Illustration by Louisa Cannell, http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-11-11/what-5-will-get-you-around-the-world/

 


 

2. Kyoto
A dozen soy milk mini-doughnuts and a sweet soy milk soft serve from Fujino Tofu in Nishiki Market.

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Illustration by Louisa Cannell, http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-11-11/what-5-will-get-you-around-the-world/

 


 

3. Tokyo
Three limited-edition Kit Kats from the world’s only limited-edition Kit Kat shop, in the Seibu Department store. Recent only-in-Japan flavors include vanilla ice cream and pumpkin pudding.

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Illustration by Louisa Cannell, http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-11-11/what-5-will-get-you-around-the-world/

 

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4. Jaipur, India
An armful of rhinestone-studded glass bangles from one of the vendors at Johari Bazaar.

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Illustration by Louisa Cannell, http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-11-11/what-5-will-get-you-around-the-world/

 


 

5. Singapore
A plate of hokkien mee and a Tiger beer at Bukit Timah hawker center.

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Illustration by Louisa Cannell, http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-11-11/what-5-will-get-you-around-the-world/

 


 

Of course, the possibilities are endless.
My $5 Asia (food) story, for example, is from southern Taiwan. It was raining and my family and I found a small restaurant in the neighborhood that was more like a home kitchen serving meals. A simple plate of chow mein, fried rice and a bottle of Taiwanese beer ended up costing about 154.59 TWD, or $5.00.

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Tammy Tarng

 

What’s your $5 story?

 

The Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt Mixes Our Two Favorites: Hello Kitty and Food

 

November is finally here! Aside from the countless pies you’ll consume during Thanksgiving, there’s another reason for you to be excited this month: November is Hello Kitty’s 40th Anniversary!

There have already been multiple ways to celebrate the creation of our beloved Sanrio character. Hello Kitty has collaborated with everyone from Vans to Sephora to bring you limited-edition Hello Kitty items. You also could check out Japanese American National Museum’s newest exhibition, Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty. This is the first large-scale Hello Kitty museum in the United States and it will be up until April 26, 2015. Most exciting of all, some of you celebrated our favorite Sanrio character this past weekend at the world’s first ever Hello Kitty Con.

If you missed the Hello Kitty Con or simply feel the need to celebrate more, don’t you worry. One other way you can celebrate Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary is with the Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt.

 

 

You read that correctly. This event mixes two of our most favorite things: Hello Kitty and food. For a limited time, various restaurants and dessert spots are participating in #HelloKittyHungryHunt .

Each location offers a limited edition Hello Kitty themed food or beverage item as well as a collectible Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt enamel pin exclusive to each location. Locations include Cafe Dulce, Lollicup and Seoul Sausage. For a full list of participating locations, click here.

The Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt began on October 24th, but it’s not too late! The hunt will continue until November 21st. Be sure to take part in the hunt will supplies last!

 

Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt Collectible Pins.

Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt Collectible Pins.

 

 

Feature image courtesy of sprudge.com.

Top 5 Feel-Good Snack Combos

 

Looking for a nice pick-me-up after four midterms, two papers and 3 a.m. muffin crumbs in your hair? We can only think of one thing to make all this better: Food. Specifically, an easy-to-make snack that will make you feel balanced and satisfied.

Today, I’m going to show you how to make or put together my most favorite, quick snacks. My leaf-bordered plate is reserved for feel-good snacks and because of that, good vibes are attached to it.

Here are five instances this plate, with the right ingredients, has served me well.

 


 

1. Spring Rollsalad

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What you need:
2 sheets of dry rice paper
1/2 cup of diced chicken
1/4 cup of diced cucumber
1 tablespoon of goat cheese
1 handful of spring mix

What you need to do:
-Dip the rice paper evenly in water.
-While waiting for it to soften, heat and season chicken (I’m a fan of spritzing some lemon and then layering a little bit of Sriracha).
-Put spring mix on top of one of the rice paper sheets (about 1/5 of the circle).
-Spread the diced chicken on top of the bed of spring mix.
-Top with cucumbers.
-Roll up the spring rolls.
-With any leftover spring mix, combine with goat cheese and cucumber for a side salad.

 


 

2. Sunshine Trio

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What to put together:
Half a cup of blueberries, half a cup of raw almonds*, 3/4 cup of strawberries. The combination creates a perfect amount of crunch. You’ll feel re-energized in no time.

*If you have extra time, throw the almonds into a toaster oven for 5 minutes!

 


 

3. I Made Breakfast…And it’s Happy to See You!  #Mulan

One Plate, Five Snacks

What you need:
1 English muffin
1/2 cup of diced avocado
Sliced carrots
Garlic hummus
1 cup of strawberries
Pepper

What you need to do:
-Cut English muffin in half.
-Spread garlic hummus on both flat sides.
-Put generous amounts of avocado on the hummus.
-Sprinkle with sliced carrot and pepper.
-Arrange muffin into emoticon of your choosing.

 


 

4. The Magical Make-You-Love Carrots Trio

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What to put together:
Half a cup of blackberries, a handful of carrots, a dab of hummus, and 12 Trader Joe’s multi-grain pita crackers

 


 

5. Green Eggs Sandwich

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What you need: 
2 slices of bread
1/2 avocado
1 egg
1/2 cup(s) of diced chicken
Pepper

What you need to do:
-Toast bread.
-While bread is toasting, put a little bit of olive oil on the pan, then start by making the egg as sunny side up as possible. Toss in the diced chicken, and then crack the yolk right when it’s done. This makes a scramble/sunny hybrid!
-Take bread out.
-Put avocado with sprinkled pepper on one side, the eggs with chicken on the other.
*This tastes delicious both as a sandwich and as two pieces of toast.

 

 

Here’s to hoping you find your lucky plate too!