How This Indian Food Delivery Business Is Giving McDonald’s A Run For Its Money

 

For those of you who are 20-something, I’m going to take a wild guess that you are probably pretty acquainted with, and perhaps even on first name basis with, the guys that run the fast food chains closest to your office. And hey, no one’s judging you — on busy work days, In-N-Out drive-through is the ideal solution to satisfy your hunger needs.

But let’s all be real here — not even the juiciest of bacon cheese hamburgers will ever match up to Mom’s homemade fried rice, with just the perfect ratio of rice, meat, eggs, green onions and spices. Oh, look at that, I’m already drooling.

Some 500,000 Indian men from Mumbai, who are nicknamed the “dabbawalas,” came up with a brilliant solution so that hard workers in the city could both save the money they would have spent on eating out and have home cooked meals made by their loving wives or mothers — delivered straight to their schools and offices.

 

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Of course, this delivery service comes with a price for the dabbawalas. Every morning, these half a million men first travel house-to-house to pick up the steaming hot tiffins (tins that store the food), which they then transport all over the city on their bikes, through the blazing heat and maddening traffic. Collectively, they pick up and deliver around 200,000 meals a day.

 

With so many different moving parts involved in this system, it can get pretty messy. So along with all the food, the families and the delivery people, there is also a code system. By now, the dabbawalas say they have it all imprinted in their minds, so they know the exact location of where each tiffin goes.

 

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According to NBC, their system is so efficient that they have a “six sigma level of efficiency,” equating to “making one mistake per every six million deliveries.” Even with odds like that though, the dabbawalas have admitted that there have been mistakes where tiffins were given to the wrong people who sometimes lack the courtesy and eat the home cooked meal given to them anyway.

Despite all the hurdles these men jump through on a day-to-day basis, Pawan Agarwal, head of the Mumbai Dabbawala, said of his colleagues, “It’s hard work, no doubt about it … But they feel that serving food is serving God so they feel happy to do this business.”

Another dabbawala worker also spoke up on how their business remains so successful. “Many people in this city prefer their lunch fresh, prepared lovingly by their wives or mothers,” he said, adding that despite the many restaurants cropping up all over the city, the business has been continuing to grow 5 to 10 percent every year.

Take that, McDonald’s.

 

Americans Taste Filipino Street Food and Are Pleasantly Surprised

 

Last month we all rolled our eyes at Americans overreacting to Asian food where, as you can guess from the title, a few taste testers made it seem like Asian food was the most horrible thing in human existence. Let’s not kid ourselves here. Asian food is amazing —end of story. (Am I biased? Maybe a little.)

So you can imagine our fear when these same Buzzfeed taste testers decided to try some Filipino street food. After all, we’ve seen this before and it wasn’t pretty. A controversial blogpost titled “I Would Rather Go Hungry Than Eat Filipino Street Food Again!” made its way onto the Web a few months ago and sparked some controversy for its writer, Agness Walewinder.

The story received nearly 700 responses and even led other writers, such as travel writer Nathan Allen, to allege that Walewinder was intentionally abrasive and offensive just to gain attention for her blog.

For instance, Walewinder comments, “No wonder why [sic], in the north, the vast majority of Filipino kids and young people are overweight. This is something we have noticed straight away. People in young age [sic] are huge and it’s due to poor quality of food.”

 

 

After such controversy, we couldn’t help but expect an even worse reception in Buzzfeed’s Filipino street food taste test. After all, these are the people who cringed at Japanese snacks. (Seriously, how do you not like jelly cups and green tea Kit Kats?)

So you can imagine our pleasant surprise to discover that Filipino street food was rather well received this time around. Although the tasters showed some hesitation before taking a bite, they were quick to admit that the street food was pretty good and even ended up enjoying many of the treats. Finally, we’ve found something they’re satisfied with!

Check out the video below and excuse me while I go indulge in some turon.

 

 

Dessert Lovers Rejoice: The Churro Ice Cream Sandwich is Here

Story by Ruth Kim. 

Sugar, spice, and everything (n)ice–Churro Borough is the new kid on the block bringing Los Angelenos the perfect summer dessert: the churro ice cream sandwich.

Created by Los Angeles chef Sylvia Yoo, Churro Burough is a guerrilla operation that’s been around since 2011. Inspired by the culture of Los Angeles street food and art, as well as the idea of serving the masses, the dessert pop-up is raiding the streets of L.A. with its handcrafted churro ice cream sandwiches. Their motto? “Pastry propaganda. Guerrilla goodies.” Now that’s bad-ass.

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Yoo, who enrolled in culinary school in New York in 2007, has been around some of the most intense kitchens in the Big Apple, including Jean-Georges and WD-50. After moving back to New York, she attempted to balance working at an interior design firm and as a chef at Red Medicine, but the pressure was too much to handle. She decided to take matters into her own hands.

“When I moved back to LA, it was the beginning of the ice cream boom, with places like Carmela and Sweet Rose opening shop. Working in pastry, ice cream was always my favorite thing to make and eat. I had dreams of running my own business, but I knew I needed my product to stand out,” Yoo told Chow.

Well, she’s certainly made a huge splash in the L.A. ice cream scene, with some claiming that the churro ice cream sandwich could be the “worthy cronut successor”. The perfect crispy exterior of the flattened churro “cookies,” hugging a bed of velvety, delicious ice cream certainly seems pretty irresistible. Daily flavors includevanilla custard, horchata, Mexican hot chocolate, and Spanish latte; seasonal flavors are orange creamsicle, panna cotta, caramel apple pie, strawberry buttermilk, and peach cobbler. According to Chow, Yoo makes all of the products herself. Ice cream shakes with churro dipping fries and Churrons (churro-flavored macaroons) are in the works as well. (Be right back–I’m crying tears of joy.)

Since Churro Borough is a guerrilla establishment, you’ll need to stay posted on their pop-up whereabouts. Yoo and her delectable sandwiches will be at the LA Street Food Festival at the Rose Bowl on June 28 and at Tasting Table’s Lobster Rumble West on August 1.

Photos via Churro Borough’s Instagram

This story was originally published on iamkoream.com

Judy Joo’s Korean Food Made Simple

Story by Ada Tseng.

The Cooking Channel’s Korean Food Made Simple, hosted by Korean American chef Judy Joo, is the latest installment of a culinary television series that previously included Mexican Food Made Simple and Chinese Food Made Simple. Part travelogue, part how-to guide, Korean Food Made Simple sent Joo all over Korea to gather inspiration, from fish markets in Seoul and the streets of Busan to the small islands off the coast of Korea. (“I’ve been to more places in Korea than my relatives, who have lived there their entire lives!” says Joo.) After exploring different foods around the country, she returned to London, where she’s been based for the last several years, to show audiences how to re-create Korean flavors in a regular home kitchen.

Joo was thrilled when she was approached to do Korean Food Made Simple, as she’s proud of her heritage and has brought a lot of Korean influences to the menu at the Playboy Club London, where she has been the executive chef since it opened in 2011. Some of the dishes that appear on the show — like the Spicy Mussels with Bacon and the Steamed Ginger Infused Sea Bass with Zucchini — have actually been served at the Playboy Club. “We also make our own kimchi at the Club,” says Joo. “And we have a version of the Korean fried chicken in our sports bar.”

Growing up in New Jersey, Joo was no stranger to the local disco fries or fast fixes at Taco Bell, but she mostly ate Korean food at home. Her mother taught her how to cook authentic Korean food, but she jokes that helping out in the kitchen as a kid felt more like slave labor than fun.

“This was when there was nothing pre-made,” says Joo. “So it’d be me and my sister in front of a mound of meat making dumplings. I remember brushing sheets and sheets of dried seaweed with oil, salting them and then having to fry them. Then going to the garden to pick sesame leaves. It felt like chores.

“Also, [traditionally] you’re supposed to cook each vegetable separately to keep it from getting infected by other ingredients,” continues Joo. “And you want to keep the integrity of the color, so if the vegetable is light, you’re not supposed to use soy sauce. But no one has time to cook seven different vegetables separately in one pan to make one dish!” She laughs. “So I say, just cook it all together, and if the carrots are a little brown, it’ll be OK.”

She also shares tips and shortcuts for any home cook who might not live near a Korean market. For example, if you can’t find mirin, a sweet rice wine that is common in Korean cooking, Joo says it’s perfectly fine to substitute Sprite or 7-Up. And if you can’t find thinly sliced beef, partially freeze it and cut it with a knife. “I don’t think that you have to be completely authentic or traditional in order for people to get a good taste of a cuisine,” says Joo. “Food is always dynamic. Food in Korea has changed tremendously in the past years and decades. It’s like languages; it’s always evolving.”

One of Joo’s favorite meals to serve at a dinner party is do-it-yourself kimbap. Instead of pre-rolling the Korean sushi prior to guests arriving, Joo gives each guest their own squares of seaweed and lets them make their own. Joo is also a big fan of do-it-yourself bibimbap, where she encourages guests to choose their own vegetables for the mixed rice dish.

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Judy Joo with Seoul chef and restaurateur Lucia Cho.

Though Joo is now a recognizable TV food personality — she is one of the few who can claim to have been on Iron Chef as a competitor, an official Iron Chef (the only woman in the Iron Chef UK lineup) and a judge — her road to success was a winding one. Born to a physician father and a chemist mother, Joo initially aspired to a career in the sciences and ended up working in banking for many years before she had what she calls her What Color Is Your Parachute? moment and began to soul-search about what she really wanted to do with her life.

“My parents were not thrilled,” says Joo of the prospect of her giving up her prestigious gig on Wall Street. But to contextualize, she grew up in a stereotypically overachieving Asian American household where her parents were also “not thrilled” when she only got into Columbia and not Yale, where her sister went. She toyed with the idea of joining the Peace Corps (“My dad was like, ‘Why do you do that? That’s why I left North Korea!’”), but eventually enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in New York. Soon after relocating to London with her husband, she ended up working at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant and worked her way up from there.

But it wasn’t until she got into television that her parents started to understand the significance of her new career path. “When I got invited to the Blue House in Korea —the White House of Korea — that’s when my parents were like, ‘Oh, maybe you are doing something interesting and important,’” she says. “That’s when they realized I wasn’t just a line cook, I guess.”

Episodes of Korean Food Made Simple can be seen on the Cooking Channel, and a cookbook with recipes featured on the show will be available next year. 

This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here

This Japanese Dessert Looks Just Like A Giant Water Drop

This Japanese dessert has recently gained quite a bit of viral fame. After all, who wouldn’t be intrigued by a cake that looks just like a drop of water?

This intriguing dessert is called Mizu Shingen Mochi and can be translated to water shingen mochi. As the name indicates, this dessert is actually a variation of a traditional “shingen mochi” rice cake. The consistency is said to be similar to soft and sticky mochi.

The rare dessert is created using water from the Southern Japanese Alps and is served with kinako soybean powder and brown sugar syrup.  The water is apparently solidified into a solid shape, but feels like it can break with just a poke. Apparently, the cake will melt like water in your mouth, but is extremely tasty. The cake is so delicate that if it is not consumed in 30 minutes, it will melt away.

By now, you’re probably itching to get your hands on one of these. Unfortunately, mizu shingen mochi are exclusively produced by the Kinseiken Seika Company and only available in two locations in Japan:

Kinseiken Daigahara shop:
Address: 2211 Daigahara, Hakushucho, Hokutoshi, Yamanashi 408-0312
Tel: +81-551-35-2246
Open: 9a.m. to 6p.m.
Closed: Thursdays

 
Kinseiken Nirasaki shop:
Address: 154 Kotagawa, Nakadamachi, Nirasakishi, Yamanashi 407-0262
Tel: +81-551-25-3990
Open: 9a.m. to 6p.m.
No scheduled holidays

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(Source 1, 2)

THE ULTIMATE SUSHI GUIDE: Everything You Need To Know About Japan’s Most Iconic Food


History of Sushi

Over 2000 years ago, the first sushi was created. Of course, it was quite different back then. The original “sushi” was created in Southeast Asia simply as a way to preserve fish in fermented rice. The process of creating this original sushi, called narezushi, involved having salted fish wrapped in fermented rice for months and the rice would be thrown out when the fish was consumed.

When this became popular in Japan, the Japanese created a new dish, namanare, which involved eating both the fish and rice. The fish was consumed before it changed flavor.

Finally, a third type of sushi was created. Haya-zushi is the form of sushi we are most familiar with. The fish and rice was assembled to be eaten at the same time and the rice was not being used for fermentation.

Our modern sushi was created by Hanaya Yohei as an early form of fast food.

 


 

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Proper Way To Eat Sushi

1) Do not rub wooden chopsticks together before use. This may insult your host by saying their chopsticks are cheap.
2) Don’t feel pressured to use your chopsticks. It is also common to eat sushi using your hands. 
3) Sushi is meant to be consumed in one bite.
4) Only a light amount of soy sauce should be used. Otherwise you may insult the chef by indicating that the sushi did not have enough flavor.
5) The fish portion of the sushi should be dipped into the soy sauce and your sushi is consumed “rice up.”
6) Although popular in America, wasabi is not supposed to be mixed into the soy sauce.
7) Use the back end of your chopsticks to grab sushi from a communal plate.
8) Do not place the ginger on your sushi pieces. Ginger is meant to be eaten between different pieces of sushi to cleanse your palette for the next taste.

 


 

Different Types of Sushi
Maki (1)
Makizushi
Cylinder-shaped sushi that is rolled up with a bamboo matt and typically wrapped in nori (dried seaweed) and cut into pieces. There was various types of Makizuki depending on the ingredients inside as well as the size of the roll.
tema
Temaki
Another form of Makizuki, but it doesn’t quite look like the other variations. Instead of a cylinder shape, it is created with nori in a cone shape and stuffed with ingredients.
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Uramaki
Uramaki is a Western-style of sushi which has rice on the outside and nori/other ingredients on the inside. This was created in the United States as a way of visually hiding the seaweed.

 

 

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Nigirizushi
Nigiri is hand formed. It is a mound of rice with a slice of fish/seafood placed on top.
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Shashimi
Raw fish served without rice.
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Gunkanmaki
An oval mound of rice wrapped in nori and topped with soft, loose or fine-chopped ingredient. 

 



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“World’s Best Sushi Restaurant”
Tokyo’s famed restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro is said to have the best sushi in the world. The restaurant is owned and operated by 88-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono who is the very first sushi chef in the world to receive three Michelin stars. The sushi gathered so much attention that it became the focus of a 2011 documentary called “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.”

Reservations must be made months in advance and customers must be prepared to dish out quite a bit of money. The 20-course “Chef’s Recommended Special Course” is about $300. While that’s a lot of money for one meal, customers always seem satisfied. They argue that the meal is an experience and an art.


 

Chopsticks Tutorial 

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(source)


 

DIY Sushi Plush/Pillow

The History of Cambodian-Owned Donut Shops

You’re probably already aware that a large amount of independently-run donut shops in California are Cambodian-owned. What you may not know is that the donut shop industry is an integral part of the Cambodian immigration story.

In honor of National Donut day, we decided to look into the history of hardworking, Cambodian donut shop owners:

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1) You won’t find a donut in Cambodia.

Well, you can probably find a few donuts, but if you thought you’d find streets lined with donut shops in Cambodia, you’re in for a let-down. While donuts are a large part of the Cambodian American culture, many can tell you that this is purely an American tradition. Allegedly, there is only one donut shop in all of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

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2) It all began with a man named Ted Ngoy.

Before donut shops were associated with the Cambodian American culture, there was Ted Ngoy paving the way. He arrived in the U.S. in 1975 and two years later, he begun his own donut shop. Clearly, his legacy continued.

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3) “The American Dream” 

“Ngoy is the one who found a way for Cambodian immigrants to become part of the American dream of owning their own business,” said Dennis Wong of the Asian Business Association. “Taking a loan from an Asian loaning society, Ngoy was able to buy two stores, operate them for awhile and then sell to someone in the community or a family member who wanted to buy them. That’s how they got into it.”

“Italian immigrants are often working with restaurants, Indians with newsstands and hotels. With Cambodians, it happens to be donuts,” he said.

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4) Running a donut shop is hard work. 

You’ll often hear about these donut shops having only a few workers in order to save money. In fact, many of the workers are family members who must find time within their day to help the family business. As a result, many owners will work long and tiring hours to make sure their shop is functional. Additionally, many donut shop owners have voiced that the long hours have made it difficult to assimilate into a new society.

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5) They have thrived. 

An estimated 80% of donut shops in the Los Angeles area are owned by Cambodian Americans. In Houston, Texas, the percentage is an even larger 90%.

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6) A day in the life:

(Source 1, 2, 3)

25 Irresistible Panda-Shaped Foods

To avoid stereotyping, I’m not going to say that all Asians like pandas, but we definitely have a soft spot for these adorable bears. Native to south central China, pandas are known for their distinct black and white color and for (despite their large size) having a diet that consists  almost entirely of bamboo.

Well many people have decided to incorporate pandas into their own diet. No, I’m not talking about eating our beloved bears. A number of people have found creative ways to incorporate the panda’s distinct black and white patches into every day food. The result? Adorable panda-shaped and panda-themed food!

And who wouldn’t want food in the shape of these docile, cuddly creatures? Pandas are now considered an endangered species, but people have definitely made up for that number by incorporating pandas into just about anything you can think of.

Now riceballs, cookies, pastries, bread, mochi, ice cream, cookies and even coffee can come in an adorable panda shape.

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20 of Asia’s Most Mouth-Watering Desserts

When we brought you Top 10 Scary Asian Dishes We Love, readers couldn’t agree more. While we may love our food, we admit that to an unfamiliar eye, some of our Asian dishes look quite unapproachable.

Thankfully, this isn’t the case with all of our food. For instance, many of our desserts look too good to be true. To prove our point, we made a list of 20 of Asia’s Most Mouth-Watering Desserts. 

You’ll probably find yourself really hungry after scrolling through this. You’ve been warned.


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1) Custard Tart/ Egg Tart 
(Chinese) A custard tart pastry that consists of an outer crust which is filled with egg custard and baked.


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2) Khanom khrok
(Thai) Rice flour and coconut milk pancakes-like pastries.


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3) Halo Halo
(Filipino) Shaved ice and evaporated milk with various boiled sweet beans, jello and fruits such as jack fruit, tapioca and ice cream.

 


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4)  Bungeoppang
(Korean) Batter is poured into a fish-shape mold, filled with red bean paste, then closed and roasted.


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5) Mochi Ice Cream
(Japanese) Pounded sticky rice (mochi) filled with ice cream.


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6)  Chendol
(Indonesian/Vietnamese) Coconut milk, jelly noodles, and shaved ice mixed with various ingredients such red beans and creamed corn.


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7)  Castella
(Japanese)  Sponge cake  made of sugar, flour, eggs, and starch syrup.


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8) Ensaymada
(Filipino)  A brioche baked with butter instead of lard and topped with grated cheese and sugar.


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9) Doufuhua
(Chinese) Made with very soft tofu and often referred to as tofu pudding.


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10) Tteok
(Korean) Rice cakes made with steamed rice flour. can It can range from elaborate versions with nuts and fruits to the plain-flavored tteok.


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11) Khanom tom
(Thai)  Glutinous rice flour, palm sugar and coconut.


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12) Leche Flan
(Filipino) A custard dessert with a layer of soft caramel on top.


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13) Green Tea Ice Cream
(Japanese) Japanese ice cream flavor.


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14) Almond biscuits
(Chinese) A light biscuit/cookie often topped with sliced almond nuts and sometimes  prepared with almond flour.


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15) Bánh chuối
(Vietnamese) A sweet banana cake or pudding.


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16) Kutsinta
(Filipino) Rice cake made from rice flour, brown sugar and lye. Often topped with coconut.


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17) Coffee Jelly
(Japanese) A gelatin dessert that has the color and flavor of black coffee.

 


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18) Gyeongju bread
(Korean) A small pastry with red bean paste filling. A local specialty of Gyeongju City, South Korea.


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19) Almond Jelly
(Chinese) Apricot kernel milk extracted, sweetened, heated with a gelling agent and solidified into a gelatin dessert.


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20) Sikhye
(Korean) A sweet rice beverage served as a dessert. It is created by pouring malt water onto cooked rice.

 


Know more desserts that deserve to be on this list? Comment below and let us know!

Julie’s Kitchen: Introducing the Food Collage

Here at Audrey, we’ve seen all sorts of art mediums. We’ve seen a Jackie Chan portrait made entirely of chopsticks, cultural art made from make up, and even stop-motion art using a tissue. Well Julie Lee is here to add her name to this list of creative artists.

Lee is the mastermind behind popular blog, Julie’s Kitchen. Her form of art? Food collages. Lee defies all parents who have told their children not to play with their food and the results are beautiful. Using goods from the Saturday Santa Monica Farmers Market, Lee creates captivating photography.

“My food collages on Instagram started out as a way to showcase seasonal and local offerings from neighborhood farmers markets,” Lee writes on her website. “It’s evolved into an ongoing project in the study of plant design, exploration of color theory, and pure, unadulterated food-love. Let’s be real– I like to play with my food. Thanks for letting me nerd out.”

The julieskitchen instagram account has nearly 60,000 followers and for good reason. Her photos are both beautiful and delicious. Check them out below.

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