Since I can remember I’ve always been eating my Nai Nai’s (dad’s mom’s) cooking. She’s now over 95 years old and continues to be incredible, bustling around and constantly feeding me. I recently spent time at home and my most important mission during my visit was to spend time with her learning how to cook the dishes I had grown up loving. Like most chefs, my Nai Nai does not believe in exact measurements. “Just look at it,” she says “Taste it,”—and that’s how I learned to make the necessary adjustments. So, for those who prefer more precise measurements, here are two of my Nai Nai’s recipes quantified.
What I love about L.A. Weekly’s 99 Essential Restaurants list is that it’s a good mix of places that has something for everyone – especially in a city with some of the world’s most eccentric characters. I’ll admit there were some surprises, but I was pleasantly pleased with the numerous Asian entries on the list.
This year’s list is a little different – not just because of the new entries on the list – but because this is the first time other contributors have also worked on this list besides famous food writer Jonathan Gold (Tien Nguyen and Christine Chiao were enlisted). With a place as big and diverse as L.A., it’s important to have a mix of different voices to offer their opinions (and you know, share with us their hidden gems).
Did some of your favorites make the list? Click on to see!
DEPT The Good Life
ISSUE Fall 2012
AUTHOR Kanara Ty
PHOTOS Interior photo by Mohammad Gorjestani, all other photos by Jennifer Yin.
In recent years, the San Francisco Bay Area’s culinary scene has grown beyond the local-produce-loving-community it has become recognized for. In fact, it is steadfastly becoming the playground for renowned chefs to create some of the region’s most creative and innovative dishes. Of course, this all comes at a hefty price — many folks will find themselves breaking the bank to eat at some of the Bay Area’s most coveted restaurants. While this may be an exciting time for food enthusiasts, the accessibility to such experiences is another matter.
Author: Eugene Sung
Raise your hand if you were under the impression that the majority of the products sold at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s is good for you. *Raises hand* Yes, I’ll admit it…I’m a Whole Foods whore. While there are a lot of healthy and nutritious items at these stores, don’t be so quick to believe that everything you’re buying is good for you. A perfect example of this is a common food additive called carrageenan, which can be found in items sold at ‘organic’ supermarkets.
Author: Eugene Sung
The average American eats approximately 2,000 pounds of food each year. Out of those 2,000 pounds, we consume 110 pounds of red meat, 62 pounds of beef, 46 pounds of pork and 73.6 pounds of poultry. Unfortunately, with large corporations controlling a vast amount of our food source, we need to be more diligent in educating ourselves about where our food is coming from and how it’s prepared. Below is a list of appalling facts regarding the meat industry that I hope will raise more awareness and assist you in being a smarter shopper.
Koreans love the refreshing noodle dish called naengmyun. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.
It’s the prime of summer and food is always a great way to rejuvenate oneself during hot weather.
Curious as to what my peers were enjoying this time around, I asked a few friends and, to my delight, the top pick was a dish that I had almost forgotten about but was soon ecstatic to re-explore: Korean cold buckwheat noodles or mul naengmyun.
Thought to have been made since the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897), mul naengmyun (or naengmyun for short) is a traditional Korean noodle dish that is made up of cold broth, thin buckwheat noodles (or other various noodles), julienned cucumbers, sliced beef, boiled eggs, and sliced Asian pears. Vinegar and mustard are common condiments used for extra flavoring.
These fresh, tangy and refreshing noodles are served cold, and is not only a favorite among Koreans but it’s also gaining in popularity among many non-Koreans.
Mr. Li, an investment banker of Chinese descent, was introduced to naengmyun by his Korean girlfriend and now calls it his favorite summer dish. He frequents Yu-Chun in L.A. to satiate his appetite for these noodles. (His visits to Yu-Chun have led him to try out other Korean dishes). Ms. Yoshida, a fashion market researcher of Japanese descent, says that she has had a great experience trying n
aengmyun and wishes to try the other spicier kind that her friend had last time at their dinner .
The positive reviews from both native Koreans and other ethnicities have quicklyallowed naengmyun to become a dish of first resort to beat the summer heat.
Have you had your n
Some popular destinations for naengmyun if you’re in the L.A. area:
Yu-Chun Chik Naeng Myun
3185 W Olympic Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90006
Chil Bo Myun Ok Ulsacc
3680 W 6th Street Los Angeles, CA 90020
P.S. Most Korean BBQ joints other than the aforementioned will also serve naengmyun. It’s a great accompaniment to your hot grilled, savory meat.