Foodbuzz 24×24: Asian Soul Food

By Tsz on April 29, 2012

In hard times, everyone seeks a little comfort food. Why else do we reach for that pint of double chocolate ice cream when dealing with boy trouble? Or munch on salty potato chips (sometimes paired with an episode of Mad Men) after a long day’s work?

Inspired by Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness, I started working for a start-up early this year. Although it has been an unbelievable learning experience, it also has its share of stressful moments. After a particularly eventful week, it was time to de-stress with an all-out comfort meal.

With the requirements of that it must be delicious and stick-to-your-ribs fatty, I knew it must be soul food. More specifically fried chicken and waffles!

Thanks to Foodbuzz’s 24×24, I got to create the meal of my fancy—soul food with an Asian twist—and share it with a group of young entrepreneurs. Just as entrepreneurs seek out new businesses and products, often combining seemingly disparate things into something that works surprisingly well, this dinner was all about exploring new flavor profiles and combinations.

Here is the menu:

1. Fiery Sambal Mac & Cheese with Chinese Sausage (recipe to be posted)
Think warm and gooey mac and cheese, but with the added zing of spicy sambal and crispy Chinese sausage. To keep it fresh, I added green onions and cilantro to the mix. The crunch comes from the panko and cheddar topping.

2. Malaysian Curry Fried Chicken with Pandan Waffles and Kumquat Syrup (recipe to be posted)
Giving the Colonel a run for his money! Juicy chicken thighs are brined in a mixture of curry and spices, then coated with spicy corn flour before deep-fried to maximum crispiness. If that’s not enough, they’re paired with fluffy pandan-flavored waffles and tangy kumquat syrup.

For those more adventurous, we had some hot sauces as well: one made with Habanero and the other with the infamous ghost pepper. Here was the reaction from those who took the challenge…

3. Ube Pudding Cream Pie (recipe to be posted)
One of my favorite dessert is the banana cream pie so this is my doctored version made with ube and tons of old-fashioned Nilla Waffers. Definitely no diet food here!

4. Spicy Ginger Sweet Tea and Mandarin Orange Kool-Aid(recipe to be posted)
We quenched our thirst with a ginger sweet tea and Mandarin orange Kool-Aid (must with fried chicken!). To kick it up a notch, we added a shot of whisky. All that’s missing are mason jars and moonshine!

I’ll be posting recipes up in the following so check back soon!

In the meanwhile, check out this fierce (say it with Beyonce’s attitude) video documenting the night’s festivityes created by attendees Jeff Okita (owner of Six Taste) and Celeste Perez (owner of Vesterie)!

Thanks for reading and happy eating!


Cafe de Turin : Seafood Heaven

By Tsz on April 17, 2012

Gastrophoria is a pot of moules marinières from Cafe de Turin.

I’m a great believer in non-fussy food. When you have fresh ingredients, it’s a virtue to let them shine in a simple preparation. No fancy sauces or frills needed.

The French must live by the same principle because Cafe de Turin have been serving up impeccably fresh seafood since 1908. Packed with locals, it’s the place in Nice for mussels, oysters—basically anything and everything from the sea.

For an unbelievable meal, all you need to remember is to order:

1. A glass of white wine (it’s cheaper than water there, no joke)
2. Moules marinières
3. Pommes frites
4. Oysters

In a few short moments, you’ll be presented with a plate of plump oysters and a few wedges of lemon. They’ll be sweet, fresh and briny in all the right ways. But remember, they’re just the opening act for the mussels.

Just like a headliner band, these mussels come with much fanfare, piled high in a metal stock pot and showered with fines herbs. The first taste is unforgettable: faint aroma of white wine, freshness from the onions and herbs and the plumpest, most flavorful mussels—cooked to just the right doneness. I promise you these mussels will be better than most you’d have eaten in your life.

The biggest challenge is to not succumb to the urge to stuff your face but enjoy the mussels at a leisurely pace—like the locals in the neighboring tables. Slow down, sip some wine, eat and repeat. Best to eat the mussels with its cooking liquid—aka liquid gold.

To make sure none of that precious liquid gold goes to waste, dip some of the piping hot fries in the pot. It’ll send you over the moon.

Oh, how I envy the French.

Cafe de Turin
5 Place Garibaldi
06300 Nice
Phone: +33 (0)4 93 62 29 52