Mr Samurai

Posted January 31st, 2009 in Eat Out in Perth - Japanese Food - | 10 Comments »

This Japanese fast food restaurant is located in the centre of Perth city, and popular among people of all ages.  They have been one of the cheapest place to eat around Perth, and it’s always crowded with students and office workers during lunch time.  Their signature dish is Fried Chicken: deep-fried chicken pieces with bone, served with steamed rice.  Considering the price, there is no question about the fact that people keep coming back to this place.  (Before: $4.00~$5.00, Now: $6.00.  still cheap 🙂 )

They have special chili sauce and chili powder on each table, and my fiance is crazy about this sauce.  We don’t have this type of chili sauce in Japan and it’s obviously not a Japanese thing, but it goes well with this fried chicken 🙂

I also recommend Katsu Curry, Oyako Donburi, and Special Combo.  They have Special Combo A, B and C, and A seems to be the popular one.  I believe that the price range around $6 ~ &7.

There is another reason why this place is always full of people.  They have a notice board near the entreace, and this notice board is used for classified advertising.  (mostly for Japanese people)  Most of the information are in Japanese, and Japanese people in Perth go to this place to get some information for share house, job, community activity and more.  If you are looking for Japanese sharemate, it’s probably a good idea to put the ad in Mr Samurai.

They are closed in the Weedends and that’s been a big disappointment, but Good News!  Mr Samurai will open on Saturdays from 31/Jan/09 🙂

As I mentioned above, this restaurant is kind of fast food, takeaway type of place.  The best place to get quick lunch.

83 Barrack St. Perth


Cold Soba Noodle + Japanese Chicken Salad

Posted January 29th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

It’s a soba season for Japanese people here.  Eating this buckwheat noodle with refreshing ginger dipping sauce can make you forget the hot air outside.

<Dipping Sauce> for two

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp Dashi powder (Japanese fish stock)
  • 2 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
   
Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan, and simmer it down till its half the amount.  When eating, add grated ginger into the sauce.  Enjoy with chopped spring onions and Japanese chili powder if you like.
   
Enjoy with cooked soba noodle 🙂

This is just an easy side dish 🙂

<Japanese Chicken Salad>

  • 50g chicken breast
  • 1 tsp sake (cooking wine)
  • 1/8 cucumber
  • 1 tbs Japanese mayonnaise
  • salt & pepper
  1. Place chicken breast in a microwave proof bowl.  Sprinkle sake, salt and pepper on the breast.  Cover with plastic wrap and steam in the microwave till it’s cooked.  (about 2~3 minutes)
  2. Slice cucumber. 
  3. Shred the chicken meat.  Mix with cucumber, mayonnaise and season.

Toilets

Posted January 28th, 2009 in Jakarta, Japan | No Comments »

I’ve already mentioned on my last post that I had a huge culture shock in Jakarta, and I want to talk about “toilet” here.

All public toilets in Jakarta were so dirty and unhygienic 🙁  Even in a modern-looking huge shopping centre, I didn’t want to use the toilet there.  Cleaning staffs were wiping the toilet sheets with dirty cloth over and over: it seemed that they were just spreading the bacteria.  And there was no toilet paper in any public toilets.  I was told that people just use water to clean instead of toilet paper.  The toilet floor was flooded with water, and I was wearing sandals!!  It was a nightmare :*(

I just had to compare it with Japanese toilets.  In Japan, you can almost eat food in the toilets.  I mean, public toilets in Japan are so clean! 

Lots of public toilets in Japan have automatic functions, such as…

-lid opens automatically when somebody enter the toilet … hygienic

-“disposable toilet sheet covers” and “toilet sheet cleaner” are provided in each toilet room … hygienic

-the toilet sheet is warmed for your bottom … so that your bottom doesn’t get surprised

-washlet function (water jet, dryer, massage, and you can control the strength of water, temperature and the position etc ) … relaxing!

-auto flash … hygienic

Water, soap and dryer are all automatic too. (sensor)

By the way, bathroom in my house (Japan) is also automatic.  You can control and keep the temperature of the water, refill the hot water with one button, auto cleaning…  And there is inter-phone function so you can talk to the person in the bathroom while you are preparing meal in the kitchen.  You can heat up the entire bathroom (built-up heater) too, and it was a great thing for bath time in the cold winter.


Jakarta Trip 2008 -Food-

Posted January 27th, 2009 in Eat out in Jakarta, Jakarta | No Comments »

Now I finally have time to look back my trip to Jakarta and write about it on Umeboss 🙂  I was staying in Jakarta for 6 days before flying to Japan (for my Japan trip posts, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. or see photos.)

That was my second visit to Jakarta.  The first time was one year ago (2007): I stayed there in Christmas and New Year’s day.  I have to admit that I experienced a huge culture shock in the country :p  Indonesia (Jakarta) was quite different from what I was imagining in my head.  There were actually lots of shopping malls, lots of restaurants (many cuisines: Japanese, Korean, American, Chinese, Indonesian etc) and more!  And everything was inexpensive.

Most of the famous franchises (like Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Burger King, Starbucks, etc etc….) were there.  I could even find Beard Papa\’s ! (cream puff franchise started from Osaka Japan)  You could get almost anything in Jakarta.  That was a surprise!

Since I was in Indonesia, I wanted to try original Indonesian food.  Nasi Lemak? Gado Gado? (are they Indonesian?)  Unfortunately, however, I was taken to Chinese restaurants most of the time.  I’m actually sick of Chinese:(  I eat it in Perth all the time!  I wanted to try something exotic.  So I asked them (in laws) to go to an Indonesian restaurant.  Then, they took me to this place called “Java Kitchen”.

It’s a franchise restaurant and this place serves Java food.  Nutty peanuts sauce Satay, Tahu Kacang, Sop Buntut (oxtail soup), mixed plates with a few dishes…  I had a mixed plate of coconut rice, Ayam Goreng (deep-fried chicken), Kacang (peanuts), Sambal (chili), boiled egg etc.  The sambal was really really spicy!!  I love spicy food and usually eat sambal at home in Perth too, but chili sauce in Indonesia was much spicier.  Do they use different type of chili or something? Anyway, even though I couldn’t finish those sambal, I enjoyed whole dish 🙂  Hot climate, hot food.  I love the combination!

Talking about chili sauce, I want to mention about KFC in Indonesia again.  (my previous post for KFC is here)  Yes we went to KFC again to enjoy those chicken with steamed rice.  There were 2 huge bottles of chili sauce at the counter so that customers can pour on their plates as much as they want.  According to my observations, the avarage amount of chili sauce people got on their plate was 1/2cup (125ml):1 piece of chicken + chips + steamed rice. :p

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There was a place where I really wanted to go back to on this trip.  This cafe sells special coffee, called Kopi Luwak : coffee berries which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Indonesian Civet.  This process takes place on the islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi in the Indonesian Archipelago.  It sounds little gross to drink something came from animal’s droppings, but this coffee is actually very expensive product. (few hundreds buck per pound (450g)!)

When I went to this cafe last time I didn’t try “pure” Kopi Luwak, so I went there again to try one this time.  One cup of Kopi Luwak was about AUS$7.00, I think.  It had nutty rich flavor.  Whilst drinking I was thinking “who came up with this idea??” :p  So curious…

You can browse more photos of my trip in Jakarta here

 


Tea

Posted January 24th, 2009 in Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

I just read an interesting article about tea 🙂

– History-

「The delicious qualities of tea were first discovered by an early Chinese Emperor.  He and his court stopped to rest whilst visiting a remote region one summer day.  As his servants began boiling water to drink, dried leaves from a nearby Camellia Sinensis plant fell into the boiling water and a brown liquid with a tempting scent began to infuse.  With both his scientific curiosity and his taste buds immediately aroused, the Emperor tasted the liquid.  He declared it to give “vigour of body, contentment of mind and determination of purpose.”」

Whilst there are so many kinds of tea in the world, people seem to think that Japanese tea = green tea only.  However there are more varieties, actually.  Ryoku-cha (green tea), Genmai-cha, Mugi-cha, Hato-mugi-cha, Houji-cha, Sen-cha, Maccha, etc etc…  They all taste different and the scent is so individual.

By the way, did you know that both English tea and Japanese Green tea all come from the same plant?  They taste different because of the manufacturing process!  And, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water.  Considering the numerous kinds of tea in the world, it’s not a surprising fact at all.

Among the variety of tea, I like Genmai-cha and Houji-cha. Those roasted tea give me an energy and calm my nerves down.  For English teas, I love Earl Grey the most.  I usually enjoy drinking it with milk, or use it for cooking (such as tea cookies, cakes and ice-cream).


Cat Power! -Pet Rescue-

Posted January 22nd, 2009 in Ume's Interests | No Comments »

It’s a “dog’s life” in Australia, with many people considering themselves ‘dog people’ and events and outings everywhere for dog lovers. Each day in the media happy dog stories take pride of place – we simply love our canine pals.

But I think 2009 should be the year of the cat.  Cats in Australia get a bum deal; often lumped in with ‘feral pests’ in legislation and maligned by their communities for simply being homeless orphans.  Cats really need an image makeover!  And that begins with thinking about the cats of Australia in the same way we think about dogs – great family pets and worthy of our protection!

Did you know in the UK cats are a favourite companion amongst young singles? That’s because cats thrive in apartments and are a great pet for people who work during the day.

I think many people know these websites below (click the photo) :  they make me realize how cute kittens are!

And cute photos…


Moist & Fluffy Cupcakes

Posted January 21st, 2009 in Food | 49 Comments »

You like making cupcakes, but they always turn out too dry or too doughy??  You don’t wanna follow any complicated recipes??  Then you should try this!  🙂  With just standard ingredients, you can make perfect cupcakes.

The smell is so tempting that my family starts gathering up to the kitchen and pick one or two right after I take those cupcakes out from the oven. (>u<)  They are very soft, moist inside and yet light!  You can enjoy decoration with icing of your favorite after they are cooled. (˚v˚•)¬

<Vanilla Cupcakes> about 24

  • 1 1/2 cups Self-Rising Flour
  • 1 1/4 cups Plain Flour
  • 225g Unsalted Butter
  • 2 cups Sugar (I used Raw Sugar)
  • 4 Eggs (large size at room temperature)
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
a
* Set up the oven at 175~180 Celsius
a
  1. Cream the butter until smooth.  Add sugar gradually, and beat well until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the egg, one at a time.  Beat well after each addition.
  3. Shift in the 1/3 of dry ingredients.  Mix it through, and then add the 1/3 of milk + vanilla.  Continue adding alternatively, and mix through at each addition.  (do not over mix)
  4. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.  Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full.
  5. Bake for 20~30 mins, or until it springs back when you press lightly at the top of the cake.
  6. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes.  Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack.
a
* You can also make nice sponge cake with this mixture!  Bake in a cake tin, and after it’s cooled fill the cream or decorate with some frosting. 🙂
They are still soft and moist after few days, storing in the fridge in an airtight container.
a
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a
Decorate cupcakes with my favorite Vanilla Butter Icing! 😉
a
<Vanilla Butter Icing> for 24 cupcakes
  • 225g Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cups Milk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 6~8 cups Icing Sugar
a
  1. Place 4 cups of icing sugar in a bowl, add all other ingredients.  Using an electric mixer, beat up till smooth and creamy.
  2. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency.   (You may not need to add all of the sugar.)
a
* Keep the icing in an airtight container at room temperature (can last up to 3 days)
a
(Magnolia cupcakes)
a

Retro Collection

Posted January 19th, 2009 in Ume's Interests | 4 Comments »

My interest in retro things started when my fiance took me to explore an old book shop.  He originally loves vintage stuffs and has some collections at home. 

In the book shop, I found several old cooking books in a shelf.  They are secondhand.  Some of them are pretty dirty, hand-written, very old-fashioned layout and illustrations.  I wouldn’t like someone’s secondhand cooking books, but they seemed very used and loved.  Some of them are published in 1900 and still readable…

I suddenly felt something inside me.  These old books have been in people’s kitchens for more than 100 years.  By reading them, I could go back in time and felt the differences to present days…

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We bought this retro-looking popcorn machine the other day.  This is actually not a real vintage stuff, but we just love its looking.

ポップコーンマシーン

This machine makes pretty good popcorns without oil.  Actually popcorn is not my favorite snack but I’ve been enjoying it 🙂  Good accompaniment to DVDs.



Stamina Food -Japanese-

Posted January 17th, 2009 in Food | 3 Comments »

I cooked some stamina food to overcome this heat.  Although it wasn’t so hot today, the heat from last whole week (44 degrees!) really damaged my body energy :p

(BTW I feel terrible about Kings Park bush fire which happened yesterday…)

Those stamina food is kind of Japanese home cooking.  The right top is stir-fried garlic sprout with beansprouts and cabbage, top left is unagi donburi, and the one at the front is tako karaage (deep-fried seasoned octopus).

Garlic sprout and unagi are believed to give stamina.  In Japan, these food are eaten in summer when the temperatures and humidity are high.  People tend to lose their appetite and they ultimately suffer from summer exhaustion or summer lethargy.  These stamina food are great sources of nutrition for Japanese people in steamy hot weather.

I hope these food give us the strength to survive this long summer 🙂

 

 


Japanese applications for the iPhone/iPod Touch

Posted January 16th, 2009 in Ume's Interests | No Comments »

I have updated photos from my Japan trip.  Please click here to see 🙂

*****************************************************************

I gathered up few Japan-related iPhone/iPod Touch applications.

From the App Store:

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<Koi Pond>

it’s a virtual koi pond that resides on your iPhonepod

Imagine gazing into a pond of crystal clear water.  Picture bright, playful koi swimming through its shallow depths.  So close. . . . Can you touch them?

You run your fingers across the cool  surface of the pond.  Water ripples away from your touch.  The koi, disturbed, dart away.  Only to quickly forget and swim close to you once more. . . .

There are several settings you can control, such as the hue of the water, the number of fish and number of plants.

Koi Pond was released July 30th, and has found itself #1 at the App Store in a relatively short amount of time and with good reason

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<Mokugyo>

 

In this application, traditional musical instrument “Mokugyo”(wooden gong) of Japan can be performed looking at beautiful scenery in Japan.

The wooden gong was brought by Japan hundreds of years ago.
It is possible to see in the buddhist temple etc. in modern days.
Because the sound is very Oriental, and is mysterious, it is used by the Kabuki.

You will be able to relax by hearing the sound.
In addition, beautiful scenery in Japan is displayed one after another in this contents.
As a result, you will feel a higher relaxation feeling.
(This relaxation feeling is called “Nagomi” in Japan.)

Mokugyo was released October 20th 2008.

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<UNIQLOCK>

 

Japanese clothing brand UNIQLO have been using their UNIQLOCK – an online timer/screensaver thing – to promote their latest wares for the past couple of years.  Now you can download it to your iPhone/iPod Touch.

This thing seems very odd… but I guess it’s a fashion??

UNIQLOCK site

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<Furu Furu Pocky>

 

This is kind of a game you want to do when you want to pick one person out of several people.  It’s very simple, whoever pick the pink pocky is the winner.

eg: who is in charge of cooking dinner tonight, who will be a seeker on hide and seek etc…

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<Bonsai>

 

Bonsai is a Japanese art!  Those miniature trees are available on your iPhonepod.  There are numbers of Bonsai apps: Bonsai Blast, Bonsai wallpaperyour own Bonsai Tree, iBonsai etc…

I have iBonsai and it’s pretty 🙂  iBonsai uses a random-number algorithm to grow infinitely diverse bonsai trees before your eyes, which you can then rotate around in 3D and save as your wallpaper.

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Here is more!