Pancakes and Grill

Posted July 30th, 2009 in Eat out in Perth | 2 Comments »

The other day I went to Pancakes & Grill in Northbridge.  I noticed that this place isn’t getting enough customers as they hope … but I personally like this place.  The atmosphere is like a family restaurant in Japan.  The only difference is, their high pricing.  I guess these prices are normal in Perth.  Everything here is over-priced to me :p

My friend and I shared Raspberry+Cheese+Cream Crape.  The crape was chewy and I liked it.  The raspberry coulis and cheese cream tasted good too.

I believe lots of Japanese people would like this type of place.  In Japan there are lots of cafes specializing on only sweets, like “parfait cafe”, “crape house” “dango (skewered, round sticky cakes) cafes” etc, and these places are filled with girls and couples.  (apparently this type of sweet places are not for guys :p)

I don’t wonder why this Pancakes & Grill has savory menus (like steaks) along with sweets, even though their main items are sweet pancakes and crapes.  Australian people loves meat, so I think they can’t attract many customers with just sweet items…

If their prices were little more reasonable, I would go there very often!

Indonesian/Malay Food

Posted July 28th, 2009 in Food, Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

I’m so lucky to have a chance to eat many kinds of Asian food. While I was in Japan I didn’t get to eat any Middle Eastern/Eastern/Sough Asian food, except for satay and Nasi Goreng at Izakaya. Of course, they didn’t taste like how they should taste, as they changed the recipe to suit Japanese people’s mouth. Since I came to Perth I’ve had so many food that I’d never eaten.

One of them is Chinese food. There are many Chinese people in Perth so I could try eating more real Chinese food here. In Japan we have lots of Chinese restaurants too, but those food are made for Japanese people, I think. When I asked my friend (Chinese) about some Chinese dish I know, she had no clue what I was talking about. In Japan, typical Chinese dish is “Happo-sai (八宝菜)”, “Hoi-Ko-lo(回鍋肉)”, “Chin-jao-lo-su(青椒肉絲)”, “Ebi Chili (chili prawn), “gyoza (dumplings) etc. For instance, if you order Hoi-Ko-lo(回鍋肉) you will get exact same dish from any restaurants in Japan, it’s always a thinly-sliced pork and cabbage dish stir-fried with some miso paste and other sauces. But, I believe that this Hoi-Ko-lo(回鍋肉) means just “stir-fried meat dish” in Chinese.(according to these Chinese characters) We just call this dish as Hoi-Ko-lo(回鍋肉) and believe this is the name of this dish, but I think it can be any meat dish and with any sauces. If you go to China and order “Hoi-Ko-lo(回鍋肉)” in a restaurant I don’t think I can get the exact Hoi-Ko-lo(回鍋肉) dish as I know. (or maybe they don’t even understand it)

I’d never eaten “san choi bow”, “Japanese tofu”, “Peking ribs” etc before, and now they are my favorites.

Now, about Indonesian food. My mother-in-law (to be in one month) cooks lots of Indonesian/Chinese food for us, and I love them! Some people think Japanese can not eat spicy food, but I do. I always keep fresh chili in my garden!

Every time she fly to Perth, she cooks beef rendang, siew mai (chewy steamed dumplings with peanuts sauce. She always coat boiled eggs, tofu and boiled potatoes with mince meat and then steam. Different from what I knew as siew mai in Japan), gado-gado (mixture of blanched vegetables with peanuts sauce), bak mee (soup noodle), oxtail soup, ayam goreng (deep-fried chicken), sayur asem (sour soup with vegetables), bachang (triangular-shaped glutinous rice dumplings wrapped with bamboo leaves. She stuff mixture of mince meat inside) etc etc …

She also cooks some desserts, I will up-date it later…

I had rendang last night. RIght after I opened the door I knew she was cooking rendang. Smells so nice… Beef is very soft and melts in your mouth, so you don’t even need to chew. She usually accompany rendang with hard boiled eggs.

I’m now waiting for her cooking some siew mai… very yummy. 🙂


Posted July 25th, 2009 in Perth WA | 4 Comments »

Yesterday I received this beautiful gift from my friend in Japan.  She used to go to an English school with me in Perth few years ago, and now she lives in Japan, happily married to a Japanese and have a lovely girl. I didn’t want to open the packaging as it was beautifully wrapped with paper and ribbon, but I had to see what’s inside so I opened it…  it was a scented white-rose wreath …  What a lovely gift!  Now it’s in my room and I think I’m gonna use this as something on my wedding day too!

I had a few Japanese friends while I was in English school, and some of them really loved Perth.  They said they didn’t want to go back to Japan anymore!  Those people happened to be mostly from Tokyo side.  I guess they are tired of living in busy stressful life? :p  Me, I was looking forward to going back to Japan as soon as I finish my school here (:)) but I ended up staying here.  Now most of my friends went back to Japan because they couldn’t get visa successfully.  Others worked really hard to get Permanent Resident Visa and some of them are happily living in Perth.  All of my friends who I met in Perth and got PR visa are still staying in Perth, not in other cities like Sydney or Gold Coast.  They say they like Perth the best. 🙂

Today I was out all day.  I went to see some of my friends in the morning, then went to see another friends. I hadn’t seen them for so long (probably for one year?) and it was really really nice.  After long-time-chatting I went to a shop where I bought my wedding dress to get the final fitting.  The dress perfectly fits now, I hope I don’t gain any weight by the day otherwise I can’t wear!

Actually one of my friend works in the shop, and that’s the reason why I got my dress there.  And, another friend who is getting married on November this year bought her dress there too, so she and I went to the shop together and did the fitting.  After the fan fitting, we all went out for a snack.  We went to The Moon Cafe in Northbridge.  I was recommended this place by one of my workmate and I wanted to try.

I like the atmosphere and the interior of this cafe.  Relaxing and wide.

(Photos are not nice as I was moving around while shooting) ..

We were 4 people but not really hungry, so we all shared one pizza and one pasta.  Roasted Eggplant, Cottage Cheese and Pesto Pizza, and Gorgonzola, Pumpkin and Cream Fettuccine.  The pizza was delicious, but we all didn’t like the pasta… It might be just because of our choice, I think.  Next time I want to try their sweet pizza menu, chocolate or strawberry…

The place would be good for drinking with friends though.  You can sit down and have a snack.  They open until late so I would come back here again for a drink.

Is Japanese Mayonnaise going to disappear from Australia??

Posted July 25th, 2009 in Food, Perth WA, Ume's Interests | 15 Comments »

As you can tell, Western style mayonnaise and Japanese mayonnaise taste pretty different.
Japanese mayonnaise contains more eggs comparing to Western ones, and it’s thicker in texture and richer in taste.  I had a difficulty eating Western style mayonnaise when I just came to Perth because it tasted totally
different from what I knew as mayonnaise and didn’t like it at all. :p

Now I’m used to the taste of Western style mayo, but I keep Japanese mayo in my fridge too just to eat with some Japanese food such as Okonomi-yaki, sushi rolls and kara-age.  I can eat Western style mayo in sandwiches and salad, but it’s definitely not for Japanese food.

Western style mayonnaise, (well it’s the standard mayonnaise in the world but I call it Western style) is made with egg yolk, oil, vinegar (or some acid such as lemon juice) and mustard.

According to the package of typical Japanese mayonnaise it contains apple cider vinegar (or rice vinegar) and a small amount of MSG….  doesn’t sound good, but I guess that’s the reason why Japanese mayo is so tasty…

Because of the high ratio of eggs contained in Japanese mayonnaise, Australian government prohibits travelers bringing them into Australia.  You can find Japanese mayonnaise in Asian grocery shops but they are very expensive.  The most popular Japanese mayonnaise brand is QP (kewpie) and it’s the biggest mayonnaise company in Japan.  There are few other brands but usually QP is the most expensive one.

Now, Australian government is getting more strict on this product and they don’t even allow some importers to release those Japanese mayo into Australia.  Which means, you can’t even buy it from grocery stores.  The people who will be in trouble are Japanese restaurant owners.  Japanese restaurants need Japanese mayonnaise otherwise some dishes don’t taste like how they supposed to do.

Fortunately some of QP mayonnaise and other brands’ are permitted at this point.  Those permitted mayonnaise contains less egg % .

In case all the Japanese mayonnaise get prohibited, Japanese restaurants’ chefs should learn how to make Japanese style mayonnaise?

Food from Jakarta and Japan’s mobiles

Posted July 22nd, 2009 in Food, Japan, Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

I try not to buy and keep lots of snacks/sweets at home otherwise I can’t control myself from eating all the time, but now my house is full of food as in-laws recently got back from Jakarta and brought so many things with them.  Sometimes I admire them for bringing so much food into this super strict country (Australia).  They just know what food can and can not to be brought into Australia very well.

One of the things they always bring here is Holland Bakery bread.  It seems that this Holland Bakery is a pretty big franchise in Indonesia.  While I was in Jakarta last time, I went to one of their shops and chose few bread from the show case.  The place looked pretty nice.  In-laws usually bring 3 boxes of Holland Bakery bread (about 10 bread / each box) here, so we have plenty …
Other things they bring here are salted nuts, cassava chips, some instant noodles, sambal, some sauces, seasoning packets, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Rotiboy bread.  Now you can imagine how big the ratio of food is in their luggage …  Sometimes 2 large carbon boxes are filled with food and one box is even bigger than their suitcase :p
I concern about my weight… but it’s always nice when someone bring something for you.
By the way..
As my plan for Japan trip is almost done, the biggest concern is yet still not solved.. mobile phone.  It’s a problem if we don’t have a mobile in Japan… what if we get lost somewhere?  or want to ask my brother to pick us up from a train station?  It’s hard to find a public phone in Japan there days…
Even though Japanese mobiles are known as very high-tech and you can do so many things with it such as internet, email, paying goods, using as boarding passes and even body-fat calculators, you can’t use it in other countries.
I read this article “Why Japan’s Cellphones Haven’t Gone Global on The New York Times, if you are interested in this matter.
Anyway, we may have to rent mobiles or buy pre-paid type mobiles there.  Or, try to survive without them…


Posted July 19th, 2009 in Japan, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

Shiga is a prefecture located in the centre of the main island in Japan.  …and also, my hometown!  Prefecture means something like “suburb” “state” “county” … few people didn’t understand what “prefecture” means when I was talking about Japan, so just in case.

Shiga is not a large city, and there are lots of mountains and rice field.  so, it has a typical country side landscape.  In fact some area in Shiga is really rustic and you can see nothing but mountains.  In Japanese, we call this type of place as “inaka”.

My house is near mountains and rice fields as well, but fortunately I was more into “city side” and often went out to Kyoto/Osaka side, so I didn’t really feel like I was living in a mountain :p  That’s the thing I like about Shiga.  One side has a totally “inaka” environment, and other has a city environment.  I’m not talking about big city like Osaka or Tokyo of course, but the size of city in Shiga is just right, and it’s quite similar to Perth actually.  Wide road, nice view, not too busy…  In fact, Kusatsu-city, near the capital city of Shiga (capital city is Otsu-city) was voted as “the most livable city in Japan” few years ago.  So was Nagahama-city, which is just above Hikone-city in Shiga.

(you can see some photos I took on my last trip here.  Just scroll down to the bottom.  Also this is the photos I took near my house in 2003)

For people who might have an interest in visiting this place, I’ve listed up a few things what people can do in this prefecture ↓↓↓


The biggest lake, and one of the world’s most ancient lakes in Japan, Biwako Lake is in Shiga prefecture.  Biwako Lake is a very famous fishing spot and people from other prefectures and even from other countries visit Biwako Lake every year.  Some people might have heard this news but a 10.12kg, 73.5 cm bass was caught on the 2nd of July this year (just few weeks ago) by Manabu Kurita, a pro staffer representing Deps Tackle Co. in Japan.  Wow…   I used to swim in the lake when I was a kid!  I’m really happy that I didn’t see something like this huge fish in the water then.  Besides black basses, you can fish bluegills, sweetfishes, carps (koi) etc…  My grandpa liked fishing and I ate lots of fish (including koi) back then at home.

<Biwako Cruise>

“Michigan” cruise is one of most popular entertainment of Biwako Lake.  “Michigan” is a name of this ferry and it’s got 2~3 stories.  I’ve been on this ferry when I was little and remember enjoying popcorn and entertainment on the deck while feeling refreshing breeze.  Cruise leaves from Otsu Port, goes up north to Biwako Lake Bridge and returns back.

<Rowboat Tour>

This tour is a famous tourist attraction in Ohmihachiman-city.  The lord Toyotomi Hidetugu, about 400 years ago, was the first one who toured through the canals following a sail of royal people. Take a roofed 6-seater rowboat through winding canals running into Biwako Lake. You can enjoy seasonal changes in the scenery of Omihachiman.

<Biwako Lake Museum>

This museum is in Kusatsu-city (my grandma lives there).  I’m not really a museum person but I like going there!  There are various exhibits showing : how to think of environmental issues, how Biwako Lake was formed, the history of relationship between the lake and the people… but also lots of fish that live in Biwako Lake.  It’s like an aquarium, really.  You can see various kinds of fresh water fish and animals including turtles, ducks, deep-sea (lake?) fish and fresh water sharks.  You can experience some activities too, so it may be a good place for kids to explore.  You can see some of exhibits closely and touch some of them directly.  Videos and PC software are available for public perusal, and you can look at some specimens through the microscope at one of the galleries.  Very interesting to see how Japanese people lived in decades ago.

<Biwako Valley>

The nearest ski ground from Kyoto/Osaka/Kobe area.  .Most courses are designed for beginners and intermediates.  During the off-season, it’s also fun to explore the mountain, riding in a 120-seater ropeway car, looking for animals and flowers. I used to go there every winter while I was in elementary school for skiing.  (one of school activity)

<Ishiyama-dera Temple>

Ishiyama-dera Temple is one of the most famous holy places for Goddess of Mercy as well as Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto and Hasedera Temple in Nara.  Ishiyama-dera Temple was often described in ancient literary works such as “Suzumushi Nikki” “Sarashina Nikki” and “Makura-no-Soshi”  It has been said that Murasaki-shikibu conceived an idea for “Tale of Genji – Genji Monogatari” while she stayed at Ishiyama-dera Temple.  The temple is also known as one of views in Omi -Genji Monogatari.  Very historical place!  My high school was just near this temple.

<Hiyoshi Grand Shrine>

Hiyoshi Grand Shrine, also known as Sanno Gongen, is the head temple of Hiyoshi sect of Shinto.  Various beautiful shrines remain on the premise, such as a national treasure Higashi Hon-to and Nishi Hon-to.  Hiyoshi Osanbashi Bridge is said to be the oldest stone bridge in Japan. It is designated as an important cultural property.  Gorgeous Hiyoshi Toshogu Shrine is about 300M south from Hiyoshi Grand Shrine.  Hiyoshi Toshogu Shrine decorated with colorfully painted carvings has kept its original shape since early Edo period!

<Old Chikurin In Garden>

This is in Otsu-sity, the capital of Shiga prefecture.  The garden of Chikurin In Temple (one of the most respected temples among Enryakuji Temple) sits at the foot of Mt. Hachioji and clear water of Omiya River runs into the winding creek.  Two teahouses and a waiting room built during Tensho period (1573-1592) are designated as cultural properties by Otsu-city.  Visitors can enjoy a serving of green tea in the hall where the beautiful garden can be seen throughout the year.

Japanese Restaurants

Posted July 16th, 2009 in Eat Out in Perth - Japanese Food - | 8 Comments »

Wow it was a bit of shock to hear that Mr Samurai closed their business… Although I wasn’t their regular customer, as I don’t really go to city often except for shopping and visiting JP Consulate etc, I kind of miss their food.  Nothing special, really.  Just that I know there’re many local people who loved Mr Samurai food.

Now, where can we get Japanese food for reasonable prices?  Ummm there are a few, actually.  Lots of Japanese food places are owned by non-Japanese, but some of them serve nice food.  Here is a list of casual Japanese eating places around Perth, which I recommend to you 🙂

I don’t bother listing down any Japanese food shops at food courts as it’s going to be a enormous number.
(except for Taka’s Kitchen Fremantle)
※ Taka’s Kitchen:
City – cnr Barrack st & Willington st, Perth
Shaft Lane – Shaft Lane, Murray st, Perth
Fremantle – Old Shanghai Food Court (Henderson st), Fremantle
※ Jaws Sushi :
Myer – Shop 16 Forrest Chase, Perth
London court (takeaway only)

※ Sundays Everyday – 6-43 Halme Court, Myaree

※ Ohnamiya – 34 Kearns Crs, Ardross

※ Shige Sushi Bar – Millstream Shopping Centre, South Perth

※ Peko Peko – Shop1/ 172 St Brigids Tce, Doubleview

※ Kanta – 2/76 Langford Ave, Langford

And, if you want to go to rather expensive Japanese restaurants, here are some …

※ Matsuri Japanese : cnr of Hay and Milligan Streets, Perth

※ Shimizu Floreat : Floreat Shopping Centre

※ Jaws Sushi :
Mint – 323 Hay St, East Perth
Hay st – 1/726 Hay St, Perth
※ Sado Island : 55 Bayview Tce, Claremont
※ Restaurant Jun : 568 Hay St, Perth
※ Ha-Lu : 4/401 Oxford St, Mt Hawthorn
※ Zen Japanese : Seddon St, Subiaco

White Stew with Chicken (Cream Stew)

Posted July 15th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Who doesn’t like hearty creamy soup in winter?  This is my favorite winter food in Japan: white cream stew.  The name says “cream” but there is no cream as ingredient.  We can make this dish with a ready-to-make packet which you can buy from oriental grocery shops.

You can add any vegetables, but basic ingredients are:

  • chicken pieces
  • potatoes
  • onion
  • carrot
  • cream stew packet (usually House brand or S&B brand)
The instruction is shown on the back of the packet, but it’s basically ..
  1. Slice ingredients.
  2. Place all ingredients in a pan with water.
  3. Bring to boil, and turn down the heat and simmer for 10~20 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat.  Add “cream stew mix”, and stir until the mix roux (or powder) melts into the water.
  5. Turn on the heat again and simmer over low heat for 10~15 minuets.
You can also enjoy the following cooking as well, with simmiler ingredients.
– Japanese Style Beef Stew (mostly with beef)
– Japanese Style Curry (Seafood, Meat, Tofu, just vegetables…up to you!)
– Japanese Hayashi Rice (mostly with beef)
Just get the packet of mix, and now you have a lot of variety for nice winter meal 🙂

Pizza around the world

Posted July 14th, 2009 in Food, Ume's Interests | No Comments »
I believe pizza is one of everyone’s favorite food.  I like crusty base with lots of toppings.  Meaty one is not really my favorite, but with something like avocado, olives and seafood really hit my appetite.
In Japan, pizzas are quite expensive.  Usually one large size pizza is about 2000 ~ 4000 yen (about AUD$20.00 ~ 45.00).  It’s quite expensive when considering the price of pizzas here in Perth ; especially cheap Tuesday $5.90 deals at Eagle Boys / Domino and $5.00 everyday deals at Pizza Hat.
It seems that different countries have different flavors of pizzas.  It might be interesting to enjoy its speciality pizza while traveling around different countries. :p
 Aussie Bacon&Egg (Australia)                        Panner EL Rancho (India)
    Australia                              India 
    Tuna Mayo (Japan)                                     Black Pepper Chicken (Singapore)
     Pulu Kogi (Korea)                                      Teriyaki Chicken (Japan)
   Curry Chicken (Singapore)                         Chicken Caesar Salad (Japan)
  Obama Pizza (Indonesia)                             Americana (Italy)
Obama pizza sounds interesting – based with rendan sauce (= Indonesian dish made from spices and coconuts eg: Beef Rengang Curry)
but I’m still attracted by pizza menu from Japan..  is it because I’m Japanese??  There are lots of unique flavors… Pizza Hut -Jp  Domino Pizza -jp  PIZZA-LA -Jp

Baked Scotch Egg

Posted July 12th, 2009 in Food | 4 Comments »

I don’t eat meat so often.  It’s not that I don’t like or can not eat, I just don’t feel like eating them.  For me, hearty vegetable soup or grilled seafood make me more excited than bacon or saucy steak. … lots of people must be thinking that i’m so weird :p

However, my partner can’t survive without meat, so I need to cook meat often at home.  Now, thanks to him, I eat steak quite often.  I actually like Australian beef than Japanese beef.  Japanese beef usually is fat marbled, which means that it contains various amounts of intramuscular fat and has an appearance similar to a marble pattern.  This marbled meat gives tender texture and it melts on the tongue, and it is considered as high quality meat in Japan and usually expensive.  But, I like tough red meat here.  Australian beef is called “oz beef” in Japan and quite well-known there too.

When I was a kid I liked eating hamburg, and my mum sometimes put boiled egg in the middle.  (or cheese)  This is kind of my childhood food, and I make it here too for myself (and partner :p)

Using a pound cake mold…

  • 600g beef mince
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbs tomato sauce
  • 4 boiled eggs

* Preheat oven to 200

  1. Mix all the ingredients, except boiled eggs, in a bowl until the mixture become sticky.  Season well.
  2. Cove the bottom and sides of a pound cake mold with mince mixture, and place boiled eggs.  Top up the mold with the rest of mince.  Pad the top lightly to make sure there is no gap or hollow inside.
  3. Spread another 1 tbs of tomato sauce on the top, and cook in the oven.

Any left over can be used to make a gourmet beef burger.  Toast 2 slices of bread (or a roll) and sandwich sliced scotch egg, cheese, lettuce, tomato and any sauce.  Easy meal, no waste of food!