What is Yakiniku

Posted October 31st, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Yakiniku is Japanese style indoor BBQ.  We use a table top hot plate, and cook meat, seafood and vegetables on it.  We cook on the table, and eat from the table.  One the food is cooked, pick it up and dip in a sauce (or sometimes with lemon juice, salt, miso sauce etc) then eat!  

I do yakiniku often at home, because there is no much preparation for it.  I just need to cut meat and vegetables, then it’s dine.  After that I just sit back, turn on the tv and relax while enjoying yakiniku on the table in front of me.

Mainly I use yakiniku sauce as dipping sauce which I buy from a grocery shop.  (Ebara brand is the popular one in Japan)  It goes with any meat such as beef, chicken, pork, as well as vegetables and seafood.  For beef tongue, I prefer eating with just a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt.  It’s delicious.

I sometimes enjoy yakiniku with ponzu sauce.  Add grated daikon radish into ponzu, it becomes very refreshing.

Enjoy with steamed rice, or just few beers. 🙂

Hair Salon in Japan and Jakarta

Posted October 29th, 2009 in Jakarta | 2 Comments »

My hair is now getting messy again and need to get trimmed …  It’s shame that I didn’t have time to go to a hair salon while I was in Japan.  I think I need to color my hair soon too..  My hair is originally dark dark black, and not straight.  My mum used to cut my hair when I was little, and I always looked like I was wearing a black helmet :p  I don’t like my hair because it’s little wavy, and go messy if I don’t take care of it using treatment and hair wax.

I’m flying off to Jakarta sometime soon and I’m thinking if I should go to a hair salon there… but I doubt if they can do the job as I expect.  I mean, I can’t speak Indonesian and they normally don’t speak English, so it’s gonna be hard to communicate and tell them how I want my hair to be done.  

If I end up going to a salon, I will be with mother-in-law.  If she goes to a salon, she offer me to get “cream bath”.  … I think I wrote about it long time ago on this blog, but when I heard about this “cream bath” thing I thought it was something like a “special treatment”.  Then I found out that hair salons in Jakarta and Japan are pretty different.  :p  I was surprised when they used cold water for shampooing too!  It was a kind of culture shock…  

I think some foreign people will experience culture shock too when they visit Japan’s salon.  I mean, there are some weird hair salons across Japan.  One of them is “maid salon”, where all the staff wear costume of maid and serve you.  It is a kind of cos-pure (short term for costume-play in Japanese)  Some of the salons have a few different kinds of costumes, and their services don’t only limit on hair-cut but also nail care, heard spa, ear cleaning…  Of course they are targeting on male customers ( ? ) though customers are not allowed to take photos inside and touch the staffs.

Well, I heard that hair salons in Perth don’t normally do shampoo and hair-blow as a service (or include in their prices).  If so, do customers go home with hair all over their clothes?  Or with wet hair?   It’s just surprising to me that Japanese salon usually does shampooing and blow-dry as a part of the procedure.

Except for the surprise of cold water, hair salon in Jakarta was fun to me.  Once they spread “cream” on my head, 2~3 staff come over to me and start to massage my arms and shoulders.  Ummm writing about this makes me want to get the massage!  Yes I think I will go to a hair salon in Jakarta.  Not for a hair cut, but a massage perhaps :p

Grand Opening of Esther’s

Posted October 28th, 2009 in Perth WA, Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

Again, another good news!  Esther’s, a Chinese style bakery shop in Northbridge, is opening its second shop in Winthrop Shopping Village this Friday October 30.  Esther’s in Northbridge has been there for about 1 year or so (I think) and the bread and cakes are popular among Japanese people too.  

On the opening day, you can buy the first 3 items including buns, tarts, cake slices for $1.00 each.  Sweet bread, pandan cake, savoury buns…  $1.00 each is a really good deal!  The normal retail price applies from the third item.  

This special offer is available only in the shop in Withrop village on Friday October 30.  

Shop 25 Winthrop Shopping Village (cnr Somerville Boulevard &Jackson Avenue)

OPEN 7 days, 8:30am ~ 6:00pm

Gather up for Free Donuts!

Posted October 27th, 2009 in Perth WA, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

I was browsing today’s community paper just now, and I saw a ad of Dreamy Donuts (I wrote about the donuts in here) saying that they are giving away donuts for FREE!!

On October 24 the first Dreamy Donuts store in Booragoon opened its doors, and they are cerebrating by giving away free donuts for 5 minutes every hour on the hour between 10am and 2pm this Saturday, October 31!  This “Free for Five” promotion is only available in Booragoon store in Garden City shopping centre (near Wendy’s, T2 area).  

If you live somewhere around Perth, why don’t you take advantage of this offer?  Free glazed donuts … remember, it limits one donut per person.  The family with lots of kids must go to Garden City this Saturday. 🙂

Food You Like and Dislike

Posted October 27th, 2009 in Food, Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

Since I was a kid, eating was one of my hobby and I could eat almost any food.  The common food that kids normally dislike include green capsicums (called “pi-man” in Japanese), carrots, tomatoes… basically vegetables.  Like other kids, pi-man wasn’t my favorite food either because of its bitter taste, but I started to like it since I was 10.  Now it’s one of my favorite food.


<ref: www.syokuiku.net/>

To reduce kids’ dislike food, Japan’s school including kindergarden started to take “food education” seriously and worked hard to make kids like vegetables.  Most of schools in Japan (mainly public schools)  serve lunch to students (called “kyuushoku”), and cooks prepare meals to students everyday.  Those cooks try to make the food interesting to kids, so that kids would eat them and reduce their dislike food.  They cut vegetables into shapes of stars and hearts, and create a face or some scene with those cut vegetables.     

To recall my memory, I started to like lots of food as I aged.  I hated natto (fermented soy bean), rakkyo (a kind of pickles), umeboshi (pickled plum), chili powder, wasabi, etc etc before, but I love most of them.  (now I even love eating fresh chili and sambal)   I also didn’t like beer few years ago, but now I often feel like drinking it.

There are actually three food that I still can’t eat …  and I had never been able to eat them since I was a kid.  They are raw eggs, yama-imo (yam potatoes) and okura (okra).   I think the reason is their slimy texture…  Lots of Japanese enjoy a bowl of steamed rice mixed with raw egg and soy sauce, but I hate it and watching people eating it makes me feel like vomiting.. :p

Anyway, I may be able to eat all of them eventually as I age, but I’m not sure…  I can’t think about it at this point!  Do you have any food that you never thought you could eat them but it happened to be your favorite food??  Aging changes people’s food preferences … I think so.

Spicy & Juicy Deep-fried Chicken (Kara-Age)

Posted October 26th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

I made kara-age with chicken breast the other day, and it turned out beautiful.  Normally Japanese use chicken thigh meat for kara-age.  Not only for Kara-age, actually;  Japanese eat thigh meat very often.  Yakitoki (grilled chicken on skewers), stir-fry, steam board, yakiniku etc.. thigh meat is mainly used for all of them.  On the other hand people prefer breast meat in Australia.  My in-laws don’t even eat chicken thigh, they only eat breast meat.

The reason why Japanese prefer thigh is that it’s juicier and tastier.  When you cook same dish with thigh and breast, the one with breast has less taste and is more dry.  Although thigh meat contains higher calorie and cholesterol,  Japanese still prefer it.

So, when I cook something for in-laws I have to use breast meat.  (otherwise they can’t eat)   With this recipe, the meat stays juicy and is very tasty.  The key is to marinade just 30 mins ~ 1 hour before cooking.

<Spicy & Juicy Kara-Age>

  • 300 g (1 fillet) chicken breast
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 1/2 tsp cajun spice
  • plain flour to dust
  1. Slice chicken breast into the size you like.
  2. Place chicken meat in a bowl or plastic bag with all the other ingredients, then marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Heat oil in a pan to 165 degree (low).
  4. Coat chicken pieces with flour, and deep-fry for 3 minutes.  Turn them around, and fry another side for 3 more minutes.
  5. Remove chicken pieces from the oil.  Turn up the heat to 180 degree (high).
  6. Again, drop the chicken pieces into the hot oil.  Cook until it;s colored and crispy.
  7. Drain oil and serve with Japanese mayonnaise 🙂
The process of “twice deep-frying” gives kara-age crispy and juicy texture.  You can also use corn flour instead of plain flour.

Burger King in Japan

Posted October 23rd, 2009 in Japan, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

Burger King Japan cerebrates the release of new Microsoft OS “Windows 7” with a limited burger – called “Windows 7 Whopper”.  As you can see on the photo above, 7 layers of 113g beef patty are stacked between a 13cm bun.  

This Windows 7 Whopper is available until 28th October at Burger King in Japan, and the first 30 customers on each day can get it for 777 yen.  (Windows “7“)  The normal price is 1450 yen.

I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to try this burger…  but it sure sounds tempting!

Wasabi and Green Tea

Posted October 22nd, 2009 in Perth WA | 2 Comments »

There is a newly opened shop in Victoria Park which sells some Japanese products.  The name of the shop is “Wasabi and Green Tea”…  very Japan-like. 🙂

Even though the size of the shop is not super big, the variety of the product is huge!  There are some stationary, kitchen ware, clothes, bags, and even food are available in this shop.

When I visited this shop the owner lady showed me some products, and explained what they are.  For example, the donabe (the first picture above) she sells is not really made of clay, but with aluminium.  Which means, it’s very light in weight and can be used for both gas stove and IH.  

The variety of tea is amazing.  Some of them are directly imported from Japan, and very rare.  Obviously they contain some kind of good vitamins or extracts, = good for your body 🙂

I really loved the small gadgets there, and they are pretty cheap!  (eg: small carry bag from Japan = $2.50)

She told me that this shop’s speciality will be Bagelier bagels!  

<Wasabi & Green Tea>

Shop 4, 9-12 Albany Hwy, East Victoria Park (next to a petrol station)

08 9470 5213

Open Monday to Saturday (6 Days)

Fun Experience at a Chinese Restaurant

Posted October 21st, 2009 in Eat out in Perth, Perth WA, Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

The other day I went to Hon Kong BBQ in Northbridge with my friend for dinner.  I just wanted to have a chat with her as we hadn’t seen each other since I came back from holiday.  We had so much to talk about!

It was still early when we went in, so there’s just few customers inside.  We sat down, and had a look at their menu.  Then we noticed that the menu is written in 3 languages: English, Chinese, and Japanese.  Naturally we were browsing the Japanese words, and we both couldn’t stand but laugh…  We didn’t want to be rude, but the Japanese description was really funny.  I don’t know how they translated the menu into Japanese, but if they are thinking to remake menu books maybe I can help to write Japanese for them.  All the Japanese words on the menu does make sense, but are really funny…  It was a good laugh though, not trying to make fun of them!  

BTW, Japan also do the same thing to English.  We sometimes use English for sign boards, business cards, posters etc, but some of them are wrong-spelled or totally doesn’t make sense.  Like engrish.com, people make fun of it … and I agree, it’s funny! 🙂  

At Hong Kong BBQ we ordered braised beef with oyster sauce, and Chinese vegetable with mushrooms.

They’re delicious.  With just those two dishes and steamed rice, we stayed there for 2 hours!  Then we noticed some customers were waiting for the seat, so we left the restaurant.  

We still had 30 mins until my friend’s bus, so we looked for a place to have a quick coffee… Chutney Garden – an Indian restaurant.  Unfortunately they didn’t have any coffee menu, but they offered us Masala tea.  We didn’t really have time to move to another place, so we decided to have the tea.  The restaurant was filled with some kind of spice smell …  Indian Curry?  After few minutes very polite wait staff came to our table with 2 cups of Masala tea.  The spicy tea was fragrant, delicious, and warmed up our body.  It was really nice.

Japanese style Chili Tofu (Mabo Tofu)

Posted October 19th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Mabo Tofu is a typical Chinese food we eat in Japan.  Apparently it’s little different from the original dish, but we still call it “Mabo Tofu” and we enjoy it.  Some people add more chili to make it spicier, and that’s became one of “summer food” in Japan.  (In Japan we eat hot & spicy food in summer)

There is a dish called “Mabo Donburi”, it’s basically a rice served in a bowl, covered with mabo tofu.  You can find it even in convenience stores in Japan during summer.

Mabo Tofu (ma-bo dofu)

<Mabo Tofu>

  • 50g pork mince
  • 300g silken tofu
  • 1tsp grated ginger
  • 1tsp grated garlic
  • 1tsp tobanjan
  • 1tbs sesame oil
  • 1tsp corn flour + 1tsp water
  • 1/2tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 1tbs miso paste
  • 1tbs soy sauce
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 150cc water
  1. Cut tofu into cubes. Mix the ingredients from <a>.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a frying pan, and saute ginger, garlic and tobanjan. Once you start to smell nutty aroma, add pork mince and stir. Break down the mince with wooden spoon while stirring.
  3. Pour the mixture <a> into the pan, and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for few minutes.
  4. Add tofu cubes in the pan. Try not to break the tofu as they are pretty soft. Gently stir the sauce, avoiding to crush the tofu, and stir through the corn flour water to thicken the sauce.
  5. Garnish with chopped spring onion.