Food I Eat and Don’t Eat in Perth

Posted October 31st, 2010 in Eat out in Perth | 4 Comments »

It seems that I keep going to the same restaurants over and over here.  When I go to a Japanese restaurant to eat out in Perth, deciding “where to go” is based on the price – not the food itself anymore.  The reasons are because the food (Japanese food) is very pricy here, I’m not a fussy eater, and I know I can get better food at cheaper price in Japan.

Some Japanese restaurants serve food at the price which I don’t think it matches with its food.  For example, I wouldn’t pay $9.00 or $10.00 (around ¥700~¥800) in Japan on a donburi with just a few meat and no garnish etc.  To me, the food looks like the one you can just get from a chilled section in a convenience store at ¥298 (around AUD$3.80)

So, if my friends or in-laws wants to eat Japanese food in Perth, we end up going to the Japanese restaurants at the reasonable pricing – so that we can still have fun without spending hundreds.

The food I like eating in Perth is Asian food (except Japanese and Korean).  Malaysian, Singapore, Thai, Vietnamese etc… those are the food I can’t eat when I’m in Japan.  There are many Asian restaurants in Japan, but most of them converted the menu to suit Japanese people’s tongues.  As there are many Asian people living in Perth, the foods are similar to the ones in their country.  (I’m sure the food in the country of origin tastes much much better and cheaper though)

Shiki Group (Zushi Bento and Edo Shiki), Matsu Sushi, O’Ba-san, Taka’s Kitchen, etc.  They are all low-priced Japanese restaurants, and they have at least 3 shops across Perth.  The business seem to be going well, so it means that many people actually prefer going to have a casual dining experience at inexpensive restaurants more often.  Of course people may like going to an expensive restaurant to enjoy the atmosphere and the food occasionally, but we can’t do that all the time (unless you have lots of money to spare).

I’m the type of person who can survive with cheap foods (of course there is a limit!).  Oh, but the Japanese people who live here temporary (business people) tends to like Ha-Lu, Satsuki and Restaurant Jun.  I do like the food there too, the chefs are Japanese and the foods are much similar to our normal Japanese food.


(laksa photo from Google)

Petit Parfait and Baby Book

Posted October 29th, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | 2 Comments »

I had lots of leftover fruits and cream from the big birthday cake I made (post), so when my friends came to the house I made this petit parfait using those leftover.

The components are all the same: sponge cake, cream and fruits (minus the glaze).  The cream had been whipped to the decoration stage (quite hard) already, so I just squeezed out through my piping bag. 

In the afternoon, I started to work on my project: making a baby book!

Actually I was going to buy one from a shop and looked through Myer, Kiki-k, Newsagency etc including online shops, but they all sell similar looking ones with similar contents.  And, they contain some pages which I won’t use (such as “what was the news headline when the baby was born”).  I prefer putting lots of ultrasound photos, and write down little notes of what I felt, did and what the baby did each day.

So, I bought a scrap book album so that I could put photos and memo anywhere I want in the page.   It’s easy to arrange, and I can make it a whole page with just photos, or one page with a photo and the memo describing the photo.

Little notes in both English and Japanese….


Cheap Flight

Posted October 28th, 2010 in Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

I’m subscribed to many airline newsletters and sometimes receive very cheap flight deals.  It’s very exciting when you find a very cheap airfare and start to plan your holiday!

My friend recently booked a return flight from Perth to Haneda, Tokyo.  Haneda Airport has been the main domestic airport for Tokyo, however, it completed a new runway and international terminal building in October 2010 and started handling an increased number of international flights. (an interesting blog about Haneda’s New International Terminal →

A flight from Eastern states to Japan is much cheaper than from Perth to Japan.  And, as my house is in Western side of Japan (near Kyoto), the closest airport is Kansai (KIX) or Centrair (NGO) but there is no direct flight from Perth to neither KIX nor NGO.  So, I need to transit somewhere on the way.

Perth → Another City in Australia → Osaka

Perth → Another Country → Osaka

Perth → Tokyo → Osaka

The cheapest option is great, but I also don’t want to transit many times, especially with a bub.  I don’t know if it’s better to fly to Tokyo first then take a Shinkansen (a bullet train) to my house. (transit in Japan)  Actually, Shinkansen stops at the train station near my house (just 10 minutes by car) so my family doesn’t need to drive for 2 hours to KIX (even though they enjoy the drive) to pick us up.  I feel safer transiting in my own country too.  However, I don’t want to imagine the crowd in Tokyo and the travel from airport to Tokyo JR station to catch a Shinkansen…

Hmmm, I will need to search more to find out which way is the easiest and the cheap option for us to travel.  


Daiso is Here!

Posted October 27th, 2010 in Ume's Interests | 12 Comments »

Daiso, the multi-billion dollar Japanese Phenomenon, has arrived in Australia.  Last year the chain was declared the 10th fastest growing retailer in the world.

<I wrote about Daiso at here (Japan), here (Jakarta), and here (Japan)>

From potholders to pencils, lollies to locks, there are so many variety of items sold at Daiso.  I’m sure many of you have been to Daiso if you live or have been to one of the countries which has Daiso shop.  There are 24 countries which have already embraced Daiso, and Australia is number 25!  The first city to host this latest overseas raider is Melbourne.

Daiso is known as the 100 yen store in Japan, but in Melbourne every item is priced the same – just $2.80.

“Eyeliners, mascaras – they’ve won an award in Japan, the mascara, so that’s how good the quality is,” Store Director, Ms Hii said. (from Today Tonight)

The chain is set to snap up retail space all over the country and is determined to become a household name.  I really hope they open up a shop in Perth sometime soon (really soon!!).

The Australia’s first Daiso store in Melbourne open this Thursday, at 9AM.

Shop 23 313 Victoria St
Abbotsford VIC 3067 or visit


What is Booming in Japan Now?

Posted October 26th, 2010 in Japan | No Comments »

It’s almost the end of October…  If you don’t carefully watch the calender every day, you’ll be surprised how fast the time flies.  

October –  November is middle of Autumn in Japan.  What comes to your head when you hear the words “Autumn” and “Japan”?   Beautiful trees dressed in red, orange and yellow leaves?  Cold air that you feel on your cheeks? In my case, it is food that comes first to my head.

There are so many Autumn food in Japan to list, but the king of Autumn food would be this: Matsutake mushroom.  Matsutake mushroom are harvested between the end of September and the end of October, and they are quite pricy.  (especially the ones harvested within Japan)

The Matsutake harvested within Japan costs around 5000 yen each.  Others (those imported from China or Korea) costs around 1000 yen each. Why are they so expensive compared with other mushrooms?  It’s because they are difficult to be cultivated by human hands.  How Matsutake grows (how they get the nutrition) is different from other mushrooms.

Autumns is called “eating season” in Japan.  You will see many fliers and advertisements of foods at train stations, streets, on tv etc.  People head to grape, nashi pear, chestnut and sweet potato farms to get all-you-can eat harvesting experience (customer pays around $2000 per head and harvest the fruits from the farm as much as you can, and eat them at the farm), and travel around Japan to enjoy the remote area’s speciality food.  Short trip and day trip are the boom around this season. The purpose of the trip is, of course, to eat delicious food at ryokan (Japanese style hotel) or restaurants.

The most popular food people seek is a course menu of Matsutake mushroom.

Grilled, row (as sashimi), deep-fried (tempura), steamed (with rice as Matsutake rice), and poached (in chawan-muchi) are the common dishes in a course menu.  My dad emailed me the other day saying that he went to Shigaraki (a town in Shiga, famous for Shigaraki Ware) to eat all-you-can-eat Matsutake food!!  All-you-can-eat….  I’m sure I can eat at least 50 Matsutake!  (I’ve never eaten Matsutake before, I think) Dad said the place does the all-you-can-eat Matsutake each year around this time.  It’s another reason to go back to Japan next Autumn!  😀

Baby Goods, Markets and Popcorn

Posted October 25th, 2010 in Perth WA | 4 Comments »

Ummm I’m little exhausted… Exhausted from searching all the information related to the baby, and also making a list of what I need to prepare before the birth.  I think these things are never too early to be sorted out.  (and if I don’t do it now I may forget to do it later)

Luckily, my sister-in-low was about to give away or sell all the baby goods (eg: changing table, baby wraps, bottle sterilizer, un-opened box of breast pads, heaps of towels etc) that had been in her shed for 3 years, so I could take whatever I think we need for our Jr.  This helps us a lot!

When I went to her house to pick up the stuff (only what I could fit in my car), she gave me a half a bag of popcorn that she got from Canning Vale Market …  

She was telling me about this popcorn the other day.  She said it tastes salty and sweet at the same time, and very delicious.  When I munched on it, it was so nice that I couldn’t stop eating.   It’s very addictive.  It does taste salty, and sweet!

On the same day, we headed to Spud Shed in Jandakot.  It’s newly opened, and open 7 days, from 7am to 9pm!

Oh my gosh… there were soooo many people (maybe because it was Sunday afternoon).  And, the shopping cart was so huge (I couldn’t reach the bottom of the cart as it was too deep) :p

As I had heard, things were pretty cheap.  For example, potatoes ¢29/kg, carrot  ¢68/kg, Chinese vegetables ¢70 (?)/each, apple ¢99/kg, chicken breast $9.00/kg, frozen corn ¢99/kg etc etc.  It’s like a supermarket (one building) and they also sell other things such as snacks, drinks, ice cream, frozen seafood etc.  

Many people were gathering around the meat section.  You can buy a big chunk of meat (the size of those used in the restaurants) at cheap rate.

This place is not too far from my house, so I will be going back there often, I think.

630 Karel Avenue, Jandakot (Airport)

Green Beans in Sesame Dressing (Ingen Goma Ae)

Posted October 23rd, 2010 in Food | 5 Comments »

One of my favorite side dish.  The aroma of roasted sesame seeds are so tempting.  

If you have a suribachi (a Japanese grinding-bowl) it’s best to grind the sesame seeds.  I used normal mortar and pestle.  Or, you can simply use a blender to do the job 🙂

Mix with other sauce together.  The oil from the sesame seeds has the distinctive nutty smell.

When you blanch the beans, make sure you don’t overcook them.  Leave the crunchy texture to the beans and you can enjoy the juicy crisp beans in sesame dressing.

<Ingen Goma Ae> serves 4 as an entree


  • 200g green beans
  • 30g white sesame seeds
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1/2 tsp sake (cooking wine)
  1. Heat a clean dry frying pan over medium heat.  Add sesame seeds and shake the pan so that they spread to form a even layer.
  2. Cook until they become light brown color and produce the nutty smell.  Shake the pan or stir with a wooden spoon to avoid them from burning as you cook.  Remove from the heat, and place the seeds in a mortar.
  3. While the seeds are hot, grind to form a paste.  You don’t need to grind finely if you want to enjoy the texture of the seeds.
  4. Add miso, sugar, soy sauce and sake, and mix together.
  5. Boil a medium pan of water to a boil.  Blanch beans for 30 seconds, or until just cooked but still crunchy.
  6. Drain, and add to the sesame sauce.  Combine together.

You can also use other vegetables such as spinach, asparagus and broccoli.


Ultrasound Screening

Posted October 22nd, 2010 in Ume's Pregnancy | 6 Comments »

Although I can feel the baby’s movement, I still get nervous before the ultrasound screening.  Is he really ok?  Maybe the movement I felt was just a movement of my own belly…

I hear some horrible news about still birth.  I know I worry too much (my mum say that too), but I can’t help it (><)

At the ultrasound screening, however, Jr shows his healthy appearance.  Then I feel relieved.

At my recent ultrasound, I could hear the heart beating and observe the long legs and arms.  The Sonographer tried to take a clear picture of the baby’s face, but he kept hiding it with two hands!  As if he was too shy to show the face to the camera.

Other than the face I could see his hands and legs very clearly.  He was showing his hand to the camera as if he was saying “Stop! Stop trying to take photo of my face!”.


Happy 55th Birthday!

Posted October 21st, 2010 in Bagelier Bagel | 10 Comments »

This week I received an order for a big birthday cake.  I like decorating a cake, but it’s always gives me a stress…  I worry too many things – the fruits may become soggy (although I dry the fruits very well before arranging on the cake), I may fell down the stairs and the cake gets ruined, etc.  Yes, I had a nightmare the day before delivery date.  A dream about a ruined cake.

I set alarm at 6 am in the morning, even though the delivery time was around 12 pm.  I just didn’t want to oversleep because this cake was for someone’s birthday.  The person who placed the order was a Japanese lady, and she said she wanted to surprise her husband with a Japanese-style fruits cake and celebrate his 55th birthday at his office in the city.

I baked a sponge cake the day before, and decorated just before delivery.  I wanted to add some fresh blueberries too, but the shop I went to didn’t have blueberries.  I only had 1 day notice for this order, so it was quite a rush…

I used lots of strawberries, kiwis, oranges, peaches and cherries. There is a layer of fruits in the centre too, and the bottom of the cake is covered with roasted almonds.

In the end cake was delivered to the lady safely.  Thank god….!

Delivering a cake is such difficult job.  I just have to hold onto the box while driving.  I wonder how people deliver the huge wedding cake…


Broccoli Aemono (Dressed Side Dish)

Posted October 20th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

When you want something to add to your main meal when you are having Japanese food, this broccoli aemono is an option. Aemono simply means “mixed with seasoning”, and it is usually served as a side dish.

This is simply dressed with bonito flakes and soy sauce.  You can of course use other vegetables, such as spinach, green beans, bean shoots, and okura.

<Broccoli Aemono> serves 4 as a side

  • 8~10 florets broccoli
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 5g katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
  • 1 tbs roasted white sesame seeds
  1. Trim stems from the broccoli.  Cut the florets into small uniform pieces.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.  Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice and water.
  3. Blanch the broccoli florets for 30 seconds, or until just tender but still crunchy.  Quickly transfer to the ice water to refresh.  Once they are cooled, remove from the water and drain well.
  4. Place broccoli in a bowl and add soy sauce, bonito flakes and sesame seeds.  Mix through.
  5. Evenly divide the dressed broccoli into 4 small plates.