Soy Sauce Udon

Posted August 31st, 2010 in Food | 4 Comments »
It’s been raining!   I really should put “no junk mail” sign on the mail box at home…  We receive many kinds of fliers everyday, and I don’t read all of them anymore.  I now just check it online if I want to know some info.
When it rains, I can’t check the mail box because of the snails.  I don’t know why but they are always hiding inside the mail box, and sometimes between letters. (>口<)  
Yesterday we got a new IKEA catalogue, but it was left on the top of the mail box and was soaked with water. 
I don’t feel like eating rice these days, so I’ve been munching on noodles or bread.  I tried making shoyu udon the other night –  which is just a cooked udon noodle with simple condiments eaten with just soy sauce.  
The soy sauce is not a normal soy sauce, it’s actually mixed with dashi.  We normally buy the dashi soy sauce from the shop, but it’s very expensive in Perth so I tried to make it myself.

I first soaked thickly sliced bonito flakes (1 handful) in soy sauce (1 cup) along with konbu seaweed sheet (about 3 cm) overnight. It would be nicer if I had niboshi, but I didn’t use it this time.  Next night, I cooked udon noodle, drained well, and ate with condiments and dash of the dashi soy sauce.
… It tasted actually ok.  I added some lemon juice and ichimi togarashi (chili powder) too.

This may sound gross to some people, but I cooked chicken liver too.  Liver is high in iron.

With 2 tbs soy sauce + 2 tbs mirin + 1 tsp ginger.  This tastes good.  My mum used to make this at home.  If you buy chicken liver in Japan, it comes with another offal (stuck together) and I especially like the another one.  It has texture and yummy (to me)!




Rice Balls with Roasted Eels (Unagi Balls)

Posted August 30th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

I made this to eat at home, but it’s also a great item for picnic.  It’s such easy to make and looks cute, like temari-sushi (small and ball-shaped sushi). You can add more colors such as red (red ginger), green (green veggie or green pickles), orange (tobikko) …

The good thing is, you don’t even need to make your hands dirty – shape it by using pieces of plastic wrap.

I used normal steamed rice (not vinegared rice) so this is not sushi.  You can use vinegared rice if you like.

Makes 8~10
  • 100g unagi (roasted eel)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • about 3 small bowl-full of steamed rice (short or medium grain)
  1. If you are using a frozen unagi, defrost and warm up in a boiling water.  Cut into pieces.
  2. Beat egg with 1 pinch of sugar.  Heat a frying pan and lightly grease the pan.  Pour the egg and cook as if you are making very fine scrambled egg.  Try not to color the egg.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Cut plastic wrap about 15cm x 15cm.  Place a piece of the plastic wrap in a small bowl. (this makes easy to shape)  Arrange a piece of unagi in the centre, and spoon scrambled egg around it.  Drop 1.5 tbs of rice on top and close the plastic wrap.  Shape into a round ball.  Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Lazy Weekend

Posted August 28th, 2010 in Food | 2 Comments »

Cheese scrambled egg, bacon, sauteed spinach and toast – a typical breakfast, but I love this 😀

It seems that there are more than 200 people died from the heat in Japan this year.  My family and friends says it’s been very hot and humid.  There’s one 20-year-old man who passed away because his air-con was broken on that night.  It’s around 36°, but the humidity is high.  Besides, all the area is stuffy (many buildings)…

I’ve been reading this blog (in Japanese) since last week – she is Korean, and lives near my house in Japan!  She’s been in Japan for 18 years now with her husband (Japanese).  I always get surprised that many Korean people are fluent in Japanese.

I love Korean food 🙂  But, same as Japanese food here, I can’t find the “real” Korean food in Perth.  I really miss the proper way of eating Korean BBQ!  And, other Korean food such as komutan soup (oxtail soup), sundubu (spicy stew), kejan (marinated raw crab in spicy soysauce-based sauce) etc…  There are many Korean restaurants in Japan, but I believe there’re many in Eastern states too.

Korean cuisine is quite similar to Japanese cuisine, I believe.  They use many kinds of vegetables – even the ones Japanese people are not familiar with, such as leaves of sesame and dodoku (carrot-looking roots).  I love Korean side dishes – namuru dishes, muchimu (mixed – like salad) dishes, chimu (stewed) dishes.  The roasted and stewed beans ( I remember Hana BBQ had this dish) is my favorite!  They goes very well with steamed rice 🙂

In Japan, I always order Korean chilled noodle at yakiniku restaurants during summer.  I love the texture of the noodle (made from potato starch).  I had a funny experience in a Korean restaurant in Perth few years ago.  I ordered this chilled Korean noodle, but the waitress kept saying “oh, you shouldn’t order this.  I don’t think you’ll like it”.  I knew what I was ordering and told her that I used to eat this in Japan all the time.  She said “Oh, ok then. You should be fine”.  She thought I had never eaten the dish before, and non-Korean people wouldn’t like this dish.  I wondered why they’d put this item on the menu…  (did I tell this story before already?)

Somen Noodle Salad with Tangy Dressing (Hiyashi Chuka)

Posted August 27th, 2010 in Food | 7 Comments »

When I was talking to my family on skype the other day, my mum said she was making hiyashi chuka at home.  Since then I had a craving for it….  so I bought some ingredients from a supermarket and cooked it last night.

Hiyashi chuka is a Japanese summer dish consisting of chilled ramen noodles with various toppings.  Normal toppings are shredded ham, shredded cucumber, shredded omelet and chopped tomato.  It has many colours.  The noodle is thin egg noodle, and the sauce (dressing) is tangy (vinegary)  Some people add more vegetables such as corn and bean shoots, and drizzle mayonnaise on top.

I used somen noodle this time – the key is to cook the somen noodle al dente, so that it has some texture.

Somen noodle also goes well with the tangy sauce.

I used shredded chicken breast instead of ham, as I’m not really supposed to eat ham at the moment.

Pour the sauce (dressing) over the noodle, or dip the noodle into the sauce and eat ♪

<Hiyashi Chuka Somen> Serves 2

  • 200g somen noodle (dry)
  • 100g chicken breast
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 tomato
  • 10cm celery
  • 50ml soy sauce
  • 60ml white vinegar
  • 70ml water
  • 20g sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • roasted white sesame seeds to sprinkle
  1. Mix the sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan, and heat until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from the heat and chill in the fridge.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil and cook somen noodle.  It takes just few minutes, and try not to overcook.  Drain, and cool under running water.  Drain, and chill.
  3. Cut chicken for faster cooking.  Poach the chicken in the boiling water until cooked, or sprinkle 1 tbs of sake and cook in the microwave (covered).  Drain, and let it cool.  Shred the chicken.
  4. Peel the cucumber (partially) and deseed.  Shred thin.  Slice celery thin.  Chop tomato.
  5. Divide the somen noodle into two serving bowl.  Top with cucumber, celery, tomato and chicken.  Pour the sauce over and serve immediately.

My Favorite Shops in Perth

Posted August 26th, 2010 in Perth WA | No Comments »


Remedy has been one of my favorite shops since it opened.  Few steps away from the busy Fremantle cappuccino street, this store is secretary but very popular among those people who find joy in collecting nice homeware, kids toys, accessories and gifts.

95 high street  fremantle wa 6160 … 08 94317080

131 oxford street leederville wa 6007 … 08 94448818 Read the rest of this entry »

Simple Udon Noodle Soup (Su-Udon)

Posted August 25th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

I got up very early today.  4 am!  I didn’t have any work to do this morning, but couldn’t go back to sleep after waking up for the toilet :p  I normally have no problem going back to sleep even if I wake up during the night, but this morning I felt so hungry and couldn’t sleep!

What did I eat last night…?  Roasted veggies and chicken.  I thought I ate a lot, but I guess my digestion system works too good.  I got up the bed and started preparing early breakfast.

I had some left over in the fridge, but I decided to cook udon noodle soup.  My favorite is to add egg to the soup (tamago-toji udon), but this time I just made a simple one.

With wakame seaweed, sprig onion (and naruto – fish cake).  There are many kinds of udon soup in Japan, and I guess I can call this “su-udon 素うどん” = which means “simple udon”.  Su-udon normally indicates udon noodle with nothing but soup and spring onion (or sometimes just soup).

Su-Udon (image from wiki)

Su-Udon (image from wiki)

Making the soup by yourself is very easy!  Besides, you won’t need to prepare many things when making su-udon.

<Udon Soup> serves 1

  • 1.5cup water
  • 1 handful bonito flakes (about 10g)
  • 1 tbs mirin
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  1. Place water and bonito flakes in a small sauce pan.  Bring to the gentle simmer, and turn down the heat to low.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  2. Drain the bonito flake and keep the soup.  Return the soup to the pan, and add mirin and soy sauce.  Bring to the gentle simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.
Pour the soup over cooked udon noodle.  Enjoy with your favorite condiments!
By the way, the bonito flakes you used to make the soup: normally you just throw away, but you can make Tsukudani (wiki) with it.   Mix with sake, sugar and soy sauce (1 tsp each) and stir-fry until the liquid is gone!


Posted August 24th, 2010 in Japan | No Comments »


I had a very relaxing morning today.  
It was just a normal day – get up early and get ready for work-, but somehow I felt so relaxed on the way to the office.  Maybe it’s because of the song my husband was listening to from his iPod, or the cloudy weather with white sky; as if it was just about to rain.  
To tell the truth, I was kind of having struggling 6 months since the beginning of this year.  I knew the reason, but I didn’t know what to do.  But, one day, I realised – what is the most important thing in my life?  It’s certainly not the money.  SInce I was little, I’ve always wanted to do something which I liked, I wanted to get a job which I enjoy – not for money.  I actually wanted to go to Africa by myself to live with wildlife by looking after them!  
I think I was losing myself while this 6 months.  Now, I’m so glad that I’m Ume again.  I always loved my unique and weird personality.
I read many books during this 6 months, and I leant that the most important thing to lead a happy life is “be a happy person”.  If you are not happy, you can’t be nice to others.  You won’t even have a minutes to worry and care about people.  But, when you are happy, you can do all of them.  You’ll have a big heart and can share it with others.  
I am now thankful that all my family is fine and healthy.  That’s all the matters, I don’t really care about other stuff!
Oh, last weekend I talked to my mum, dad and bro on skype.  We’re all not phone-type of people and couldn’t talk too long, but it was really nice that we did.  My mum lives bit far away from my house and she doesn’t usually come to the house, so it’s great that I could talk to three of them at the same time.  I wish I was there!
Image of Jizo-bon

© Librairie Seizan of KYOTO

This time of the year in Japan is Obon : a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the departed (deceased) spirits of one’s ancestors.  They wanted to go to the Jizo-bon festival – a festival for children held in especially Western Japan – near my house, but it’s customary to have the Jizo-bon on both August 23 and 24 to coincide with the Jizo Bosatsu fair.  This year, 23 and 24 are Monday and Tuesday, so they couldn’t.  On Sunday they went to the place anyway, but the festival wasn’t started yet, and mum couldn’t go to the alter of many jizo statues to light the candles.  Mum asked the monks to light three candles for bro, me and one more once the festival starts.  
I love the festival.. When I was little, I didn’t know much of the meaning of the festival – just enjoying the stall food such as takoyaki, snow cones, Hiroshima-yaki and crapes.  It’s a long way to the jizo alter, and on the way there’re many stalls selling food and toys, and also people enjoying karaoke on the stage.  We all head to the alter, and inside we light on the candle and come out, then return back the way we came.  
I hope I can be there next year.  I’m really starting to think that I should be flying to Japan during summer next time.

Oden Sunday

Posted August 23rd, 2010 in Perth WA | No Comments »

On Sunday my friend came over for Oden and Chirashi-zushi party!  I started simmering the tofu, konnyaku, daikon radish and boiled eggs on Thursday night so that they would absorb the soup and flavor very good.  On Saturday I added some nerimono (all sorts of fish-cakes) to finish-up.  It looked so yummy!

I can’t believe I forgot to take pictures! I must had been so busy eating and chatting…   (>0<)  So here is the image photo from Google…

(Mine was not this beautiful!)

One of the friend couldn’t join the oden party as she has been suffering from unfortunate food poisoning since last week. 

I remember my first and last food poisoning was in Jakarta…  It was terrible!  I was on holiday, but couldn’t even get up from the bed.  The whole body was cold/sweating/shaking/fever/vomiting/etc.  I just wanted to lie down on the bed, I couldn’t even stand the gentle air wave from the air conditioner.

I hope she gets better!

V Burger Bar in Victoria Park

Posted August 22nd, 2010 in Eat out in Perth | No Comments »

Yesterday we headed to a burger bar in Victoria Park, V Burger Bar.  I was soooo hungry!

Continuing from my previous post about burger cafes in Perth, this is the forth shop that I visited which specialises in burgers.  The shop is right next to the Bintang Cafe.

I ordered Chickcorian Burger which consists of chicken patty with chopped coriander, gourmet lettuce, red onion and lime sweet chilli mayonnaise.  My husband ordered Classic V Burger which consists of prime beef patty, gourmet lettuce, red onion, V relish and aioli.

The bread was Turkish style, and the burger didn’t come with chips or salad.  The price is pretty reasonable.

Chickcorian Burger was delicious – the tangy sweet chilli mayo was well-matched with the chicken patty.  I couldn’t taste much of coriander in the patty though.

The Classic V Burger was good.  The amount of the beef patty was just right, and the aioli and relish were great for the burger.

If I compare with other burger shops I’ve been to, the beef burger at Gourmet on Wray was the best so far.  The beef patty was divine – smooth, tasty, and I could enjoy the genuine delicious “beef”.  A beef burger at Jus Burger was hard to describe, as there was too much sauce and the sauce was overwhelming the taste of the patty, so I have to exclude it from the comparison.

V Burger Bar website


Utopia Bakery in Perth

Posted August 21st, 2010 in Eat out in Perth | No Comments »

Utopia bakery has been one of the popular Chinese bread shop, and now there are 5 shops across Perth.  I’m sure many people have tasted their bubble tea and bread, as well as some unique vegetarian dishes.  Myaree shop and Square shop have karaoke rooms and you can order dishes to your room.  Currently they are doing Ladies Day on Tuesday and Mens Day on Wednesday, which you can get 50% on your karaoke fee.

  • Myaree … 50 Hulme Court, Myaree 6154 (08) 9330 1688
  • Barrack … 73 Barrack St, Perth 6000 (08) 9325 1990
  • Square … Shop14/109 James St, Northbridge 6003 (08) 9227 8588
  • Victoria Park … 859 Albany Hwy, Victoria Park 6100 (08) 9362 3888
  • Garden City … Near Dreamy Donut in Garden City Shopping Centre

Mini Stop

Posted August 20th, 2010 in Japan | 2 Comments »

When I was searching about soft serve online, I came across with Mini Stop’s website and I thought I want to list the photos of their fast food menu here. (Convenience stores are really convenient.  There’s ATM,  you can order bento boxes, send parcels national/international, etc, and also drop off/pick up dry cleaning too.)  I miss that.

Ceedee Soaps

Posted August 19th, 2010 in Ume's Interests, Uncategorized | No Comments »

There’re many web companies providing the service where you can create your own websites, and when I was browsing yola I came across this handmade soap bar website Ceedee Soaps.

 The story is, the owner of this natural, non chemical handmade soap business is a 11-year-old girl, Clair.  This industrious girl was interested in online-selling business and built this website with the help of her father.  Together, they have became a team of hand making natural soaps at home.

Clair didn’t want to use any chemical and artificial things in the soaps from the beginning, and their soaps are made by all natural ingredients.  The soaps are avaliable in a variety of scents, and I love the natural looking website and packaging.  Each soap is very reasonably priced ($4.00 each free shipping in US).

I wish this young business much continued success, and can’t wait to see what Clair’s next adventure would be 🙂

Tofu Croquette

Posted August 18th, 2010 in Food | 2 Comments »

Coated with breadcrumbs, deep-fried until golden brown….  Croquette can be a snack item as well as a main menu.  You can arrange it with the ingredients and sauces for a variety.  Adding tofu to the croquette and making the potato % into half potato and half tofu can reduce the calorie, carb, and add extra nutrition.

Enjoy while they are hot!  You can freeze the batch before deep-frying : place in a gip-lock bag and close the bag tightly. If freezing, you’d better shape the croquette flat so that they will be cooked thoroughly when deep-frying the frozen ones.

<Tofu Croquette>  Makes 8~10
  • 100g mince (I used 50g beef & 50g pork)
  • 2 potato
  • 350g tofu (momen tofu preferred)
  • 1/2 onion
  • plain flour,   1 egg, breadcrumbs to coat
  1. Boil peeled potatoes until cooked through.  Cut the potatoes into pieces so that they’ll be cooked faster.  Drain, and mash.
  2. Meanwhile, chop onion finely.  Heat 1/2 tbs oil in a frying pan and saute over low heat.  Add mince and saute until cooked.  Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a container or plate to cool.
  3. Place tofu in a microwave proof plate or container.  Microwave for 3 minutes.  Drain any liquid, and wipe with paper towel.
  4. Mix the tofu with mashed potato.  Add mince, and mix through. Divide and Shape.
  5. Beat the egg well.  Prepare 3 plates: one is for the flour, one is for the egg wash, and the one is for the breadcrumbs.
  6. Start heating up the oil in a deep pan.  Dust the croquette mixture with flour, shake off any excess.  Dip in the egg wash, then drop in the plate of breadcrumbs.  Coat well, and deep-fry until golden.  (the oil should be around 180°)
  7. Serve while hot with sauce  (I mixed tomato sauce and Worcester sauce) or as it is.

Japanese Food I Miss…

Posted August 17th, 2010 in Ume's Interests | No Comments »
  • Happosai (八宝菜)
One of the typical Chinese food in Japan.  I believe there is not such dish in the real Chinese cuisine.  It’s like, someone goes to Japan and ask for “teriyaki beef”.
It’s a dish with many kinds of vegetables + meat/seafood in thickened sauce. (normally contains pork, prawn, squid, jelly fish, bamboo roots, Chinese cabbage, carrot, etc)  I love this dish, so yummy.  I can eat it everyday.
  • Mos Teriyaki Burger
I just like this because I used to eat this with my friends on the way home from high school.  Eating this kinda remind me of the teenage era.
  • My grandma’s Seasoned Rice
My grandma used to cook this seasoned rice at home.  It’s just a simply steamed rice with few vegetables and light seasonings.  It taste so delicious, I should ask her for the recipe!
  • Fried Rice and Gyoza at Korakuen (a Chinese restaurant near my house)
My family used to go to this Chinese restaurant often since I was little, and every time we go there we eat sooo much.  Gyoza, Fried wings, Ramen, Cha-han (fried rice), other Chinese dishes…  Everything was delicious, but I love the Cha-han and Gyoza the best.  It’s very sad that the owner (chef) closed the business just few years ago due to his injured hand. 🙁
  • Sugakiya Ramen
I love Sugakiya!!! (><)  I’ve been having craving for Sugakiya ramen since few weeks ago, and I emailed my mum saying that I may go back to Japan just to eat this ramen. They sell retail packs of their noodle in supermarkets in Japan and I thought Nippon Food or somewhere may sell this ramen, but I couldn’t find it anywhere in Perth.  I don’t know how to explain the taste of the ramen: the soup is whitish. Their ramen set menu with seasoned rice and soft serve was my regular order since I was a kid!  My husband loved their kalbi donburi on our last visit.
  • Sushi at SushiMasa (a sushi bar near my house)
They use the freshest, top grade fish bought straight from the fish market each day.  They also serve Izakaya type of menu.  Sadly the owner (sushi chef, and also he was my dad’s friend) passed away few years ago and now his wife is continuing the shop.I love her home-style cooking.
  • Okonomiyaki Kawase (a okonomiyaki restaurant near my house)
This is also a restaurant my family used to go to quite often.  The owners were old couple, and we loved the okonomiyaki and other dishes there.  The place is pretty small and there’s no parking lot, so every time my dad had to drop us off first and drive few metres to find a parking spot.  We always ate a lot.  4 people, 4 okonomiyaki, 3 yakisoba, 2 onigiri, sometimes oden, and soft serve.  We had big appetite!  :p   They were quite old people when I was 10 years old, so I’m not sure if the restaurant is still open…  
  • My Mum’s Cooking
Even though I try to cook like my mum, I can’t make the taste exact same.  There were 7 people in my family when I was teenager, and she always cooked big amount.  Sometimes it’s easy to cook in big portion rather than one or two portion : more food gives more flavor.  I really miss her food!  Especially….
Tamago-toji Udon, Oyako-donburi, Buta-jiru, Omu-Rice…..  actually, everything!
Ahhhh…  I can’t wait to fly to Japan…  

A Sight of Spring

Posted August 16th, 2010 in Perth WA | 6 Comments »

It was another cold night, and I wrapped myself in a blanket on the sofa and was watching tv with my husband.  It was warm during the day though…

As I stretched my body, I looked up the ceiling.  Then, I noticed something…. something black, something big…

It was a spider (>0<)!!

I remember, we had a terrible summer in this house few years ago.  Many many huge spiders showed up one night, and we had to fight them until midnight.  The thing is, both of us HATE insects – including spiders.  We were both crying but had to kill all the spiders otherwise we couldn’t go to bed. 

Image Photo

Image Photo

Those spiders were really huge.  They were about the size of my face!!  With the legs, of course.  And the bodies were covered with thick black hair.  Taranchula??  

Next day we called pest control to spray all over the house.  Since then, we started to spray insecticide all around the house in early spring each year.  This year we haven’t done it, but we will do it this weekend to kill all the spider eggs before they hatch.

Fortunately there was only one last night.  Our house has very high ceiling and it’s impossible to reach the spider.  We had to drop the spider to the floor first, so my husband started to throw small balls to the spider.  

After 1 hour….  the spider was still there.  My husband was starting to be tired.  We took the largest ladder from the garage, and tried to reach the spider by climbing up the ladder and using a combined two brooms. Finally, he could get the spider down….!  It dropped on the floor, and tried to run away.  Then I was in panic.  

My husband and I are not trying to be cute, but we are truly truly afraid of insects – especially the one with this size.  I was too scared to get close to the spider and kill it.  I screamed, he screamed, and finally he became a man… – grabbed a slipper and bashed the spider.  It’s over.

Afterwards my body was so warm: maybe from the thrilling and screaming.  If there is one spider, I believe there should be more around this house.  I’d better keep my eyes open… 



Matsu Sushi

Posted August 14th, 2010 in Eat Out in Perth - Japanese Food - | No Comments »

What a beautiful day today!  Sun is out, the sky is blue…  I love driving the freeway to the city and looking at the Swan River…  It may be still bit too cold, but when it gets warmer you can see many people enjoying water sports, including canoeing, jet skiing, paragliding, swimming, etc.  I saw few canoes in the river today.

I felt like something Japanese today.  I asked my husband what he wanted to eat for lunch, then he replied to me with the usual answer…  ” Up to you.”  I hate the word!  (#_#)

I said “Ok…  Udon” coz I know he doesn’t like udon. After few minutes of discussion we decided not to eat udon, but ended up going to a food court and chose whatever we wanted.

I was actually thinking about teriyaki fish.  We went to a food court and I had teriyaki fish at Matsu Sushi.

Umm…. presentation-wise, it’s not really great.  The taste, it was ok, average. 🙂  I don’t actually like them using basa fish, but well, almost all Japanese restaurants/takeaway shops in Perth use basa fish for teriyaki fish, so I can’t complain!  I did enjoy it.

My husband had a mixed Chinese dish.  Umm.. fried stuff.

Matsu sushi has quite a few shops across Perth.  In Rockingham (Rockingham shopping centre), in Mandurah, in Morley (Galleria Morley), and in Leederville.  The Leederville shop used to be Banzai Sushi and Noodle before, and now it’s Matsu Sushi Leederville.

You can dine-in at Matsu Sushi Leederville (and probably in Mandurah), and Matsu Sushi Leederville has liquor license now.  I’m sure the food there are much better than Morley and Rockingham (in the food courts)


Japanese Soft Serve

Posted August 12th, 2010 in Food | 8 Comments »


Soft serve, called “soft cream” in Japan, is everyone’s favorite treat!  In Japan we have so many flavors and some of them are only available at local area only.

Here, people usually go to Hungry Jack, Macdonald’s or maybe IKEA to get soft serve. :p  In Japan, if you go traveling around, you will see sign boards or flag with soft serve illustration at many shops across Japan, from Hokkaido to Okinawa.  Most of them are individual shops, but other are convenience stores such as Mini Stop, and franchise shops such as Sugakiya.

Each prefecture seems to use its specialty food for soft serve. It could be fun to plan a trip to Japan and enjoy each area’s specialty food in soft serve 😀

(Actually, overall many shops try to have unique flavors and now you can find any flavor of soft serve almost anywhere.)

Green Tea Soft Serve


I want to list down the flavors I found interesting … 🙂


• White Peach

• Grape

• Strawberry

• Blood Orange

• Melon

• Apple

• Sweet Potato

• Purple Sweet Potato

• Blueberry

• Sakura (Cherry)

• Yuzu

• Ume Plum

• Avocado

• Walnuts

• Peanuts

• Chest Nuts

• Black Sesame

• Sweet Soy Powder with Black Sugar Syrup

• Mont Blanc

• Honey

• Maple

• Caramel

• Dark Sugar

•  Belgian Chocolate

• Maccha Green Tea

• Black Bean Tea

• Espresso

• Wasabi

• Curry

• Rice

• Sake (liquor)

• Red Wine

• Konbu Seaweed

• Rare Cheese

• Cheese Cake

• Pudding


Does any flavor interest you?  I personally love swirl of vanilla and chocolate, green tea and sweet potato, but I definitely want to try Mont Blanc and Black Bean Tea!  I’m not sure about wasabi and curry though…



Photo Shots from Shiga

Posted August 11th, 2010 in Japan | 2 Comments »

Nagashi Somen

A summer festival in Shiga.  The end of summer is already just around the corner…  

The photo above shows Nagashi Somen : people gather around the long bamboo slide, and there is water running from the top to the bottom.  People at the top drop bunches of somen noodle, and people scoop it and eat with their own dipping sauce.  People at the bottom hardly get somen, as people standing around the middle eat most of them.  But, it’s the fun part.





They all look so fun…  I miss summer festival in Japan!  In Shiga there are around 40 festivals during summer.  Other prefectures also have their own.  I remember I went to this summer festival near a river once when I was little, and I caught a fish by hand!  Then, we grilled the fish with salt at the bank and ate it straight away.  It was so delicious!  😀

Japanese Style Egg Omelet (Dashi-Maki)

Posted August 10th, 2010 in Food | 5 Comments »

Tamago-yaki, Dashi-maki….  They all mean “grilled egg” in Japanese, but Dashi-maki means it contains dashi (Japanese cooking stock) in the egg mixture before cooking.  Normally they are cooked in a rectangle frying pan called “tamago-yaki pan”, shaped and rolled up, and cut into bite-size pieces.

Dashi-maki is a great item for bento, accompaniment to sake or beer, or simply with steamed rice.  It is best to eat with grated daikon radish and a dash of soy sauce.  Juicy, soft, mild Dashi-maki can be made with:

  • 5 Egg
  • 100ml water
  • 5g bonito flake
  • 2tsp soy sauce
  • 1tbs sugar
  1. Place bonito flake in a small bowl and pour boiling water.  Leave it for few minutes.  Drain the liquid.  Discard bonito flake.
  2. Once the liquid is cool, mix with other ingredients.
Tamago-yaki pan is not available here, so you can just make it with normal frying pan.
Tamago-yaki/Dashi-maki shouldn’t be colored too much.  It should look pale and fluffy.
  1. Heat 1 tbs oil in a frying pan.  Pour 2/3 egg mixture, and quickly scramble the egg mixture.  The mixture should be dried completely.
  2. Move the soft scrambled egg into the edge of the pan, and pour the rest of egg mixture into the pan: lift up the scrambled egg so that egg mixture goes underneath the scrambled egg too.  Turn down the heat to low.  (you can add boiled spinach here, if you want: arrange the spinach on the egg mixture)
  3. Using an egg turner, carefully roll the scrambled egg towards the another side of the edge.  If the egg mixture is still runny, wait until almost cooked and then roll up to the edge.
With a normal frying pan, don’t expect the shape to be perfect!  Don’t worry, you can just cut into bite-size pieces and garnish with grated daikon radish – it should look ok.  😀

With stir-fried chicken and vegetables…

Saigon in Northbridge

Posted August 9th, 2010 in Eat out in Perth | No Comments »

On weekends we went to Saigon for lunch.  That’t type of food is my favorite (Chinese/Vietnamise/sometimes Malay) 🙂

At Saigon, Saigon Chicken Rice is the popular dish.  When I just came to Perth, my classmate took me to this restaurant for lunch and told me “Ume, you should try this Saigon Chicken Rice.  It’s really yummy!”

“Chicken Rice”…  I didn’t know what chicken rice was at that time, as there is not such dish like Hainan chicken rice or roasted chicken rice in Japan.  At first, I thought chicken rice was the stir-fried rice with chicken pieces in tomato sauce.  That’s the chicken rice in Japan.

It is really “chicken” and “rice”.

But, it’s really yummy!  The chicken skin is crispy, and the sauce is… addictive.

I can eat it every day, but I’m sure this dish contains quite lots of sugar.  Vietnamese food are high in sugar and I can taste the sweetness in the sauce.  But… very yummy!


The Weather is Getting Better!

Posted August 8th, 2010 in Perth WA | 2 Comments »

I can feel the difference in air… it’s getting warmer, especially during the day.  I don’t need to turn on the little heater on my foot any more.

It’s so nice to feel the warm air, as this house gets really cold.  I used to be strong against cold climate, but I guess my body is changing, I couldn’t let go my thick jacket everyday.  It’s surprising to see people wearing camisole or half sleeve T: I’m wearing a thick coat and people around me are wearing summer clothes.

It was a lovely weekend.  The weather was great.  I’ve been pretty busy the past weeks, helping out my husband’s work and also contacting his clients to discuss about the jobs, etc.   Also I had to go to see doctor several times, and I realized my Medicare card had been expired quite long time ago. :p   I had to go to the Medicare centre with my passport.  At the same time I transfered my card to my husband’s, so that it’s easier for us to do the claim and other things.

Soon my friends are coming to my house, and I’m making chocolate cake!


Ramen, Ramen, Ramen…

Posted August 7th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

I miss ramen…  There are thousands of ramen shops across Japan and ramen lovers go hunting for the best ramen every day.  Each shop has different recipe for the soup and noodle.

There are roughly four types of soups for ramen – Shoyu (soy sauce based), Shio (salt based), Miso (miso based) and Tonkotsu (pork-bone based).  There are other types, including “Tan Tan Men” (well, it’s more like Chinese noodle), “Chanpon” (soup noodle in Nagasaki prefecture, seafood based) etc.

What type of soup and what type of noodle (thin, thick, straight, wavy, etc) to chose depends on your liking, and each tastes totally different.

Personally I like Shoyu, but some restaurants have really good Tonkotsu or Shio, and it really depends.  There is a super small restaurant near my house (… I don’t know if we can call it a restaurant) and it only opens at night for few hours. They serve very delicious ramen, cha-han (fried rice), gyoza, and karaage.  Gyoza and Karaage are typical accompaniments to ramen noodle.

By the way, have you been to Arigataya in Northbridge?  They add more menu every time I visit there…  Now, I think there are around 100! :p

At Arigataya, I recommend Shoyu based soup.  I don’t like Shio ramen there.

I never tried their rice dishes – curry, donburi, yakisoba – because it’s a ramen shop.  But, I’m sure they’ll all taste same as other places.  Their menu sounds funky (takoyaki ramen??) but you have lots of variety to chose from and I guess it’s a good thing.

Japanese Curry with Winter Vegetables

Posted August 4th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Just to keep up this winter, I’ve been trying to focus on the balanced diet.  Eat fruits, vegetables, and drink lots of water.  Otherwise I will be eating same thing over and over again!  I would just sit down on the sofa after work and boil a pot of water to cook instant noodle or something.

I know that using a ready-made seasoning may not be a healthy option, but last night I felt like Japanese curry and made it with packet roux.  I added lots of vegetables including lotus roots and cauliflower.  I always add crushed tomato (tin) to Japanese curry to give a fruity taste, extra nutrition and to dilute the roux (animal fat).

Japanese curry can be made with any vegetables/meat/seafood, but I love pork meat (thinly sliced pork belly, or pork cushion) the best.

<Japanese Curry with Pork and Winter Vegetables>

  • 200g pork meat
  • 1 potato
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 5~6 slices lotus root
  • 2~3 bunch spinach
  • 50g cauliflower florets
  • 200g tomato in tin
  • 100g Japanese curry roux
  1. Cut vegetables into bite size.  Slice meat if you are using a chunk pork meat.
  2. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a deep sauce pan.  Saute onion over low heat until transparent.
  3. Add meat, and cook until the colour starts to change.  Add carrot, lotus root, cauliflower and about 500ml of water (just to cover all the vegetables).  Add tomato and bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring often.  Scam needed.
  4. Turn off the heat or down to very low.  Add curry roux, and mix until dissolve.  Turn up the heat and simmer, stirring often, for another 10 minutes.  Add spinach 3 minutes before turning off the heat.

Seasoned Bamboo Shoots (Takenoko Katsuo)

Posted August 3rd, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Bamboo is one of my favorite root vegetable.  … Well, I like all the vegetables, but bamboo is the one I used to eat often in winter in Japan.  We make flavored rice, soup, pasta, etc etc with bamboo and they are all delicious.  I love the texture.

I don’t know if you have seen the real bamboo roots.  When I was little, my classmates and I used to go to mountains as a school event, and dig out bamboo roots from the ground.  It is very hard to dig, but we could take home the fresh bamboo roots to eat afterwards 🙂

Bamboo roots are covered with dark, thick skin.  Remove the skin, and the inside is pale yellow/white bamboo meat!  If the roots doesn’t get harvested, it will grow to bamboo trees.

Simply cooked with bonito flakes, and enjoy with steamed rice and a bowl of soup.  It is simple and delicious. 😀

<Takenoko Katsuo>  serves 4

  • 400g~450g Bamboo Shoot in Brine, boiled
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 3 tbs mirin
  • 10g bonito flakes
  1. Cut bamboo into bite sizes.  Place in a pot with 1/2 cup water and bonito flakes.  Bring to the boil.
  2. Turn down the heat, and add mirin.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add soy sauce.  Simmer until the liquid is almost gone.  Turn off the heat.


I love flatbread

Posted August 2nd, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

Pita bread, tortillas, chapatis… I love eating wraps/rolls with those flatbread.  Pita sandwich, burritos, quesadillas.. they all are so yummy!

These type of food became popular in Japan when I was around 17.  I remember it because I saw many cafes started to open and they all had”pita” and “wrap” menus.  It was kind of “cafe boom” and it’s still going on.  You can find many cafes (more like Western style cafes) across Japan now.

Yesterday I had a craving for kebab.  It happened suddenly, and since then I couldn’t do anything but think about the fresh made chicken kebab with sweet chili and sour cream.  (I don’t really like doner kebab)  I asked my husband “hey I want to eat kebab tonight!” Unfortunately he has been suffering from teeth ache since last week, so he can’t eat anything solid, hot and cold at the moment. (poor him)  I felt sorry for him, but I couldn’t wait any minutes to run to the nearest kebab shop and devour a hot chicken kebab.

It was like a heaven!  It feels so good when you want to eat certain thing and you could get exact what you wanted.

By the way, in English kebab refers as ” (doner) kebab served wrapped in bread with a salad and a dressing” , but in the Middle East, kebab includes grilled, roasted, and stewed dishes of large or small cuts of meat, or even ground meat.  It doesn’t actually mean “wrap”.


Also in Japan, kebab is just a grilled or roasted meat.  Some restaurants serve kebab with flatbread and salad on a plate, but you wouldn’t get it as “wrap” if you order kebab.


(photos from