Category Archives: Food Lover

Fun Sushi Find: Sushi Choo Choo

@ 2014
Sea Dragon Roll: A basic California Roll topped with BBQ eel & avocado, eel sauce, and masago.

I love sushi.  Being Asian helps but it’s more than just being Asian, this love for sushi. Sushi is an “edible” that looks weird but infuses flavors, which explode in your mouth . Sushi is famous for being raw (which btw is called sashimi) fish but it is so much more.

That’s why when my daughter came home exclaiming she found a running/moving sushi bar, I was all in. Sushi Choo Choo is a sushi with locations in Houston & Humble, Texas.They specialize in creating small portion size sushi rolls with names like Sea Dragon, Shaggy Dog, and Crazy Lover. The creations look creative and is delivered to you via moving belt.

Sushi Choo Choo’s ambiance is a very clean sleek but makes you feel like you stepped through a portal to Japan. I went to the Houston location twice, once for lunch and dinner another time. Both times our servers were very welcoming and efficient.

“The experience is unique and simple. Here is how it works.”-Sushi Choo Choo

The sushi that comes around is fresh and priced right. The sushi plates are color coded such as yellow is $1.50 and orange plate is the highest serving of sushi priced at $4.00. If your on even more of a budget for the Sushi Choo Choo’s  has a “happy hour”. Happy hour means that you get 20% off sushi from the running bar and 50% off sake. Sushi Choo Choo is definite must if you get a chance to head to Houston. “Happy Hour” times are Sunday through Thursday 9pm to close and Monday through Friday 2:30pm to 5pm.

© 2014
Ika Sansai is a popular dish in Japan that consists of squid and Japanese mountain vegetables.

F is for Fish Sauce, Flavour, Phan Thiết and Phú Quốc

Ok I am from Thailand and I love fish sauce too. I chuckled reading through Chris’ blog, about this smelly yet essential asian cooking ingredient, as I was reminded how many times I introduced the infamous sauce to my American friends. Fish sauce…hell no was what they said in the beginning. Now it’s I need some of that fish sauce to make this dish…score one for fish sauce. I really enjoyed the blog.

Chris Galvin

nuoc cham and fresh herbs

The Vietnamese alphabet has no letter F. But it does have the letter PH, as in phở, and also Phan Thiết  and Phú Quốc, two places famous for fish sauce. The former is a southeastern coastal city. The latter is both Việt Nam’s biggest island and a district that includes this island and twenty-two smaller ones, tucked under the curve of Cambodia’s coast, in the Gulf of Thailand.

In his book Bút Khảo Về Ăn (Notes on Eating), Dr. Lê Văn Lân relates an old folk tale that he remembers his mother telling him. Here’s my rough translation:

A long time ago, a northern village held a feast-tasting challenge to open the spring celebrations. The banquet table groaned under a spread of the rarest foods of the mountains and seas. Whoever could correctly name the tastiest dish would win. According to tradition, the competitors entered one by one. A single drum…

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Oh my! It’s Crème Brûlée-fancy to eat but easy to make.


Crème brûlée has been one of my favorite dessert since I was first served it in a restaurant many years ago. I love the slight crunch of the sweet caramelized sugar as it touches my tongue. Followed by the slightly sweet and creamy custard that finishes off the explosion of flavors. How can you not love a dessert that was featured in a cookbook published in 1691? French chef François Massialot who published the cookbook worked in the royal kitchens. Crème brûlée was one of the featured desserts  in the world’s first alphabetical recipe listed cookbook titled, Le Cuisinier Royal et Bourgeoise (article). I bow to chef Massialot for sharing this wonderfully tasty, yet easy to make dessert. Instead of cake on my birthday I set out on a mission to make the perfect dessert: Crème brûlée.

The ingredients for the recipe are very simple.

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2  Tsp of vanilla
  • 2 Tsp of brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 of heavy cream
  • 6 Tbs of sugar
  • Torch ( available at on Amazon or Bed Bath & Beyond)
  • 4 ramekins

Put the oven at 325° F (160° C) and as the oven preheats you can start making the custard for baking. First put the heavy cream with the vanilla on the stove on low heat. There is no need to stir it, but you don’t want the cream to boil over, so keep a close eye on the cream.  You will know it’s ready when there is a thin skin formed over the cream. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together with a whisk. By this time the cream should be ready to pour in. This is where you need to be careful because the heated cream poured in too fast can result in cooking the eggs. This is what you don’t want to happen. You’ll want to pour only a small amount in as you continue to whisk. This in the cooking world is called, tempering. The pouring of cream slowly and continual whisking helps the cream’s heat to disperse evenly. When you’ve poured all the cream in you will have a creamy pale yellow liquid.

Now comes the fun part! Get a cake pan to put the ramekins in and distribute the custard evenly. If there are bubbles in the batter just use the torch heat to lightly go over it and the bubbles will disappear. You don’t want air bubbles in your crème brûlée. The bubbles will cause the custard cook unevenly or may come out runny. Another thing that helps the custards cook nicely is another cooking term called, a “water bath“, which means that the food cooking needs a moist cooking environment. Pour water into the cake pan about half way up the ramekins. Carefully transport the pan to the oven (make sure that water does not get into the ramekins) and cook custard for around 30 to 40 minutes or until the custard has a wobbly feel (like jello) when you shake the ramekins a little.  If all is well let custard cool for another hour, or for a faster cool down you can put the ramekins in the refrigerator.

Once the custard has cooled sprinkle the brown sugar on top evenly (add more sugar to caramelize of you prefer a thicker crust). Then take the torch and move over sugar lightly in a sweeping motion. You will be able to see (and smell)  the sugar caramelizing. After running the torch over once wait about 2 or 3 minutes before torching the sugar again. The rest time in between torching gives the sugar time to harden (that’s the yummy part). Let the  dessert sit for another 15 minutes. You will know it’s ready to eat because when you tap the caramelized sugar with the flat of the spoon it will be hard but brittle.

So now that it’s all done dig in and enjoy that wonderful taste first introduced in a French Royal court. Bon Appétit.

I enjoyed making this dessert. I look forward to making it again in the future for family and friends.
I want to send my thanks out to Rebekah F. reminding me of this wonderful dessert and encouraging me to make it. Thanks to Olga L. for lending me her ramekins and torch. Thanks also to Leslye S-L for coming over to help and support me during the process. xoxo to you all.

Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain No Reservations bids farewell with final season | Dialect Magazine

Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain No Reservations bids farewell with final season | Dialect Magazine.



This is a must read! I wrote this article for Dialect Magazine. Even funnier I wrote before I even knew I would live so close to Austin. I guess it was just fate. Dialect Magazine also has other great articles about global culture. I hope you enjoy the article. Let me know if you do…good readings to ya! 🙂


Travel Channel logo
Travel Channel logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Cook & Impress: Easy Recipe For Chinese Dumplings

Homemade Chinese Dumplings. A nice addition to any meal.

Asian Cooking
Make dinner fun. Surf the Internet for easy recipes such the one I found to make these yummy dumplings.

Even if you are not a master chef, you can be a pretty good chef. Use the internet to find easy recipes from around the world. You’ll be surprised at how easy some of your favorite restaurant dishes are to make at home. Take control of your kitchen and make it a fun place to be. I love cooking with my children. It’s a time where we can create something together and talk. My son found these so easy to make he made breakfast dumplings.

Fresh meat filled dumplings
Garlic, ground meat (ground even more in a food processor) and other spices.

He filled the wrappings with scrambled eggs and sausage, browned both sides, and viola! He had an easy finger food breakfast. So go ahead give a recipe a try. Have you ever discovered a recipe you never thought you’d make yourself? Leave a comment and let me know your experiences.





© 2012
Dumpling wraps can be bought pre-made or you can make the dough yourself.articles








Hamburger Fiesta

Fiesta Burger
Create a fiesta in your mouth with an old fashion hamburger topped with monterey jack cheese and pico de gallo.

I love monterey jack cheese and freshly made pico de gallo. Even better a hamburger topped with my two fave ingredients. Cooking for a large family is a challenge especially in this economy. Day after day making the same meals can become boring, and the food becomes tasteless. So here I was, faced with making dinner,and not feeling the old hamburger thing. Then the light bulb went off in my head. So I decided to spice thing up. Here’s how I did it. Before cooking up the hamburgers make your pico de gallo.

Pico de gallo:

Pico de Gallo
This zesty salsa treat is a delicious topping for just about anything. It’s easy to make and a great party dish.

1 pckage of yellow and red cherry tomatoes


Red or white onion

Lemon juice

all season salt

Thai peppers (or any type of chili pepper you prefer)

The recipe does not have measurement because this is the kind of thing that i based more on the chef preference. Slice everything up to into small pieces because remember you will need to put this on top of the hamburger. I used a mortar and pestle to crush the peepers because it really brings out the heat in the pepper Thai Pepper. Now you can cook up your burgers and melt the monterey jack cheese just before the hamburger finishes cooking. You can top the burger with your usual toppings, such as lettuce, and condiments that make you want to say…mmmmmmm. Until next time bon appetite!

The vibrant red is appealing to the eye and the smaller tomatoes have a sweeter taste.
Yellow tomatoes
Use the tomatoes for flavor and coloring. the look of food is just as important as the flavor.

Tiếng Việt: Bún chả giò ăn kèm với dưa leo xắt... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

       This is a great and healthy recipe from 5 & spice. Being Asian the recipe brings back memories of eating out with my family, or nights at home when my mother would cook the family’s favorite Thai and Filipino dishes.

Five And Spice

When you think about it, it’s remarkable, really, just how many opportunities we have every day to do something new.  Much of the time it doesn’t feel like it.  Our days follow patterns.  We have baskets full of habits and well-worn ruts that we comfortably cruise along in.

And actually, a certain amount of repetition and stability in your life turns out to be really important and healthy.  Which makes perfect sense.  Nature is full of rhythms and patterns.  We reside within them, and if completely rhythmless we feel jostled and jarred and seriously uncomfortable.

But if we don’t keep our eyes open to all the myriad of tiny dips and swerves within the patterns, it can be easy to feel trapped in some sort of mold that looks a lot like same-old-same-old.

I forget sometimes, that I’m the one making the decision to walk down the exact same…

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