Tuesday, April 24, 2018

My First Taste of an Impossible Burger

The Basics Impossible Burger

No, that burger didn't topple over; somehow I just propped it up a bit awkwardly when taking that picture. Anyway, the thing that I was really after here was specifically the patty. Why? Because of a startup called Impossible Foods that has been able to create a plant-based patty that supposedly is very similar to meat, and even bleeds! They're supplying these patties to burger shops around the country, so I went to one called Konjoe Burger Bar in San Jose (100 North Almaden Avenue #180, 408-418-3160), who had an Impossible Burger option.

It didn't taste like meat though. Sure, it kinda looked like it, but the soft texture gave it away right when I touched it. It did have some nicely seared parts from the grill at least, but it just didn't have that aged beef flavor that I was looking for. Then again, I am so picky about my burgers that even when a patty is made from real beef, I struggle to get that taste too. Well, it's certainly better than a veggie burger. And I still want to try some other burger shops to see if maybe I'd like their renditions better. But yeah, this was otherwise a bit disappointing. Side note: San Pedro Square Market in San Jose has really revived itself lately, eh?

Pausa Bar & Cookery in San Mateo, California

Carnaroli Risotto

The local team picked this Italian place in downtown San Mateo for lunch today (223 East 4th Avenue, 650-375-0818). And yeah, I liked that risotto above, even if it was underseasoned (those are sunchoke chips on top, in case you're wondering). I'd be happy to come back.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Beer in a Plastic Bag at Huoyanshaiziniu, Singapore

Demark Draft Beer

Beer in a plastic bag!! Cool!! When I saw that at the Huoyanshaiziniu stall at Plaza Singapura (68 Orchard Road #B2-49), I knew I had to get it. Granted, that Draft Denmark beer wasn't anything special (apparently it's owned by the No Signboard folks), but the bag was cool. And it came with a straw!! And handles too!!

And oh yes, that means that I finally tried the beef from these guys. It was in a much smaller portion than what I got in Taiwan, but fortunately the beef was of slightly better quality. This beer and beef combo would make for a pretty good pick-me-up on a weekend afternoon.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Jjubul & Jjubul at COEX in Seoul, Korea

Jjuggumi and Bassak Bulgogi

The name of this shop (513 Yeongdong-Daero #Q121, 02-551-5988) is a portmanteau of the two dishes that they specialize in: jjuggumi and bassak bulgogi, with the former being that spicy octopus thing that I liked so much from the other day. It was good here too, especially when mashed up into a DIY bibimbap. But I was disappointed in the bassak bulgogi, which was actually our original motive for coming here. It was rather boring. I could keep eating that octopus though, all while being assisted by the soup and banchan.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Samdon Ttukbaegi in Samseong-dong, Seoul

Ttukbaegi Bulgogi

To be honest, this isn't what I ordered. I wanted a plate of bulgogi, but instead I got bulgogi stew. I think this place (64 Teheran Ro 81-gil, 554-1962) specializes in earthen pot stews though, so that could explain a few things. It got rid of my hunger but I wasn't particularly satisfied. I wonder what it is that these guys are known for; they sure seemed to have a lot of celebrity thank-you notes hanging on the walls (which admittedly is what pulled me in here).

An Outlet of Sariwon Grilled Beef in Seoul, Korea

Yangnyeom Galbi

The local team decided on this bulgogi chain for lunch today. But we didn't get bulgogi; we got this marinated rolled-up galbi instead. It was a bit too sweet for my taste, even if it was tender. I am very curious to try their bulgogi though, especially since this place apparently makes their sauce using fruit rather than sugar.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Soogoong Korean Barbeque Restaurant in Seoul, Korea

Korean BBQ

Last night, the local team mentioned this place to me in passing (77 Samseong-dong, 545-9646). It was notable because they served local Korean beef, and was expensive at that (like over US$100/person). I wasn't prepared to pay that much, but I was nonetheless curious. So I stopped by after work to take a peek.

The menu didn't look that expensive at first...until I realized that one had to place a minimum two portion order of say, their signature 45,000 Won (US$42) meat. Fortunately, the boss took empathy on me as a solo diner and let it slide with just one portion, which he carved himself at the front of the house and brought to me. The fat was indeed tasty, but one had to make a conscious effort to taste it (i.e., no wrapping in a ssam with gochujang, lest it cover up the taste).

And it turned out that the one portion really wasn't enough. I had to order not just a yukhoe bibimbap but also galbitang to fill myself up. The good thing was that these dishes all featured that same local beef, which was good as long as I made an effort to focus on the beef and its fat on its own. But to be honest, if no one had told me that this place was pricey for its local beef, I would've never known. It seemed like just any other random shop down the street.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Budae-jjigae for Lunch in Korea

Budae-jjigae

We stopped at a random place in between meetings in Korea today, grabbing this big budae-jjigae. It wasn't particularly spicy nor notable, but it was still edible nonetheless. The more exciting thing was actually that plate of octopus in the background, as the sauce was not just spicy but earthy thanks to some grilled onions, if I tasted it correctly. It wasn't annoyingly sweet either.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Teppei's Fu-Men at Hong Leong Building, Singapore

Gobo Ten Udon

Teppei has been on a tear lately. Not only did he open his new ramen shop recently, but he also opened this place (15 Raffles Quay #B1-17) specializing in Hakata udon. I'm not sure if I really know what makes Hakata udon unique, but the broth was crisp and savory, the noodles were chewy, and that fried thing above (sliced burdock root, if you're wondering) was crispy with just the right taste of oil. It was definitely better than Marugame, and is also a nice break from Tamoya.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Unagiya Ichinoji by Miyagawa Honten in Singapore

Mamushi Donburi

A very old Michelin Bib Gourmand unagi restaurant from Japan called Miyagawa Honten has opened up an outlet at Riverside View called Unagiya Ichinoji (30 Robertson Quay #01-05, 6732-1970). They offered it three ways including hitsumabushi, but I went for this one above, as its combination of tororo, mentaiko, and onsen tamago seemed the most unique. And yes, I liked it. It was in fact slightly better than Teppei's Man Man as there's just a little more refinement and quality in the ingredients (and the black kuro shichimi pepper on each table was a really nice touch). Interesting that unagi is suddenly becoming so popular here now.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Urban Roti by Kailash Parbat in Singapore

Lamb

Today I learned that the Kailash Parbat folks have several other sister brands around the world, including non-vegetarian ones like Urban Roti, which has several outlets around Singapore. Yes, it was good, including not just those fatty cuts of lamb above, but also a ginger garlic chicken as well as a hearty bowl of daal. Now, I'll confess that I like Kailash Parbat more. And if meat is requested, then I'd rather go to Bar-B-Q Tonight. But I certainly won't complain if anyone wants to come here.

Red Rice Porridge at McDonald's Singapore

Red Rice Porridge

I wasn't planning to go to McDonald's for breakfast today. But when I passed by, I saw a sign for a red rice porridge. The rice added an interesting touch, but otherwise it just tasted like porridge, and thus wasn't really anything that special. Perhaps more interesting was finding out that this was actually done by the same Soup Spoon chef who used red rice in her Bhutanese soups a few years ago.