I thought I knew Japanese food. I love Japanese food and eat at Japanese restaurants quite often. Turns out I’ve never eaten izakaya style food. Izakaya is like a Japanese bar that serves small plates of food (like tapas in Spain). Yume-ya in Sunnyvale, CA is a cross between an izakaya and a sushi joint. We went with a friend who regularly goes and can order in Japanese so I got to try several new dishes. Don’t be scared of this next picture.
First, we got raw squid that had been marinated (fermented?) in its own gut juice (ika no shiokara). The dish looked pretty disgusting. It was very salty with a hint of lemon and the texture was slippery and soft. I couldn’t chew what I assume was the skin layer. I probably won’t order this again.
Next we got garlic shoots with fatty pork belly. This dish was shining with oil but tasted good. The greens were crisp and had excellent onion flavor. The pork was melt in your mouth (because it was mainly fat). I only wish it could be made with less oil.
We also had beef tongue and takoyaki. The beef tongue was grilled nicely and was tender. The sweet vinegar dipping sauce paired nicely with the salty meat. The takoyaki was fresh and hot with the octopus inside not being overcooked. Nice presentation but could have had more bonito flakes, I didn’t taste them at all.
Two orders of uni nigiri and a giant seaweed onigiri came next. Uni is sea urchin and I love it. These tasted great and were creamy. Yum! The rice in the onigiri was cooked perfectly but I didn’t love the spicy filling.
We also got sweet shrimp nigiri, which is raw shrimp. This was my favorite new thing to try. I’ve never had raw shrimp before and it was so creamy and delicate. The wasabi in between the shrimp and rice was great burst of flavor combining with the shrimp and roe in your mouth. This is a must try.
Lastly, we shared a bowl of chazuke, which is rice and fish roe in hot tea. I would have preferred salmon to the roe because I don’t like cooked fish eggs, but it was a comforting finish to the meal.
There were two dishes that we tried but I didn’t get a picture of before they got eaten (I’ve linked to pictures I found on google). One was mackerel, or saba, sashimi. This fish had a nice salty and fatty flavor. The other was fried shrimp heads, which was creepy to me at first due to the large eyes staring at me. I was converted once I bit into the crunchiness. It was a tasty bite.
I did a lot of sewing today for the Bento Swap I’m hosting on Craftster. I have been staying up and sleeping in to try to adjust my schedule for west coast time. I woke at noon today so I made a bento for lunch. Everything was from leftovers because I didn’t want to waste time cooking and leftovers need to be eaten. I packed the food into my new bento from Jenn at Not Exactly Bento, isn’t it cute?
Bento #37 (only?!): Pineapple shrimp fried rice, broccoli, a large mayo shrimp, two beef cubes, a shitake mushroom, snow peas and fresh sweet pineapple.
pretty blue box
I changed my blog theme to a fresh new look. Since the green was very spring and now it’s almost summer, I thought it was a nice change. Hope you don’t get confused! =P
We had Vietnamese banh mi for dinner last night which led me to crave Vietnamese summer rolls. The rolls were perfect for today because it was 85 degrees! A light lunch or appetizer, these rolls are refreshing and satisfying to eat. Low in fat and customizable to what crispy veggies you have in the fridge. You can even make these vegetarian by subbing in mushrooms or marinated tofu. A dipping sauce is a must since these rolls depend only on its ingredients for flavor.
Yummy summer roll innards.
What you need:
Rice paper rounds (found in dry noodle aisle of Asian supermarket)
Large dish of warm water to dip rice paper rounds
Filling: (at room temperature or chilled)
– rice stick noodles, cooked, rinsed under cold water and drained
– cucumber cut into sticks (mandolin helps)
– carrot cut into sticks
– mung bean sprouts
– fresh Asian (Thai) basil, chopped
– shrimp, shelled, deveined, boiled and sliced in half
– jalapenos, sliced (optional)
PB Dipping Sauce: (approximates)
– 3 Tbsp peanut butter (I used chunky)
– 1 tsp vinegar (I used rice)
– 1/2 tsp fish sauce (strong! may want to start with less)
– 1 tsp hoisin sauce
– 1/4 tsp sirracha sauce
– 1/2 tsp sugar
– 1 tsp sesame oil
– water to thin
1. Dip rice paper rounds into dish of warm water for ~30 seconds and moisten both sides. Paper may still be stiff when you start filling but should be soften by the time you roll. If you dip for too long, it will rip. You’ll get a better feel for it as you go.
2. Lay moisten rice paper on flat surface. Place shrimp cut side up horizontally at center of round and lay other fillings on top as desired, ending with rice noodle. Fold up bottom flap. Fold in side flaps. Roll like a burrito.
3. Slice diagonally and serve with dipping sauce. To make dipping sauce, mix all ingredients until smooth. Leftovers should be wrapped with plastic wrap.
tasty shrimp with fresh veggies
This dish can reliably be seen at large birthday parties or wedding parties in Chinese restaurants. It normally has candied walnuts served alongside too but I was too lazy to make those. And the shrimp is usually fried but we don’t tend to fry things in my family so we just sauteed the shrimp and mixed it in with the sauce.
1/4 C mayo (use kewpie for more authentic flavor)
2 tsp honey
1 tsp sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
Mix everything together and toss together with about one pound of sauteed shrimp. Arrange with broccoli and candied walnuts (recipe can be found online).
So easy, so delicious and tastes just like the ones from the restaurants!