Recipe: Ramen Fried Rice

It’s me, and I’m here to share another trending TikTok recipe. Originating from Korea, I’ve seen it made with either raw ramen noodles (uncooked but toasted) or cooked ramen noodles. I chose to use cooked ramen noodles. Was nice to try but would I eat it again…ehhh…I think I am okay. If you ever find yourself wanting to eat double carbs, go for it. It’s pretty easy and of course it’s tasty…!

Ramen Fried Rice

Ingredients:

1 package Shin Ramen, crushed
2 eggs, mixed
2 C cooked rice

Sesame Oil
Toasted Sesame Seeds

Instructions:

Place crushed ramen noodles, dry vegetable packet and seasoning mix into a heat safe bowl. Boil water and add to the bowl (less than you usually would if making it to eat regularly – maybe 1 to 1.5 C of boiling water?).

As the ramen “cooks” in the bowl. Add eggs to pan/wok to make soft scrambled eggs, add cooked rice (preferably cold leftover rice) and cook together, incorporating mixture. Add ramen mixture into pan and mix together well. The ramen mixture would have absorbed the water by now so it is no longer soupy. Fry together until fragrant and a bit toasted. Serve fried rice with a nice drizzle of sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.

Recipe: Yogurt Marinated Chicken

Okay, that title does not sound too appetizing. I apologize but I was scrolling through the “app-that-shall-not-be-named” and came across this recipe. I’ve been looking for a good tasting and fairly low fat protein recipe and this one seems to fit the bill, a good mix of spices with the yogurt makes for a nice chicken dish and no worries to people who cannot handle spicy, this recipe is not at all spicy! I found that I can enjoy this dish warm or cold – throw it on your salad!

I probably add too much tomato paste but once I open that can of paste, what am I supposed to do with the rest? I used the whole can – too bad.

Yogurt Marinated Chicken

Ingredients:

7 chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 5.3 oz. plain nonfat greek yogurt (I used Chobani, one of those individual servings)

2 T olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced or grated

Juice of 1-2 lemons (can be one if your lemon is nice and juicy)

2 t paprika

2 t cumin

1 t salt

1 t white pepper

1 6 oz. can of tomato paste

1 medium-large onion, chopped

2 bell peppers, chopped (I used yellow and orange)

Instructions:

Combine all the ingredients and marinate for 3-4 hours. 

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place chicken mixture onto two baking dishes, try to keep mixture as flat as possible to cook through evenly in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes until fully cooked (I used the full 30 minutes). 

You can also grill on high for 10-20 minutes until fully cooked.

Mixed Plate Friday

This post is forreal mixed plate, not even all food.

Fruit Chichi Dango | $3.99
strawberry, mochi flour, sugar, milk, red bean, custard

Been seeing this all over social media and just had to get it. This is from Kansai Yamato located in Moanalua 99 (former Ranch 99). I figured I should go to the source to get it.

Struggled to get a side view for you. First of all, you should keep this refrigerated. I didn’t realize it was custard on top at first so I kept it out for a bit and boy oh boy did it get melty and messy. Good news is that I did throw the second one in the fridge…ate it the next day and the mochi was still melt the mouth soft. This was a delicious treat! I would definitely get it again!

Clockwise from top left: Baked Char Siu Manapua, Taro Cake, Shrimp Dumpling (Har Gow), Siu Mai, Half Moon

Sing Cheong Yuan Bakery has been around forevers and they always have a long line in Chinatown. Now that we’re heading towards Moon Festival time (September), might be either best to avoid this place or place a phone order in because they are going to be super busy with moon cake orders. If you can believe it, I haven’t tried their dim sum before. I don’t know what it is, I guess if I’m going to be in Chinatown, I’m just going to eat at a Chinese restaurant you know?

So how does it compare? If you’re local to Hawaii and I say local style pork hash, I bet you know what I’m talking about right? The kind you can get from the manapua man….very different from the kind you get from a dim sum restaurant. Now while Sing Cheong’s siu mai looks more “local” style, I actually want to give it more credit and say it’s a balance between the manapua man siu mai and dim sum siu mai.

Baked Char Siu Manapua – Very good, I think Royal Kitchen is a near competitor but I will give this one to Sing Cheong.
Taro Cake – Hmm, no thank you. I’m used to homestyle taro cake which is very thin. I don’t know why taro cakes are so huge in these shops…to me it’s like eating a big lump of dough.
Har Gow – These are winners. They really do stuff it full of shrimp, nice skin too.
Siu Mai – Better than local style, still not as good as dim sum siu mai.
Half Moon – Good but not memorable. Nothing special.

A silly project I had a month ago. Shucks, wish I remembered to take a side picture of this. It’s actually Pikachu on the side. Such a cute vending machine, the bottom draw opens but the machine doesn’t actually do anything. It’s just super cute and it was super annoying to build…hahaha. This was over 2000 pieces and they were like super small pieces. I was obsessed to finish and am super happy with it. I have it proudly displayed at work. Apparently there is like a whole bunch of Asian building block sets that oh so gently copies Lego sets…for less money of course. Have a great weekend folks!

Mariposa – Honolulu, HI

I was going to start this post with a guess where I am post and then quickly realized that I tell you where I am in the post title. It’s okay, just enjoy this beautiful view with me. What a beautiful day it was. My friend decided to treat me to a wonderful birthday dinner at Mariposa. For those who don’t know, Mariposa is located in Neiman Marcus and I think that should already give you a warning of the prices to come. While I enjoyed my meal immensely, it wouldn’t be a blog of mine without complete honesty. So to my friend who generously and graciously treated me to this meal, please know that I enjoyed it (really!!!).

Complimentary Popovers with Strawberry Butter

I can see why they are known for this. Fresh piping hot popovers served with strawberry infused butter (hello, you can’t go wrong with butter of any sort). You bet your bottom dollar I went for a second serving, it’s free and this ain’t no buffet I have to save room in my tummy for (lol). My only complaint from the various popovers I’ve had over the years (not from Mariposa) is that it always seems to be a bit doughy in the middle which leads me to believe it is still raw. Same thing happened here but I didn’t get a stomachache so I guess we were in the clear.

Sesame Seared Ahi Salad | MP ($31.00)
mari’s greens, shaved maui onions, ho farms tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, radish sprouts, onion-soy dressing

I got you for this post, I had no shame in asking for the actual price of both our MP items. You know it’s gonna be pricey when it reads MP. Delicious starter salad, the ahi was good quality and perfectly seared. I love their onion soy dressing, wish they gave a bit more of the dressing but I think if you asked for more, they would have abided. A little pricey but I enjoyed this salad quite a bit.

Smoked Brisket Sandwich | $20.00 (Thursday Special)
house smoked beef brisket, toasted brioche, slaw, house pickled cucumbers, onions, mustard sauce, french fries

Was excited to try their special, was also told they were running low on the special so we put the order in. Well, I hope you like salt. This sandwich was SALTY. The fries are good, glad they give you their hurricane seasoned fries with their sandwiches but ah this sandwich was not good. Is it because it was the last one so it had all the sauce soaked in? I don’t know, I would not get this again unless I had a sodium deficiency.

Lobster Club Sandwich | MP ($39.00)
bacon, roasted peppers, avocado, mari’s butter lettuce, mayonnaise, french fries

Was this sandwich good? Yes. It’s lobster and bacon for god’s sake! Was it worth $40?? Well, I can’t say it was. I think for $40, I almost want them to just serve the sandwich open face with like the entire lobster in full view for me to see. To me it’s not worth $40 even though it was delicious. It was a wonderful treat to eat (indulge in) with a beautiful view.

I think due to covid, Neiman Marcus has been operating on special hours. If you want to eat dinner here, you basically have to book a table for 4:30 PM so you can be out by 6:00 PM (their closing time). I know I’ve been adapting to a lot more senior citizen stuff but this was early for me. It’s okay, I planned early so I ate an early lunch to be ready for my early dinner. I made my reservation on Open Table and asked for outdoor seating in the notes because of the rising Covid cases. I tried to call them to confirm my seating but they never answered their phone…seems like they only want you to book through Open Table. Outdoor seating was pretty empty when we went so it was no problem .

It’s a nice restaurant with pretty attentive service, I think it’s worth another visit when the sun sets earlier to get a nice sunset view. A lovely dinner, thank you!

Mary’s Mediterranean Kitchen – Honolulu, HI

I had a hankering for Greek food the other week and I just went for it. Well, I always go for it. Mary’s Mediterranean Kitchen is located in the former Ranch 99 Market space, I think it’s called Moanalua 99 now but I refuse to call it that because Ranch 99 must not be a memory…it must remain fresh. But has Ranch 99 been closed for like decades by now? Oh boy that ages me real fast. Anyway, first good sign…the owner/chef/cashier man had a very strong Greek accent. I had high hopes for my food lol.

#12 Combo Plate (Choice of 2 meat skewers) | $13.00
served with hummus, rice, salad, and pita bread

I chose lamb and lula (ground beef). Brah this dish was so good. Loved everything that came with it, first time trying lula – it was pretty good! I think I want to try the gyros plate next time though! Loved the warm pita to eat with the delicious hummus.

Seasoned Fries | $4.00

Kind of pricey for an order of fries but I liked it, tasted good. Let’s be real, it’s really just fries with garlic salt right? Anyway, I enjoyed.

Baklava | $1.75

I just had to try the baklava and I thought it was alright. I bet it would have been really good warmed up (I was too lazy) – I also bet this had my calorie/sugar intake for the day. But who’s counting?

Ah this is not from Mary’s. Remember my meal from Istanbul Hawaii? I fell in love with their watermelon feta salad. Well, here’s what I remade at home. It’s not really a salad nor did I follow any recipes. I just sprinkled feta cheese and balsamic glaze onto watermelon slices. I really enjoyed it, the nice contrast between the salty brininess of the feta cheese and the sweet morsels of watermelon. The glaze adds a nice sweet slightly vinegary touch too. Not too big a fan of the feta cheese brand I picked up, felt like the feta was much too hard and kind of bland. Would have been really good with a good feta cheese.

Mixed Plate Friday

Hey folks! A shorter post this Friday…just wanted to share small kine stuff.

Izumi Oden Konbuiri (Don Quijote Kaheka) | $6.49

For the folks who want to see the nutritional facts!

Here is the oden placed in a bowl and heat…get one egg too!

I don’t know if it was on my blog before but I once bought one of those Korean Ginseng Chickens from Don Q’s frozen section. It was not a good decision and I got a bad stomachache afterwards. Well you would think I would have learned my lesson but I didn’t, I really wanted to try this. This is not sold frozen, it’s sold in the refrigerated section (yikes?). I can trust the fish cake and such but I thought the egg would be iffy. Well the egg was just fine! No stomachache and the whole dish tasted great. And look closely, no more even gray ring around the yolk. How do they do it?? No complaints here.

One of my favorite cakes is the Berry Chantilly Cake from Whole Foods. The first time I tried it, I was in love. Fresh berries are on top of the cake and also throughout the inner layers of the cake. The frosting? Oh let me tell you about the frosting, it’s a wonderful almond mascarpone frosting. So light and delicious with a wonderful hint of almond (think almond float kine almond taste). I loved it…and since I don’t like plain whipped cream – the almond frosting really made it for me. Well, hate to be the messenger of bad news…things have changed! I got this cake about a week ago and the almond taste is like FAINT now. My friend shared that she got late last year and could hardly taste the almond too so I don’t think my experience was a fluke. So disappointing. 🙁 But I guess the silver lining is that I won’t be buying an entire cake to eat anymore…hahaha ugh! And yes, we wrote on the cake ourselves…and no, our handwriting is not that much better non-frosting style.

Jalna and Dd, I can’t express enough how much we love this Chipotle Tri Tip Roast recipe. This is now the most highly requested recipe I make. It’s so easy, so flavorful and just so satisfying. I’ve adjusted the recipe to feed an army…it’s just winners. Thank you again for sharing such a great recipe!!!

Imanas Tei – Honolulu, HI

Imanas Tei has unofficially become the restaurant to celebrate birthdays for my friend and I. Not quite sure why, it’s not like we frequent this restaurant otherwise but when our birthdays come along…we keep choosing this place. That’s gotta be a good sign right? Anyway, can always count on Imanas Tei for good food and good service, fast too! Their parking is absolutely horrendous haha…but I went early enough to score a stall in their lot. It was a good sign!

Tamago Sushi (2 pcs) | $4.00
Unakyu Roll | $13.50

grilled eel, cucumber, avocado

One of our must-haves funnily enough is their tamago sushi. If you remember, I prefer the more savory tamago and they do that here. Love how they cut the tamago and wrap it around the rice. It’s $4.00 for two pieces but technically to me it’s one piece cut into two…anyway it’s okay because it tastes good. The picture above shows two orders of tamago sushi.

This was my first time getting the unagi roll, I don’t know why I expected it to be a hand roll but then again $13.50 for a hand roll would be a rip off ah? It was good, nothing great that I need to order again.

Grilled Beef Tongue | $13.50

It takes talent to take a picture this blurry with absolutely nothing in focus. At your service as a photographer here. I love their grilled beef tongue, perfectly sliced and charred and seasoned. Highly recommend!

Torikara | $8.50
japanese fried chicken

Didn’t realize they call their fried chicken torikara…I think I even ordered it as chicken karaage. Was really good! I enjoyed it.

Salmon Sashimi | $12.50
Toro Sashimi | MP
Hamachi Sashimi | $15.50

Sashimi is always a winning choice. Okay but was this toro really otoro? I can’t quite say…didn’t taste like otoro quality. Hmm…maybe just gotta give up the otoro quest. I am good with other sashimis anyway! Gotta save otoro for Torae Torae.

Hiyashi Udon (Cold Udon Noodles) | $6.50

Wanted a cooling dish to end the meal, this was nice. Would have been nice to have like natto or like a raw egg yolk on top but that’s just me. The broth was pretty strong, concentrated. They give plenty bonito flakes.

Kakiage | $9.75
fried burdock & seafood

I lied. We ended the meal with this. My friend got beer so figured this was a nice beer accompaniment since it’s fried. We never got this before but I swear every single table orders this dish. Not too bad. Did get a surprise chunk of seafood here and there. I think would have been better to order in beginning of the meal to pick at it throughout.

So this was the first meal out since Ige set up limitations in restaurants again due to the rising numbers and the delta variant. Well, not to scare anyone but this restaurant was definitely not operating at any type of limited capacity lol. They had the shields up and I was never seated SO close to anyone that I felt uncomfortable but the seats were all definitely taken. Hope everyone is doing well and taking care…numbers are still scary.

Bella Banh Mi Café – Honolulu, HI

I love myself a good banh mi. I love the mixture of salted meats with the pickled daikon and carrots…creamy mayonnaise, crunch of the fresh cucumber and to top it all off…the cilantro. I know get people who don’t like cilantro, just give me your cilantro and call it a day. Anyway, my only experience with banh mi in the past has been with Bale. Nothing wrong with that but I think you’re really missing out if you don’t try it at different places and I think I found my favorite place thus far….Bella Banh Mi Cafe!! They are located on Liliha Street and open on the weekdays and luckily now on Sundays! I called in my order beforehand and pick-up was a breeze.

Had to open it up to show you the innards. They include fresh jalapenos! No worry, not too many seeds so wasn’t too spicy though I may not be a good judge on if something is not spicy.

Saigon Special | $8.50
combination sandwich – pate, vietnamese ham, pork belly, pork floss, mayonnaise, parsley, cucumber, pickled carrots & daikon

Oops their description doesn’t include jalapenos but you’re welcome for that information. I’ve had combination banh mi sandwiches at other places and I was always disappointed because it was always too salty. Not here! This sandwich was perfect, and the bread was nice and toasted but not hard and chewy like I’ve had elsewhere. I would definitely recommend this and can’t wait to get it again!

BBQ Pork Bun (Noodle Bowl) | $9.00
lemongrass & vietnamese fish sauce, vermicelli noodles, basil, mint, cucumber, pickled daikon, and peanuts

Another winners dish. I love the sauce for the noodles and the BBQ pork had the perfect charcoal/grilled taste, really enjoyed it! Love a cold noodle dish.

Shrimp & Pork Summer Rolls | $7.75
shrimp, pork, rice paper, vermicelli noodles, basil, mint, cucumber, lettuce

Awesome summer rolls, and you know what I like most? No raw bean sprouts. I can’t stand raw bean sprouts and some places put them into their summer rolls….so thank you Bella for not using bean sprouts. I think it’s a great deal for this dish and the dipping sauce is delicious! What is the ice cream stick for? Not sure, I just dipped the rolls right into the sauce.

Just wanted to show you a shot of the roll inside! Nicely wrapped together, was delicious. In fact, this is inspiring me to make summer rolls at home. To be continued.

Little Sheep Hot Pot at Home

One of my favorite restaurants is Little Sheep Hot Pot but this was pre-pandemic because they unfortunately did not survive. Sigh, where am I supposed to go for AYCE hot pot now? I loved their sauce bar and flavorful soups…and man could you get a bang for your buck with their buffet. Before they completely closed down, they became Happy Lamb Hot Pot so their Yelp page contains reviews from both their time as little sheep and happy lamb (lol).

Anyway, I was craving their soup base and while you can find it at H-Mart…it is way cheaper on Amazon if you want to purchase multiple. Okay it depends, gotta keep your eye on the prices because it fluctuates a lot. I paid $16 bucks for a 5-pack and have seen it even lower priced than that…it’s pricey right now. But here’s the link to the spicy base and the plain base. The soup bases are great, just gotta add water, boil it up and it’s ready for all your hot pot ingredients. Check it out.

Got a bunch of veggies ready to go and of course the mushrooms! Love the crunchy texture of enoki mushrooms…

The spicy soup base boiling up…

H-Mart get plenty of the pre-sliced meat for sale (and get all kind cuts too, this one is kind of lean but they have ones that are fattier too). A bit pricey…

I have never prepared tripe at home before and I never want to again. It smells so stink when you boil it. Luckily the ones they sell at the store are pretty “clean” but…ugh! The pot boiled over too and it was just a stinky mess. I mean it’s fine after you finish boiling it up as prep but it wasn’t worth the effort for me!

Okay, I gotta be honest. This whole hot pot craving was brought on from a YouTube video I watched. Yes, I watch mukbang videos sometimes but only Korean ones. I don’t know why. Anyway, she made a mala hot pot with lamb chops and it just looked so good. I couldn’t find lamb chops but found lamb loins which served it’s purpose! Satiated that craving real nice…

Added some wide cellophane noodles too…and we ate it with rice. I mean, we were real piggies that night. So good though…

Recipe: Italian Pasta Salad

Yup, you guessed it. Another recipe from TikTok. I made a few adjustments to my version and it came out winnahs. Firstly, the mozzarella salad is so flavorful on its own. If I thought of it earlier, I would use the seasoned oil in the mozzarella salad to make the dressing. A-ha! That can be for next time. Also, the balsamic vinaigrette is a dressing I found because that’s the ingredients I had and it worked so perfectly. Please try and let me know if you enjoy!

Italian Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad Ingredients
1 lb. rotini pasta, cooked according to package instructions
1 cucumber, quartered, cut into 1/2 inch sticks
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (just make it bite size)
1/2 – 1 C large pepperoni slices, cut into strips
1 – 1.5 C marinated mozzarella salad (I used Formaggio brand from Sam’s Club), sliced in half

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients
2 T honey
1 T dijon mustard
1/2 t fine sea salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1 large clove garlic, minced or grated (I grated mine)
1/4 balsamic vinegar
3/4 C extra virgin olive oil

Mix together honey, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic in a small bowl. Slowly stream the oil into the bowl while whisking to fully incorporate with the other ingredients. Mix dressing with pasta salad ingredients in a bowl and enjoy!

Lazy prep. I just cut up all the ingredients and threw them on top of the draining pasta. Less dishes to do, lol.