Mixed Plate Friday

The next two pictures are going to look like an advertisement but I promise they are not. I know I am not getting any money for this post (or any of my other posts). I saw this on TikTok and was super curious since I am trying to remain on a caloric deficit. A whole pouch for 6 or 7 calories? Worth a try right!

I found it on Amazon and if anyone wants the link, let me know. I’ve tried peach, grape and apple so far. I actually really enjoy it, it’s a nice cold treat that helps satiate your sweet tooth. I like that the sweetness doesn’t taste too much like that weird artificial sweetener taste. Kind of pricey though, I think a little over $2 for each pouch. I went to Seafood City the other week and they had some in stock for a bit cheaper price but only had two flavors and I feel like they were just trying to sell out their stock.

Was trying to put together a little snack pack for a friend but couldn’t give it to her so I ended up eating it myself. I know, what a shame right? Well, this is a post just to tell you about Honolulu Crack Seed. Cute little sisters-owned crack seed store. Well, I tried their wet li hing mui lemon peel sour patch kids and there is no going back now. Best tasting wet li hing lemon peels I’ve had ever. They also sell prune mui (anyone who has a good recipe for this, please do share, it’s my favorite). Check them out if you are near Kaheka!

I also spotted these chips at Seafood City. Anyone who is in the know about Indomie knows what is up with these chips. I had to give them a try. Do they taste like the indomie noodles? Ehh…yes and no. Yes in the sense that it tastes like straight up MSG, lol. No in that they don’t taste like the noodles exactly but are still tasty and easy to eat.

Istanbul Hawaii – Honolulu, HI

Been wanting to try Istanbul since they opened over a year ago…did they open pre-pandemic? Gosh, I can’t keep track. I think I fell into the trap of wanting to try a new trendy restaurant, those never work out for me. I end up thinking, why didn’t I just go grab take-out elsewhere. Istanbul is a mother-daughter owned restaurant and for that reason alone, had to give them a try! Decided to treat a friend to dinner and I think the food was good! Service was alright, a whole bunch of young folks running around with their hipster leather aprons on. We dined indoors and it is so loud in there that you can’t really hold a conversation and any question I asked the waiter was answered wrongly, he thought he was being helpful telling me his favorite dishes when that is not what I asked at all…anyway, onto the food!

Meze Platter | $28.00
humus, muhammara, babaganush, su borek, spanakopita, peynir & karpuz, pita (all mezes are hand-made by mom chef Nili)

Let’s break it down:
Humus: organic chickpea, tahini, turkish spices & EVO, garlic, pita
Muhammara: roasted bell pepper, walnut, cinnamon, turkish evo, pita
Babaganush: smoked waimanalo eggplant, black garlic, turkish EVO, pita
Su Borek: moist traditional filo, fresh cheese, ma’o parsley
Spanakopita: crispy traditional filo, turkish feta, ma’o spinach
Peynir & Karpuz: turkish feta & cured olives, watermelon, aged balsamic

I really enjoyed this appetizer platter! If I could, I would order this dish as an entrée all on its own! Would I do that next time? Yeah, I no care how piggie it makes me look. I’ll rank the dishes from most favorite to least favorite: spanakopita, peynir & karpuz, humus, su borek, muhammara, and babaganush. Maybe I would rank spanakopita and the watermelon dish first, I really really enjoyed the watermelon dish.

Pirzola | $45.00
kea’au grass-fed lamb chops, turkish harissa, yesil fasulye (green beans)
accompanied with turkish saffron pilav & tzatziki

We knew we would be pretty stuffed with the appetizer so we decided to share a dinner entrée. Can’t go wrong with lamb, one of their signature dishes. The lamb was cooked nicely, the accompanying pilav looked nice but was kind of bland. I mixed the pilav with the green beans after and it tasted really good.

Antep Baklava | $12.00
40 layers of filo, turkish walnut, honey syrup, house-made cream fresh dondurma

Ah, dessert! Seeing that this was my first and (possibly?) last visit, I wanted to also try their Turkish delight. Alas, my luck was not there since they were sold out! It’s okay, my original intent was the baklava and boy did it deliver. I really really enjoyed this dish. It’s drenched in honey syrup, how could I not enjoy it?

One last complaint about the restaurant, I really dislike their payment system. This is not the first time I’ve seen it and I hope this is not the new trend. They come to you with the bill on this handheld electronic device, you hand them your credit card and the server stands there holding the device as you sign off on it. And well, the gratuity screen is there to see and they have the preset percentages (starting at 18%!) and then if you no get shame, you can select custom tip as the waiter stares at you while you change it…and then you sign. Well I gave 18% but I don’t appreciate the pressure to pay like that…being watched!

Anyway, as I said, the food was super good but I feel like I could just grab Greek take-out and get the same type of dishes and be satisfied. That sounds bad…but I guess I’m just not too picky.

Bing Bros – Honolulu, HI

I have been obsessed with Jian Bing for YEARS. Somehow a jian bing video popped up on my YouTube feed once and then I fell into like a vortex of videos. I’ll post some of my favorites at the end of the post. So what is jian bing? I guess the best way I can explain it would be a Chinese street food, a large savory crepe that is used to house a special sauce, won ton cracker, veggies, meat (sometimes), egg, etc. It’s like a Chinese burrito and is very cheap to grab and go with in China for breakfast. Well, it has finally arrived in Hawaii and I was very excited to try it.

Okay, so I picked a very bad time to try it. It was the week a big article was released about it. Bing Bros currently only opens on Saturdays for 4 hours in Salt Lake, at that time, they were still taking pre-orders on their website so I placed one in for three different jian bings to try. I requested for my order to be complete by 11:30 AM and as the time crept closer, it looked like they were going to be slammed. Well, they were. And well, let’s just say I didn’t get my order until about 12:30 PM. Wasn’t terribly happy about that delay but understand since they are new.

Regular Jian Bing | $10.00
egg, romaine lettuce, pickled mustard cabbage, wonton cracker, cucumber, green onions, cilantro, bing sauce, and chili sauce

The Works | $13.00
pork floss, lup cheong, egg, romaine lettuce, pickled mustard cabbage, won ton cracker, cucumber, green onions, cilantro, bing sauce, and chili sauce

Go big or go home right? I sacrificed the look of the jian bing and opened it up for you folks to see. I enjoyed it, how can I not enjoy pork floss and lup cheong? What did I think of the outer crepe? Ehh…perhaps it can’t be helped but the crepe gets very soft and soggy because there is sauce on it. I feel like jian bing needs to be enjoyed fresh off the grill. I also would have liked if the cabbage (there seemed to be regular shredded cabbage too on top of the preserved mustard cabbage ) was at least quickly pickled.

Hawaiian Breakfast | $13.00
spam, two eggs, portuguese sausage, romaine lettuce, pickled mustard cabbage, wonton cracker, cucumber, green onions, cilantro, bing sauce, and chili sauce

Another deluxe model, had to try the Hawaiian one! This was good, couldn’t tell there were two eggs (lol). Very small dices of spam and portuguese sausage. The prices to me is a bit high for what you get. And when I look at the website, their menu is already outdated and I paid $3 bucks more for each deluxe dish. They do have bigger plans for the future so hopefully they will get their orders and execution down, nice for me to try but I am not hankering to go back anytime soon.

YouTube Links:
China Street Food Jian Bing (Danbing)
Shanghai China – street food (crepe) – this one is funny cause the cook is so cranky lol
Bejing Jianbing (first video I ever saw on this)

Mixed Plate Friday

It’s your favorite day of the week! And it’s your favorite day of the week because of my blog posts right? Of course it is (not at all delusional). Here we go besties!

One of the easiest and go-to pasta dishes, it is made with a sauce packet. No shame. I like to add fresh baby kale to the mix to feign healthiness. Let me live.

Here’s the sauce packet I use. If I make a whole box of pasta, I need 2 packages of this (not to be confusing – each packet comes with two seasoning packs…so I essentially am using all 4, is that clear?). I do know aglio olio e peperoncino is quite an easy dish to make from scratch but I’m going to need the preservative taste of this…it has a nice concentrated anchovy/garlic flavor. Love it.

Another dish I made for the past holiday weekend. Nothing special, just a nice baked spaghetti but to make it even lazier, this is just spaghetti with Zippy’s chili (no beans) smothered in cheese. So good. It tastes exactly as it sounds. Why pay Zippy’s for one plate when you can just buy the frozen and make your own. Sam’s Club has the chili for a good price!

The next two pictures are the snacks I partook in when I watched Black Widow at Ward Theatre. By the way, the movie was great. I didn’t go into it expecting much and she’s not one of my fave characters but I was definitely pleasantly surprised.

Loaded Baked Potato Fries | $9.50
“sidewinder” fries loaded with cheese sauce, shredded cheddar cheese, bacon, sour cream & fresh scallions

I usually just get a hot dog but these fries are pretty dang good. I like the sidewinder style, nice and crispy on the outside but very soft and “meaty (lol)” on the inside. Salty, a bit too salty. I can only eat a few bites before giving it away.

Banh Mi Style Dog | $8.00
quarter pound beef hot dog, cilantro-lemon aioli, fresh jalapenos, pickled vegetables & slaw

Ah yes, this has been my go-to since they started serving up fancy kine food at the snack bar. I love this hot dog, in fact, I wish more places would sell hot dogs like this. Love the fresh jalapenos, the cilantro-lemon sauce is great…the pickled vegetables and cole slaw is good. The cole slaw isn’t too tangy or wet like American cole slaw so it works great in this. Highly recommend!

Recipe: Spicy Won Tons

Yes, another TikTok recipe. Well, I saw it on TikTok and had to jump onto this person’s Instagram to get the recipe. Ugh…sending me on a wild goose chase. Been wanting to experiment making chili oil kine wontons at home and I found the perfect excuse. When he said this was a Din Tai Fung copycat recipe, I was pretty much sold. I went out and bought the ingredients the very next morning. It was so worth it and while I was planning to wrap a bunch to freeze and enjoy in moderation, somehow we ate it all in one night. That’s a good sign right?

The filling ready to be mixed until gooey and stuffed into wonton wrappers. I barely make wontons from scratch and this convinced me I should do it more often. And do you know, this is the first time I have outright used MSG (ajinomoto)? Seriously. Always had this stigma against MSG due to its bad reputation out there. And it is not just in my mind, when a restaurant uses choke MSG, I am very very thirsty for hours after the meal. Thank god they sell pork all ground up, I had to chop up the shrimp by hand and well, I’m just going to go with I like my shrimp chunky and it’s going in my mouth and not yours okay (not at all defensive right)?

Had a few helpers in the wrapping department, not perfectly shaped nor at all like the recipe asked but it’s okay. I don’t mind eating envelope looking wontons. It doesn’t affect the taste!

Sorry, had to include one last picture of the wontons. Boiled them up and tossed them in the homemade chili vinegar dipping sauce…topped it with fresh cilantro leaves and I was in foodie heaven. I’m already planning for the next batch…wontons are a lot of work to make but boy are they delicious. What is it with pupu sized foods that taste so good yeah?

Spicy Wontons

Ingredients

Wonton Wrappers

  • 50 wonton wrappers (12 oz. package)

Filling

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 3/4 lb. shrimp
  • 1/4 cup green onion(white portion)
  • 3 tbsp cilantro stems
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp msg
  • 1/4 cup shaoxing wine
  • 3 cloves grated garlic
  • 1/4 inch grated ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp cornstarch

Sauce

  • 1 clove grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp black vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp msg
  • 2 to 3 tbsp chili oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Deshell and roughly mince shrimp. You want the mince to be slightly larger than the ground pork.
  2. Combine all of the filling ingredients and stir making sure to only move in one direction. This helps with myosin development which keeps the meat together.
  3. Take your wonton wrapper and place about a tsp of filling in the center of the wrapper. Use water to bind two ends of the wrapper to create a triangle. Then take two ends of the triangle and bind them together using water.
  4. Boil wontons for 4 to 5 minutes or until they start to float.
  5. Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix with boiled wontons.
  6. Garnish with the green portion of green onion and cilantro.

Recipe: Derek K Chen

Notes:

  1. I ended up with more filling than won ton wrappers, I think I could have made another 7-10 wontons with the leftover fillings.

Griddle N Grindz – Honolulu, HI

A new Korean BBQ take-out joint in Kalihi! I repeat, a new Korean BBQ take-out place in Kalihi! Griddle N Grindz is located in the Dillingham Plaza (the one with Foodland and Savers) and they are located where Yummy’s used to be (I didn’t even know they closed!). This place is take-out only, smallish menu but boy do they make that up in portions. Check it out.

Korean BBQ Chicken (Level 2 – Extra Spicy) | $13.49
Comes with 4 banchan choices, I chose fish cake, kimchee, cucumber kimchee and japchae

Been hankering for some Korean BBQ chicken, their chicken is good! Love the grill marks, the banchan is good. I like the fish cake and the japchae, the cucumber kimchee is just alright and the kimchee is okay too (nothing special).

I only got level 2 spicy and TMI, it was a small runny nose situation. I kind of want to risk it all and try their spiciest level (which they don’t charge extra for…!)

Fried Garlic Chicken | $14.79
Comes with 4 banchan choices, we chose macaroni salad, cucumber kimchee, japchae and fish cake

This is one of the plates a lot of people are getting, not pictured is the spicy mayo sauce that comes on the side for dipping (I am pretty sure it’s just mayo and sriracha). The chicken is good, nice juicy thigh pieces fried up light and crispy. Barely any garlic flavor. The mac salad is a bit bland, and I already critiqued the other three banchan choices above).

Menu as of July 2021 (their website has an outdated menu)

Not that this should matter, but I did not see a single Korean staff person here. LOL. I am not making any assumptions or trying to say anything, just saying the front and kitchen staff I was able to see were not Korean. It did not affect the taste of the food or my willingness to go back, I definitely would when I get a hankering for Korean BBQ again!

Jagalchi – Honolulu, HI

Have I really never done a full post on Jagalchi? I can’t believe this. This place has been my go-to Korean restaurant for years. Anytime I get a hankering for some good hot soup, jun or now…bossam, this place is IT. So glad it is still open and survived the pandemic, I can’t lose this place. Can I tell a funny story? A few years back, came to eat with a few friends and there was a car blocking our car in the parking lot. At the end of the lot is a place with no windows and is just completely closed out to the public…us geniuses decided to walk in there to ask if they had one car double parked out there. Uhhh I am pretty sure I walked into a place that is illegal and am lucky I was not hurt cause everyone in the room stopped, turned and looked at us. Lesson is, don’t go into that place at the end of the building. Onto the food!

Complimentary Banchan

Hot Shredded Beef Soup (Yukgaejang) | $10.49 (Brunch price, 7:30 AM – 2:00 PM)

All soups come with the banchan (shared) and your own bowl of purple rice (in those neat metal bowls with lids). My friend ordered hers mild and she believed they actually complied this time. In the past she would order mild but was still spicy.

Korean Sausage Soup (Soondaeguk) | $11.49 (Brunch price, 7:30 AM – 2:00 PM)

This is my go-to soup. I love this soup. I think the title might be misleading for folks who don’t know but it’s actually blood sausage. They also throw in all kinds of intestines into this soup, really good and hearty. I would recommend this!

Bossam (Steamed Pork with Oyster) | $37.00

OH MY GOD. Okay, I am convinced they have a new cook in the kitchen. New owners? I don’t know. But this is the best bossam they have served up. They definitely cooked the pork differently this time, it used to be like almost bleached white color but now they have boiled it in seasoning! I’ve seen recipes for this where they make it with all kind good seasonings and like instant coffee to give it this beautiful brown color. The mixture in the middle, now that is a huge star of the show. It’s not just kimchee, it’s a mixture of like onions, radish, carrots just swimming in their spicy sauce…and yes fresh oysters on top. Get the wonbok leaves to wrap the pork in with whatever toppings you want. Yes, not a healthy dish (look at the glistening meat) but is soooo good, get it and share with friends! Highly recommend.

W & M Bar-B-Q Burger – Honolulu, HI

I haven’t been to W&M for YEARS. Firstly, their parking lot is horrendous and they are always busy. Haha and I don’t naturally break rules so I never thought to park in City Mill and mosey over. Well this time, I actually did go to City Mill for something and decided to walk over after my trip to grab some burgers for me and the boys. There’s a reason why they been around forever, the burgers are bomb. The boys LOVED it. I was surprised…but hey, can’t beat a good burger right?

CHEESE burger (Cheese and Lettuce only) | $5.10
Add Bacon (2 pieces) | $1.25

Got the boys two burgers, this was the first one. Was good! They enjoyed.

CHEESE burger (Cheese and Lettuce only) | $5.10

Just one burger for me, I went for it man. Well for me this is going for it, was delicious. Love their BBQ sauce.

Onion Royal Hal (No Tomato) | $7.55
Royal hamburger with layers of our BBQ steak served with Cheese, Lettuce, Onion

One thing I love about this place? They make customization of your burger toppings super easy. The boys don’t like tomatoes but already get options on the menu that exclude specific toppings. It’s a bit crazy ordering here cause you gotta say what you want, specify the dressing and even when I ordered this, she was still questioning me about the tomatoes and if I wanted when I ordered the Onion Royal Hal specifically, it was kind of confusing and I could hardly hear cause of the mask so I just kept saying, yes no tomato please. Haha, anyway, the boys LOVED this burger.

French Fries | $2.40

No combo meals at this joint, gotta buy things ala carte. I don’t think it is worth $2.40 for a small bag of these fries but gotta make do. They aren’t bad fries but nothing great you know?

Crab Flavored Salad | $2.95

First of all, wat? Look I had to try it cause it said crab and yes now I noticed it says “FLAVORED” but like, no get even the flavor when I tried this. Had much too much mayonnaise, no crab flavor, plenty peas…every bite was like the same cause it was just drenched in mayonnaise. Would not get again.

Just wanted to end the post with a little laugh. I mean, I hope the driver of this car is/was okay. I was doing my walk around Manoa and this car stay parked here. No one was in the car. He/she just parked it right here and left. I was confused to say the least…and took them an entire day to get the car towed cause it was there the next day too. LOL! I mean even if the car broke down, could have pulled up to ANY curb at all…why the crosswalk? Anyway, hope the driver stay okay.

Update!

Hey folks, sorry for the sudden disappearance (oh my, almost a month ago!). Been embarking on a new dental journey and well that’s on top of my health journey. Hahaha, life is full of fun stuff right? Well anyway, I got through the first (and hardest step for me) of the dental journey and have been healing nicely…both physically and mentally. I haven’t been eating out as much lately too…been trying to cook a lot more at home. Have any of you used Noom? Maybe you’ve seen ads on it…it’s like a phone app that helps guide you in losing weight. I enjoy it because it’s more of a lifestyle change versus like fad dieting you know? It does cost money but so far has helped me to start losing the stubborn pounds…let’s see how this goes! Will keep you folks posted.

I also have a check-up coming this next week, had to get my bloodwork last week so I had to prepare for that of course. Thankfully the labs release the results the same day as the draw so I was able to see my results before my impending visit, thankfully the numbers have improved since last visit so I’m hoping for a good visit. Wish me luck!

Recipe: Santa Fe Wraps

Be prepared, I may be bombing you folks with healthy recipes for a bit. Trying a new kick and hoping it continues to help me in this journey! Well, not when I go out…that’s when I reward myself. This is a judgement free zone okay? Anyway, here’s a super easy recipe I made the other day in my new air fryer. Did I share about that yet? I’ll try to do a post on it later. Super easy Santa Fe Wraps (yes from TikTok) that kids LOVED. Can’t go wrong there.

2 Cups of shredded chicken breast. Here’s what I do. I buy rotisserie chicken from Costco. Immediately shred all the chicken breast, shove it into a ziploc bag and throw it in the freezer. The chicken comes in handy for all kind recipes, my infamous pasta salad, chicken noodle soup and now this recipe! I don’t know if the chicken I had was 2 cups, I’m going to say it was more but it’s okay. Oh and then I just grind on the thighs/dark meat for dinner cause I am Asian and we have good taste.

1 can of black beans and 1 can of whole kernel corn, both drained. I used low sodium black beans. Do they have low sodium corn? I don’t know, I would use it if had.

One packet of taco seasoning, the one you use to fry up taco meat!

One bag of shredded Mexican cheese, I used a low fat one because this recipe already has plenty flavor so we just need this for the melty factor.

Roll it up and bake! I used an air fryer so I sprayed it with like a cooking spray (similar to Pam) and cook it seam down at 400°F for about 3 minutes, then flip them, spray and cook for another 3 minutes.

Santa Fe Wraps

Ingredients:
2 C of cooked chicken breast, shredded
1 can of low sodium black beans, drained
1 can of whole kernel corn, drained
1 8 oz. package of shredded Mexican cheese
1 oz. taco seasoning packet
1 package of flour tortillas (burrito size, comes in 10 per pack)

Cooking Spray (like Pam)

Instructions:
Mix all the ingredients together except the tortillas. Spoon mixture (about 3/4 C – 1 C) into tortilla and roll into a burrito.

Place burritos in air fryer in a single layer, seam side down. Spray with cooking spray. Bake for 3 minutes at 400°F. Flip burritos, spray cooking spray and bake for additional 3 minutes. Enjoy!