Izakaya Torae Torae – Moilili, Hawaii

I have been so excited to try Izakaya Torae Torae since they opened up about two months ago! They are located in Moilili on McCully Street – it’s right next door to The Sushi Company and I believe they replaced a pizza place (correct me if I’m wrong). They do have parking stalls in front but it is extremely limited. Our meal was so good last night that I just had to post it up already! And how’s this for fate? A spot opened up as I was pulling in…smack dab right in front of the restaurant. It was meant to be. A warning to everyone, lots of pictures and…I definitely splurged for this meal. I have never tried Otoro before and decided to do so at this meal. No regrets!


140428-02Snow Crab and Corn Cream Croquette – $7.50

140428-03Lots of pictures of this dish on social media – how was it? I thought it was good, not great. It’s not like I could taste the crab in it so for me, it was just a cream croquette.

140428-04Pork Belly Kakuni – $8.95
Oh man, this was a great dish. Includes two good sized pieces of pork belly, daikon and a soft boiled egg. The broth tasted great – favorite meat dish of the night for sure. They have a pork belly kakuni don option – the broth on the rice would be amazing.

140428-11Ribeye Steak with Garlic Onion Sauce – $16.50

140428-12The garlic onion sauce being poured on…a bit pricey for this dish. I thought it was all right but nothing too special. The meat was tender and cooked to our specifications! I also enjoyed the bean sprouts/cabbage on the bottom, so a good dish all in all.

140428-05From left to right: Lanai Sweet Shrimp ($5.95), Hamachi ($2.95) and King Salmon Nigiri ($2.50)
This was Kristian’s selection so I will let him share his comments if he so wishes. 🙂

140428-06Shrimp Head! This is the head from the Lanai Sweet Shrimp nigiri, they offer it to you fried up with a slice of lemon. So crispy you can eat the entire head, shell and all!

140428-07From left to right: King Salmon ($2.50), Otoro (Market Price, lol), Uni Nigiri ($4.25)

140428-08I hadn’t had real salmon until I’ve had it this high quality. The freshness of the salmon, the buttery taste, you just can’t beat it. It was the cheaper option of the nigiri I had so I ordered one more. I think if I return, I would just order like 4 for myself..hahaha

140428-09Okay, I know I swore off uni pasta but I certainly didn’t swear off uni nigiri! It was very good – perfectly made. But if I had to choose between this or the salmon, I’ll get the salmon.

140428-10Star of the show! Otoro! This is the first time I have ever had this. Words cannot explain the experience. This will probably be one of the few times I have it in my life so I will forever savor it. Hehe…I was afraid to take the leap but am so glad I did. It literally melts in your mouth. I think I’m going to dream of it tonight.

Recipe: Teri Tofu Burgers

About a year ago, we had a pot-luck at work and my coworker made some amazing burgers. She told us they were called teri tofu burgers and I was amazed that they were tofu – okay, I was wrong. It’s actually meat mixed with tofu – but I guess it is healthier since you’re using less meat! Back me up here. 🙂 Anyhow, I finally got to make it the other week and they came out great! I love these burgers because they are so flavorful and moist, you can’t tell there is tofu in here. I’ll include the recipe and some tips after the pictures.

140426-01Ahh…wish I had some to eat right now!

140426-02Didn’t have too much preparation pictures. The recipe called for firm tofu, I used soft tofu and it worked great for me.

140426-03Here is the mixture right before forming and cooking. I think if you use soft tofu like me, you have to chill it before forming the patties. I cooked the patties about 4 at a time so I was able to chill, form and cook in intervals.

140426-04The tomatoes are not part of this recipe. Hehe, I made a traditional tomato soup to go with my rice and burger patties.

140426-05You folks ever use these? I don’t even know the English name of it, it’s like brown sugar blocks my family has always used to make this tomato soup.

140426-06Finished product. Rice, Chinese tomato soup (if anyone wants the recipe, feel free to comment and I will post it!) and the awesome tofu teri burger.

Teri Tofu Burgers

1 lb hamburger
1 blk tofu, drained well (I used soft tofu – firm tofu might make it less soft, depends on your taste)

1/4 C onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 piece ginger grated (1-2 tsp.)
1/4 C shoyu
2 T sugar 
1T sesame seed (optional) – I didn’t use this
Dash of sesame oil

Cooking Oil

Heat up your frying pan and add about 1 T of oil each time you fry up some patties. The patties get pretty good color to them because of the shoyu and ground beef – I fry them up on medium high heat for about 2 minutes each side. Serve them up over rice, onolicious!

– If using soft tofu – you may want to chill the mixture before forming patties. The soft tofu and ground beef makes for a very soft mixture and it’s hard to form patties if they are not cold.
– I used a weight on the tofu to try to drain as much water as I could from the tofu for a few hours in the fridge.

Taste of Manoa – Manoa, HI

Every semester, UH Manoa holds a Taste of Manoa festival. It’s great because they offer up $1 plates and the plates are very generous! They held one about two weeks ago in conjunction with the opening of the new recreation center. It was super crowded but I loved seeing the new recreation center, it took a while but I think everything looks great now!

The dishes they had were pretty good, but I ended up doubling up on a few because I didn’t like the soup or dessert. I’ll share two highlights! I forgot to take a picture of the chili cheese dog – that was good too!  Full size!

140425-01Mahi Puttanesca Bruschetta with Island Greens and Citrus Vinaigrette
Pretty good and the fish was cooked perfectly!

140425-02Deep Fried Garlic Pork Ribs with Asian Slaw
Look at that! Only $1! Seriously, a great deal. And surprisingly, I enjoyed the cole slaw again. Am I starting to like cole slaw in general? Uh oh…

Alicia’s Market – Kalihi, HI

Yes! Another visit to Alicia’s Market and there was no disappointment here. I had to run an errand during my lunch break so I grabbed lunch from here. It was fate because as I pulled up, a parking spot opened up in their lot. I mean, come on! Awesome right? If you would like to see my first post, click here.  Here are the pictures from our recent trip!

140424-01Spicy Ahi Poke “Bowl”

140424-02Look at those big pieces of ahi – no white stringy stuff here. Only the good stuff!

140424-03Abalone Salad. My friend got this and let me try it for the first time! It was delicious, so fresh and crunchy.


Two Choice – Regular Plate
It comes with Chinese roast pork, ahi poke of your choice, mac salad, kimchee, and rice!

140424-05140424-06The mac/potato salad is quite sweet.


140424-08The roast pork this time was winners. Great pieces of pork, I think last time I was disappointed because I got hard and dry pieces.

My friend got to try this place for the first time and she was very happy! She tried different things and thought everything was high quality for good prices. Always happy to share good food places with others. I think I should start a food tour company. 🙂 Happy Friday everyone!

Healthy Bibimbap – Seoul, Korea

Can I start this blog off with a rant? Sorry guys, you can skip this paragraph if you want to go straight to the happy (I wouldn’t blame you!). Anyway, I finished work today and did my usual walk to my car and guess what I see? Someone had scratched my car. My new car. 🙁 The car I saved so hard for…has a big scratch on it. It looks like the person had opened his/her car door and let it fling open onto my door. There was white paint all over, luckily I got side body molding installed on my car so it’s the molding that got the grunt of the hit. Still hurts though and makes me sick since my car is only 2 months old. Sigh, wish the person left a note. Even if it was just a note that said sorry. I understand things like this can happen and it’s an accident. I think I sat on the curb in the parking lot for about 20 minutes because I was so mad/sad…lol. I feel a bit better now, not great but nothing I can do now right? No can change what’s done.

Oh! I forgot to wish everyone a Happy Easter! I hope you folks had a good one. I had a nice and restful one…had some cleaning too. Today’s entry will be sharing a nice meal we had before we hiked up to Namsan Tower. I don’t remember the name of this place but I am pretty sure it was a restaurant for tourists. They had a menu with…interesting English. We were able to order okay! I liked the food. I didn’t take much pictures because the waitress was a bit rude…


I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again, banchan is EVERYTHING. The banchan here was amazing. Not sure what the top right dish is…but it was my favorite! Does anyone know?

140422-02Sometimes a nice bowl of tofu soup can be the cure all…

140422-03I usually don’t love the earthiness of this type of veggies – but these were great!  Tasted great.

140422-04Until we meet again – so delicious…

Trip to Seoul Korea – Apartment Tour

I took a trip to Korea last year and it was awesome. I enjoyed my trip so much – the food and shopping was great and affordable! I long to be back on the streets of Seoul sometime soon! I haven’t been able to share my trip so I will try to post everything that happened! Today, I am showing you the apartment we stayed in. We decided to take a big leap and sublet an apartment through Airbnb – it was a great decision. The apartment was about the same price for a single hotel room. This apartment came with three rooms, one bath, full kitchen, living room and washer and dryer – tell me that isn’t a better deal! We stayed in Yeiouido which is a city located away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist areas, it’s also home to all the major television networks and the Han River. I loved taking the subway back home after a long day and unwinding in a nice and quiet neighborhood. This apartment was also right next to an Emart which made for super easy omiyage shopping..hehe. Okay time to share some pics!

140421-01TV and Toaster…:) This apartment also had free wifi – we watched a bunch of shows we couldn’t understand. Loved the shopping networks.

140421-02Isn’t this living room so cute? I loved it. This apartment had a real cute and homey style that I loved.

140421-04Cute dining nook and bookcase full of books we couldn’t read.

140421-03Full kitchen with washer and dryer! The washer doubled as both the washer and dryer. Why don’t we have that here?? Or do we? Anyhow, the hosts were so gracious. They even had some food in the kitchen for us to eat, that was very nice. They greeted us when we got in and came to say goodbye to us as we left. A great experience renting this apartment.

Garlic Noodles with Chicken Breast

This is going to be another bean thread vermicelli recipe post! This time I wasn’t that great at taking pictures of the steps but took a final picture…lol. It’s okay, I’ll post the recipe below after the pictures anyway!

140420-01Yes, another bulb of garlic. You really shouldn’t be surprised by now.

140420-02This time, I actually poached the garlic with my chicken breast. Once the chicken breast was done, I mashed up the now soft garlic in a bowl and added some salt and sesame oil.

140420-03Okay this picture might not look it, but this chicken breast is TENDER and MOIST. I used a method I watched on a youtube video, I’ll share the link below. He boils the water, then switches off the heat and throws the breast in and covers it with the lid. You let it sit for about 20 minutes and voila, they are done. Some may be worried it won’t cook through, but mine always does. As long as you don’t have to keep reheating this dish, the chicken breast will be so tender.

140420-04I gotta rewind! I mixed the chicken breast in the garlic mash and then threw it into my stir fry to incorporate. Then I added the rehydrated noodles to coat and voila!

140420-05Yummy noodles. This dish is actually pretty healthy for you! I added some chili sauce to kick it up a notch, that is option of course.

Garlic Noodles with Chicken Breast

1 package of Bean Thread Vermicelli (here is the one I buy – click here), rehydrated according to package directions. After I rehydrate the noodles, I get a pair of kitchen scissors and roughly cut through the noodles. If you don’t do this, the noodles will be LONG
1 bulb of garlic, peeled
1 bunch of garlic chives, sliced into 1 inch strips
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 t salt
1 T sesame oil

2 T of corn/canola/vegetable oil
2-3 T of oyster sauce
Hot Sauce to taste (optional of course and added when you eat!)

Set up a big pot of water ready to boil; about 8 cups of water. Throw in the peeled garlic and turn the heat on high. When the water comes to a boil; throw the chicken breasts in whole, put on the lid and turn off the heat.  Let the chicken breast poach in the liquid for at least 18-20 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken. Take the chicken breasts out to cool, shred by hand when chicken is cool enough to handle.

Remove the garlic from the water and mash it in a bowl with the salt and garlic. Once the mixture has been properly mixed, add the chicken breast strips and mix. Reserve at least 1/2 – 3/4 cup of the chicken broth for later.

Heat up oil in a wok/deep skillet. Add the cabbage and stir fry until a bit browned and a bit tender, about 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic chives and stir fry for another minute. Add the chicken mixture in and mix it all together. Add the noodles in and incorporate it all together. Add the oyster sauce and the reserved chicken broth if the noodles are too dry for your liking. Taste the noodles and add more oyster sauce to your liking. I find that this dish is mild in taste but in a good way. To me it’s not bland because of the flavors but it’s definitely not in your face (even if there is a bulb of garlic…hehe).

Chicken Breast Cooking Inspiration: runnyrunny999 – Cold Pasta with Sesame Dressing (skip to 2:20 if you only want to see chicken breast method)

Japanese Ramen Kai – Ala Moana, HI

I’ve talked about Agu Ramen and Hokkaido Santouka Ramen in previous posts: here and here. Japanese Ramen Kai came on the scene around the same time as the other two and I finally got to try it! I gotta say, out of the three, Japanese Ramen Kai is currently my favorite! Let me share some pictures to show you why…


140419-02Miso Ramen – $9.00

140419-03Look at that char siu…drool…

140419-04Goma Tan Tan Ramen – $9.00 plus Aji-tama (shoyu egg) – $1.50



140419-07I got the tan tan ramen and I LOVED it. It was delicious. See how thick the broth is? How does it compare to Goma Tei? I definitely think Japanese Ramen Kai is better. You can tell they grind the sesame seeds fresh because there is a bit of grittyness (not in a bad way) in the broth. While the broth looks heavy and thick – I don’t think it plays off that way when you eat it. I would definitely recommend it! The egg was good, not great. Not soft boiled but at least it wasn’t overcooked.

140419-08Gyoza – $5.00

140419-09Gyoza innard shot. It’s your typical gyoza, nothing special or bad about it.

Local Cravings – Honolulu, HI

Yes, my cravings got the best of me and I went to Local Cravings again! Please click this to access my first blog post on their poke bowl. This time, I wanted to try their 2 choice bowl so I went with a lau lau and spicy ahi bowl. It was awesome. Here are some pictures!

140418-01Two Choice Bowl ($11.49) – I was wondering how they would fit both into one bowl. They pack the poke separately! Yes!

140418-02This is how I like my lau lau, peeled and ready to eat…I love luau leaves.

140418-03Quick shot of the lau lau inside, mmm…makes me want to pay them a visit again!

Recipe: Glass Noodles with Lup Cheong and Chives

Recipe sort of. Sorry guys! I did such a good job of taking pictures of the ingredients but totally forgot to take pictures of the finished product. To me that’s not a full recipe but I’ll have to make do and let you use your imagination.

140417-01Buttload of garlic…

140417-02Buttload of garlic chives

140417-03Sliced lup cheong ready to be cooked…

140417-04Won bok!

140417-05Bean Thread Vermicelli – rehydrated in hot water and drained

Glass Noodles with Lup Cheong and Chives

1 package of Bean Thread Vermicelli (here is the one I buy – click here), rehydrated according to package directions. After I rehydrate the noodles, I get a pair of kitchen scissors and roughly cut through the noodles. If you don’t do this, the noodles will be LONG
1 bulb of garlic, minced
1 bunch of garlic chives, sliced into 1 inch strips
3-4 lup cheong, sliced diagonally (prettier this way)
1 won bok, cut up bite sized

2 T of corn/canola/vegetable oil
4-5 T of oyster sauce
Hot Sauce to taste (optional of course and added when you eat!)

Heat up a wok/big skillet on high with the oil. Add the garlic and stir fry until fragrant. Add the lup cheong and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic chives and continue to stir fry until the garlic chives start to wilt (about 1 minute or 2). Add the wonbok and continue to stirfry for about 1 minute. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the won bok is tender but still firm (sorry if that’s confusing – it’s really to your liking). Add the bean thread noodles and stir to combine, keep it on the heat until everything is heated through. Serve and eat! This keeps pretty well for leftovers too. Enjoy!