Recipe: Miyeok Guk (Korean Seaweed and Beef Soup)

This is going to be a very undetailed recipe post, I’m so sorry. I will link a few other recipes for this…I actually learned this from a friend long time ago and was amazed at how easy it is. When I make it now, I just eyeball the ingredients honestly. I don’t know if I shared but I’ve been needing to up my iron intake and this is a good recipe to do that, all that wakame and beef…they feed this soup to new moms for a reason. Get those nurtients in!

After I saute the chunks of meat for a bit of color, add water, bring the to a boil and then lower heat to simmer for 2 hours!

After the 2 hours, turn off the heat and remove the meat to cool. Once meat is cool enough to handle, shred it up! The meat is all soft and tender now.

I add my rehydrated wakame into the pot. I just buy the already cut wakame packs from the store…rehydrate in water, drain and then threw it in this broth. Added the meat back in…added the seasoning which is mainly salt, pepper, and some sesame oil and you’re all set. Oh so good. I’m sure if you wanted to add some konnyaku noodles, you can!

Jenny’s Throw Together Miyeok Guk

1-2 lb. Beef Chunk (Chuck Roast or Brisket)
1 package of Cut Wakame (2.5 oz package)
3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed
10 C Water
1-2 T Sesame Oil
Salt and Pepper
Fish Sauce

In a big soup pot, I place oil (I used avocado oil) and slightly sear both sides of the beef chunk(s). Add water and garlic cloves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours. In a separate bowl, add enough water to cover cut wakame and let it rehydrate (2 hours is plenty of time to hydrate), drain and set aside.

Turn off heat and remove meat from stock. Once meat is cool enough to handle, shred into smaller pieces. Add wakame into stock and bring mixture back up to a boil, add meat back into pot and mix to incorporate and bring to final boil. Add sesame oil, salt and pepper to your taste. You can also adjust the salt if you want to add fish sauce or Korean soup soy sauce, just taste it as you season! Once perfect seasoning has been reached, turn off and enjoy!!

Serious Eats Miyeok Guk
My Korean Kitchen Recipe
Korean Bapsang Recipe

Mixed Plate Friday

Today’s post forreal going to be one mixed plate. From three different restaurants! Let’s gooooo!

Lamb Biryani (Spicy) | $16.95
traditional aromatic rice tossed with variety of herbs and spices, garnished with nuts

One day, for some odd reason, I got a hankering for Biryani. It’s weird because I have never even had biryani but I must have seen a picture of it online and really wanted to try it. I love me rice dishes and basmati rice is the best. I looked up Indian restaurants on Yelp and found Kamana Kitchen, they are located in Downtown so it’s not the easiest restaurant to dine in…no parking that I can think of. I was able to grab a pick-up buddy and wait curbside. Fair warning, there are a number of homeless around the area too. I’ve had a few occurrences when picking up (yes, I’ve had this dish more than once!).

I love this dish, they ask what spice level you want and I always say spicy. Well, it is SPICY. Do not go for spicy if you no can handle. Nice chunks of lamb in this dish though you can’t tell in the pictures. They give you raw onions, fresh lemon and side of some type of yogurt sauce (helpful for the mouth fire). I’ve also had their samosas and they were good too! Give them a try if you want some Indian food!

Iyasume Pac | $6.48
fried chicken, arabiki pork sausage, teriyaki sapam, egg tamago-yaki

Okay, when did Musubi Cafe Iyasume open up like 10 locations? Granted they are all located within 5 miles of each other, haha…but still good! I headed to the Keeaumoku location after a shopping errand. I hope that price is still correct, I thought it was a pretty good deal! Nice portion, not too much but not too little.

Konbu Maki | $3.05
Hot Dog | $1.80
Tuna Musubi | $2.60
Spam Musubi | $1.99
Chow Fun | $2.85
Side Order Nishime (not shown) | $3.35

Ho brah, now that I type up the prices…am I made of money? I took a trip out to Gulick Delicatessen cause I was hankering for some okazuya. Do you folks remember when they used to be on South King Street? It was so convenient to pick food up before work, I was so sad when they closed down. Their Kalihi location isn’t the easiest place to go, get a few stalls for parking but they are hard to secure. I went super early before work one morning and decided to die of carbo loading. I couldn’t help it. When you’re ordering at the counter, there’s no prices so you just go for it. I found the receipt in my wallet and decided to type it out for you folks. HO THE PRICES. That one konbu maki is 3 bucks! But hey, konbu maki is a pain to make I bet so I think you’re paying for the labor. $1.80 for one hot dog? Come on guys!

Nah nah, it’s okay, to me it was worth it. Their chow fun is really good and I enjoy the spam musubi. It’s not like 7-11 kine spam musubi but I like the plain white rice and unseasoned spam…the side nishime was for another meal. The side order nishime comes one of those poke clear containers (I think a 1 lb container). I like their nishime!

Ethel’s Grill – Honolulu, HI

Ethel’s Grill is one of the old school restaurants that you hope will never close down. We’ve had too many mom and pop shops close down so let’s try our best to keep Ethel’s going okay? They’ve adapted to the pandemic well, they only do take-out now but take phone orders and are very efficient! I’ve been able to go twice in the last few months and it’s always good and they never mess up our orders.

Another place with very very very little parking but there is street parking…somewhere. You’re in like the industrial area of Kalihi/Nimitz Highway, good luck to you.

Sweet & Sour Spare Rib | $12.95

Chili Crisp Fried Chicken “Ra-yu Chicken” | $13.95

I was super excited to get this dish. You know my obsession with fried garlic right? Well how can you go wrong with fried garlic and chili oil on top of chicken? I’m scared to even share this, I wasn’t a big fan of this dish. There was something lacking, I can quite put my finger on it. Upon review of the photo, perhaps I should have squeezed that lemon on top of the chicken…it may have lacked that citrus layer…something to cut through the chili oil and fried chicken. Shucks. But what is in their salad dressing? That dressing is like crack.

Ume Shiso Chicken (Ver. 2.0) | $13.95

Okay, this was a special they had one day and I have to say it is probably one of my favorite plate lunches of all time. Not pictured is a shiso sauce served on the side of this dish…it was SO good with this chicken. This whole plate was winners and I wish it wasn’t just a special because I would order it every time. They should make this a main menu item!

I didn’t get a picture of this but they are also known for their ahi tataki and that dish is winners too. We shared it as an appetizer and their sauce for the ahi tataki just MAKES the dish. Ethel’s should just bottle up all their sauces and sell them, especially the salad dressing, I’d get in line to buy that stuff!!!

Gyotaku Hawaii – Honolulu, HI

I’m going to tell you a little bit about my history and through this story you will know how old fut I am and if you remember this, you gonna be one old fut too (sorry that’s just how it works). Gyotaku Hawaii used to be Kyotaru Restaurant, do you folks remember? They had their Pearl City location and the South King Street location but for those in the know, they also had two bento shops in downtown Honolulu. I was one young kid looking for work and found a job at the bento shops as the “breaker,” I’d come in during the busy lunch hours to help give full-timers at both locations their lunch break. One bento shop was located in Bishop Square and the other bento shop was located in Pioneer Plaza.

Oh man, those were the days, I had a great time working there. Probably wasn’t supposed to but I definitely kept some leftover bentos at the end of the day to take home. I remember some menu items vividly, including their “Special Bento” which I compare to 7-11 “Big Bento,” it was a great deal…a big bento with a soda for $3.95!! At lunch rush, me and the other cashier memorized all the totals for the bentos and would just ring with our drawers open and give change from memory. I also fondly remember the HECO ladies who would come and get a large cup of ice for 25 cents (26 cents with tax). Anyway, when Kyotaru decided to close down their operations, our managers decided to buy the restaurants and named them Gyotaku and ultimately decided to close down the bento shops. I was young still yet so for me it wasn’t a huge deal, it allowed me to move onto another job since I was just doing part-time work then. I got to visit Gyotaku the other week for lunch and their restaurant is nicely renovated (South King Street anyway)! Thanks for reading through story time, let’s get to the food!

Shrimp Tenpura & Sashimi | $26.95
shrimp & vegetable tenpura served with ahi sashimi, rice, miso soup & salad

Assorted Poke Don & Tenpura | $24.95
assorted fresh poke served over rice served with tenpura

This is my absolute go to dish at Gyotaku. And you gotta get the assorted poke don, not the all ahi poke don. This is one of my favorite all time pokes ever, forreal. The assorted seafood bring different layers of flavors in the scrumptious sauce over good ole white rice. A fair warning, the sauce is very strong in sesame oil flavor so if you don’t like sesame oil, you won’t like this don. Their tenpura is always coated and fried light and crispy. So good. Kind of pricey for lunch but it’s worth it. Comes with the salad and miso soup too!

Side Salad (with their famous Wafu Dressing)

Miso Soup

Okinawan Sweet Potato Pie | $5.50

STOP. If you come here, you HAVE to get this dessert. I’m not even like big on desserts all the time. I usually go without ordering dessert but you would be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t order this. I would go as far as to say this is my favorite pie of all time. Is this made in-house? I don’t know, but if anyone has the hook-ups to the recipe, please let me know. I’d like to make it myself so I don’t have to pay $5.50 a slice but boy is it worth it.

Top layer is a light whipped cream, second layer is haupia, third layer is okinawan sweet potato and then the crust. Oh the crust, it’s gotta be like a sugared ginger graham cracker crust. I don’t usually like whipped cream but the whipped topping on this is so good, I don’t mind it at all. The haupia is the perfect texture and the okinawan sweet potato filling? Not at all dense…it’s just a perfect pie. Please try it and tell me I’m wrong.

Recipe: Shrimp Fried Cauliflower Rice

A lot of my recipes come out of trying to clean out my freezer or fridge. As you know, I’ve been on a bit of a health kick so cauliflower rice has become somewhat of a staple in my menu. Well I decided to experiment with it to make a fried rice and it came out really good! The people I shared it with really enjoyed it too so I decided to share the recipe with you folks. The instructions are a bit casual, let me know if you have any questions.

This has become my style, adding fried garlic to EVERYTHING.

Adding the previously sautéed shrimp back into the cauliflower and garlic mixture…

Adding the scrambled eggs back in. No mix ’em too hard, I like my eggs chunky.

Shrimp Fried Cauliflower Rice

4 small bags of frozen cauliflower rice (I got mine from Costco – the entire package contains 4 small bags of rice so I used the entire package)

2 T Butter
4 eggs, beaten

2 T avocado oil (whatever oil you prefer)
1 box of Kauai shrimp (the box from Costco), thawed, de-headed and peeled (I didn’t devein because who cares)
Salt and Pepper

2 T avocado oil (whatever oil you prefer)
1 1/2 heads of garlic, minced
White pepper (optional)

Instructions

EGGS
Heat up about 2 TBS of butter, add eggs. Cook to a soft scramble, should still be wet. Remove from pan and set aside.

SHRIMP
Heat up avocado oil in pan, add shrimp, sprinkle salt and pepper (about 2 cranks each). Flip after about 2-3 minutes, add salt and pepper again and cook. I didn’t cook the shrimp completely since you’re going to add it back to the rice later anyway. I think I cooked it maybe…6 minutes? Remove shrimp from pan and set aside. 

GARLIC
Heat up avocado oil in pan (I didn’t wash the pan after the shrimp) on medium low heat. Add garlic and cook, constantly stirring. It will take a while but the garlic will turn nice and brown without getting burned. Be patient.

FRIED RICE
Once garlic has reached golden brown status, add the frozen cauliflower. The frozen cauliflower is easy to break apart in the wok. Break down rice and mix it with the browned garlic. After about 3-4 minutes, add shrimp and eggs into the rice and mix together. I try to be careful because I like my eggs to remain in big chunks. I add a bit more salt and white pepper to taste at the end. It’s really up to you for seasoning, just season to taste.

Murphy’s Bar & Grill – Honolulu, HI

While I’m not a big drinker, I am down to go to a homey bar with good food as I have displayed in past posts. Murphy’s Bar & Grill has become one of those places for me, I also love walking through downtown past all the historical buildings to get here, one of my few favorite things. While they are an Irish pub, they do serve some local foods too! Check out their menu! On Fridays, they have special pies of the day.

Open Face Turkey Sandwich | $17.50
in-house roasted turkey on white or wheat bread topped with gravy, served with mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes, and fresh cranberry sauce

Irish Dip | $15.00
thin sliced sirloin on baguette with horseradish mayonnaise, served with Guinness au jus

My dish. Was okay, exactly what you would expect out of the description lol

Asian Chicken Salad | $17.50
chicken breast, won bok, tomatoes, cucumber, peanuts, snap peas, tossed with a sweet Oriental dressing

This is one of the only salads my friend will eat. What do I think? Well it tastes like Chinese Chicken salad, I don’t know what else to say. I’m not going to hype this up for $17.50 lol.

Fried Spicy Chicken Wings (Half) | $12.00
serve with ranch dressing

These wings are good, but nothing special. Good drinking food.

Grilled Pork Chop
marinated with chipotle, honey, garlic, ginger and mae ploy sauce, served with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables

Sorry, no price for this one. It was a weekly special so I can’t find it on the menu. I hope I got the description right, this dish was okay. Not great. Not satisfying.

Kalbi Special

No price again! Sorry, this is one of their specials. They do a good job with these kalbi ribs. Kalbi ribs in an Irish pub, who would have thunk it? They did. Tastes good!

Lemon Meringue Pie

I wasn’t a fan of this. Maybe it’s just me…I know meringue is made of raw egg whites but I didn’t realize how overwhelming the taste of the raw egg whites would be.

Banana Cream Pie

Apple Crisp Ala Mode | $7.00

Yum. I love me some apples and cinnamon with a nice crumble…and vanilla ice cream? This is the only time I don’t mind vanilla ice cream, when it’s mixed in with an apple pie-like dish!! Would recommend!

Restaurant Suntory – Honolulu, HI

I’ve always walked past Restaurant Suntory to walk to Cheesecake Factory (lol) but never tried the restaurant. I always saw the tenppanyaki side but don’t care much for that style of dining…didn’t realize they actually have a washoku side for dining too! Yay, let’s see how it went…

Okay, I honestly forgot what both drinks were. Hahaha, but the fruity one is mine and I ordered it virgin. Was good, I felt like one tourist kid. Good times.

Ebi Shinjo | $12.00
deep fried shrimp cake

Was good, nothing spectacular. I liked the fried shishito pepper on the side. I still prefer the shrimp cake from Katsumidori Sushi.

Sweet Potato Tempura | $7.00

I liked this dish. Well, I like sweet potato and tempura so what could go wrong. I would order this again!

Salmon Sashimi | $16.00

Surprisingly good! They have good quality salmon, would order again!

Wafu Steak Gozen | $34.00
5 oz. sirloin with sesame miso sauce (includes green salad, rice, and miso soup)

Sorry, I didn’t get the picture of the whole set. This wasn’t my dish but I was told this dish was WINNAHS. Great seasoning on the steak.

Unagi Kabayaki | $14.00
broiled eel basted with kabayaki sauce

What was I thinking this night? I decided to order small. I don’t know if you can tell by the picture but this unagi bowl was like small. Like keiki size small. Don’t get me wrong, it was good but…small.

Cold Ume Somen | $7.50
thin somen noodles in cold ume dashi soup

Here is the other half of my entree, I decided to try their cold ume somen. I don’t even like ume so what prompted me to try this? Well, I think I am warming up to ume so…I really wanted to try this. It was good! It was a huge ume to eat but…I guess I gotta transition over to ume lover somehow. Nice and refreshing.

Tempura Ice Cream | $5.00
deep fried vanilla ice cream topped with strawberry liquor sauce

I don’t know why but I expected tempura ice cream balls, you know? Like balls of ice cream individually battered and fried. The waitress kept asking if we wanted the strawberry liquor sauce on the side…I thought it was stemming from me asking for a virgin drink in the beginning. Well we said it was fine to just put it on top and now I kind of wish we didn’t. The sauce sits on the tempura and makes it all soggy…I think the sauce would be better to maybe dip into right before eating. The sauce was good! Wish the tempura ice cream didn’t get soggy.

So how was it? Pretty good all in all! They have a pretty big variety of menu items to choose from. I don’t know the whole restaurant layout but the washoku side of dining was pretty small. If you go here, I would highly recommend making a reservation. Give them a try!

Mixed Plate Friday

Happy Aloha Friday! If you’re like me, you may be laying about today because it is a holiday! Sometimes it pays to be a state worker yeah? Can’t complain when we get the holidays off. Time for a mixed plate post!

I took this picture of Waikiki a few months back, I believe it was in September? Pretty crazy shot right, broad daylight and not a soul around. Real pandemic shot. Well if you go out now, it’s like a pandemic is not around anymore. There are so many tourists and people out and about, let’s not go backwards people!

Random donut post. These are my favorite donuts right now and you can find these at 7-11, I hope they still have it! Sometimes they are sold out so I haven’t had them in quite a while…I like them because the dough is not too dense and the glaze is not too sweet or overpowering. I even prefer these over Krispy Kreme (which are nice and soft but too sweet).

Can you tell what I’m doing here? I bought little mini canvas boards…applied strips of painter’s tape to create an abstract pattern. Before I started with colors, I painted the entire thing with white paint (supposed to help with keeping clean lines). Then I randomly added a few coats of color.

Be patient enough to let it dry a few hours and get the satisfaction of peeling off the painter’s tape. I had a few touch-up areas for white paint but overall, I am pleased with how it came out! I have this proudly displayed in my office which one no one sees because I am all alone there, lol. Yes, I have a mini easel (duh).

Recipe: Lu Rou Fan (Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice)

I haven’t tried this dish in a restaurant so I don’t have a great standard to compare my dish to. What I can tell you is…mine looks super dark and maybe I made it wrong a little bit…but it still tasted good! How can you go wrong with pork belly?

Pan fry the pork belly until there is no visible pink. The original recipe calls for pork belly with the skin on…mine didn’t have the skin, still works fine. Look at all that pork belly fat…

Dark soy sauce, regular soy sauce, five spice powder, water, sugar and chinese cooking wine…simmer away my love…

The recipe calls for a cup of fried shallots which you can find in the Asian grocery (I know Don Quijote has it). I didn’t have it so I just sliced up a half red onion (that’s all I had) and coated it in cornstarch and pan fried them until it got crispy. I simmered the pork for 30 minutes and then added the fried onions.

So I’m thinking I know where I went “wrong,” I simmered this dish for 1.5 hours uncovered. I’m thinking it should have been covered cause mine got reduced too much. It was a lot of liquid and if I kept the lid on, then it would have been choke liquid! I think if I make this dish again, I would simmer it for one hour covered and then uncovered for the last 30 minutes.

I love adding eggs to braised dishes but I can’t stand overcooked eggs with gray rings. So for this, I hardboiled these eggs for only 4 minutes so the whites could set…peeled them and added these eggs 30 minutes before the dish was complete. Was perfect! The yolk was just set at this point…

No gray ring!

Lu Rou Fan (Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice Bowl)

Ingredients:
2 lb of Pork Belly
1 cup of Fried Shallots OR Half a red onion sliced, coated in cornstarch and pan fried until crispy
¼ cup of Soy Sauce
¼ cup of Dark Soy Sauce
1.5 T of Five Spice Powder (Original recipe calls for 1.5 T, I will use only 1 T next time)
2.5 T of Sugar
½ cup of Chinese Cooking Wine (Shao Xing Cooking Wine)
3 cups of Water (I used 2.5 C but will use 3 C next time)
8 eggs, soft boiled

Directions:
Place eggs into pot of water and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, turn stove off and leave eggs covered on the heat for 4 minutes. Drain immediately and place eggs in an ice bath to stop cooking process. Once cooled, peel the eggs. I don’t like the eggs to overcook (no to gray rings!) so I undercook it here since it will continue to cook in the pork mixture afterwards. This method left me with eggs with just set egg yolks.

Slice pork belly into bite sized pieces. Place pork belly into a skillet pan and saute until no longer pink.

Add in soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, five-spice powder, sugar, and mix. 

Pour in 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.

Lower heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Add fried shallots (or fried onion slices) and mix. Simmer uncovered for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add peeled eggs to pan to coat in sauce, simmer uncovered for final 30 minutes (1.5 hr total simmering time) – stir occasionally.

The sauce of and pork will reduce down considerably to a dark treacle molasses like sauce (mine did). Serve over some fresh hot white rice with sprigs of cilantro and slices of cucumber. 

Inspired by:
https://tiffycooks.com/authentic-taiwanese-braised-pork-rice-instant-pot-easy/
https://thewoksoflife.com/lu-rou-fan-taiwanese-braised-pork-rice-bowl/ 

Matsuri – Honolulu, HI

Always on the hunt for a killer Japanese restaurant. We can’t help it, we enjoy what we enjoy. I’m surprised we haven’t tried Matsuri yet, small Japanese restaurant located in a very non-descript building on Young Street. I like that you can make your reservation on OpenTable! It’s a cute modern restaurant and the customer service is attentive and friendly. How was the food? Let’s take a look!

Oboro Tofu (Home-made) | $6.00
Add Ikura | $3.00

Oh yum, if I ever see homemade tofu on a menu…gotta try! The sauce on the size is not like a ponzu…it’s actually a thickened (almost jelly like) sauce…my only caution, no pour the whole thing onto the tofu. Was kind of salty and we added the ikura so that’s another layer of salt. I enjoyed the dish but I think the over saucing ruined it for me. Sigh…

Hamachi Sashimi | $24.00
Salmon Sashimi | $20.00

I’m not trying to brag but you folks know now that we usually try Otoro in restaurants to see how it is. Well, we found a restaurant that is too rich for our blood. It costs $13 for ONE PIECE OF OTORO. No can brah. So we stuck with hamachi and salmon. Can I just say…this hamachi was amazing. I honestly felt like I was eating otoro already, who needs to pay otoro prices when you get quality fish like this. Highly recommended!

Tamago Nigiri | $5.00

Always trying the tamago in restaurants. This one is more sweet than savory FYI.

Kotobuki Dynamite Roll | $18.00
crunchy roll inside, seared ahi, ika with dynamite sauce on top

This is one of the most highlighted rolls on their Yelp reviews so I had to give it a try. I’m not usually big on rolls but I have to admit, this was really good! I would order this again!

Ribeye Steak (10 oz.) | $28.00

Oh my gosh, hands down one of the best steaks on a sizzling plate I got from a Japanese restaurant ever. Seasoning was on point, the meat was beautifully tender and the chunks were sliced HUGE. It was sooo good. So good that we need one more picture…

Look. At. That. That’s just one slice of the steak…I’m salivating just thinking about this. Wish I had one nice bowl of white rice to eat with this. Great first experience, would love to go back to check more items out!