THE RICE AND SAUCE QUICKLY COOKED INTO SOMETHING LIKE A DOPPELGANGER OF RISOTTO, BOUND BY THE STRINGENT GOOEYNESS OF MELTED CHEESE,
OF WHICH HE THEN GOBBLED DOWN BY EACH OVERSIZED WOODEN-SPOONFUL
I hardly think that it’s unreasonable, sometimes even understandable, for people to bundle their perceptions for different cultures around a region, as a whole. As one of the Asians, Taiwanese to be exact, I am certainly far more accustomed to many of the familiarly bizarre lifestyles or values from our neighboring cultures, than say someone who are born and raised in the Midwest of America. Regardless of agreements, I can generally find an answer for much of the “Asian weirdness” that are otherwise lost in translation, even just by association. But a few days ago, prompted by a segment from Tony’s Parts Unknown, I sank into a recent uprise of Korean phenomenon so baffling, that the regional cultural gap… has never felt so wide.
Did you know… that there are a swarming number of YouTube channels with millions of views and followers… broadcasting hours after hours of young, slim Koreans doing nothing but sitting in front of their HD webcam-equipped computer, and just… eating themselves to a pulp?!! Just eating! Just nothing else, absolutely nothing else, but them eating… and eating.. and eating what appears to be an obscene and non-human amount of foods that defies the very laws of physics! Perhaps I should point out that the nature of these shows are not competitive, as the broadcaster, almost always, are the sole living subjects in front of the cameras inside his/her own bedrooms (except maybe this living sea-creature wiggling before its imminent death). What seems to be just a random somebody filming him/herself leisurely ingesting takeouts after school or work, sometimes for hours, will only slowly begin to stun your consciousness when you realize… how freaking much foods have already gone inside their average-sized human torsos. Then the shows end almost as bizarrely as they begin, when the broadcasters, however long it takes, finally decide that he/she is sufficiently fed, then goes offline… The purposes of these shows, if there was one, don’t make any fucking sense! It could even be argued as being hazardous to social health, but, oh God knows I tried, I just couldn’t stop watching! On top of the fact that I couldn’t understand a single Korean-word buzzing through my ears like white noise, I still couldn’t stop watching for the same human-condition that disables us to walk away from a car-crash!
Well, today’s recipe, is a ruinous aftermath from such a show. This dude… this fit-by-any-definition Korean dude, after ingesting what was a legitimate tub of spicy Korean stew, he then mashed 3 more Japanese rice balls into the leftover sauce, and further blanketed it with more shredded cheese that he grabbed from an enormous bag that seemed to be kept by his desk as importantly as back-up staplers. The rice and the sauce quickly cooked into something like a doppelganger of risotto, bound by the stringent gooeyness of melted cheese, of which he then gobbled down by each oversized wooden-spoonful. I think it rendered me mindless. In retrospect, I believe the only sound hovering above the paralyzing astonishment was the voice of my own murmurs… That shit looks good. I’d totally eat that shit. So here, aside from a tip-of-the-hat, if I didn’t channel this episode into another post of (as coincidentally fitting and attributing as it is) The Shit I Eat When By Myself, what kind of a recipe-sharer would I be?
Servings: 1/10 serving for its inspirer, but 1 serving for a normal humanoid
When I made this the first time and took these photos, I forgot to add the nori/Japanese seaweed. So don’t scratch your head wondering where they are, and just be assured that the recipe is better with than without.
IF YOU’RE HOPING FOR A SLIMMED DOWN, DECENT AND POLITE CLAM CHOWDER TODAY, YOU ARE NOT GONNA FIND IT
We all have a food that we genuinely love so much, and at every long-awaited occasions when we put a bite in our mouth, we wonder to ourselves, why don’t we make that more often? Yes, well, that to me is grilled peanut butter sandwich. This… this, my friends, is not that. This is clam chowder, and it’s something else entirely.
I know exactly why I don’t make clam chowders more often. I know exactly the moment in time, the passage being said, the scarred memory in my head which still hurts, that all together forged a mental blockade in between me, myself, and my beloved clam chowders, for all these years. It was a particular spring day in New York, when I was just about to order my favourite “soup” from a popular bakery with a friend of mine:
“Do you wanna know why their clam chowder is so good?”
“The other day, I saw them making it where they dunked an enormous brick of butter into the pot at the very end.”
“Like big. Big. Like drinking butter.”
Head down, belly tucked, I walked away from that bakery without my clam chowder that day. In fact, if you can believe it, I sort of didn’t get my clam chowder for many years that followed… Like I said, it still hurts. But before you judge me, please keep in mind that this was in my 20’s when bikini-season was still very much a possibility, when dating was still a verb, not a noun. And most importantly, this was before I started this blog…
YES, I WANT TO CALL IT MOJO. NOT SAUCE. MOJO.
Ooops, am I too late? Have you already laid out your master game-plan for this sunday, unregrettably I hope, from this really awesome list I put together? And now you could really kick yourself (or just kick me…)?
Well, that’s the thing about braving a crazy idea. It needs to overcome a bit of hesitation-lag. A crazily messy ideas like this that leads to moments of me staring at the final photographs, and doesn’t know what the hell I’m looking at. An idea that I hallucinated about on Tuesday, doubted on Wednesday, gave up on Thursday, then on Friday… I thought, fuck it. Life is too short – especially when it involves pork – not to make me a deep fried pork dumpling nachos, with kimchi salsa and gochujang and sour cream nacho-mojo (yes, I want to call it mojo, not sauce, mojo). So here we are. Kicking ourselves.
I know we are short on time, so I’ll spare the pornographic description that I usually paint you, and jump straight to the points. Crispy blistered doughs with salty fish-saucy pork fillings. Spicy, garlicky and crunchy kimchi salsa over a blanket of melted cheese. Then in a finale-squirt of spicy, tangy and creamy gochujang nacho-mojo. Here listen, I don’t call stuff mojo for nothin’ al’right?
So we still got a couple days. Let’s get to it.
the refreshment of slippery noodles in an icy tangy broth… gliding down with sizzling pork fat on a stick.
BEST ARGUMENT A SUMMER CAN HAVE.
SEEMINGLY, if you think that I have lost my mind and regards to the diversity of this blog somewhere in the frozen land of popsicles, gelato and gelato plus slushy cocktails, here’s a proof that… you’re absolutely correct. These days, I feel as much desire to be in close proximity to open flames as there is to a screaming baby on an airplane. Even with evident love for a bowl of hot and slurpable fire, these days I want my dinner to feel as close to a cold shivering shower as it can get, and believe it or not, it can.
Allow me to present evidence from our last two years in New York where we had the pleasure of visiting Fort Lee a few times, aka the better Korean Town just across the Hudson from Upper Manhattan. Before such trips, I thought I could be happily-ever-after with Manhattan’s functioning K-town with its satisfactory BBQ following an affordable eyelash-extension. But Fort Lee had ruined such ludicrous fantasy with delicious aggression. The variety of dishes served there isn’t too different, but with just an extra pinch of much-ness that kicks them from good, to great. And among which, the glorious mul Naengmyeon was unlike any I’ve ever had.
It means “cold noodle”, but boy is that an understatement.
Apart from dishes with the same claims, mul naengmyeon has kicked the word “cold” to a new level. Instead of mixing noodles that are cooled after cooking with various sauces, it plunges them into an icy bath of broth made from beef and pickling juice that is chilled to a borderline frozen state. As I swam my chopsticks through the frosty lake of flavours, I could hear the sound of slushes colliding in a refreshing symphony. The buckwheat noodles were cold, chewy and slippery, gliding effortlessly into my properly chilled tummy with the savoury and tangy broth, topped with more pickles and thinly sliced pear and cucumber.
It is not a summer dish. It is the summer dish.
I thought I was going to forfeit the ticket to this year’s Thanksgiving recipe frenzy. I thought, for some strange reason, that this year’s Thanksgiving is sitting (impossibly…) on November 18th, and that by the time around November 12th when I start to entertain the idea of a Thanksgiving recipe, that it would already be too late… After all, I heard this is a holiday meal that people plan ahead for. I heard that even before the first leaf turned brown, the happy Californian designer-turkeys still obliviously eating their organic feeds, have no idea that someone in New York has already claimed the right to carve them apart and break their wishbones in two months-time. Better not tell them is what I think.
So the point is, a few days ago I suddenly realized I do have time this year, that it wasn’t too late. I could still do this! I could still… well, here’s where I ran into another problem.Continue Reading
The wee-light of early morning started seeping in through the curtain, adding to my sense of unease particular to someone who knew she had done wrong and was most certainly about to get caught. Jason’s morning-siren promptly started barking at 6:30 (no, really, the alarm is a dog barking…) and was ignored for 5 minutes as usual until eventually, he turned over and witnessed my crime scene. Like the most gasping moment in a horror movie, an unsightly picture of an irresponsible grown-up, holding her i-pad with an earphone giggling like an idiot, secretly pulling a marathon on… a new-found television series. ALL NIGHT and 18 episodes in, not even of something socially excusable like Game of Thrones, or House of Cards to demonstrate depth, but a retarded high-school version of True Blood with a name too embarrassing to even pronounce… Va…Vampire Diaries! God! Just hang me by the neck!Continue Reading