HG Heaven: Asian Food and a Movie

October 22nd, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Busy (and pleasant) day for the usually leisurely HG. Joined by BSK, HG finalized the purchase of a 2014 Toyota RAV at a Santa Fe dealership. Much tedious negotiation concerning warranties, etc. Considering that El Nino is predicted to impact New Mexico (California will bear the brunt) it seemed advisable that HG have a sturdy four-wheel-drive vehicle. Lunch was at Saigon Cafe where HG/BSK dined happily on steamed pork buns (surprisingly good) and Pho. Instead of beef (at HG’s request) the steaming bowls had plentiful slices of tasty tofu. With a ton of bean sprouts and mint (plus a splash of sriracha) this was good eating. Back home for a long stroll with Toby, The Wonder Dog. Then an hour of swimming. HG/BSK determined they hadn’t been to a cinema in a year. Heard good reports about “The Martian”. So off to the Dreamcatcher 10-Plex in Espanola. Eccentic theater. No signs indicating the parking lot. Eventually found it. (Off an obscure unmarked, unlit road). When things are strange in Northern New Mexico, locals shake their heads and say: “Es Norte.” Yes, things can be idiosyncratic here in Norte New Mexico. Early movie so HG had a quick dinner of Korean ramen mixed with lots of kimchi. (HG throws away the flavor packets in the ramen since they contain a megadose of sodium. The healthy kimchi adds the necessary, heat, flavor and crunch). As for the movie. HG/BSK saw it in 3-D The process has come a long way since the Bwana Devil days). Exciting, suspenseful, visually exhilarating. Don’t miss it. Another big win for director Ridley Scott.


Japanalian and Korealian

November 1st, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Recently, HG did a post entitled: HEALTHY (ALMOST) RAMEN. To accompany the post, HG’s adroit editor and collaborator, SJ, sourced a video on ramen that featured David Chang, the renowned chef and founder of the Momofuku restaurants, making the wonderful Italian pasta dish, cacio e pepe, with instant ramen. HG followed Chang’s technique with some Korean instant ramen. As Chang noted, an Italian might be horrified by the dish. HG ate it with delight and gusto. So, what should this riff on Italian food be called? Japanalian? Korealian? So, go to the HG archive and log into the post. Give Chang’s dish a try and have a happy surprise.


Healthy (Almost) Instant Ramen

September 20th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

For a few years, one of HG’s favorite lunchtime treats has been a big, steaming bowl of instant ramen–specifically hot and spicy Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup, created and manufactured in Korea and consumed throughout the world. Low in calories. No cholesterol. Healthy stuff, thought HG, until Gifted Daughter Lesley R. pointed out that a package contains 1040 mg of sodium. That’s a super abundance of salt. Not helpful for high blood pressure. Instant ramen has been under attack from American nutrition scientists (causing consternation in Seoul). With all of this in mind, HG has not given up on Shin Ramyun but has made (HG believes) beneficial modifications. Each package of Shin Ramyun contains a little package of dried vegetables and a package of soup flavoring. These are the villains, HG surmised. The noodles themselves are just a modest source of carbohydrates. So, HG tossed those packages (but adding a 1/2 teaspoon of the soup flavoring for color). HG provided taste by putting some tablespoons of healthy kimchi (sourced at Whole Foods) in the ppt with the water and noodles. Turned out great. HG has been experimenting. Tofu and a smidgen of soy sauce to the noodles. A beaten egg swirled in the soup and a dash of Frank’s Louisiana Thick Hot Sauce or Sriracha. In the future is noodle soup with a poached egg and bacon (low sodium chicken broth instead of water). Also the soup with watercress and snippets of ham. David Chang, the eminent chef and founder of the Momofuku restaurants, demonstrated that ramen translated perfectly into a Roman style cacio e pepe; then again, Chang likes to munch on the uncooked noodles as a snack. HG will take a pass on that one.


July 30th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Last night HG reveled in an annual indulgent pleasure: Watching Tampopo, the 1985 Japanese movie directed by the late Juzo Itami. Tampopo is a self described “ramen western,” a deeply self-conscious and Japanese spoof of the “spaghetti western” genre. But, it is much more than a Blazing Saddles, much more than a big bowl of noodle soup. It is a sly, but hilarious, commentary on food, sex, cinema, Japanese corporate structure, culinary pretension…and more. Like a great dish, the film has many layers of flavor. The hero, Goro (Totumo Yamazaki), pays homage to Shane (he wears a cowboy hat and like that solitary, legendary figure, he rides off alone–in his truck rather than on a horse). The heroine, Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamato), is lovable, lovely, innocent and funny. Brilliant. There’s a film within the film starring a gangster in a white suit, his beautiful girl friend and plenty of food, sex, violence. This satire of western romance and gangster movies concludes with a startling last-moments-before-dying elegy (given by the gangster) concerning a wild boar and sweet potato sausage. HG’s favorite section of Tampopo (which HG shares with SJ), is where The Ramen Professor (Ryutoro Otomo) instructs a neophyte in the proper, classic way of eating ramen. Deadpan hilarity (which also make you very hungry for a steaming bowl of ramen). Since the basis of the film is food and nourishment it ends with a beautiful image of loving nourishment: A mother suckling her child.



April 9th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Not everyone loves kimchi, the Korean fermented cabbage that is a staple of Korea’s cuisine. Some find the fragrance and the tingly taste a bit too challenging. Not HG, a dedicated lover of kimchi. Trader Joe’s sells a 10.6 ounce bag of Korean kimchi for $1.99, a true bargain. HG always has a few bags in the fridge. For a favorite lunch, HG adds kimchi to a steaming bowl of Korean Shim Ramyun (spicy and hot) or Jin Ramen (mild), both Korean instant ramens. HG sometimes follows the lead of Roy Choi, Food Truck entrepreneur, restauranteur, chef and author of L.A. Son, and adds some slices of of supermarket American cheese to the ramen. Choi grew up in a rough and tumble neighborhood of Los Angeles. That’s the way his Mom served him ramen. Try it. Surprisingly and oddly tasty.


HG’s Eccentric Taste Treats

November 26th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

HG’s go-to lunch (when HG isn’t eating sumptuously at El Parasol, Sopaipilla Factory, Tune Up Cafe, Shokho Cafe, Shibumi Ramenya, The Talin Market or any of the other good noshing places in the Santa Fe area) is a big bowl of Spicy Flavor Saymyang Ramen, a hearty Korean, instant-noodle soup. HG orders it by the carton from H-Mart, the Korean online grocer. Some weeks ago, HG learned that Korean immigrants in Los Angeles often served their hungry kids packaged ramen topped with slices of American cheese. Sounds strange but HG gave it a try with some aged cheddar and gouda. Really good. (Purists like SJ and Exquisite Maiko might turn up their noses but HG finds the cheesy addition yummy). HG also likes another bit of culinary eccentricity. The oldster often accompanies the remains of dinner red wine with peanut butter and peach (or mirabelle) jam on a few crisp Keebler’s Club Crackers. Oenophiles would be shocked.

Samyang Spicy Ramen

Robust Ramen

May 1st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Finally tried the ramen bar at the newly opened Talin in Santa Fe. Talin is an international food market (it has been operating in Albuquerque for a number of years). You customize your ramen at the bar. Choice of a number of broths and noodles (traditional, wheat, rice, etc.). Choose additions (pork, egg, fish cakes, scallions, etc.). HG had a vast bowl or pork bone broth with traditional noodles, a semi poached egg, generous slices of pork. Side dish of good, spicy kimchi. A very comforting meal. SJ, a fastidious critic, analyst and consumer of ramen, would probably sneer. (SJ’s Note: Hmmmm…I bite my tongue!)

Two Good Things

January 6th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

HG does not relish crackers. The Triscuits and Cheez-Its of the world leave him cold. The exception: Carr’s Whole Wheat Crackers. Why not? The British bakers of this estimable cracker proudly adorn their cracker box with
the official stamp “By Appointment to H.M. The Queen.” A resolute Anglophile, HG says: Good enough for royalty, good enough for HG. Love the cracker with some ripe camembert or peanut butter and jelly or a smear of cream cheese. Goes nicely with red wine.

Another good thing is Ohsung Kimchi Flavor Bowl Noodle Soup with Soy Peptide — What a name! This Korean inferno is packaged like an ordinary ramen (pour boiling water into container, etc.). But, there’s a big difference. This is a fiery hot soup not recommended for timid palates. Be warned: It will put you into a sweat on a below zero day. When HG calls it an inferno in a box HG isn’t overstating. But beyond the heat, this is a delicious and hearty soup and a great and quick pick me up on a frigid day.

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