Sunday, March 16, 2008

Indonesian Fruits 101

Manggis (mangosteen)
I'm sure a lot of you are already familiar with this recently-famous fruit that's supposed to be so high in antioxidants and are sold in the LA area for $10.99/pound or so ...
I ate tons of these while in Indonesia. What's left in this basket are only half of the original batch. And oh yes manggis have become expensive lately in Indonesia ... they're like about $3.5/kg now (about $1.80/pound). So feel free to eat 10 times more mangosteens than you would in LA. Not to mention they taste a looot better in this part of the world.

I really don't know what this is called in English. Probably the same? "Rambut" means "hair" in Indonesian, I'm sure you can see why this fruit is called that. When it's just right, the inside is oh so juicy and sweet (the juice may very well drip on your fingers as you're eating). Be careful biting it, as the outer part of the seed sometimes get stuck to the meat, and it isn't that pleasant to eat.

Again, don't know the english name, but the Latin is Annona squamosa. This fruit has lots and lots of seeds. Each white segment has its own seed. You can tell about how many will be in it from the bums on the skin outside. My cousin is too lazy to eat this because you have to continuously spit out the seeds. Fleshy and fibrous consistency. When it's ripe, the whole fruit is very tender. You can open the fruit by just gently pulling it apart.

Duku (langsat, lonsones, longkong)
This fruit has a tougher outer layer, although the flesh is actually tender and sweet (although can be sour when not ripe), easy to bite. Luckily unlike srikaya it won't splatter if you drop it on the ground. Again, each segment has a seed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In Search of Good Jajangmyeon

After a series of late-night K-drama marathons last year - which, for my own academic career, probably shouldn't happen too often - I started having intermittent cravings for jajangmyun, a.k.a. black bean noodles. Not to be confused with the chinese black bean noodles or cha jiang mien. The korean one originated from the chinese black bean noodles, but is now quite different.

I went to place that had really good jajangmyun before but I had forgotten the name and haven't been able to find it again! :( All I know is that the place was K-style chinese food, open 24 hours, in a strip mall where they also have a hopping nightclub of sorts ... Anyone has any idea?

So in an attempt to find another good place, I went to try Mandarin House, which had pretty good jajangmyun reviews. They had the regular jajangmyun, with no meat, and they also had a meat sauce jajangmyun. I wanted some meat, so that's what I ordered. My friend who was there does not like to eat meat (except for kalbi, which she would eat a lot of :> ) ordered the regular.

Here's the meat jajangmyun:
It seemed to me that the regular one that my friend got had more sauce and the sauce was thicker and blacker ... in other words, it looked better to me. Still, my jajangmyun was really pretty good, although I did want more sauce on it! Since the sauce is so good!

So while the jajangmyun here is pretty good, it's still not perfect in my opinion. I'm still looking for one with great sauce and lots of it, and with substantial amount of meat, too! If anyone has any recommendation, please do let me know!

Mandarin House
3074 W 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 386-8976

Mandarin House on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Yay! Another Cooking movie!

While I was on the plane coming back from Indonesia I was lucky to find another cooking movie! This time it's a Korean movie based on a comic book called "Le Grand Chef", directed by Jeon Yoon-soo.

The story goes, there's a knife that used to belong to the last royal chef of korea. The royal chef cut off his hand with this knife so that he would not have to cook for the Japanese that had taken over. Now, the Japanese wants to return this knife to the Koreans and they are holding a cooking contest to determine the next owner of this knife.

Our main character is Sung-Chan (Kim Kang-Woo), who used to work at Woonam-Jung which is owned by the descendants (descendant of the apprentice, more like it) of the royal chef. Due to some reason which I won't tell you, he was kicked out ...

I don't want to give too much away, but it was a good and entertaining movie, so you guys go watch it!

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