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Japanese Pasta Recipe with a Twist

A few days ago, I encountered this Japanese Chef in YouTube who infuses the traditional with the modern Japanese recipes. Her name is Rika Yukimasa. Though the recipes are very enticing, the ingredients would be very difficult as most of it are not available here in the Philippines. If ever there are, it’s very costly.

I did come across a particular recipe which I not only find it fascinating but also tried it myself and the results were amazing. It’s one of those moments where you want to have a quick meal from typical ingredients but with Japanese flavors. I did a bit to tweaking on the ingredients and also did some trial and errors but finally I came up with my own version of this dish.

And now I’d like to share it with you and hope you will not only try it but like it as well.

There are 2 components of this recipe; the sauce and the pasta dish.

For the Sauce:

1-½ cup water
¼ cup Kikkoman Soy Sauce
2 tsp. brown sugar

Put everything together in a pot. Heat the pot and then ocassionally stir the liquid. Just before boiling, remove from heat and set aside. Once cool down, pour in a liquid container for future use.

For the Pasta:

1 tsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. butter, salted
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
¼ cup of the sauce
1 egg, medium
1 serving of pasta

Cook pasta the usual way. Do not add oil in the boiling water but add salt. After cooking the pasta, strain it and rinse it with cool water. Set aside.

  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Add sliced galic and fry.
  • Just before the garlic turns color, add the butter.
  • Once they are incorporated, add the sauce. Let it boil and stir for a minute.
  • Add the cooked pasta and mix well.
  • Once stream appears, add the egg and stir thoroughly.
  • Remove from heat but continue to stir.
  • Serve it on a plate ot pasta bowl.
  • Garnish is optional. You either can use thinly slices of long onion or seaweed paper. Place it on top of the pasta before serving.

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TIPS:

  • Do not shortcut by placing the hot pasta into the pan without rinsing. When the egg is added, it gets cooked with the hot pasta by coating it rather than mixing with the sauce before gradually cook with the pasta.
  • The overall taste is a delicate balance of a subtle salty-sweet flavor. If you want to add salt and pepper to taste, you may have this option.
  • Adding wasabi in this recipe is an option. It is best to add this together when adding the fresh egg to the pasta before mixing. The quantity depends on your preference.
  • The excess of the sauce that is not used in this recipe can also be used as dipping sauce for cold soba.

Let me know what you think or if you’ve tried it. I would like to you know your experience. Send me an email at libratedmind@gmail.com.

Happy cooking!!!

EDSA Shangri-La Manila: HEAT

picture courtesy of shangri-la.com

If there is a place that my family loves to go to for a heartfelt meal, it would be EDSA Shangri-la Manila‘s HEAT, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City. With my family, food is always the thing that bonds us whether on a Sunday lunch at home or dining out. If I’m not mistaken it has been my fourth time to have dinner with my family there so we do have a pretty good idea on what they are offering.

The food selection is endless and you’ll sure to find something that you will enjoy. There were occasion that we would request something from the attendant, which is not part of the buffet, and they were able to do something about it. Now that is very good customer service. The reason why we do that is because my family have some favorites that were not part of the buffet since it’s expected that the food offerings changes from time to time plus we feel comfortable doing this since we’re secluded in one of the function rooms of the restaurant (so we can afford to be thick-faced with our requests). The service is extra-ordinary and commendable, a true quality service.

 

picture courtesy of shangri-la.com

The food choices are exquisite and one of the things I like is that the area is sectioned according to cuisines so appetizers and soups are placed based on cuisine so it compliments the sections. The buffet set-up is spacious so you can roam around and explore. What I tend to do is to first go around and check first what are the offerings then afterwards select them. As far as cuisines are concerned, they have Italian, Japanese, Filipino, Mediterranean, Chinese, Spanish, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, and others. So you can just imagine the overwhelming choices whatever your heart and tummy desires. About the desserts, it’s obvious that they will never run our of choices so if you have a sweet tooth, enjoy the bliss.

The price may be considered one of the highest compared to the other hotel buffets but here you will see and experience the value for money. I so highly recommend this for those who want to splurge and have a great experience with someone or group of people. Do note though that if you are going there as a group and wants to stay in one of the function rooms, it’s advisable to make a reservations to secure the area.

The Bellevue Manila: Cafe d’Asie

picture courtesy of travelaffiliatepro.com

This would be my 3rd time to visit Cafe d’Asie of The Bellevue Manila in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. The cafe looks stylish for a hotel and very updated, classic french art neuvo. Spacious and comfortable seating whether you are alone dining or with friends or family. The food attendants are friendly and attentive.

The distance and location is a very far from where I live but there is a reason why me and partner frequent the place. The Alabang area is a bit confusing for me despite it’s our second time there. What we base our direction is the site of the hotel, regardless of street names.

picture courtesy of 1.bp.blogspot.com

As far as the food offerings are concerned, it’s very limited so if you are looking for more variety it might leave you a little disappointed. Though the food is nicely placed, some entrees are too simple considering there are very few selections. Also one thing I noticed is that despite the presence of chefs within the area, no one seems to monitor the replenishment of the entrees. We had to call their attention before something is done.

The appetizers and salads are sufficient with the choices. Though I have to comment that the cold cuts are a bit dry. The buffet doesn’t have offerings of sushis – only sashimis and there’s only two choices. They only have one choice of soup. The main courses is limited and as mentioned earlier too simple. I liked the sections of the noodle soup, dim sum, kebab, and grilled seafood. The tempura section lacks taste and the pizza section is not appetizing. They do have a wider range of desserts.

The buffet offers complimentary coffee or tea and I must say that they have good coffee there. One good thing about the buffet experience here is that you leave not as stuffed as expected from other hotel buffets – and that is a good thing coming from someone who is trying to watch his weight and health.

The experience itself is satisfactory. Despite the distance, it’s like going out of town (with the travel time and traffic) so it’s a good short escape from the my place of residence or where I frequent  during weekends. I do recommend this place but in the parameters of simple buffet set-up, good ambiance, good service, and a distance away from your usual hangout area.

Kopi Tiam

picture courtesy of calvinshub.com

I first came across this restaurant since I move within the area. Kopi Tiam is one of four branches of North Park Noodle House (NP). The others are Next Door Noodle House (ND) and Tiananmen Bar (TB). Just to differentiate these branches, ND is a lower version of NP. TB is more of a chillout place with alcoholic bevrerages. Kopi Tiam, admittedly, is a bit confusing because it’s a mix-match of a lot of cuisines from Korean to Singaporean, even Japanese and American (burgers). So for me, if you want to go to a place that serves more than just Chinese cuisine, then you’re at the right place. They even offer coffee so it’s really a diverse place.

I’ve frequent the place, luckily because it’s relatively close to my residence, whether dine-in, take-out or delivery. I must admit that among the other branches, I do love the interior and aesthetics of Kopi Tiam. It’s modern and simple. It’s a place you can really chill out and relax, whether alone with company of friends or family. The food is just ok for me – nothing great and no WOW factor but still it’s good. My favorites, which I call my comfort food, are the Shredded Pork with Century Egg, Crabmeat Sweetcorn Soup, Yang Chow Fried Rice, King Dao Spareribs in Red Sauce, Korean Beef Stew and Sizzling Stuffled Talong in Tausi. Do note though that their California Maki is a bit overrated and pricey.

The first time I ordered through delivery, I was surprised to hear that the minimum order is worth Php300.00. “Are you fu@%ing kidding me?” Considering that I am very close to their restaurant, sometimes those minimum order amount should be reasonable and realistic. I had to question the amount and then after them asking for my delivery address, they changed the amount to just Php200.00 which is just right and acceptable. If they do plan to offer different rates based on the distance, then they should probe first before declaring those amounts. It comes out as a bad shock and I believe it’s more of enhancing their customer service skills.

I remember just recently when I was down with a flu and lost my appetite and thought of ordering soup from them. I ordered the Crabmeat Sweetcorn Soup and it made me feel better despite that I couldn’t taste it at first but it became one of my favorites.

I highly recommend for you to try Kopi Tiam. It’s a good place to go to and it takes you out from the NP and ND concept. If you are looking forward to order the same food from NP or ND then you might be disappointed. Only few of the famous entrées are being served there. I do suggest that when you visit them for the first time, have an open mind on the food and who knows you might like them just as much as the known foods from the NP or ND.

Sakae Sushi

picture courtesy of picsdigger.com

This has got to me one of my favorite Japanese Restaurants, especially that I’m a sushi freak. I love all sorts of sushis. There’s nothing like a balance of the rice and the seafood that goes together. I recall the very first time I tried Sakae Sushi in Mall of Asia branch. It was not planned actually. When my partner and I passed by we noticed the poster outside about an “eat all you can” sushi. That was the thing that sealed the deal for me. And when we sat inside, we were surprised that there is a long trail of conveyor belt. This is used to distribute the countless sushis to the customers. It certainly brings me to the idea of what is being done in Japan (or something close to). I do like the concept because there’s no need for the sushi to be brought to your table but you can just select and get it straight from the conveyor belt.

Comparing it to the buffet set-up, the sushis are done fresh and goes directly to the conveyor belt, a very simple and impressive process, I must say. Your table is sufficiently stocked with wasabi paste and soy sauce. The only time you seek assistance from the attendants is for the beverages. One of the things I am fond of is that when you order the green tea, you will be given a tea bag and you have a faucet in your table where you get your hot water and you can continuously use your tea bags.

picture courtesy of wheninmanila.com

We also tried the Taguig Global City branch and usually go here not only because of the distance but also of the ambiance. It’s more spacious and a much serene location.  But a few months back, I found out that they closed already so the only branches available are the Mall of Asia and SM North EDSA.

This blog really got me craving for another session at Sakae Sushi. I can’t wait for my next visit and just have a sushi experience.

Hyatt Hotel & Casino Manila: Market Cafe

My siblings and I were privilege enough to be treat by our parents for dinner at the Market Cafe of Hyatt Hotel in Malate, Manila.  Though this is our second time, I must admit that I didn’t pay much attention the last time to the details (ambiance, food offerings, and services) so I am treating this like it was my first – a trying hard virgin.

picture courtesy of Hyatt Hotel & Casino Manila

My first impression of the hotel’s lobby was very chic and clean but it does lack a bit of luster.  It would have been better if there’s more lighting inside.  This way they can further highlight the features of the lobby.  It was a bit too gloomy for me.  We decided to take the lifts to go to the restaurant despite it was located on the second floor (an escalator would suffice).  Upon entering the lifts, though my whole family could fit in one, again the lifts fell short of my expectations.  It’s lacks brightness and pizzazz.  You feel that you’re in a normal elevator when you’re going to your office.

picture courtesy of Hyatt Hotel & Casino Manila

On our way to the Market Cafe, prior to seeing the interior of the restaurant, a smoke of cooked food greeted us and admittedly it’s a bit overwhelming (and it’s not in a good way).  The smell is a bit overbearing that you couldn’t figure out i it’s grilled meat or seafood, baked bread, baked pizza or cooked pasta, steaming dim-sum, or friend tempura – very confusing I tell you.  The saying, “aroma entices the appetite” is an overstatement.  You feel a full prior to taking a seat.

Our family was seating in a convenient place.  It’s spacious enough from the nearby tables but then again our family requires a very long table.  I just noticed that over us is a dome shape ceiling with a chandelier in the center.  I am not technically knowledgeable of architectural design and aesthetics but the experience game me the right to say this.  We could actually hear the conversations from the nearby tables.  I think the sound bounces off the ceiling and lands on our table.  I find it so annoying because it interferes with our family conversations.  And I’ll bet the other patrons would feel the same about us, considering we’re more than them – imagine that?  There were even some foreigners and the noise adds more to the confusion.

The food offerings were well positioned in the buffet area.   I did noticed that the offerings were limited considering that the buffet costs Php1,600++  The sushi area offers the basic sushis and nothing special and spectacular, though the quality of the raw fishes are very fresh, I must admit.  The dim-sum is ok but also limited variants.  The tempura is a disappointment despite they used full shrimps.  It was the batter and sauce that killed it.  The secret to a good tempura is the quality of the batter.  It was too thick and tough, and the sauce was tasteless.  My dad was the most disappointed among us and he gave his score on this.  The grill is a so-so for me since it does not require special skills but just to grill raw meat and seafood plus did I mention about this strong smell of the place?  I was surprised with the dessert offerings because there are more selections than the other sections.  My sister and in-laws were having a blast with this.

In fairness to the Market Cafe, what makes them different from other hotel buffets is the bottomless canned sodas and bottled local beers.  But then again, this special feature does not contribute to the total dining experience.

One of the things that stands our from our experience is the slow service from the food attendants.  Though it’s not expected from the attendants to be assisting us during our food selection but then it’s dishing out once we;re done with the plates, it’s a no brainer, right?  I’d like to think with the price of the buffet, certain expectations are evident and one of them is ensuring that dishing out is regularly done.  Well apparently NOT!!!  We literally had to call their attention regularly.  So service really fell so low on this one, sad to say.

Despite what we experienced, my family did make the most out of it.  We all got up really stuffed and had our share of a hearty meal.  More than the experience, we all had fun because we were all together and the never-ending stories we all share.

One of the things I like is the smoking area.  This is not located on an outdoor setting.  This is the section inside of the restaurant dedicated to smoking patrons.  There are sufficient ventilations that you cannot smell smoke in that area.  You will be seated temporarily in one of the tables and you can smoke without bothering anyone and vice versa.  It’s such a delight especially being and feeling so stuffed.

If given the chance, will I go back to the Market Place?  Most likely not or if ever it will be for a very very long time.  The distance of the hotel with the traffic that you have to endure only to find these offerings and experience may not be worth the time, money, and inconvenience.  But it’s a place that I would recommend to visit once and will let you decide and answer the very same question.

Do visit Hyatt Hotel & Casino for more information and details.

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