Saturday, June 30, 2012

Laser-Cut Nori

Butterfly Shrimp (Laser-Cut Nori)

Scott over at Seattle Food Geek has performed some amazing experiments with a laser-cutter and nori. The photo above is a visual pun: get it? Butterfly shrimp!

The laser-cutter is also capable of producing simply beautiful food art:

Laser-Cut Nori

Sushi made with this technique would be almost too pretty to eat. Visit Seattle Food Geek for more photos - they're incredible.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Things to Eat in Singapore: Fish Ball Noodles and Hainanese Chicken Rice

Ah, Singapore. Food capital of the world. (I really believe this.) We started this series while I was in Singapore gorging myself on local (primarily hawker) food, and so far we've covered duck rice, popiah, Ipoh hor fun, and fish head curry. To continue, here are a couple more dishes that fill my dreams when I'm back home in Chicago:

Fish Ball Noodles

Fish Ball Noodle Soup

Western meatballs are made by shaping ground meat. In Asia, meatballs are made by pounding, not grinding. The end result? Chinese meatballs have a smooth texture wholly unlike their American cousins. It's common in Singapore to find this style of meatball made from fish, squid, octopus, and beef.

Fish ball noodles come in many combinations - the photo above is typical, a combination of yellow noodles (mee), fish balls, and fish cake.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice

This is one of the national dishes of Singapore. It's an absolute must-have, and a dish that every overseas Singaporean longs for with great intensity. Yet Hainanese chicken rice is deceptively simple: In essence, it's a  boiled chicken with rice cooked in oily chicken stock, served with ginger, dark soy sauce, chili, and the broth it was cooked in. It sounds simple, but somehow getting the texture of the chicken exactly right and getting the rice (oh, the rice!) to have the correct degree of oily sheen is a tricker business than you'd imagine. This is one of my favorite foods in the world.

Related: Things to Eat in Singapore: Chilli Crab and Things to Eat in Singapore: Bak Kut Teh.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

You Know It's Hot When...

Even the ice cream trucks are melting.

Melting Ice Cream Truck Sculpture

It's been hovering around 95 degrees here in Chicago, so it's definitely ice cream time.

Awesome sculpture from the streets of Adelaide, South Australia. "Hot with the Chance of Late Storm" was created in 2006 by the art collective Glue Society.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Things to Eat in Singapore: Ipoh Hor Fun and Fish Head Curry

Singapore is my favorite culinary destination, hands down. Last week, I started off the primer on local food with duck rice and popiah. Here are three more of my favorite dishes:

Ipoh Hor Fun

Ipoh Hor Fun

Ipoh, Malaysia is renowned for its cuisine, the result of years of cross-cultural pollination from a group that become known as the Peranakan, or Straits Chinese (Chinese immigrants to the region from the 15th century who adopted the culture and language of the Malays around them, but remained ethnically and religiously Chinese). Today the city is 70% Chinese. "Hor fun" (Cantonese) is the name for the flat rice noodles in the dish. Ipoh hor fun can be served "wet" (in soup) or "dry" (in gravy) and usually comes with chicken and prawns (Americans: shrimp).

Fish Head Curry

Fish Head Curry

Talk of this dish often scares my American friends, but the fish heads used in this curry are so large that really, it's not all that different from eating normal fish. Unless you're my father, who likes to eat the eyeballs (yes, even I think this is gross - as do many Singaporeans). Fish head curry is the product of a South Indian immigrant to Singapore who realized that the Chinese enjoyed eating fish heads. Poof! A new national dish was born. I've always eaten the version in Indian restaurants, which is hot (perhaps deadly to most Americans - I have a high spice tolerance for an American but a low one for an Asian, and it's as spicy as I can handle), though I'm told there's a Chinese version that is milder and sweeter.

That's it for now - more to come!

Related: More things to eat in Singapore: fish ball noodles and Hainanese chicken rice. The latter is one of the national dishes of Singapore, and one of my favorite in the world.