Tokyo Soba April 2017

May 1, 2017

Being a noodle freak, soba is another passion.  My preference is thin, not too sweet and preferably no msg. Tempura must be crunchier than usual to add accent to the soba.  

Osakaya Sunaba @ Toranomon

A 300 year old classic.  Amazing.  This is what edomae soba is about. 


Nunotsune Sarashina @ Omori

Beautiful. Another 300 year old classic. Was looking forward to the cool service by the beautiful lady in the kimono but she wasn’t here this day.  I remember talking to my wife, this lady is very impersonal and cold but it just shows how much pride and confidence they have.  Taste has not changed at all, amazing.  


Sobayoshi @ Nihonbashi


Tokyo Ramen 2017 April

May 1, 2017

Was in Tokyo for a few days so had some ramen.  

Nantsuttei @ Shinagawa

Kumamoto style good quality tonkotsu with black garlic oil and high density tonkotsu soup. Characteristic round cut noodles slightly reminiscent of spaghetti. 


Afuri @ Nakameguro

Yuzu Shoyu ramenyuzu shio ramen.  When i did my artisan shio ramen, customer said i should try this shop and it turns out it is of very good pedigree.  It is run by the Nakamura family.  Chef Nakamura is famous for his “Sky High noodle draining.  I have high respect for him who is currently in the centre of the US ramen boom. 
His creations from the Nakamuraya days are all high quality, no msg, very subtle, attention to the detail.  Using binchotan to grill the charsiu and using Yamanashi mineral water for his soup.  
Sora @ Higashi Nihonbashi

Ginsasa @ Shinbashi

Mugi to Olive @ Ginza

Was tough decision between chicken heavy soup tsukemen and the triple soup ramen.  Shallot Olive Oil. Poster saying they use Toribushi or dried chicken, a new stock ingridient I think invented by Minoru Sano.

Ikaruga @ Ichigaya 

Opted for the regular ramen.  Was blown away.  I could not fault a thing with the soup.  Pork, chicken and katsuo all expressed masterfully.  Recommended!  Exterior.  They don’t even have a sign up. Apparently they are “pre-open” and are still training but it’s been like that for 1-2years?  I walked past without noticing.  So look for the blank sign!  


Home made Sushi

February 27, 2017

I won’t try to proclaim I know what I am doing. All my knowledge is off the internet and traditional common sense.  I have so much respect for the craft.  But when you’re a picky foodie and you have 5 in your family who have picked up similar tastes, it’s really hard on the wallet to really eat “till your heart’s content worth” of sushi.  

Last Saturday arvo, I just got the craving to really pig out on sushi.  

Google Check, nearby Rufus King Seafood at Ashgrove is open and apparently offer local seafood straight from a trawler from Straddie.  

Drove up, got tuna, salmon sashimi grade, oysters and some green prawns. Not a bad start.  

As with all things, when you ask the professionals, is your fish sashimi grade, they will mumble and only point to a few things.  Usually salmon and tuna because the logistics chain and the regulations have certain criteria that a product has to clear in order for it to sell as sashimi compliant. Well to eat well in this country full of sashimi naive beaucracy, you have to take some risks. The wild caught straddie prawns were really shiny, the green tail print was so bright, I couldn’t resist and took the risk of eating one completely raw, my wife joined. We said, ok if we die, we won’t regret it. And the rest I blanched for 10 seconds.  The oysters as always landed in my and my wife’s stomachs without the kids seeing.  
On the other hand, prepped some cucumber and egg for kids friendly fare.  

I admit, my egg made in a frying pan was jaggety on the edges and the cucumber roll is not pretty and the sushi rice was too acidic due to too much vinegar. In the end, only 5 varieties of neta but we were happy and full with home quality sushi.  

Tips. 

Wash your sushi rice very well.  If available, get Japanese origin rice which has been hulled recently.  Rice starts to oxidise and dry very soon. Don’t look at the price but look at the mill dates or best by dates. Cook rice with a sliver of konbu.  
Mix rice with vinegar mix (vinegar, sugar, salt).  Mix in a cutting motion trying not to make the stickiness increase.  And fan while doing so to reduce the temperature.  

Cut the fish beforehand.  

Prepare tezu (hand vinegar).  Water and vinegar 4:1 should work.  

Coat your hand in tezu and clap your hands to get rid of excess tezu and to get your sushi craftsman mood up.  

Mold rice into shape in your weaker hand, put some wasabi on the rice, put fish on and squeeze gently from all angles using the palm of your weaker hand and the pointer and middle finger of your dominant hand.  The point is not oversqueezing.  The sushi rice at cheaper restaurant you might have noticed is too hard.  Try to mold the rice without making it too clumpy.  

You will need a bamboo slat to make the sushi rolls.  



Hot Smoking on the Kettle BBQ 

February 21, 2017

Lately I am into hot smoking with my kettle BBQ. I don’t like to follow a set recipe and I just like to improvise and experiment with everyday stuff around home and test my image.

My BBQ is pretty consistent with my choice of cars or shoes. I am more interested in basic practicality more than the high spec features and the glitz and glam of high end brands.  Of course there are the things that can’t be compromised, for example, I really prefer coal to gas. Hence, the Bunnings $50 kettle works just fine along with a simple fan to accelerate the lighting. Same with the smoking method. Basically you are holding the food at a particular temp and infusing smoke.  Can’t be that hard?  IMHO, You shouldn’t need to get special imported cherry wood for an everyday meal on the barbie.

Recently I tried some corn husks, coffee grind, and some dragon leaves from the yard.

The dragon leaf did create too much of an insense kind of smoke and didn’t agree too well with sausages (of course not that bad and still enjoyable but a lesson learned).

Note: I got a heads up from my pro smoker friend and he said to me using green leaves is always a no-no.  Even with wood, the drier the better and evergreens are never used.  I agree that pine needle aromas probably won’t go too well with smoked meats.  Anyway, some grass or leaves might produce poisons and are never used in smoking.  So my experimenting with yard leaves ends here..


BTW, What’s your favourite cut of beef?

Sure I enjoy my rib fillets too but feeding a family of 5 requires a bit more creative thinking.  My family and I don’t mind a bit of texture in beef and so when I go for an everyday steak, oyster blade steak is my favourite. Marinate in miso, salt and sake for 48 hours, put it on the Bbq for a sear, that’s another winner too.

Man, beef chuck, on the other hand is a bit trickier…  looks so nice and marbled but put that sucker on for a simple grilled steak, you are going to be chewing all night.  It’s a cut recommended for slow braising but I would much prefer cheeks for braising and chucks can get dry quickly.  But as you can see, smoking for a couple hours might very well be one of the best ways to enjoy this cut.

I simply salt and peppered the chunks, smoked with about 10 heatbead briquettes (the best briquettes!) and the coffee and corn husks with a humidifying water tray for about 2 hours, coat them with sauce (Bbq, soy and left over homemade apricot jam) smoked again on higher heat for 30 min and done!  Look at this!  Most of the gristles have tenderised and the smoke infusion is heavenly and the Bbq sauce is spot on!



Ullo wine purifier

February 17, 2017

This item was on kickstarter and I backed it with some funding a while ago. The product arrived and I finally used it!  

Happy to report that it does change the taste of wine remarkably.  I am guessing it has some activated charcoal in the filters. The wine became very mild.  Apparently this is the pure taste of wine without sulfites. I have never had unbottled preservative free wine so can not compare but I did like the filtered taste much better in this cheap bottle of red.  

The filters are only designed to be single use so the new filters will be saved for the good ones.  Meanwhile I will try reusing the filters anyway. 


Some Bbq miso marinated beef to go with it. 




Muso Ramen at the Kitchens Robina

November 26, 2016

Congratulations to Muso Ramen for opening their second shop in the new food precinct, ROBINA KITCHENS . 

They have decided to go with a pork free, chicken approach with the new shop. The Gyokai tori paitan ramen was delicious.  I will concede he has taken the chicken cloudy soup one step further than my own creation. It is worthy of being the signature dish at his proud establishment as compared to mine only being good enough for a monthly limited dish.  

Akira San and I take a very similar approach to our ramen.  Sous vide, Yamato noodle machine, pressure cooker,  all are result driven and employing innovative equipment and processes where applicable.  

I wish him and Muso Ramen the best of luck!  


The Good Food Guide 2017

July 19, 2016

Wow! Never thought I would be freaking out on stage in front of company like this. I did not even plan on going to the party but lucky I made it!

When I left my corporate job six years ago, I never associated myself or ramen to be anywhere in proximity of the glitz and glam of the annual good food guide awards. But I am glad I just kept doing what I love, am very happy and honoured to be recognised by people who know food! It seriously would never have been possible without you so I would like to thank my family, the best, hard working staff in the world, and to all my loving supporting customers!

Feel so happy for regular customers Taylor of Anise for Best Bar Food, Ben Williamson of Gerrard’s, Chef of the Year, Jerome of Gauge for Best Restaurant of the Year! David at Restaurant Two for a Hat, Phillip at Ecco for two hats, and Brenden and Ryan at Esquire for Three as usual!

Also our neighbours to be, OTTO, the Best New Restaurant of the Year! Maybe a happy surprise for our landlords Dexus to have two winners in the 480 Queen building!

Check out the video just uploaded!!

http://www.goodfood.com.au/…/the-winners-roundup-brisbane-t…