Lunar New Year Celebrations & Good Luck Wishes Continue…

Happy Sunday! As previously stated last week, today’s ethnic food feature is a popular dish eaten to celebrate the Lunar New Year (LNY). LNY or Chinese New Year (CNY) is celebration across 15 days. Yea!

This week, I’m taking a trip down memory lane to Singapore. I’ve been to the country twice. This year marks 10 years since my first trip to Singapore. Time truly flies. Feels like I was there yesterday. Singapore is a beautiful country- and clean. Smaller than O’ahu, believe it or not, but is more populated by an additional three million people. I can’t fathom the thought of Singapore having more people than O’ahu. O’ahu is pretty crowded with about one million of us residing here. The two times I traveled to Singapore, I hardly saw any people while I was out in public. Although, I traveled to the country before and during the Lunar New Year, respectively. So, maybe a lot of citizens took a holiday and traveled out-of-country.

I learned that during this huge holiday celebration, this is the one and only time families get together and celebrate. It’s a BIG deal! It’s the once-a-year party/reunion everyone looks forward to. I’ve been to one celebration in 2011 with a friend’s family. It was wonderful to be in another country, experiencing a holiday that is so important to them. Their Chinatown was beautifully decorated and multiple festivities were occurring. A much different feel from how LNY is celebrated in Hawai’i, even though we have a huge Asian population in our state.

One of the popular dishes that is eaten during the LNY celebration is yusheng (see featured image). It’s a must-have. All the restaurants offer this on their menu. Yusheng is a mixed salad that includes ingredients symbolizing good luck, that are neatly organized on the plate. Everyone participates and mixes the salad. It’s been said that the higher you toss the salad, the greater the good luck. I was fortunate to experience eating this delicious salad twice, in 2011 and 2015. It was truly memorable.

I found a website that lists all the ingredients needed to make this salad- and its meanings of why it represents good luck. Very fascinating. I love what individual foods represent for different cultures. In many ways, this is what brings people together. Moreover, this is how we learn about and from one another. Through culture, through food, through history, and through story-telling. It’s so wonderful.

Yusheng ingredients:

  1. Raw fish
    • Abundance and prosperity.
  2. Pomelo, which is a very big grapefruit
    • Good luck. Optional to add.
  3. Pepper and cinnamon powder
    • A wish for prosperity. Optional to add.
  4. Oil
    • Drizzled onto salad in a circular motion. This is to symbolize that money is coming in from all directions.
  5. Carrots
    • Good luck.
  6. Green radish
    • Eternal youth. Optional, but recommended to add if serving salad to elders.
  7. White radish
    • Brings good business opportunities.
  8. Crushed peanuts
    • Hopes that your household will be filled with valuable possessions.
  9. Sesame seeds
    • Hopes for your business to flourish in the coming year.
  10. Golden crackers
    • Great wealth.
  11. Plum Sauce
    • Poured all over the dish instead of just one spot for the desired stronger ties with loved ones.

Happy celebrating! Have a wonderful Year of the Ox!

FS x

References:

Giant Singapore (2021). Yusheng ingredients you need to use for luck & prosperity. Retrieved from: https://giant.sg/yusheng-ingredients-you-need-to-use-for-luck-prosperity/

Meditating on Escargot

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend! We’re midway through the first month of the year, and what a month it’s been so far! I hope you’re taking care of yourselves. Brighter days are coming. There is a glistening light at the end of what seems like a very long and dark tunnel.

Over the last few years, I’ve been trying to apprehend the practice of meditation. I have to admit, meditating is plain hard. It takes a lot of focus and discipline to really master this exercise and reap the benefits from it. I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near understanding this. I’m still in the very beginning stages. Maybe even in the pre-beginning period. One day soon, I’ll get there…

I found this article on the web and I hope it’ll help with becoming proficient in meditation and mindfulness. https://www.mindful.org/how-to-meditate/

I’ve enjoyed the following apps that have meditation features:

  • Calm
  • Insight Timer (there’s a lot of free features on this app)

Onto this week’s cuisine: French. I loved dining at these three restaurants that have now all closed: Café Miro, Le Bistro, and Le Guignol. So sad that these places closed, but happy to know there’s still some French places remaining on O’ahu that I’ll one day try.

My favorite dish I always order at a French place is escargot (featured imaged)- cooked land snails. Sounds gross (I’m not a fan of snails in general), but it’s so delicious, especially when cooked in garlic butter and pesto. Yum! Our family friend’s relative once gave us a bag of escargots. Not sure where he had gotten them from. Nonetheless, we were so thankful and excited! My dad cooked them with some garlic and butter, and oooh, lala, it was onolicious! Tasted like fine dining restaurant quality! It was a special treat for us. Once in a lifetime.

Wishing you a great week ahead. Be safe and stay healthy.

FS x

Bruschetta Memories

Happy Sunday! I have to admit, it was a very long first full week of 2021, despite being so busy. Felt like the weekend was so far from reach. Now it’s the weekend and surprisingly, it actually felt long. We need “longer” weekends. They always tend to zoom by. Before we know it, it’s Monday morning again. We need our days off to fully recharge and refresh our mind, body, and spirit for the new week ahead.

On Friday, my coworkers and I serendipitously received the first dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine. We weren’t planning to get inoculated until later this week. I’m glad we had an opportunity to get it a week earlier, especially on a Friday, so that we’d have the weekend to recuperate. It’s interesting how the medication effects everyone differently. I instantly felt my injected arm feel heavy and sore within five minutes after being immunized. The pain soon moved to the side of my neck. By bedtime, the injected area was throbbing. On Saturday, I still felt pain in my arm and neck, as well as a pounding headache, and flushed face. It’s unknown if I had a fever. When I was finally able to take my temperature, it was normal, though, I still felt flushed. Today, my arm is slightly sore. The headache pain is dull. Briefly felt flushed, but again, had a normal temperature. I’m now experiencing nausea, but it’s tolerable. Though, I’m considering taking a rest after submitting this post. I’m monitoring the symptoms, recording them as they come, and will report them to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

I’ve taken so many digital photos over the last 18 years. I received my first digi camera in 2003. As I was browsing through my photos, to choose an Italian dish to blog about, I was taken down memory lane. I love to reminisce about the past and the adventures I’ve encountered and experienced. When I view the pictures, I’m reliving that particular moment. It’s a pleasant feeling.

In 2013, a friend and I were invited to a card-making party and the host had made bruschettas (featured image). I loved how she made the tomatoes in the shape of roses. So dainty and cute. Bruschetta is an Italian appetizer dish that involves bread. There are many variations to creating this lovely dish. There’s no right or wrong way of making this appetizer. In the featured image, this bruschetta is made with mozzarella cheese, tomato, and basil. Simple and delicious! …And that card-making party was so much fun! That evening, we made a bunch of cute greeting cards for various occasions: birthday, thank you, and every day cards.

As you might’ve guessed, this week’s ethnic post is about Italian cuisine. Usually, pasta is my go-to dish whenever I dine at an Italian restaurant. My eyes immediately find the pasta section of the menu, every time. But now that I incorporate dietary preferences to my nutrition intake, I don’t eat as much [white] pasta as before. Because of this, it’s sometimes difficult ordering pasta at a restaurant because they don’t always have whole-wheat and gluten-free pasta. Therefore, it’s easier to make my own pasta dishes at home. I have access to the kinds of pasta that would comply with my diet. In addition to eating whole-wheat pasta, I also found brown rice pasta and love it. I’m amazed to see all the different kinds of pasta on the shelves at the grocery stores: chickpeas, edamame, red lentil, and corn. I haven’t tried any of the non-grain pastas yet. They look very interesting. I’m curious to see how they’ll taste. One day, I’ll get around to making dishes with those pastas. I’ll let ya know.

Have a productive new week, All. Until next time.

Peace,

FS x

Twenty of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded + Sashimi

Happy NYE! It’s the final day of 2020. We made it! We survived this incredibly tumultuous year. We conquered!

I wish everyone a safe celebration tonight and a fresh start to 2021 tomorrow. We’re so privileged to have a new beginning every year. In fact, everyday, we’re able to start anew. We learn from our past and move forward to live a better life, and to do better.

Here is the final lesson 2020 has taught and reminded me.

20. It is ok to feel frustrated, sad, annoyed, and angry.

We’re human. We feel and go through all kinds of emotions. Allow those feelings to come and go. Recognize them and reflect on how you will overcome and change those reactions into more optimistic feelings overtime. That’s how we overcome and grow.

I allowed myself to feel all the emotions that came my way- pleasant, unpleasant, and the in-between. Recognition and reflection helped me get through the dark and grey moments. My support system and positive self-encouragement helped me rejoice during the brighter days.

It’s been a blessing reflecting upon the year and recognizing what 2020 has taught me. I’ve enjoyed sharing my life’s lessons here.

Sashimi (featured image)! One of the local and Japanese New Years staples. It’s bite-size pieces of raw fish, usually dipped in shoyu, or soy sauce, and wasabi. Every year, we have ahi (tuna) and hamachi (yellowtail) sashimi. Yum! Hamachi is my ultimate favorite fish. I love how oily the fish is. It’s so tasty. This year, I also bought chu toro ahi, which is the belly area of the fish. Yea! Get that in my belly!! Can’t wait to dive into the sashimi tonight.

I’m ready for 2021. Bring on the new challenges and changes. I’m ready. I’m stronger and more resilient than ever before. I see a lot of good change coming in the new year, not only for myself, but for this world.

Please be safe in celebrating tonight. Catch me here for more blog posts in the new year! Looking forward to it!

Cheers! Happy New Year!

FS x

Four of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Kaleidoscope Bagel

I had the idea of creating this inspirational list to remind myself that I’m human and that I encounter good days and not-so-good days. I have various feelings that come and go. And during this year where I had a lot of time to sit and reflect, creating this list helped me normalize my thoughts and feelings, as well as provided me with motivation and inspiration. I hope it does the same for you, too. The fourth thing that 2020 has taught and reminded me is:

4. Appreciation, even for the small things.

I’m very appreciative of you, my supporters. Thank you!

Throughout this year, appreciation became a high point in my life. Taking time each day to appreciate all the good in my life, even the simplest and littlest things, has become important. Since 2018, during the entire month of November, I partake in a #thankfulchallenge where I share one thing I’m thankful for from the 1st through the 30th on my social media platforms. It’s quite fun! I enjoy creating the posts and sharing them with everyone. There really is a lot to be thankful for. I try to think of 30 new things I’m grateful for every November. I’ve also realized that sometimes the negatives events that happens in our lives can be a blessing in disguise. They’ve made me come to appreciate them, too.

There’s a new cafe that opened this year, called Conversations. It’s a cute place that has some simple grinds and the most creative drinks. They also sell the cutest knick-knacks. One of their yummiest dishes is the kaleidoscope bagel (see featured image). It’s too pretty to eat. I love how creative the bagel looks, with colored cream cheese, sprinkles, edible flowers, and fruits. It’s really good. They also make kaleidoscope toast.

Conversations
1805 Liliha St.
Honolulu, 96817
808-551-6645

We’re almost halfway through the week, and the month. Ten more days until Christmas!

See you here tomorrow.

Night!

FS

Vday at Merriman’s

I hope y’all had a lovely Valentine’s Day! Mine was wonderful!!!! I’m excited to share the delicious food we had on this Day of Love and Hearts!!!

It was an exciting Vday. I got to try Merriman’s at Ward Village with my gal pal. This is sister restaurants of Monkeypod Kitchen and Moku Kitchen. They also have a Merriman’s on every major island: O’ahu, Kaua’i, Maui, and Hawaii Island. How cool is that?!

We were stoked to try the food. We went all-out! Take a look…

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This Maui onion soup was unbelievable! So good! I can’t even tell you. I’m normally not a fan on onion soup, but this was excellent!

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Tako country bread- escargot style. Oh man! This was so good! It felt like I was eating real escargot, but it was tako- aka octopus. The bread that came with this dish was to-die-for!

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I’m a sucker for trying kimchi wherever I go. This was super tasty!

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I had to try the Keahole lobster pot pie. Excellent! It felt like I was eating a chowder. Sprinkling that lemon juice make it much more tangy!

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This is the Waialua chocolate purse. Wow! Doesn’t that “purse” look like paper? It’s edible! There’s a rich, rich, rich chocolate cake inside. Wow!

We enjoyed ourselves and would definitely return to try more food. I’m excited!

Merriman’s opens for both lunch and dinner. Be sure to also check out their sister restaurants. I’ve been to both and the food is awesome!

Merriman’s
Ward Village
1108 Auahi St.
Honolulu, 96814
https://www.merrimanshawaii.com/

 

New Year with the bestest of friends!

I was blessed to have spent the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 with my dear friends. We dined at Chef Chai’s, a Thai-fusion place with my family. My family and I always enjoy the food there. However, we were disappointed that they didn’t have the deep fried whole fish. They had sold-out of the dish before we dined there that evening. Nooo! It must be a very popular dish.

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Butternut squash lobster bisque soup. That was so yummy! I am determined to use butternut squash in my cooking and make a soup.

Ordered the jumbo prawns. Absolutely delicious!

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So glad they had brown rice! It was mixed with coconut milk and ginger. Interesting mix!

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We couldn’t resist dessert- deep fried banana cream cheese with gelato and berries. Oh boy! So good!

Chef Chai
1009 Kapiolani Blvd.
Honolulu, 96814
http://chefchai.com/

Japanese feast!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

My girlfriend and I tried a really good Japanese cuisine- Akira last month. It’s an izakaya-type place, where you order small dishes and share amongst your party. We really enjoyed the food and customer service. Our server was really nice and friendly. I loved the ambiance of the restaurant as well- it was beautiful.

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Agedashi tofu. So, so good! Can’t go wrong with this dish.

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Prosciutto papaya allegra salad. This was very interesting. I liked it! Made it unique with the papaya.

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Tai-chazuke. Yummy! Chazuke is my childhood fave dish! I had it all the time as a kid. It’s the simplest dish ever! Rice and tea, or broth. Bam!

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Chawan mushi is always good to order.

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And last, but not least, natto nigiri. My ultimate fave. Yum! Mouthwatering!

We would definitely go back to try more of their food.

Akira Japanese Restaurant
1150 S. King St.
Honolulu, 96814

https://www.akira-japanese-restaurant.com/

This hole-in-the-wall place is SO worth it!

Yay to the weekend again! Happy Fall, too!

My gf and I found a wonderfully delicious and reasonable Japanese restaurant in the beginning part of Waikiki. It’s called Do-Ne Japanese Food. It’s not easy to find, as it’s a very small joint. Best to make reservations, as there’s only 17 seats in the restaurant. Totally reminds me of Japan, especially the food. Oh.my.word! Mouth is watering just thinking about it.

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This kimchi was BOMB! Oh my goodness! One of the best kimchi dishes I’ve eaten in a lonnnnng time.

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The set for $16.99. Amazing deal! I ordered the special: stamina seafood don set. Yummy! The don included: ahi, ika, natto, ikura, okra, and egg, over sushi rice. The set comes with salad, miso soup, tsukemono (pickled veggies), and appetizers: choi sum, shrimp with somen, and salmon.

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Hamachi collar. Thee best!

We also ordered grilled octupus (tako) and agedashi tofu (deep-fried tofu). Everything was excellent! We are definitely returning again to try more of their food.

Do-Ne Japanese Food
1614 Kalakaua Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96826

So worth it! Have a great week.

FS~

 

 

 

Eating for charity!

Last weekend, my girlfriends and I attended the 40th Annual Charity Walk. We love this walk because while you’re getting your walk on, you get to eat some good food along the way, provided by the various hotels. The Charity Walk’s donations benefits the Hawaii Visitor Industry. It’s super fun! Food really drives your motivation to walk and cross the finish line. Though, I swear the walk is getting shorter and shorter every year- haha! This year’s walk was 5.25 miles. The first time I participated in this walk was in 2012. It was around 10 miles then. Holy moly! That was a workout! My feet and legs were extremely sore the next day, but it was worth the workout! This year, the Charity Walk raised over $2.5 million! Whoo hoo! Beats their record in 2017, which was over $2.27 million. Way to go!

See website for more details: http://www.charitywalkhawaii.org/oahu.html.
The Charity Walk also occurs on the neighbor islands. The walk usually occurs in mid-May on Oahu. Look out for next year’s event. Form a team to raise money, walk individually, or walk with a small group.

Here are some of the foods we enjoyed.

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Spam musubi from Alohilani Resort. Mmmm!

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Crab slider with a fried coconut-cake dessert, topped with a fire-roasted marshmallow topping from the Halekulani & Waikiki Parc Hotels. This was amazing!!!

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Yummy fried rice from the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

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Kalua pig (aka pork) with a hint of lime over tortilla chips from Price Waikiki.

I was so full after the we crossed the finish line. They provided a free lunch after, but I was too full. I happily gave my ticket away to someone who could have used another lunch plate.

Does this food make you inspired to join next year? Haha!

Have a great week!

x