Muslim Noodles FTW.

This featured image shows hand-pulled noodles with spicy sauce, beef and peppers.


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I thought I’d throw in another picture of a popular dish (among me and my friends) from this restaurant. It’s a simple hand pulled noodle soup with a fried egg but it always hit the spot.
I am a big fan of noodles. Like if I’m ever having difficulties figuring out what I want for lunch, hands down, if there is a noodle-soup option I’m opting for that. Hand pulled noodles are the prize though. They are chewy, and I can taste the hard-work.

These Muslim noodles are from a restaurant located in my host university in China (GuangXi Normal University).  It’s delicious. This was the first meal I had in GuiLin, so it has a special place in my heart. There are other hand-pulled noodle joints in the state so don’t be upset you can’t fly all the way to China to try it out. One of my favorite hand-pulled noodle restaurants in NYC is Xi’An Famous Foods. There are also many other hand-pulled noodle places throughout the country that I encourage you to try out.


While I still have your attention because I enticed you with food, I thought I’d include more information about the university and also the region:

A little more about the university I attended in China. It was called Guangxi Normal University. Throughout China, there are a lot of universities that have “Normal” within their name. Originally, I thought that attending a “Normal” university, meant that it was a mediocre university. However, a lot of these universities have “Normal” in their name because it means that they are a college that is not specialized in any specific field.

China_autonomous_regions_numbered.svgAlso, Guangxi Normal University is located in the city GuiLin, which is in the autonomous region of GuangXi. China has 4 autonomous regions: GuangXi (located in Southern China), Tibet and XinJiang (Western China), and Inner Mongolia (Northern China). These regions are autonomous because they contain a huge population of sub-ethnic Chinese. Most Chinese living in China are of Han-Chinese descent. Usually, not only do these regions have their own languages, but also their own kind of cuisine and cultures.

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BeiJing’s KFC – better or worse than American’s KFC?

Picture in caption is a duck egg congee with egg on the side.


You would have thought that KFC is the same all over the world, it’s not. Thank goodness it’s not. Let’s take a look at some of the different KFC menus from all over the world.

China:

images    KFC

Sri Lanka:Kfc Sri Lanka Menu Price List, Value Meals & Delivery Areas 27 Jul with regard to Kfc Menu Price List

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Although items such as fried chicken, mashed potato, burgers and fries are consistent on all the menus, there are variations throughout the world. If you look at China, there are Congee (rice porridge) and rice dish options. In Sri Lanka, they feature Chicken Buriyani and Fried Rice. All those items are catered more towards the demographic of the individuals living in those countries.

You can see this with other international fast food joints such as McDonald’s and Burger King as well. McDonald’s offers a Bulgogi Burger (marinated beef burger) in their Korean locations because that is a popular dish among many Koreans. They also have a Spicy Shrimp burger.

This is a great marketing tactic because it makes their fast food restaurant different from the other local fast food joints in the local market of that country. This also makes it an interesting visit for those of another country because these fast food joints have something to offer that the ones in their home country do not.

I was raised this question while I was studying abroad by a professor who was also not from the country, if it was worth it to even visit a McDonald’s or any other American fast food restaurants.

Other students said no immediately, however, I said yes. Fast food restaurants in America have a bad rep for being unhealthy, having unethical slaughter houses, and other not so pleasant things. Whereas in other countries, people actually enjoy eating at these restaurants. Like people would go on dates here and would still have their girlfriend/boyfriend at the end of the date – this would not be the case in America. Plus, not only do we get to taste a little bit of what reminds us of home, but also a flavor for what your host country taste like.


So, is it worth checking out fast food joints from our home country in other countries? Definitely.

Williamsburg Smorgasburg – Worth it?

What surprises me the most about myself and Smorgasburg right now, is the fact that I have never been there. How is it possible that a foodie like me have never made their way to Smorgasburg??

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For those who do not know what Smorgasburg is, it’s an all in one food spot for all types of cuisines. They have food from the cultures of Moroccan, Mexican, Japanese, Taiwanese, American, Italaian, and many more.

There are many vendors within Smorgasburg that you can find outside of Smorgasburg and around the city. Two that I can state on the top of my head is goa taco and C Bao. So if you find something at Smorgasburg but you cannot make it there all the time, these restaurants got you covered by having more than one location.

Me and my friends went to the one located in Williamsburg, however, Smorgasburg currently has 3 locations within NYC. Their current schedule is Saturdays in Williamsburg, Sundays in Prospect Park, and Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in Varick/Canal Street. I am a little biased since I have only been to the one at Williamsburg, but the location there is great. There are a bunch of places to sit, benches and grass. Plus, you get to view Manhattan’s skyline! Since I live in Manhattan, I only ever get to see the skyline when I am crossing the bridge from other boroughs or when I hit up Brooklyn. If I ever get a chance to go to the Prospect Park or Varick/Canal Street location, I’ll do a follow up article, but for now, Williamsburg Smorgasburg is my favorite.


To see the vlog about my day at Smorgasburg with my friends, click here!


As you can see in the vlog, I got a skewer set from Yakitori Tatsu (Japanese). I got the Tatsu set which consisted of a chicken breast skewer, a pork belly skewer, and an eel skewer. It was a bit pricey, $13 for all three, but it saves you a dollar or two. Although it was expensive, the skewers were really good. My chicken breasts were cooked well, rarely smokey or burnt on the outside, and it was juicy. My pork belly skewer was awesome, but that’s also because I am a sucker for pork belly. My eel was also really good. There was the right amount of teriyaki sauce on it, and it was also not burnt or smokey. Though I do think that $13 for 3 skewers that only contained 4 pieces on each of them is expensive, it was of good quality. If it was a treat yo’self kind of day, I would treat myself to this.

Then my friend Esther got a Vegan Beef Bahn Mi from Si Chuan Bahn Mi (Vietnamese and Chinese). Although I did not get a bite of hers, she really enjoyed it. I did get to try a bit of her vegan beef because she could not believe how great it tasted. She has also been a vegetarian for a long time so she does not remember how actual meat taste like. For my regular meat eaters – you could tell it was not real meat. It kind of tasted like tofu that has been submerged and marinated in a soy sauce or stir fried sauce. Not sure if she got a half or a full, but a half is $9 while a full is $14 (since she only got one side, I believe she got a half).

For dessert I got an ice cream from Bona Bona Ice Cream. I forget what the exact item was called, but it was a scoop of ice cream topped off with a toasted marshmallow. As for ice cream, I got a cookie dough and brownie flavored ice cream. One scoop of ice cream on a cone with the toasted marshmallow was $6. For $3 more, I could have gotten an extra scoop of ice cream. I really enjoyed eating the ice cream with the warm marshmallow. It was kind of like eating a fresh baked brownie that came right out of the oven with a scoop of ice cream.

One of my other friends got a mango flower with spice or paprika sprinkled on top. I know that this can also be found around NYC with all the mango carts so this is something that may be accessible to more people.

My friend Esther was also eyeing desserts and got something from kokus. She got the vitality which had a bunch of toppings on raw cacoa. This was a really lightweight dessert that was much healthier than mine. It cost $9, so it definitely makes a dent in your wallet.


Although I really want to like Smorgasburg, I think it’s because I am a foodie that I have been going to other places for alternative food options than those at Smorgasburg. I do have to admit that all the things I got at Smorgasburg was good, and the scenery was amazing and it was a perfect way to spend my Saturday. However, my wallet would not be able to keep up. I was happy to be surrounded by all the different food at Smorgasburg so that I could see my options, but there are definitely more things within the city (all 5 boroughs) that are friendlier to your wallet for the same quality. I think the good thing is that everything is there so that you do not have to travel far if your friends want different cuisines, but once you know what you like, it might be better to venture into different places for those options.

Roll It Up just combined two awesome desserts into one store

As many people know, there has been a craze for the Ice Cream rolls and the Hong Kong egg waffles with ice cream. Up until now, there has been many pop-ups for these desserts, but there has never been a store that gave customers the option to get both at the same location.

Although the featured image only shows the Hong Kong egg waffles trust me there are many more options on their menu – take a look.


I have to say that the store is small and cozy, there are a few seats available but definitely not ideal for a big group to sit down and chat. They decorated their store with a sea theme in mind, so they have a lot of boats, fish nets, and blue objects. They definitely chose a great place to have the store because it is close to St. Marks, but not necessarily in the hectic area.

I can not say much on the other desserts that are on their menu, since I only went there once to try this Hong Kong egg waffle + ice cream, but I have a feeling I won’t be going back. It’s not that it was bad, it was good. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with this dessert. However, the order took a little longer than other Hong Kong egg waffle joints. Also, I got a green tea egg waffle, but I could barely taste the green tea. It also does not offer unlimited toppings like other egg waffle joints. The price was the same as other places, and it may be a bit more expensive if you add more toppings, which are 50 cents each. So with that being said, if the same is the same, I would rather pay the same amount but for something of better quality.


Bottom line, their main selling point is the fact that they not only have the extremely popular egg waffles dessert here, but they also have the ice cream rolls, and bubble tea. Thus, this is a great one stop shop for all your friends if you all want to stop by the same place but want different desserts or drinks. Though I do think it is great that they’re combining all this at one place, the quality is just not there. I would much rather go to a place that would be great in one kind of dessert and spend my money that way.

Grace Street: K-Town: NYC: Shaved Ice Cream

To add on to your summer dessert cravings – here is another bingsu (빙수) post for you all!

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This joint is located in Koreatown (West 32nd street).
Until 5 or 6pm, there is no table service, in other words, there is no need to pay tip until this point! In case some of you are trying to save some money, I got you covered! Plus, prior to this time, there is an better chance of you getting a table. It can get full and busy after 7pm, especially on a Friday night.

I really like the ambiance here and it is perfect if you are out with your friends and you want a chill area to sit and chat. If you are also in the area and tired from all the shopping, this is also a great pit stop for resting and energy reboot.
The different flavors of bingsu or shaved snow that they have here are green tea, black sesame, and sweet milk snow (with different toppings). The one in the featured image is the black sesame, which they call The O.G. on their menu. With the black sesame as the base, there is mochi, strawberry, misugaru (grain sesame powder), red bean, and it is all drizzled with condensed milk. If you have read some of my other dessert stuff, you will know that I am a HUGE fan of ice cream and mochi, so Grace Street already has that down. This shaved snow definitely reminds me of Snowdays, rather than using ice as the base, like many other bingsu, it uses ice cream. This definitely is a step up from the original bingsu because now you aren’t paying for ice and toppings.

There are definitely other things on the menu, but since I have not tried them yet, I cannot comment on it. I guess this means I gotta head over to Grace Streets again.

This definitely is an Instagram worthy food, as you can see in the picture. The price of this dessert is similar to Snowdays, but Snowdays offer different sizes thus different prices. If I were to get this dessert on a daily basis, it would definitely accumulate over time, so I would save this for special events or occasions.


Bottom line – is it worth it?

It definitely is a good quality dessert that is worth the bucks. I would definitely try it if you are in the area, and have never gotten bignsu or shaved ice cream before. However, this is not a dessert that I could probably afford everyday. If you are looking to treat yourself, or are out with your friends, hit this place up!

Too early for dessert? I think not.

There are three Spot Dessert locations currently in NYC:

So if you are looking for an early dessert, your best luck would be to head over to Korea Town!

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The main dish that Spot Dessert is known for is their chocolate green tea lava cake. However, there are many other items on the menu that are worth mentioning such as the Golden Toast, the Kabocha Brulee Cake, and the Coconut Monkeybread.

 

 

 

I definitely remembering heading over to Spot Dessert back in high school, about 5 or 6 years ago. Before, Insider and Buzzfeed were the platforms everyone used for the latest news on innovative and cool ideas, everything was solely left to Facebook and word of mouth. The moment I saw the gush of chocolate escaping the cake in the virtual world, I knew I had to have it in reality. It definitely was worth the hype. It was a decadent cake, that was accompanied with a green tea ice cream. Although it is not shown in the picture, there is also a thin cookie on top of the cake. Everything just goes great together. I remember the first time eating it with my friend, that a couple beside us had also ordered it, and one of them actually took the plate and licked it clean. Yeah, it was that good. Though the price could have also been a factor (one of these dessert costs $9.15!!!!!!)

Other things worth mentioning of just the dessert tapas is The Harvest. Although this one is not one of my favorites, it definitely is unique. Everything except for the pot is edible! It is made to look like a plant. The little pot on the side that contains “water,” is actually a black rose milk tea. The “soil,” are actually crumbs, and everything within is the actual cake. Although I do think this concept is one of a kind, the whole cheesecake with fruit thing just did not do it for me. Plus, there was not much of the cake since the pot is so tiny.

Something that I do like on the menu, despite its simplicity, is the Golden Toast. It is a nice airy toast drizzled in honey with ice cream, cream, and strawberries on the side. This is a toast I would not mind eating for breakfast. I may also be a little biased to this because I have a thing for ice cream with bread, but hey, everyone has their preferences.

I also really enjoy the Coconut Monkeybread, however, I have had some hits and misses with this tapas. It comes in a cast iron, so do not, DO NOT, DO NOT, ignore the fact that it is being served on a wooden board to you for a reason. Within the cake there are pretzels, which often does go well with the ice cream on top and the chocolate drizzle, but for some reason, I have gotten it overly salty sometimes.

The Kabocha Brulee Cake is also really simple but if you happen to come by Spot Dessert in the Fall, highly recommend it since it has a pumpkin cake. I would eat it on the regular, but if you had to pick only one thing on your visit to Spot Dessert and it also happens to be Fall, why not opt out for this.

Although I do really like Spot Dessert and their tapas + other items on their menus, my wallet just cannot keep up with it. It definitely is a dessert bar that serves more upscale items, but there are definitely dessert places in the city that are nicer to your paycheck.
With that being said, there is the option of getting the tapas for a cheaper price if you order 3 and more, so bring friends!


This post was made in addition to my:

Follow me around NYC: Museum of sex + dinner & dessert vlog

If you have not seen the vlog yet, click on the image below!

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Boka – The crispiest fried chickens in NYC

-crunch- That’s the first thing you’ll hear when you bite in. Followed up by flavor and happiness. Leaving you with satisfaction.

Boka is located at 9 St. Marks Place.

This was a hard find at first because it is located on the lower level, and the only thing that was indicating that the store was there was a little poster stand. It did not help that the store was also dim inside, making it hard to tell whether it was open or operating in the first place.

This restaurant is known for its ties with Korean Fried Chicken (the other KFC). For those who do not know what the hype about Korean fried chicken is, I’ll break it down to you right now.

  • Unlike the fried chicken we have here, it is not as greasy and oily. Without a doubt, fried chicken is still fried chicken. However, fried chicken in America is insanely heavy as compared to Korean fried chicken.
  • The coating of the fried chicken is different. In America, it is thiner and not as crispy as Korean fried chicken. Often times, Korea fried chicken is coated a little thicker and fried more than once.
  • Korean fried chicken is known for their different sauces. Now, I’m not talking about sauces that come on the side. It is often already layered in the flavor. Typical sauces are black pepper, soy sauce, honey-red pepper paste. Usually people would order ban-ban, which means half and half. If you refer to the featured picture, that is what me and my fried ordered.

Overall, I’m just comparing the differences between Korean fried chicken and American fried chicken. I’m not stating one is better than the other – though I prefer Korean fried chicken more, this will really depend on a person’s taste buds. I know people who want more grease and heaviness that Popeyes or KFC gives when you eat fried chicken. Then there are individuals like me who want a crispier coating and more options of flavor.

The other thing shown in the picture is called JjamPpong (which I already have written a post on). But to sum it up, it is a spicy base soup with seafood and udon noodles.

Another thing on their menu that I have ordered in addition to the fried chickens are their seafood pancakes. Many Asian countries have savory “pancakes” like scallion pancakes in China and Taiwan. So do not be scared by the name – just think of it as a really thin stuffed pizza!

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I also mentioned in my vlog that they have lychee flavor calpico on their menu, which was also really good, like realllly good.

If you want to see more about my vlog click on the image!

Although I love eating at Boka, it definitely is on the pricier side of fried chicken. However, if you’re feeling like it’s a “treat yo’self” kinda day, I highly recommend the place.