The FooDorama Challenge: I Watch It, I Try It!

(=^・ェ・^=))ノ彡。・∵゜:;,・゜∵: ○ ;,・。∵゜:;,。・゜

Jdorama Inspiration: Shinya Shokudo

Shinya Shokudo (深夜食堂 or The Late Night Diner) is a 10-episode drama that was shown past midnight on TBS and MBS for the Fall Season of 2009. As its title suggests, the drama takes place in a unique, night-shift diner in one of the alley-ways of Tokyo’s busiest municipality, Shinjuku.  The dimly-lit diner is run by its cook who goes only by the name of  ‘Master’ (played by Kobayashi Kaoru). He opens the diner from 12 midnight up to 7 am with a menu that offers goodwill and just one dish – tonjiru (pork and vegetable soup).  If a customer wishes to order something else, the Master will whip it up only if he has the ingredients available.  The stories told in this drama are those of the customers that patronize this humble eatery.

‘Master’ Class: Kobayashi (left) plays the enigmatic, unnamed cook in this drama based on a manga by Abe Yaro

I was very well-impressed by this drama’s low-keyed simplicity and quiet charm.  Since the diner opens only during the wee hours, it would naturally attract a few but interesting characters as its customers – mostly the city’s nocturnal creatures who work the graveyard shift (a yakuza boss, a stripper, a newspaper delivery boy, a male porn star, etc.).  The warmth and calming atmosphere of the diner is set against the contrasting backdrop of night-time Shinjuku’s cold, lonely and impersonal concrete milieu, so it was natural that these customers would find refuge in it.  And what gives this drama its stroke of genius is the menu – or rather the lack of it. Since a patron can ask for a simple dish (if the Master has the means to make it), he or she orders a favorite comfort food which in turn conjures up repressed or forgotten memories of family, lost friends or past loves that basically inspires the character to remember what was once lost or left behind, deal with regrets or seek a sense of personal closure as well as fulfillment.

With scenes accompanied by Suzuki Tsuneyoshi’s haunting song “Omoi-de,” Shinya Shokudo is an introspective drama that despite the differences in language and culture, it proves that there is something universal about the topic of food that we could all connect with.

Just like the food it features, the drama stimulates feelings of comfort and good vibes.  It is one of the best yet seemingly underrated jdoramas I’ve seen so far (and rightfully deserves a second season, too).

Jdorama Food: Japanese Comfort Food

Comfort food pertains to “foods consumed to achieve some level of improved emotional status, whether to relieve negative psychological affect or to increase positive.”  They can be simple dishes that could be home-cooked (sandwiches or soup) or bought from a store (ice cream). For me, the idea of comfort food is something that can be easily prepared anytime, usually made up of left-overs and satiates those annoying hunger pangs that creep during ungodly hours of the night, a rainy day or during dvd weekend marathons.

The comfort dishes shown every episode are the real ‘stars’ of Shinya Shokudo (the drama even offers cooking tips at the end of each episode).  They include traditional Japanese comfort food like tarako (cod roe – above left) and ochazuke (rice with green tea – above right); and Western dishes like potato salad and egg sandwich.

The FooDorama Special Challenge: Remembering my own Comfort Foods

This is a special on comfort food – meaning, I will refrain from reprising the dishes featured in the drama since they are just too easy to prepare, does not pose much of a challenge and hence, no need to share recipes.  So instead, for this post, I would like to share my very own simple and personal comfort food experiences…

The FooDorama Connection #1: Nekomanma

In episode 2, an aspiring singer comes to the diner and orders nekomanma (literally means ‘cat food’) which is rice with dried bonito shavings and a dash of soy sauce.  It is a super easy to prepare and makes use of leftovers – particularly rice and fish.

My Counterpart: Rice with leftover Maling bits

LOL… I’m guessing a lot of my fellow Pinoys can relate to this. Maling is a brand name of a Chinese canned luncheon meat widely available locally. It is the poor man’s Spam… well, even middle class folks like it, too.  We did have the occasional Spam but Maling was the canned meat we consumed most often while growing up. Yes, I’ve heard of horrible rumors about this product but it’s cheap anyway, readily available and saves you time.  As long as this unsophisticated, much-maligned fare can help ease hunger pangs and gets you through the day (or night)… Lunok na lang, at wag nang mag-isip ng kung anu-ano…

FooDorama Connection #2: Tamago (or Egg) Sandwich

In episode 7, a young newspaper delivery man would order egg salad sandwich at the midnight diner during his breaks.  The Master would prepare it for him along with extra ham sandwiches.  I had to pause from watching this episode in order to make an egg sandwich for myself. There’s nothing like watching a good drama while having the same food that the characters were enjoying.

My Counterpart: The Tasty Adobo Pandesal

Chances are, every Filipino family may have some leftover adobo inside their refrigerator.  This quintessential Pinoy dish is practical, have a long shelf-life (because of its main ingredient – vinegar) and simply delicious.  I remember living on these when I was on my own in Cebu. Usually accompanied with rice, this dish could be made into a sandwich, using adobo pork or chicken from the fridge, nuke it up, shred it into thin flakes and spread it along with mayo on hot pandesal (Philippine round bread).

The FooDorama Connection #3: Butter Rice

In episode 5 (which is probably my favorite), a renowned food critic who is used to eating expensive gourmet food, drops in and orders a simple dish that reminds him of his happy, worry-free life as a young man spent with a senpai he had admired. The dish is that of butter rice – steamed rice mixed with a dab of butter and a drop of soy sauce.

My Counterpart: Sinangag (Garlic Fried Rice)

If I could order something from the Master, it would be this: the simple sinangag or left-over rice stir-fried in oil and chopped garlic, with a dash of salt and pepper.  One of my early childhood memories is watching TV alone and eating fried rice, cooked and lovingly served by my mother. I remember the rice was so good I ate 2 to 3 plates of it without eating anything else – just the fried rice. I also recall feeling contented and happy as any care-free preschooler at that time. That is why after watching Shinya Shokudo, it made me contemplate on how I long for those times, and how I miss my mother, and so, well… I ended up crying like a baby… *sighs*

The feelings attached to one’s own personal comfort food may differ from one individual to another.  Whether to make us remember our moms, or wax nostalgic for those happy youthful times, or simply unearthing lost emotions forced to be buried in exchange for steeling ourselves up as a way of self-protection against life’s harsh realities, enjoying simple comfort food more or less, is a humbling experience that helps reconnect with the child within us.  It’s this simple food that reminds us of things that may mean little to others and yet this is what we treasure for it fills us up (physically and emotionally) even for just a fleeting moment.

How about you… What’s your comfort food?

P.S. This post is dedicated to my beautiful and kind MOM. I miss you so much – and not just because of your fried rice (^^)… Love you always and happy birthday!

~(=^‥^)ノ☆ おやすみニャ。。o.゚。*・★

————————–fodocha

My FooDorama Challenge Links

Coming Soon – FDC#14: Taiyaki (Jdorama Inspiration: Shinzanmono)
FDC#12: Omuraisu (Jdorama Inspiration: Tumbling)
FDC#11: Bibimbap (Kdrama Inspiration: Full House)
—————————

Info Sources: Comfort food (wikipedia); Jdorama (dramawiki)

Jdorama Photo Credits: (MBS, meshiya.tv)

The FooDorama Challenge: I Watch It, I Try It!

ホップ!ステップ!ジャンプ!⌒v⌒v⌒v⌒ミ(ノ ̄⊿)ノ

Jdorama Inspiration: Tumbling

Tumbling is one of the new dramas currently being aired on TBS.  It is about a struggling high school club that does men’s rhythmic gymnastics (yes, there is such a thing).  The club starts out as a four-man group until the school’s rough bad boy delinquents headed by Azuma Wataru (Yamamato Yusuke) join in.  The guys face obstacles and ridicule as they try to prove their worth and dedication to the sport while resolving differences within the group and  strengthening bonds with each other as well.

I’ll Tumble for Ya!: OMG… men in tights! And with a pose like this… who can possibly resist Tumbling? lol

In the tradition of Japan’s sports manga, Tumbling looks like the usual I-don’t-care-what-you-say,-I’m-gonna-practice-hard-til-I-succeed kind of story.  However, it is unusual with its choice of sports – rhythmic gymnastics for men (which I learned is quite popular in Japan) since RG is more known to be largely performed by women.  So basically, Tumbling is more like the movie Waterboys (a group of HS guys doing another sport dominated by women – synchronized swimming) of which I am a loyal fan.  Anyway, the drama is still ongoing so I can’t give a full review on it yet.  In the meantime, it is great to see Yusuke and the other actors do their own tumbling, handstands and other routines which are obviously not easy to do. Good job, mina-san!

Jdorama Food: Omuraisu

Omuraisu (also known as omurice) is short for “omelette rice” which is exactly that – omelette and rice. It is one of the Japan’s well-loved western-styled dishes.  It is made of fried rice (usually consisting of chicken and tomato sauce) with omelette that is either placed on top of the rice or wrapped around it.

The FooDorama Connection: Omuraisu is shown so far in almost every episode since Wataru’s mom (Otsuka Nene) owns a diner that seems to specialize on this dish (because it’s the only food i’ve seen her served so far!)

Wataru and his friends would usually hang out at his mom’s diner and bond over a meal of omuraisu after grueling hours of stretching and tumbling (either that or fighting with other gangs).

The omuraisu served in Tumbling with ketchup on top.

Another favorite jdorama of mine that showed omuraisu was…

Tiger and Dragon (TBS, 2005): Meeting at a western -styled diner, Yakuza henchman, Tora (Nagase Tomoya) and rakuga master, Don-chan (Nishida Toshiyuki – above left) would often end every episode with their funny running gag – the ‘exchange of debt payments’ (hard to explain – basta, watch it na lang!) while having their usual orders of omuraisu.

The FooDorama Challenge: Trying out Omuraisu!

I find this dish not really strange and new since I have been having fried rice and omelette throughout my whole life.  But I guess presenting it in a novel kind of way made me feel excited about it – plus the fact that I do love fried rice along with fluffy scrambled eggs! Yummm…

How to make the raisu in omuraisu: Saute chopped garlic and onions in a pan.  Add meat, preferably chicken (but I used ham instead).

Then, mix in the other ingredients: sliced mushrooms, green peas, chopped bell peppers, tomato sauce, and some ketchup.  When ready, add in cooked white rice and stir.  Season with salt and pepper. To enhance flavor, one can mix in chicken bouillon (finely chopped into powder), a bay leaf, and/or Worcestershire sauce. For me, I used a lil thing we call magik sarap.  Adjust the amounts to your liking. Then, set aside on a plate when done.

To make the omelette: beat 2 eggs in a bowl and season it with salt and pepper. Pour it on the same heated pan you used for the rice, making sure to spread it evenly throughout the surface.  As it cooks, place a cup of the fried rice in the center. Bring the top and bottom edges of the omelette over the rice.  The tricky part comes when placing it on your plate: place an upside down plate on the pan, turn the whole thing over so the plate catches the omuraisu.

Actually… This is what it looks like after transferring it on a plate.  My omelette was almost turning brown since it had sat on the hot pan for too long (because I was busy taking pix! Hee-hee…).  Anyhoo, I adjusted it using my hands – tucking the edges and shaping it for a better, neater look.

Whew! My first attempt at Omuraisu for FDC#12 – done!: It turned out pretty ok for a first try, I guess.  Garnished with parsley and drizzled with ketchup.  The presentation looked really inviting.  As a breakfast meal (for us Pinoys, this is preferably served as a good hearty breakfast with hot coffee), it would really start your day right just by looking at it. You can write/design ketchup symbols and messages on it like hearts and smileys.  Your kids and spouse would love it!

Open up and say…Mmm!: My first omuraisu was fantastic! They all went so well in your mouth – the rice, the omelette, and even the ketchup!  You got to eat it fast though because it does taste better if it’s warm.

Yup! Omuraisu is definitely worth tumbling for!

HereGoes~。°。ヾ( ・_・)ツ⌒Y⌒Y⌒ ミ(。A。)⌒v⌒v⌒ミ(ノ ̄v ̄)ノ゜°YATTA!!!

My FooDorama Challenge Links
Coming Soon – FDC#13: An FDC Special on Japanese Comfort Food (Jdorama Inspiration: Shinya Shokodo)
FDC#11: Bibimbap (Kdrama Inspiration: Full House)
FDC#10: Agedashi Tofu (Jdorama Inspiration: JIN)

———————————– fodocha

Dish info source: wikipedia
Recipe source:  CookingWithDog
Jdorama info: dramawiki
Jdorama photo credits: TBS (Tumbling); TBS (Tiger and Dragon)

Which do you think is the Korean drama that has the best bibimbap scene?

There is no criterion except that maybe the scene made you wish you can get a metallic bowl, get those left-overs from the fridge and fix yourself some spicy bibimbap, too. 🙂

Your choices are….

A. Heading to the Ground (2009, MBC)

In episode 15, Cha Bong Gun (Jung Yun Ho) tries to get to know more about Kang Bae Hin (Go Ah Ra) over a late dinner of bibimbap and ramen. (Photo Credits: MBC)

B. My Lovely Sam Soon/My Name is Kim Sam Soon (2005, MBC)

In episode 8, Kim Sam Soon (Kim Sun Ah) decides to forgo with her no-carbs diet for a day and binge on bibimbap and soju. (Photo Credits: MBC)

C. Full House (2004, KBS2)

In episode 7, Han Ji Eun (Song Hye Kyo) gets irked when Lee Young Jae (Rain) calls her bibimbap ‘dog f00d’ and ‘slop.’ (Photo Credits: KBS)

Vote now…


We took a restful short breather last Aug. 23 to 25 which happened to be a long rainy weekend.  I joined up with Doc, Sis and kids for an overnight stay in Tagaytay where the weather was damp and cool.

There are many things and sights to see in Tagaytay, much of it are already well-known by most Luzon dwellers so I don’t need to talk about them here.  But there’s only one place we visited (and may revisit) and it is the ‘bulalohan’ eateries at Mahogany Public Market (right).

There were many eateries to choose from along this foodstrip.  Sis wanted the one which had the most customers (having more customers means it might be the best) but naturally, there were no available seats anymore.  So we chose “Betchay’s House of Food” which was great, too.

The Bulalohan Foodstrip alfresco-style: it’s like dying and going to Bulalo heaven.

Bulalo is a dish of boiled bone-in beef shank with vegetables.  The bone marrow is the bulalo itself and it is the soul or core of this dish (pun intended).  It is not an ideal dish for those suffering from high levels of cholesterol so it should be something (as do most  delicious foods, I guess—sigh!) that you only get to enjoy once in a while.

Bulalo is what we came here for and that’s what we got:

Perfectly hot for a rainy cold weekend: They served bulalo in a very presentable transparent serving soup bowl heated up by a small flame underneath (wow, where can I get one of these?).  This brilliant idea serves to keep the fat in the broth from congealing into greasy soup which pretty much ruins anybody’s appetite.

….We enjoyed tawilis (small sardines) –fried to a crisp (left).  Condiments recommended for bulalo (right): patis (fish sauce) and calamansi juice with hot sili.

(Right) Get as many as you want! They also serve banana señoritas…for free!

The ‘bulalohan’ experience was worth it and really affordable. There is a public restroom near the market but it would be better to do your ‘business’ somewhere else before coming here.  Betchay’s food attendants were helpful and courteous.  The utensils looked clean enough.  They might need to improve on the quality of their tables and chairs for they tend to wobble while one chair I noticed was missing a leg (the ground is also a bit uneven).  Also being an open marketplace, the place has  some souvenir vendors walking by. So expect many of them to strut food and souvenir items and to ask you to buy from them while you’re sipping your broth.  It comes with the territory, I guess.  You can buy from them or politely refuse…after all, we all have to earn a living.

The next day, we went back to buy beef from the market itself.  A kilo of freshly butchered beef costs just a hundred and fifty pesos. And when I mean fresh meat—I mean meat that was still twitching while hanging from their hooks (pardon me for the visual imagery…I mean, I know! While  i was watching it, I don’t know whether to be appalled or be fascinated by it)!

We bought enough meat to last us for several days.  Beef chunks and ribs for Dad’s nilagang baka (a favorite of mine), and sirloin bought at low prices compared to the ones in the supermarket.  Like what our dads and lolos used to say…“Ayos na ang butu-buto!” Nuff said!

A few hours from now, it will be September.  That means Buwan ng Wika (month-long celebration of Filipino Languages) will be over.  For the past two weeks, I wanted to write a post in honor of Buwan Ng Wika or Linggo Ng Wika (depending on how long you want to celebrate it) but I have been too busy finishing up all my trimester requirements for grad school, i just couldn’t find the time for it.  Nevertheless, as they say… huli man at magaling ay magaling pa rin… um, that’s not right …ano nga ba yon? …huli man ang matsing ay magaling pa rin? or huli man at magaling ay matsing pa rin? …oh, heck, di bale na…ingglisin ko na lang: Better on the last day than never!

(AFTER TWO HOURS OF THINKING…)

As it turned out, I have nothing to say pala!  Haha!  So I will just do what all bloggers do when suffering from ‘writer’s block‘ (or so they claim, hehe)—pose pictures instead!

Here’s to all things Filipino:

In schools, Buwan ng Wika is celebrated with programs, contests, fiestas, etc.  It is an occasion to mainly celebrate Filipino languages but as it turned out, we celebrate anything that is traditionally Filipino. Students and teachers are tasked to wear Filipiniana costumes, too.  Over the years, the only costume i can come up with during occasions like these was a malong draped over black t-shirt and jeans.  Not very imaginative, I know but if I were to wear a Filipino costume for Buwan ng Wika, I would wear this:

filipino tribal costume

…But not this:

If I were to eat a Filipino snack right now, I would like to snack on this great combo of crispy-thin ukoy (shrimp fritters) dipped in spicy vinegar and puto biñan:

puto ukoy binan laguna

…But not this (I haven’t tried balut or duck embryo and probably never will):

balut duck egg embryo

If I would want to see a Filipino movie right now, I would choose this (classic suspense 1971 film noir, Lilet by Gerardo De Leon-remake! remake!):

lilet gerardo de leon movie

And this, too… 1961 ensemble fun movie, Beatnik (feeling nostalgic):

Before: At TLC eleven years ago, I was usually tasked to make stage decors and props for Linggo ng Wika (and sometimes, to host as well):

Now: Still doing it, a prop (100 peso bill painting on a 20″ x 60″ illustration board) that I made for Linggo ng Wika stage program at my practicum school eleven years later:

And lastly, if I were to try out a Filipino ride, I would try this (but not when I’m in a hurry, of course):

Pinoy funny picture photoshopped

Sakay na!

Maligayang Pagtatapos ng Buwan Ng Wika!

A good meal is not complete without desserts.  Actually, I am not much into desserts or sweets but it won’t hurt to sample some in Indonesia:

…They have cold Indonesian desserts much like our own halo-halo.  Which is better?  Well, they’re both good, but ours topped with leche flan, sweet mongo and rice krispies is still the tops.

Sweet and lovely: I am not sure what the first one was…cassava, I think but the right pic I’m pretty sure is Pisang Goreng (banana fried in batter) or something akin to our own maruya.  These are from Kampung Daun.

:mrgreen:    :mrgreen:    :mrgreen:    :mrgreen:    :mrgreen:

Kung nasa Java ka na rin lang… lubus-lubusin mo na ang pagtikim ng kanilang Java coffee–whether it be from a three-in-one sachet or brewed to perfection…

We stopped at one cafe and it’s called Amanda in Bandung. They serve cakes  but the Browfee, combining ‘Brownie’ and ‘Coffee’ (below) is the one we came for.  Great combo…wala pa sa Pinas nito. Care to franchise, anyone?

Juicers and Shakers:  below right is guyabano juice (too sweet for my taste) from the resto in the hotel; (center) strawberry drink; while right photo is the dreaded ‘D’ word: DURIAN (!) shake.  It tasted… um, exactly like durian, I guess…wala nang ibang description, yun na yun.  But it doesn’t leave a bad smell though.  But I did brush my teeth twice afterwards just in case. 😀

:mrgreen:    :mrgreen:    :mrgreen:    :mrgreen:    :mrgreen:

They sure like their tea…Hot, cold or lukewarm, in mugs, tetrapacks or in bottles (left)…

What else do they have that we don’t? They do have the Mcdos, KFCs and Burger Kings. Let’s see…

“Hurry! Mix right away!” : Pepper Lunch (below left) at Plaza Senayan is one of their fastfood restos, too.  It is like our own sizzling plate-themed eateries but you can get to mix it your own way or let the waiter do it for you because the hot oil tend to ‘splatter’ while you do it; at right is our last meal from their pseudo-Japanese fastfood type of resto, Haka Haka Bento (Tokyo Tokyo is way better), at the Jakarta airport:

…alright.  That’s it.  One more post to go, about miscellaneous stuff still worth mentioning.  Promise, last na ‘to.

Last Post: Indo-xicating Extra Stuff (Finale)

Donna said that her cooking skills and food preparation greatly improved when she moved to Indonesia three years ago.  It was the wide variety of ingredients and styles that inspired her to experiment and explore…

Donna’s memorable beef dish with bok choy (or Chinese cabbage), along with her awesome chicken barbeque at Pelabuhan Ratu…

“South Beach Diet? Ano yun?” : Grilled seafood for the next day…shrimps and fish, all freshly caught from Teluk Pelabuhan Ratu…served with steaming white rice.  And don’t forget the condiment: sambal oelek (crushed red chili sauce) combined with kecap manis (which I often mistook as ketchup mansi–ano ba yan?) which is a dark sweet soy sauce…dip anything in it and you won’t remember what a south beach diet is because definitely… mapaparami ang rice mo.

:mrgreen:    :mrgreen:    :mrgreen:    :mrgreen:    :mrgreen:

Remember Anthony Bordain’s No Reservations episode on Indonesia?  Well, after watching that, you gotta try the Masakan Padang experience:

Going up to Bandung, we stopped by one of the many masakan padang eateries along the road: Sarigucci (Ha? biglang naging Italian?) Our waiter prepares the food for us.  He got all these dishes, balancing them in his hands and arms, and serving them almost immediately on our table– giving a new (or old?) meaning to the fast food concept sans the plastic utensils, wrappers and styropor–all warm and ready to be consumed (below).

…And no need to take our orders, too! Our waiter started counting and calcuting what we ate (above right).  We will only pay for what we touched.  “Even if we only got a tiny portion of it?” Yes, somehow he knows.  Oooh…we were impressed.

:mrgreen:    :mrgreen:    :mrgreen:    :mrgreen:    :mrgreen:

Going around Java at that time (which was the height of the supposedly Asia-wide rice shortage issue), it was hard to believe that there was any shortage at all… nagpaloko na naman ba tayo?

Anyway, the Sundanese of West Java take pride in their food.  And it revolves around their main staple (and ours as well) which is rice.  As they say, “If you haven’t eaten rice, then you haven’t eaten at all.” Hear, hear! We sat on the floor, Sundanese style, and ate with our fingers (well, I did!).  At right is our Sundanese feast from Balibu, a resto just across from our hotel.

Here are the culinary delights (and adventures) we had in Bandung:

Nasi timbel is rice steamed in banana leaf.  These are from Kampung Daun, an alfresco-style garden restaurant.  These can be  accompanied with krupuk, tempeh (fried tofu) and vegetables.

Ikan Goreng or fried fish: the left version is from Balibu while right photo is from Kampung Daun.   The Sundanese may not live near the sea but when they do get to cook and present a fish dish, they still intend to impress.  I’m not sure what they are but I’m guessing that one of them is carp.  The condiment that goes well with ikan goreng is made of chili, garlic, soy sauce, tomatoes, shallots, etc.

:mrgreen:    :mrgreen:    :mrgreen:    :mrgreen:    :mrgreen:

At Rumah Mode, a sort of like a small Greenbelt in Bandung…we ate in a restaurant called Bumbu Desa. Just point and they’ll heat them up for you:

We chose green terong (green salad), fried tempeh, more nasi timbel, and some really exotic stuff that I can’t remember…

…To be continued: desserts, beverages, and some more pahabol…

Next Post: Indo-xicating Eats (Part 3)