A day in Sai Kung

For those who are not familiar with Hong Kong, you may think that Sai Kung sounds like some cities in Vietnam. In fact Sai Kung is the country side of Hong Kong and is located in the New Territories, the area that is attached to Mainland China.  Sai Kung is for the whole family – rural, delicious (great seafood and cafes), sporty (lots of water activities and cruising), fun, and relaxing.  

On the day of my Dad’s Big Birthday, we have planned a day in Sai Kung, breathing in the refreshing air and doing something different.  No wonder why HK people, with their daily life stretched to their max, love to hang out in Sai Kung with its beautiful pier, beaches, neighboring islands, and wonderful cuisines.

Let’s take a look at what we did:

Photo courtesy of Venue Hub, HK

Wow, a Polynesian-style bowling alley called Tikitiki Bowling Bar was our first stop. How fun to combine bowling with the entire family with brunch next to the alley! Because of the gates erected along the gutters, even a 6-year old can play bowling and score well!  We had so much laughter.


Then we strolled in the village market near the Sai Kung pier and had a great time discovering all sorts of local street food, fruits (durian), coffee places, and even great fashion!  I highly recommend this if you want to venture beyond the famous Stanley Market.


Along the water, you will take in quite a lot – the beautiful pier, lots of sampans (boats), a local museum, and of course lots of seafood restaurants (the famous Seafood Street.)


Zooming into the Sampans a bit, one can see they don’t just carry people as a great way for transportation or touring (one can check out island hopping in Sai Kung – many people will want your business at the pier), they also carry lots of seafood (dried especially) for sale!

What I enjoy HK the most is that while it is probably the most convenient place in the world for conducting businesses, is a city that almost never sleeps, has the most amazing places to eat and drink, its serenity is also just less than an hour away.  Check out Sai Kung next time!

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Korean, Japanese, Indonesian Cooking

nasi_tumpeng1
Courtesy of Pickles and Tea – yellow rice piled and arranged like a pineapple

Asia is very famous for its traditional and diversified cuisines.  In China alone, there are at least 12 popular regional cuisines (my personal favourite is Cantonese, Chiuchow/Teochew, and Shanghainese) you can come across.

Cooking is certainly daunting for many but looks easy for many others, too.  But I know that it is really through trial and error, lots of hard work, and talents that lead to the delicious recipes.  Here are the talents whom I learn some of the local Asian cookings from – online thanks to YouTube and the blogs!  I hope you would enjoy these as much as I do.

Korea – Maangchi.com

I first came across Maanghi (name of her website) when I was attending an Asian food demo at the local Asian Art Museum when the presenter said that this was her go-to Korean website to learn cooking.  I have felt in love with this lady and her cooking (blog and online) ever since.  And her newsletter is a bomb.  Check out one of her most popular posts – Kimchi and this very popular Korean stew dish at Korean restaurants – Kimchi Soft Tofu Stew

Japan – Nami Chen’s Just One Cookbook and her Youtube channel

With 2 million page views on her Just One Cookbook Facebook/Blog/YouTube channels, Nami is one of the most popular Japanese American bloggers on Japanese cooking and she also studied in the Bay Area (what a cool photo!).  She also shared many aspects of traditional Japanese culture and her travel experiences which are a joy to read.  Check out this simple Omurice (Western-influenced Japanese omelette rice) and my oh so favourite Green Tea Latte video amongst many others (like this Japanese cheesecake one).

South-East Asian (Indonesia & Thai) – Pat Tanumihardja’s Pickles and Tea

I have recently enjoyed reading Pat’s cookbook called “Farm to Table Asian Secrets” and am impressed by the many flavours of the South-East Asian cooking that can be replicated at home.  She also uses fresh and seasonal farmers’ market ingredients, which are always a plus.  She also write about other SE Asian cuisines (Indian, Vietnamese, etc.) You would enjoy this Yellow Rice (Nasi Tumpeng) and the Chicken Tikka Masala (which is actually a British national food and not an authentic Indian cuisine!)

 

Great San Francisco Food Streets

As visitors are coming to town to San Francisco, there are a couple of streets here that offer a great variety of eateries without hurting your purses or wallets too much.

Enter the graffiti-filled Polk Street, which has a great variety of ethnic and international food ranging from Mexican cocktails, Moroccan food, Indian buffets, super cheat groceries, to fine diners including Michelin-starred La Folie and the romantic Italian Aquerello.

Next is Kearny Street, which links up the financial district and Chinatown to the Union Square.

Here choices include Greek eateries, Japanese curry and ramen, Thai food, International Food Court, American Classics, Cantonese flagship (R&G), and many popular boba tea places. There is an EscapeSF outfit now, which visitors should try. It is rated the top 2 most fun games in SF by Trip Advisors.

A Secret Ingredient for Health

Bone Broth reasons
Courtesy of revivalistkitchen.com

One has probably heard about bone broth (made from beef, pork, chicken, fish) and veggie broth, but Heather Dane really explained well why we need bone broth, especially after age 40!  The star in bone broth – collagen – supports, strengthens, cushions, provides structure, and holds the body together like glue, according to Heather.  If your body starts to lose collagen, no wonder you can feel more aches and pains, have wrinkles, thinner hair, and eye problems, experience loss of muscle tone, have digestive issues, etc.  Bone broth is also the key ingredient to many tasty Chinese soups such as this wonton soup (Hong Kong-style) and this 5-minute veggie soup (add animal protein if you like).  I have personally experienced really really tasty Shanghainese wonton soup in the streets of Shanghai – the secret is no doubt their long and well-simmered bone broth!

What is a Great Salad Meal to Make?

Brenda Davis Super Salad.jpg

There is an online food revolution summit going on currently which contains life-changing health information.  The experts all seem to agree that a plant-based diet is better for human’s health.  Given everyone’s body is built differently, there is no one formula that fits all.  However, there is enough science about the higher benefits of plant protein vs. animal protein and why a vegetarian diet helps.  Risks of Diabetes are 62% lower with a healthy plant-based vegan diet from a recent study.  Heme iron from red meat, as opposed to non-heme iron from plant food, leads to increased risks of heart disease.  Experts warn that one needs to supplement with Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and Iodine if one eats a vegan diet.  In general, many of us do not eat enough fibre.

What might be a great vegetarian dish – like a perfect salad?

Here is a great recommendation from Brenda Davis, a registered dietitian.  I have never enjoyed salad quite as much as I am now. A salad is not boring and is completely fulfilling and tasty.  To kickstart a vegan diet, try this 21day program free: 21DayKickstart.org

Source: http://www.brendadavisrd.com/my-favorite-supper-salad/

My Favorite Supper Salad (Brenda Davis)

My favorite meal is salad. Seriously.  To me, a beautiful salad is a masterpiece of colour, texture and flavor.  Of course, we are not talking iceberg lettuce with a few tomatoes and cucumbers sprinkle on top; we are talking about a full, satisfying meal.  I make a giant salad that lasts up to 4 days.  Greens are torn and dressing is always on the side so the salad does not brown or wilt. Nutritionally, it doesn’t get much better than this!

This salad is a full meal deal. It provides a rainbow of color and a feast of phytochemicals. Choose organic produce, if possible. By eating it with some fat-containing food such as a seed-based salad dressing, nutrient absorption is maximized.

 

The Greens

Choose any dark greens you have on hand. Throw in some red or purple leafy vegetable for variety and color. Use about 8 cups in total – mix and match as you like. Here is a suggested combination:

 

4 cups wild, mixed greens

2 cups kale, stem removed and sliced matchstick thin

2 cups chopped radicchio or thinly sliced red or purple cabbage

 

The Veggies and Fruits

The key is to cover the rainbow in your selection. Aim for 5 color families – green, yellow-orange, pink- red, purple- blue and white-beige. Use a total of about 5 cups veggies (1 cup from each color family). Mix and match as you like or simply select 1-2 options from each color category. Here are a few suggestions:

 

Green

1 cup broccolini or broccoli florets and stems, sliced diagonally

1 cup asparagus (raw or steamed), sliced diagonally

1 cup zucchini, sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced diagonally

1 cup snow peas or sugar snap peas

1 cup sprouts, tightly packed (e.g. sunflower, pea or other)

1 cup fresh herbs, tightly packed (e.g. mint, basil or dill)

2 kiwi fruit, chopped

 

Yellow-Orange

1-2 yellow or orange carrots, sliced or grated

1 yellow or orange pepper, chopped in thin 1″ strips

1 pint heirloom colored grape or other tomatoes

1 cup golden cauliflower florets

1 cup yellow beets (steamed or boiled), cubed

1-2 oranges or 1 grapefruit, bite sized pieces

1 mango, chopped

 

Pink-Red

1 cup watermelon radish, cut into small cubes

1 red pepper, chopped in thin 1″ strips

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 small red onion, sliced thinly

1 cup beets (steamed or boiled), cubed

1 cup pomegranate seeds (or seeds from one pomegranate)

1-2 cups strawberries, sliced or raspberries

1/2 cup gogi berries

 

Purple-Blue

1 purple pepper, chopped in thin 1″ strips

1-2 purple carrots, sliced or grated

1 cup purple cauliflower florets

1 cup roasted eggplant

1 cup blueberries or blackberries

 

White-Beige

1 cup cauliflower florets

1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced

2 salad turnips, sliced

1 small kohlrabi, cut in thin strips

1 small jicama, cut in thin strips

 

Plant Protein

Choose at least 1-2 protein sources for your salad. Some great options are:

6-8 oz. smoked tofu, cubed

6-8 oz. tofu, cubed and sautéed with tamari, turmeric, herbs and spices

6-8 oz tempeh, cooked

1-2 cups chickpeas or other beans

1-2 cups lentils

1 cup hummus

4-8 falafel balls or other veggie balls

 

Healthy Fats

Choose one or two healthy fat sources to help enhance nutrient absorption from your meal.

1/4 cup peanuts

1/4 cup tree nuts (e.g. pecans, walnuts, almonds)

1/4 cup seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower or hemp)

1 avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup olives, whole pitted or sliced

 

Great Starches

Choose one starchy vegetable or grain to add calories and make the meal more satisfying.

1 sweet potato, steamed and cubed

1 purple or white potato, steamed and cubed

1 cup butternut squash (or other winter squash), steamed and cubed

1 cup corn

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 cup cooked kamut or spelt

1 cup cooked wild rice

 

Herbs

Add herbs for a boost of flavor and phytochemicals.

1/4 to 1/2 cup dill, parsley, basil or other fresh herbs

 

Directions

  1. Wash and prepare the vegetables as outlined above.
  2. Place the leafy vegetables in a large bowl.
  3. Top with other colorful vegetables.
  4. Add the plant protein source and starchy choices if eating the whole salad. If saving some of the salad for another day, keep the protein source, starchy choice and avocado separate and add just before serving.
  5. Serve with a nut or seed-based dressing.

 

 

 

Happy New Year and Favourite Recipes (Simple)

Wishing you all a blessed, happy, and healthy New Year.

How about some healthy and simple recipes to kick off the New Year?

Here are some gluten-free and gut-healing recipes from one of my favourite functional doctors, Dr. Axe – his best ones from 2016!

No-bake coconut cookies with cacao nibs – yum!!  From: Dr. Axe

Total Time: 20 minutesServes: 18 cookies

INGREDIENTS:

2–1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut

2-3 tablespoons cacao nibs

1 tablespoon flax seed (whole or ground), optional*

2/3 cup honey

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 cup almond butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 tablespoons cacao powder or dark cocoa powder

coconut sugar to sprinkle on top

Himalayan pink salt to sprinkle on top

DIRECTIONS:

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the oats and coconut flakes well and set aside.

In a medium pot over medium heat, combine the honey, coconut oil and almond butter, cocoa or cacao power and stir continuously until the mixture is melted and mixed evenly.

Remove from heat and add in the oats, cacao nibs and coconut flakes stirring continuously. Add the vanilla extract and continue stirring until mixture becomes thick.

Drop heaping tablespoons of the mixture onto the cookie sheets. Lightly sprinkle coconut sugar and sea salt on top of each cookie. Place the cookie sheets in the freezer for at least 20 minutes, or until you’re ready to serve.

Take the cookies out of the freezer and allow them to thaw for 5 minutes before serving. Store any leftover cookies in a sealed container in the freezer.