I almost left my heart in San Francisco

No.208

 

Sunday December 10, 2017

 

 

 

My husband and I had a 3-week trip to USA in November.  We spent most of our time in Phoenix in Arizona to visit our family and friends but we managed to make a short trip to San Francisco. What a charming city she is, we really enjoyed our long weekend there and I would like to go back again soon.  It was a cooler climate in San Francisco compared to Phoenix, but we come from Norway, it was not too bad for us. We stayed at the Hilton Hotel Financial District which is located right by the China Town. The location was great, the room was clean and spacious, only I do not recommend you to eat

 

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breakfast at the hotel. (There are many good small breakfast places around the hotel)  Both my husband and I love walking and San Francisco was not so big as I imagined, we could walk or just take buses or the famous cable cars to our destinations.

 

If you have been following my Facebook or my blog for some time, you know how much I enjoy food in different countries.  When I travel, I am very much interested in their local food and experiencing their unique food culture. Visiting their local food market or super market stores are great as you can get a little glimpse of people’s life through food. As far as my 3-day trip could cover, I felt people in San Francisco are very interested in food and the city offers a lot of good, fresh and international food. They seem to like to have organic food, I saw wonderful variety of different organic vegetables, milk and milk products, coffee, textile and meat products there. It may not be so strange as California is

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a well know fertile land and having the world’s richest agricultural valley nearby must also support their rich food culture.

My husband and I really had good food for 3 full days.

 

The famous China Town is really right next to the district called Little Italy.  Around the corner from our hotel there was a little French-style cafe that served good breakfast too.  We had a croissant and a warm cup of cafe au lait for breakfast, visited a Chinese restaurant for lunch and had a pizza at an Italian pizzeria for dinner 🙂

Carts with yummy Dim Sum go around at the lunch time in the restaurant called City View 

We were shown to a table and as soon as we sat they came and offered fantastic Dim Sum.  All these freshly steamed dumplings and piping hot steamed vegetables from their kitchen were so tempting that we just kept eating! I wanted to try Gyoza but sometimes it was not easy to communicate with the ladies who come to us with the carts.  I asked for “Gyoza” and it seems that I could not make them understood what I wanted. I was wondering for awhile but realized that people call Gyoza “Potstickers” in USA! Right, I almost forgot about it.

As you can imagine my jeans were getting tight but we walked a lot everyday to burn off the excessive calories!  Before I forget, do visit Ferry Building, I had such a good soft serve ice cream at Gott’s Roadside in there, oh boy it was so good! Next time when I come to San Francisco, I will probably go and eat their ice cream everyday as it is the food I miss most from San Francisco.

It was a fun and yummy trip.
Thanks for reading!

xxx Rie

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Making Curry Powder at home

No.203

Tuesday June 20, 2017

In Oslo we have a place called Grønnland and there are many exotic and ethnic stores. I love these stores, they give me a lot of inspiration of cooking, they make me want to learn more about unknown food culture and ingredients.  Specially they are quite specialized in spices.  Their daily cooking uses more spices than our Japanese cooking and these stores are famous for its great selection of all different spices. Yesterday I went to one of the large stores and bought 11 different spices.  Today I mixed them and made curry from scratch. It was such a fun cooking experiment to mix my own curry powder but it has to be improved.  Next week I will try 2 other recipes and experiment more to find the ideal balance between the spiciness and the sweetness, I believe the depth of the flavor can be improved by adding or decreasing one or more of these spices.  A fun journey to my ideal curry powder has begun….

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Today’s ingredients:
4 1/2 tea spoons coriander powder
2 teaspoons of Turmeric powder
1/2 tea spoon chili powder
1/2 paprika powder
6 green cardamons
1 1/2 tea spoons cumin seeds
1/2 tea spoon black pepper corns
1/2 inch cinnamon stick
1/4 tea spoon whole clove sticks
1 bay leaf

 

 

Japanese/Asian grocery stores in Oslo

No.201

June 2, 2017

When I came to Norway for the first time in 1986, I remember I did not find so many Asian grocery stores as we find now. After more than 30 years, we have some good ones in Oslo area and they carry also some Japanese food. Although the selection is limited in these stores, I wanted to make a list of things I buy from them and I hope this information will be helpful for you to make your shopping list for Japanese cooking. For those who live outside Oslo or far from Oslo, I recommend you to call them in advance before you make a trip to visit these stores just to make sure they will be open and they have the specific food item that you like to buy.

This list was made yesterday on June 1, 2017 and the photos of the shops were also taken yesterday when I went to these 5 stores and checked that they had these items. I also had a chance to speak with some of the store managers and I wrote a short summery of each conversation. As you know they may stop selling the product by different reasons and it is a typical and well known tendency in these Asian grocery stores. One of the store managers said to me when I asked about one product which I could no longer find on their store shelf: He said it will be coming back soon, they were having some problems to bring it in Norway from the Netherlands and it has been taking time. We need to understand that these Japanese/Asian products are all imported through a couple or several wholesalers and the distribution channel can get jammed. Even if you did not find the item in the described store, please do not get upset and I hope you will try again. It may be just delayed in delivery.

To you who came to this list through the Japan-Norway Society’s Facebook group and my comment about fresh Shiso leaves used at my last cooking course, welcome to my blog. I wrote about it under the shop “Maschmanns Matmarked” (the 3rd shop on the list), it is a summery of my talk with the store manager yesterday. I also added information about fresh Red Shiso sprout. There is a photo of this wonderful sprout, so please look at it if you have never seen it before.

The name of the shop and its address are placed on top and the products I buy from them are followed.  Some products are linked to photo image so that you can see how it looks like. Just click on that, you will jump to the photo. I hope it will be helpful for you to find the item in the store which is full of so unfamiliar and exotic products.

This blog post is not sponsored by any of the following stores by any means.

If you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Enjoy the list!!

Rie
(PS… the list was revised today Saturday June 3, 2017 and I added more photos on Sunday June 4, 2017)

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1 Scan Asia (Address: Storgata 27, 0184 Oslo)
Japanese type short grain Rice (Yumenishiki)
Kinugoshi Tofu made in Japan
Deep fried Tofu (Atsuage)
Nori
Bean Thread Noodles (Harusame)
Black Bean Garlic Sauce (to replace with Tochijan)
Chili Garlic Sauce (to replace with Tobanjan)
– Kochujan (it is a spicy type with red chili in it)
– Miso
– Kikkoman soy sauce
Shirodashi (it is Japanese stock Dashi mixed with light-colored soy sauce and Mirin)
– Mirin
Sushi  vinegar
Sesame oil
– QP mayonnaise
– Bulldog Tonkatsu sauce
Dashi powder mix
Japanese curry roux mix (Golden Curry)
Okura
Young ginger (milder and less fiber than regular ginger)
Shimeji mushrooms
– Shiitake mushrooms, Donko type (thicker and rounder)
Enoki mushrooms
Chinese chives (Nira)
– Bok Choy (Chingensai)
– Taro potato (Satoimo)
– Yam (Yamaimo)
– Frozen Natto
– Frozen Spring Roll Wrap
Frozen Gyoza Skin from Happy Belly
– Pork ribs, Chinese cut
Quail eggs (Uzurano tamago)
Dry Soba Noodles
Dry Somen Noodles 
– Dry Kelp (Kombu)

 

 

 

2 Nor Dagligvarer Import (Address: Storgata 34B, 0182 Oslo)
Japanese-type of cucumber
Japanese-type of spinach with red stem end (Akajiku Horenso)
– Fresh ginger
– Fresh Italian parsley
– Fresh chives (to replace with Japanese Konegi)
Organic Red Kidney beans (Kintokimame)
Red Cow peas (Azuki beans)

 

 

 

3 Maschmanns Matmarked (Address: Karenslyst allé 51, 0279 Oslo)
Fresh Shiso leaves and Red Shiso sprout * see Note 1
– Shiso furikake
Japanese Panko
Itacho Miso (Shiro Miso for professional use)
Frozen Ramen Noodles
Sashimi package for Temaki Sushi (Tuna and Salmon)
Japanese Rice Vinegar and Japanese Kokumotsu Vinegar (less than 40% rice in ingredients) * see Note 2

Note 1: Fresh Shiso leaves and Red Shiso sprout can be ordered.
1 pack of fresh shiso leaves costs 89 kroner. As you know they
are very delicate leaf product and can not keep them out in the
store so long. If you happen to be in this store and did not
see Shiso leaves, please ask if they have it in the back kitchen.
They may be kept in the fridge to keep the fresh quality.

Note 2 : These vinegars are wonderful. Right now they are out of stock.
The store manager said they will be back soon.

Tel. 22553344
Epost post(a)maschmanns.no

 

 

 

4 Sunkost in Gunerius Shopping Center (Address: Storgata 32, 0184 Oslo)
– Organic Tamari Soy sauce
– Organic Soy sauce
Umeboshi
Barley Miso (Mugi Miso)
They are very expensive but if you really need them they are available here.

 

 

5 Leif Helios Colosseum (Address:Middelthuns gate 23, 0368 Oslo)
Large Fresh Sunflower sprout (to replace with Kaiware Daikon sprout)

 

 

6 Skafferiet (Address:Elisenbergveien 7, 0265 Oslo)
Jerusalem artichoke, the far left on the photo (Kikuimo)

 

 

7 Coop Mega at Bekkestua (Address: Gl. Ringeriksveien 39, 1357 Bekkestua)
Burdock Root (Gobo in Japanese, Storborre or Storborrerot in Norwegian) * See note
Note: Please call and ask first. They do not have Gobo always.
Tel. 67818920
Email : bekkestua.mega(a)coop.no

 

 

8 Vinmonopolet
Japanese Sake (I use Gekkeikan for cooking)
Japanese Umeshu
Yuzu shu (sweet liquor with Yuzu)
Japanese beer 

 

 

9 Online Store Kinsarvik Naturkost
http://www.kinsarvik.no
Organic Japanese Tofu from Japan
This store has many interesting Japanese food items:
– Umeboshi
– Umeboshi paste
– Matcha green tea
– Rice crackers Teriyaki Sesame
– Rice crackers Tamari Garlic
– Amazake dessert
– Oolong tea teabags
– Genmai tea

 

 

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10 Obento (Address: Bernt Ankers gate 4, 0183 Oslo)
Tlf: 22 60 40 54
This is Nihei-san’ store (who owned Japan Torget before)
– Matcha Fine Tea Powder
– Japanese rice
– Instant Ramen
– Frozen sweets like Daifuku, Dorayaki
– Soy sauce
– Japanese seasonings
– Rice Crackers

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Thinly sliced beef for some Japanese dishes like Sukiyaki and Shabu Shabu 

Here I want to show you how I cut beef for Sukiyaki and Shabu Shabu:
(I really recommend you to buy a slicer like this. When you are in Germany, get one, they have the best home-use small meat slicer)

I buy a big piece of Entrecote and freeze it for 4-5 hours.
Before you slice it, take it out of the freezer and leave in your kitchen for 1-2 hours.

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Enjoy your Japanese cooking!

xxx Rie