The Stinking Rose, San Francisco, CA

The Stinking Rose is an iconic garlic restaurant in San Francisco. I am usually skeptical about theme restaurants, yet I was dying to find out what they can do with garlic. The interior is nothing short of being bizarre, but as I tasted my dish, I experienced a culinary twist of fate.

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To find this restaurant, just follow your nose.

Entrance The Stinking Rose

Located in North Beach, better known as the Little Italy of San Francisco, The Stinking Rose is an iconic garlic restaurant that serves California-Italian cuisine. The restaurant has mixed-reviews. Despite some view it as a go-to place for an exotic meal, others see it as a tourist trap.  Ultimately, the restaurant claims that their “garlic is seasoned with food”.  Since I had no idea what exactly that means, I made a trip to try.

What’s it like inside?

Secretive Inner Booths
Secretive Inner Booths

The atmosphere is funky, definitely spells bizarre San Francisco!  As you weave through the restaurant, you will find garlands of garlic hanging from blood-red walls. The lighting is dim, the tables are cramped.  

If you like, ask to be seated at the innermost part of the restaurant, where you will find secretive dining booths draped with carnival canvas, resembling, in some ways, a tarot chamber.

How does it taste?

You will likely start your garlic experience with a jar of garlic-scallion pesto on your table.  

Garlic Scallion Pesto
Garlic Scallion Pesto

Slightly warmed dinner rolls are brought to you shortly after you are seated. Tear off some roll,  reach for the jar, and glaze a bite of the roll with some pesto.  Pop it in your mouth, and let your senses wake up to the garlic rush.

Here is my featured dish

Forty Garlic Chicken
Forty Garlic Chicken

On a previous visit, I had seen the Forty Garlic Chicken and just could not resist the urge to try it.  The waitress explained that it is basically grilled quarter chicken, and forty cloves of baked garlic, plus garlic mashed potatoes on the side.  The ingredients are simple, but I was curious as to how it tastes. I ordered the chicken and anxiously waited.  As I inhale the surrounding air infused with garlic, I couldn’t help but find my mouth moist with anticipation.

The dish finally arrived. Indeed there was a mountain of garlic next to the chicken. For this dish, the garlic is your vegetable.

I couldn’t tell whether the chicken or the garlic should be the focus.  The chicken was moist, and infused with rosemary. It was also expertly grilled, right down to the slight crunch on the wing tip.  The garlic was sauteed with butter, then roasted on a sheet pan, just long enough to soften the spiciness, resulting in a creamy texture that simply melts in your mouth like caramel.  As I continued my dish, the note was clear, the garlic certainly comes first.  You can cut a slice of chicken or lift a portion of potato just to complement a bite of garlic, and that garlic is amazing.

Final thoughts and dining tips

  • It is a bit pricey, the average tap (without drinks) is about $30 per person, but my Forty Garlic Chicken tastes awesome.  My buddy’s garlic meatball and pasta tastes average.  I believe choosing a milder meat like the chicken helps bring out the garlic.
  • Costco members should look for discounted gift cards at Costco’s San Francisco branch.
  • If you come here on a date or anniversary, you may wish to reserve an inner dining booth but make sure both of you are aware ahead of time that this IS a garlic restaurant and bring lots of after-dinner mints.


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Oxbow Public Market, Napa CA

In Napa Valley, CA, you will find pricey wines and food. The average tab can be as high as $125 per person. This can cause a vacationer considerable anxiety. Worry no more! Beside the Napa River, just across the bridge from downtown, I discovered Oxbow Public Market where sumptuous foods can be had at affordable prices. Find out more….

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A food paradise where gourmet food is affordable

When you visit the Napa Valley, you are most likely seeking beautiful wines and gourmet food. Nevertheless, the average tab can reach as high as $125 per person – ouch!  It’s hard to think about budgeting bottles of wine to the meal!  On the other hand, the discerning taste of the Valley leaves very little room for eating at chain restaurants. After all, how can you imagine yourself sipping handcrafted wine with a drive-through burger!  

Worry no more. Along the Napa River, discover the Oxbow Public Market and surrounded yourself with sumptuous foods at affordable prices. It’s truly a foodie’s paradise!

What’s the market like?

Casual Dining While Browsing


Modeled after the Quincy Market at Boston, Oxbow Public Market breaks away from Napa’s pricy food scene. It is basically a food court. You will find this place open and casual.  However, as you begin studying the menus, you will find exquisite delicacies await.  Spy further into the kitchens, you will notice that each independent chef is focused on making you an unforgettable, yet affordable meal. The tab here is only around $8 to $20, depending on what you are hungry for.

How does the food taste?

Pear Salad

Expertly and lusciously prepared.  You can pick your own sustainably raised cattle steak to be barbecued by an artisan chef on the spot. If you prefer a vegetarian meal, choose a salad made from organically grown vegetables. For a coffee aficionado, grab a cup of hand-dripped coffee with so much body that adding a single drop of cream or grain of sugar seems to be an insult to the baristar.  Many chefs take so much pride in using sustainably and locally grown ingredients that they hang signs to notify everyone!

Iceberg Salad with Crispy OnionsOn the presentation side, the plating varies. You can be served in a compostable brown lunch box with knives and forks made from potato ware; or a melamine plate with real silverware. Here you are free to, and you should, hop from kitchen to kitchen to sample from savory to sweet.

My dining tips

  • Oxbow Public Market is located from 610 to 644 First Street, Napa, CA 94559
  • To get a seat quickly, arrive early.
  • Bring a reusable shopping bag! Besides food kitchens, you will also find exotic spices, cheese and wine, kitchenware, and cookbooks. New stores are still being added.
  • After eating, be sure to tour the organic food garden across the parking lot.  It is run by a co-op of local chefs, and it supplies many ingredients for their restaurant meals.
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Steamed Eggplant with Ginger and Green Onions

I have learned of eggplant being grilled, baked, even breaded and deep-fried. This time, let’s try steaming. The result may be some of the best eggplant you may ever taste. Try it!

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Surprised by this new way to cook eggplant

In early spring, my folks visited me and taught me how to steam eggplant.

“Steamed eggplant?” I questioned doubtfully.

“Yes! Let me show you how!” my mom asserted confidently.

“Go ahead, please show me!” As a true fan of well-prepared eggplant, I wanted to know more.

Since moving to the US, I haven’t tasted my folks’ cooking as often as I would like.  Little did I know that they continue to surprise me with new ways to cook.

I have learned of eggplants being grilled, baked, even breaded and deep-fried.  This time, we tried steaming.

How it tastes

Steamed Eggplant with Ginger and Green Onion

The result was some of the best eggplant you might ever taste.  As you bite into it, it remains al dente. Then it releases fully dimensional flavors it previously soaked up, asserting that it is the star of the dish, introducing both savory and subtle notes, making you crave more.

Summer is here! Follow this recipe and try eggplant this way!

Steamed Eggplant with Ginger and Green Onion
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Vegatarian
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 4
  • 1 pound Eggplant
  • 4 ounce green onions, separate green and white parts, cut the green parts in 1 inch segments and julienne the white parts.
    Julienned Green Onion
  • 1 ounce ginger, julienned
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup Shaoshing wine, or Chinese rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon agave syrup, or sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon agave syrup, or sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  1. In a big salad bowl, mix eggplant, green parts of green onion, garlic, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, rice vinegar, agave syrup, salt and white pepper together to marinate the eggplant for 10 minutes.
    Marinating Eggplant
  2. As the eggplant is being marinated, julienne the parts of the green onions.
  3. Set water for steaming to boil.
  4. Steam eggplant for 10 minutes.
  5. Place julienned green onion on top of eggplant
  6. Cover steamer to warm the julienned green onion for 5 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, heat up olive oil.
  8. Splash hot olive oil on top of eggplant.
  9. Drizzle soy sauce around the eggplant to taste, or set aside for dipping.
1) When selecting eggplant, choose the ones that is firm to the touch.
2) When cutting up eggplant, peel back the stem cap so as to collect the youngest and most tender part of the vegetable as well.
3) This recipe is high in fiber and low in cholesterol
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 174g Calories: 171 Fat: 14g DV 22% Saturated fat: 2g DV 10% Carbohydrates: 10.3g Sugar: 4.2g Sodium: 457mg DV19% Fiber: 5g DV 20% Protein: 2g Cholesterol: 0 mg


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Nola at Palo Alto, CA

A good cajun restaurant is hard to find in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is my review on a lively Cajun restaurant near Stanford University where food, booze, and blues are bountiful. Here’s my story.

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If you are looking for lots of “food, booze and blues”, Nola is your place.

Some time ago, I made a trip to Nola near Stanford University. Located right outside the Stanford campus, Nola is a Cajun bar/restaurant, and a popular student hangout.  I arrived on a Friday night and found myself at the end of a one-hour waiting line.  Even though the host managed to seat us within 15 minutes, do plan to come early or you may need to wait a bit.

What’s it like on the inside

Second floor balcony at Nola
Second floor balcony at Nola

Once inside, I was captivated by the two-story dining hall that resembled a Kung-fu film set with floors going up around a courtyard open to the sky. Alternatively, you may be seated in cozy corners surrounded by wall art that transports you to the bayou.

How their food tastes

Chicken N' Biscuit At Nola Palo Alto CA
Chicken N’ Biscuit

My order arrived quickly. Despite some mix-up on the food that drove the kitchen to re-make some of it, part of the meal was quite superb.

My feast began with the Chicken N’ Biscuit Basket.  Unfortunately, I was only mildly impressed.  Except for the fried pickle chips, the basket tasted like it was reluctantly prepared by the chef. It lacked character, as though this appetizer were an afterthought.  Nevertheless, the pickle chips were astonishingly refreshing.  I wished I could just return the rest of the basket in exchange for the pickle chips.

From here, the food got better. The jambalaya arrived.  I am not an expert at making jambalaya, yet as I took one spoonful, I found my taste buds lavished in layers of flavor. Contrary to my belief, the heat from the jambalaya was so subtle and gradual that it fell to the background like crimson in a sunset painting.

Jambalaya at Nola Palo Alto CA
Jambalaya at Nola

I continued consuming the rice and tomato sauce with true satisfaction. I treasured the prawns and crawfish like little gold nuggets, interspersing them between spoonsful of rice as if they were tiny delectable rewards for my good table manners.

I ended my dinner with a plate of beignets. My server told me that they were worth it.

Beignets Nola Palo Alto CA
Beignets with Three Dipping Sauce

They looked like miniature pillows for a young girl’s doll, every bit as delicate and soft. They were served with three kinds of dips: the salted caramel, raspberry, and chocolate-caramel fudge.

I was most fond of the raspberry sauce as I fully enjoyed the interplay between the sweetness and tartness.  Sadly, they were somewhat light on the powdered sugar compared to the ones in New Orleans. I was disappointed that they left no notorious sugar mustache on my face.

My dining tips

Nola is located at 535 Ramona Street, Palo Alto, CA.  Some people go there only for drinks and parties.  If you wish for a more quiet meal, my dining tip is making sure that you have a reservation and ask for the balcony table upstairs.  The bar located downstairs near the entrance was a bit rowdy for me on a Friday night.

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iDumpling in Redwood City, CA

Admit it! Many of us have fantasized on cheating in some way. Recently, Yelp found me an affair with iDumpling at Redwood City, CA. Here is my story…

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If you want fresh and authentic dumplings – this is your spot.

How I found this restaurant

We all do it – cheating on your favorite restaurants.

Not long ago, I swear my go-to place for dumplings was Kingdom of Dumplings in San Francisco. I even wrote about it on my Facebook page – LunchSmart!

I Dumpling411 reviews powered by Yelp
Nevertheless, Yelp introduced me to an affair with iDumpling at Redwood City, CA when I was looking for dumplings in nearby Palo Alto, CA.

iDumping sounds a little cliche, but it has a real mom-and-pop charm to it. The Yelpers loved it, so I followed their footsteps.

How the food tastes

Soup Dumplings at iDumpling
Soup Dumplings at iDupling


My buddy and I ordered four dishes – the sesame cold tofu, cucumber salad with woods ears, pork dumplings with Chinese chive, and soup dumplings.

I loved the way that the cold tofu was served diced. You can simply eat the diced bits with a spoon like cereal morsels with little care as to how to pick them up with chopsticks. Each tiny tofu melts in your mouth, coating your taste buds with a layer of sumptuous sesame oil.

Much to my surprise, the cucumber salad and the soup dumplings were so close to those of  Kingdom of Dumplings that it was as if they were made by twin brothers.  The pork and chive dumplings seemed ordinary on the plate, yet iDumpling astonished us with seductive pops of savory soup when they were chewed.  As usual, we could not resist devouring the juicy soup dumplings just to enjoy the torturing steamy pop of hot soup inside our mouths, leaving us immersed in a rush of umami while desperately fanning ourselves from the heat.

What the ambience is like

iDumpling Redwood City CA
Inside iDumpling


Like Kingdom of Dumplings, the space in iDumpling was tight. Do expect to eat elbow-to-elbow with everyone else, unless you arrive during non-peak hours.  Unlike Kingdom of Dumplings, it was tidier, and there were no mystery sauces on the table.  iDumpling’s clientele was younger, and the food was a bargain. The service was swift. In general, you can confidently communicate with the servers in English.  Like Kingdom of Dumplings, you are expected to order your food quickly without a lot of small talk unless you become one of their regulars.

My final thoughts on iDumpling

To me, dining is like sex – it seems more fun doing it with a lover than a spouse.  iDumpling is like a lover that seems to treat you a little nicer than your spouse at home.  Thanks to Yelp, I get the funny feeling that this love affair will go on for a little longer.

My Dining tip

iDumpling is located at 2660 Broadway, Redwood City CA.  My one dining tip is to get there slightly earlier than regular dining hours to avoid standing in line on the sidewalk.

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Busy People’s Beef Bourguignon

In a busy house, it is always challenging to create slow-cooked stews. In this recipe, I broke down the steps of making beef bourguignon, streamlined the steps to make it possible to make the stew even you don’t have a lot of time.

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Beef Bourguignon

Why do you want to make this stew?

In a busy house,  it is challenging to create a slow-cooked stew. Meanwhile, who can deny your family’s heart-warming enjoyment from having one?

How to make this stew when you don’t have a lot of time?

In the book, The Make Ahead Cook, America’s Test Kitchen shows a technique called the make-ahead stew.  They suggest first cooking it halfway and then finishing it up just before eating.  In this recipe, I broke down the steps so that it can fit into our daily chores.  Most importantly, I choose a dish that tastes even better as leftovers.  Beef bourguignon is one such dish.

Now that the work is done, what’s your reward?

Full flavor.  That’s your reward.  When the work is done, treat yourself with a sip of cabernet; let its front-loaded punch wake up your taste. Then take a bite of the slow-cooked beef and vegetables. As that blend of wine and beef flavors tapers off swiftly, nibble on a baguette with blue cheese or butter to add to your mid-palate.  At the end, don’t forget to soak up the beefy meat sauce with some extra bread. It’s just that finger-licking good.

Busy People's Beef Bourguignon
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
In the book, The Make Ahead Cook, America’s Test Kitchen shows a technique called the make-ahead stew. Echoing the book, my recipe breaks down the steps so that it can fit into our daily chores. Try it! See it for yourself!
Recipe type: Beef Stew
Serves: 6 to 8
  • You will need a 6 to 9 quart french or dutch oven
  • 5 ounce bacon, chopped
  • 5 pound rump roast, extra fat removed, cut into 1.5 to 2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 to 5 ounce carrots, washed but remain unpeeled
  • ½ medium onion, cut into large cubes but remain unpeeled
  • 5 ounce celery, washed but leaves on, cut into 1.5 to 2 inch
  • 1 head of garlic, cut open horizontally, unpeeled
  • A few twigs thymes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 ounce, 1 can tomato paste
  • 750ml, 1 bottle cabernet sauvignon
  • 2¾ cup beef stock
  • 8 ounce pearl onions
  • 8 ounce white mushrooms, sliced or whole
  • 1 Tablespoon softened butter
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
Day 1
  1. Set french oven on stove on medium heat.
  2. Fry bacon for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove bacon, set aside.
  4. Brown beef cube in pork fat for 5 minutes.
  5. Deglaze bottom of french oven with one cup of chicken stock.
  6. Store browned beef, bacon bits and deglazed brown bits in refrigerator.
  7. While waiting for the beef to brown, Wrap carrots, onion, celery, garlic, thyme and bay leaves in cheese cloth. Tie the wrap with butcher's string.
  8. Store vegetable wrap in refrigerator.
Day 2
  1. Set oven to 350°F
  2. Place vegetables sachet on the bottom of french oven
  3. Add tomato paste
  4. Place beef on top of the vegetables
  5. Add wine
  6. Add beef stock until just covering the beef, about 2 cups
  7. Bake for 1.5 hours
  8. While the beef is in the oven, add pearl onions in boiling water for 10 seconds, then remove the skin.
  9. Saute pearl onions and mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ¾ of beef stock and 1 teaspoon sugar for 5 minutes.
  10. In the last 15 minutes, make a beurre manie by mixing flour, soft butter together and slowly add the hot liquid from the stew into the butter-flour mixture
  11. Return the beurre manie, pearl onions and mushrooms back to the stew and continue to cook in the last 15 minutes.
1) You can break down the steps further by preparing the beef and aromatic vegetables and pearl onions first, then browning the beef, then finally stewing it.
2) When browning the beef, do not crowd the pan. You may need to do this in batches.
3) Frozen pearl onions can be used, but fresh ones taste far more flavorful. Just boil the fresh ones 1 to 2 minutes, put them in an ice bath, and pop them out of their skin.
4) Browned beef can be refrigerated up to 3 days before stewing
5) If refrigerated, the final stew can be stored up to 4 days. You can also freeze it safely for up to 6 months.
5) This dish is comfortably beefy but yet low in cholesterol and carb.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 636 g Calories: 757 Fat: 26.4 g/ DV 41% Saturated fat: 3.5 g/ DV 18% Carbohydrates: 11 g/ DV 4% Sugar: 2.6 g Sodium: 816 mg/ DV 14% Fiber: 2 g/ DV 8% Protein: 103.9 g Cholesterol: 41 mg/ DV 14%

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Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein

We often eat spaghetti squash with cheese and marinara. I am particularly delighted by the chow mein style. You can also choose to make it gluten-free! Find out more…

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This squash isn’t just for special diets

Once at a store, when I asked for a recommendation on an accompanying sauce for my spaghetti squash, the overly helpful clerk asked me many questions,

“Are you a vegetarian?”

“Are you a vegan?”

“Are you gluten sensitive?”

“No.” I replied. “I am just eating it for variety and fun!”

Although spaghetti squash is vegetarian and gluten-free, do you really need a reason to eat it other than its good taste?

An Asian taste with a gluten-free option

We often cook spaghetti squash with cheese and marinara sauce, but I decided to give it an Asian fried noodle taste. Having tested several versions (with and without meat), I am delighted by the basic chow mein style.  Also, I have added products that can possibly create a gluten-free version.

Under 200 Calories per serving – your could want seconds!

Like a sponge, the strands of the spaghetti squash soak up the umami from sesame oil, ponzu and soba noodle sauce and transfer them to your taste buds. You will truly ask for more. Yet, since spaghetti squash is so low in calories, you can wholeheartedly eat more of it if you like.

Cooking Spaghetti Squash in MicrowaveExtracting Strands from Spaghetti SquashSeasoning Wok for Spaghetti Squash Chow MeinAdding Spaghetti Squash into Wok

Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein
Prep time
Cook time
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You can eat spaghetti squash with cheese and marinara sauce, but I decided to give it an Asian taste. Having tested several versions, I am delighted by this basic Chinese chow mein style.
Recipe type: Vegetarian Chow Mein
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 8
  • 4 pounds spaghetti squash
  • 2 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 8 ounce shredded carrot
  • 4 ounce green onion, separate green and white parts, lightly smash white parts, julienne green parts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated, cap removed, cut into long strips
  • Cilantro for garnish
Seasoning mix
  • 2 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoon ponzu sauce, for gluten-free, use 4 Tablespoon gluten-free ponzu sauce
  • 4 Tablespoon soba noodle sauce, for gluten-free, skip this sauce
  • 2 Tablespoon shao hsing wine, or dry sherry
  1. To safely microwave the spaghetti squash and remove the strands, you MUST watch this video from Wonders How To: How to cook spaghetti squash in your microwave (about 5 minutes per pound)
  2. Heat up oil in a wok
  3. Stir fry carrot, white parts of green onion, garlic, and shiitake mushroom for 30 seconds
  4. Add seasoning mix, and continue stir frying for 1 minute.
  5. Fold in spaghetti squash strands and green parts of green onion.
  6. Stir fry for about 2 to 3 minutes more.
  7. Add salt or a little soy sauce to taste.
  8. Garnish with cilantro.
For a gluten-free option, use gluten-free ponzu sauce and skip the soba noodle dipping sauce.

To intensify the umami, let the spaghetti squash cool in a casserole for a few minute after removing from the wok and let the strands soak up the marinate.

The spaghetti strands can be removed from the squash ahead of time and stored in refrigerator for a few days before cooking.

The dish is cholesterol-free, and very high in Vitamin A. However, it may be high in sodium. If you wish to reduce sodium, try replacing soba dipping sauce with low-sodium soy sauce.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 363g Calories: 174 Fat: 8.3g/ 13%DV Saturated fat: 1g/ 5%DV Carbohydrates: 24.6g/ 8%DV Sugar: 4.0g Sodium: 581mg/ 24%DV Fiber: 1.2g/ 5%DV Protein: 2.6g Cholesterol: 0mg


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Watermelon, Strawberry and Ginger Soup

Dissatisfied by my first watermelon soup, I set out to remake it. Many pounds of watermelon later, I came up with my version which contains an ingredient that may surprise you. Find out more…

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First taste of watermelon soup

Strawberries - CutGinger - CutWatermelon - CutDuring my vacation this summer, I tasted my first watermelon soup at a pizzeria at Lake Tahoe.  From what I was told, it was an one-time offering only.  Since I had never made any soup from watermelon, I wanted to taste it.

Displeased but determined to improve

I was disappointed.  It was runny. I could taste the flavors, but they were not infused together to give me a sense of richness.  I was confused as to whether I was eating a soup or drinking watermelon juice.  That left me wondering if there was a way to enhance it without cooking.  I thought it was necessary to make a cold emulsion.  After having experimented with pounds of watermelon, I decided to add olive oil into the mix.  The result was surprisingly satisfying.

Watermelon, Strawberry, Ginger, SoupThe final taste

The new version tastes richer. The presence of olive oil pulls together the freshness of watermelon, tartness of strawberry and spiciness of ginger. It holds the trio with finesse to give an invigorating taste.

Watermelon, Strawberry and Ginger Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Combine watermelon, strawberries and ginger. Blend and you have a cold soup.
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 3 to 4
  • 1 ounce Ginger, peeled and roughly cut into large pieces
  • 8 ounce strawberries, green tops removed
  • 1 Tablespoon agave syrup
  • 3 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound seedless watermelon meat
  1. In a food processor, add ginger, strawberries, agave syrup, olive oil and salt.
  2. Process until ginger and strawberries are finely chopped (about 10 seconds).
  3. Add watermelon. Pulsate until creamy and soupy while retaining some watermelon chunks (about 20 pulses).
  4. Chill the soup for at least one hour or overnight. Doing so will infuse the flavors.
1. The flavor of the soup develops as it is left in the refrigerator. Therefore, if possible, leaving it overnight will improve the flavor.
2. Before serving, if you can, pulse the soup a few more times in a blender. Doing so will open up the flavors before you serve.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 123 Fat: 4.2g Saturated fat: 0.7g Carbohydrates: 22.1g Sugar: 10g Sodium: 155mg Fiber: 2.5g Protein: 1.7g Cholesterol: 0mg


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Tan Tan Linguine Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce

The sprouting micro greens at the farmer’s market sparked this idea. Modified from the tan tan noodles, I created this dish by adding an abundance of nutrients and colors. Although the dish is simple to make, it has an undeniably complex taste. Find out more…

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The micro greens sparked this noodle recipe

Farmer's Market Micro GreensLinguine on iceNoodles and Sides WMI came up with this noodle idea by looking at the micro greens at a farmer’s market, imagining them sprouting through the noodles, just like a spring garden.  

One thing led to another, I borrowed the tan tan noodles idea,  and packed in an abundance of nutrients and colors from a broad variety of condiments including tofu, mung bean sprouts, and microgreens.  I also switch the original oily chili sauce with a creamier peanut sauce. Many of the ingredients are used right out of the package and can be stored in the refrigerator to fit my work schedule.

Simple noodles, complex flavors

Plated with Side WMAlthough the dish can be made in a flash, its taste is undeniably complex. Begin enjoying the dish by looking at the noodles, anticipate the tenderness and resistance for a satisfying bite.  Observe the micro greens sprouting out from the bowl with nutrients and a light snap.  Then taste the crunch of the vegetables that interplays with that al dente linguine.  Continue to enrich your senses as you savor the creaminess of the peanut butter and sesame oil that is punctuated by the sharpness of the vinegar and the bold spiciness of sriracha.

Tan Tan Linguine Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Noodles
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 32 ounce low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 ounce dry shiitake mushrooms
  • 6 ounce marinated tofu, julienned
  • 8 ounce linguine
  • ½ ounce micro greens, giant pepper greens
  • 4 ounce mung bean sprouts
  • 4 ounce kimchi
  • 4 ounce pickled mustard greens
    Spicy Peanut Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon agave syrup
  • 3 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon sriracha sauce
  1. Heat chicken stock
  2. Wash shiitake mushroom and poach in stock
  3. As stock comes to a boil, lower heat and poach tofu for 3 minutes
  4. Remove tofu, add linguine
  5. Cook linguine to al dente according to package instructions
  6. Transfer linguine into a large bowl that is pre-filled with ice and water to cool
  7. Remove shiitake mushrooms, remove stems and julienne
  8. In a Magic Bullet or similar compact blender, add peanut butter, sesame oil, vinegar, agave, soy sauce, sriracha and enough pasta stock to make 2 cups
  9. Blend for 30 seconds
  10. Transfer the cooled pasta to a dry mixing bowl and stir freshly made peanut sauce in it.
  11. To make a condiment tray, neatly lay down mushrooms, tofu, micro greens, mung bean sprouts, kimchi and mustard greens
  12. To serve, simply pair condiments and pasta side-by-side or add condiments onto a bed of pasta
  13. Add a little more soy sauce to taste if necessary
Nutrition Information
Calories: 203 Fat: 7g Saturated fat: 1.2g Carbohydrates: 25.9g Sugar: 1g Sodium: 489mg Protein: 8g Cholesterol: 29mg


Want to learn more about cooking noodles?

Download Noodles Everyday from Amazon!  In this book, Corinne Trang takes you around Asia to show you as many noodle dishes as you can make everyday. Besides noodles, my personal favorite is the section that teaches basic stocks and seasoning sauces.

Tips on this recipe

  • As a street food, tan tan noodle is usually made up of a spicy sauce poured over noodles and then topped with ground pork and preserved vegetables.
  • WebMD reported that micro greens can pack up to 40 times the nutrients compared to their mature plants.  Also, it’s tiny size may entice kids to garnish their foods with them.
  • If you don’t have much time, cook the linguine and make the peanut sauce in advance.  They can be refrigerated and remain stable for up to 4 days.
  • Keep the microgreens alive by keeping them in their own soil.  Don’t let the soil dry out.  They should stay fresh for up to one week.
  • You can also variate the condiments as you wish according to what’s available in the market.
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Korean Pancake with Canned Tuna

Canned tuna is inexpensive and nutritious. Did you know that besides making a sandwich or adding it to a salad, you can make Korean pancakes with it? Something you may find fundamentally different but flavorful. Read on and try it!

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Carrot Onion MixKorean Pancake BatterKorean Pancake on PanKorean Pancake Canned TunaHow do you consume canned tuna?

Canned tuna is inexpensive and nutritious.  It is a great protein source in our diet. Nevertheless, when asked about what to do with it, my answer usually consists only of making a sandwich or adding it to a salad.

What else can I do with it?

The other day, as I was watching a Korean travel show, I learned about the very popular Korean pancake.  In Korea, these pancakes are a street food made on a sizzling iron plate.  Street vendors show off their skills by frying the vegetable-packed batter the size of a pizza and flipping it.  As the aroma fills the air, customers await, usually with drinks in hands, to devour these street side snacks.  Determined to bring this street food into my kitchen, I decided to use canned tuna in making these Korean pancakes.  I think you will find this method fundamentally different, but irresistible.

Getting my pancake style

I bought a bag of pancake mix and started developing this recipe.  In Korean restaurants, they usually make their pancake as large as 10 to 12 inches.  After making a few batches, I decided to make mine no bigger than 4 to 5 inches.  At home, I noticed smaller pancakes are simple to flip, faster to cook, and easier to make crunchy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside. So, you get the perfect texture and roasty flavor too.

Try it! Pair them with traditional Korean banchan, and have yourself a remarkable lunch.

Korean Pancake with Canned Tuna
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Seafood and Vegetable
Cuisine: Korean
Serves: 6
  • 2 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cup green onion, cut into 1-inch length
  • 2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup canned tuna, drained, save liquid
  • 1 cup Korean pancake mix
  • Dash of salt
  • About 1 cup of water
  • Ponzu sauce
  • Sriracha sauce, optional
  1. Heat pan with 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  2. Saute green onion for 1 minute
  3. Transfer green onion into a mixing bowl
  4. Add carrot, tuna, pancake mix, salt and mix together
  5. Combine liquid from tuna and water to make 1 cup
  6. Add liquid to vegetables
  7. Mix well to form a batter
  8. Reheat pan with 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  9. For each pancake, drop ¼ cup batter onto pan
  10. Spread out batter to about 4 to 5 inches
  11. Cook each side for 3 to 4 minutes
  12. Dip pancake into ponzu sauce and/or sriracha to add zing
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 154g Calories: 157 Fat: 7.2g Saturated fat: 0.8g Carbohydrates: 13.6g Sugar: 2.5g Sodium: 160mg Fiber: 2.2g Protein: 9.8g Cholesterol: 9mg


Shopping corner

The Korean pancake mix is very useful in turning otherwise boring ingredients into irresistible snacks.  If you do not have access to it nearby, below is a link to order.

Things you may want to know about this recipe

To avoid making a soggy pancake, make sure to dry the ingredients as much as you can before mixing them.

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