Author: eatprayjade

Seasonal Vegetarian Fine Dining at Fu He Hui 福和慧

Michelin-starred 福和慧 Fu He Hui is a gem in Shanghai’s fine dining scene. For lunch and dinner, you can select from four different vegetarian prix fixe menus (ranging 380RMB-780RMB), including a seasonal special. For first timers, I would recommend trying the ‘classic’ Fu He Hui menu. From decor to food, Fu He Hui is a gourmand’s oasis in the center of Shanghai city. Come with the expectation that you’ll pay a premium for your meal and prepared to be impressed. *I dined with a party of 4 so the below pictures are a mix of the classic 780 RMB menu and the 580 RMB menu. My dream plate of amuse-bouches. Left is 百叶包, a tofu pouch full of 马兰头, a really fragrant vegetable known as Indian Kalimeris. In the middle is 糖醋“排骨”, classic sweet and sour “pork.” In this case, pork was substituted with king oyster mushrooms wrapped around burdock roots. Lastly, on the right is marinated tofu shaped into a traditional bottle gourd shape. I adored this soup, the consommé had really deep flavors and was an absolute feast for the eyes. Look at …

Sunshine Box Launch: La Maison 夜来香 x WUJIE 大蔬无界

I’m so excited to share with everybody a project I’ve been working on for the past couple of months! Sunshine Box is a box of seasonal, organic vegetables that is now available to all families in Shanghai. The idea behind Sunshine Box is bridging urban and rural communities through wholesome and sustainably grown natural produce. That is why we get our produce from Rainbow of Hope (ROH), a social enterprise dedicated to empowering farmers by providing them with reliable income via sustainable agricultural practices. Because we know you are what you eat, all Sunshine Box produce is grown without any insecticides, pesticides, growth hormones, or chemical fertilizers. We kicked off the launch of Sunshine Box with a dinner launch party at La Maison 夜来香, a stunning restaurant in Shanghai’s French Concession area. In order to really feature the Sunshine Box, the entire dinner affair was made with ingredients directly shipped over from Sunshine Box’s farms in Western Hunan. Together, Chef Pol Garcia from La Maison & Chef Ivan Xu from WUJIE on the Bund, created a beautifully innovative vegetarian menu for the night. The resulting 6-course prix fixe menu showcased an …

Why Gyukatsu Motomura is a Tokyo must-eat

Gyukatsu Motomura is one of those raved about places in Tokyo that’s a must-try if you’re in town. Worth the hype wait? Absolutely. The Shibuya location has the bigger shop front but if you’re like me and always running off to the next city, Gyukatsu Tokyo Station (Yaesu entrance) is the perfect traveler spot. In case you haven’t had gyukatsu before, it’s like the older brother of popular Japanese comfort food tonkatsu. Instead of a fried pork cutlet, you get a beef cutlet. A beautifully marbled beef cutlet. Hence the first thing you’ll do when you visit Gyukatsu Motomura is choose the size of your beef cutlet (100g, 130g, or 260g). Keep in mind your gyukatsu comes in a set with rice, miso soup, potato salad, tsukemono pickles, and shredded cabbage! My friend Mizuha and I ordered the 130g Gyukatsu Set with Yam (tororo in Japanese) and were both very satisfied with the portion size. As you sit elbow-to-elbow other diners in the tiny L-shaped store, the simultaenous sound of gyukatsu sizzling on grills was Tokyo at its finest. Great food, small space, and light chatter doesn’t get better than …

Spirited Away to Miho Museum

Miho Museum is nestled in a beautiful forest complex designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei, only a short trip away from Kyoto. Located in Shiga Prefecture, Miho Museum is meant to mirror Shangri-La–an earthly paradise described in Chinese poet Tao Yuanming’s poem, “The Tale of the Peach Blossom Spring.” Not only is the Museum itself stunning, the journey there is just as magical. Miho Museum has three exhibition sessions (Spring, Summer, and Autumn). I visited in Autumn so I saw stunning fall foliage throughout my trip. But since the Museum grounds are full of cherry blossom trees, Spring is a stunning time to visit as well. To visit the museum, you go on a Spirited-Away-like journey: there is a Miho Museum Bus from Ishiyama Station (a short ride from Kyoto Main Station), that takes you on a quiet ride up the mountain where Miho Museum is located. Directions: Take the JR Tokaido Line from Kyoto Station to Ishiyama Station. Once you exit the JR station, go to the bus stop (1F) and take Teisan Bus 150 (Miho Museum Bus) to the Miho Museum which should be the last stop. The …

Brunch in Style at Blackbird

Brunch is T H E trendy thing in Shanghai right now, and there is no place more chic than Blackbird. A cafe+bar serving fun Italian dishes, Blackbird is an Instagram heaven. The cafe exudes a really charming vibe, and I especially liked the floor to ceiling windows and sleek interior design. Good coffee was a plus, so I found myself spending the afternoon there working without being disturbed. I didn’t get to try out the extensive drink list, but I saw lots of hipster cocktails I can’t wait to go back for. By the way, happy Chinese New Year dear readers! May this (lunar) new year be full of delicious foods and auspicious adventures. This is the big holiday season in Shanghai so bundle up and brace the crowds. Located on Wulumuqi Road, Blackbird has a gorgeous view and some really tasty bites. I recommend the Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms for those who want a filling but healthy main. OH! But I saw all the tables around me ordering Thick Cut Fries so I suspect I missed out on a customer favorite. Other favorites include the Black Truffle …

Tasty Vegetarian Lunch at Brown Rice Cafe

Finding a healthy vegetarian cafe in Tokyo is always exciting. For a city with so many different types of cuisines, it is surprising that vegetarian/vegan cafes are few and far between. While Japanese cuisine boasts tempura, tonkatsu, and deliciously fried things you can eat, its use of seasonal vegetables is always underrated. So if you’re in the Omotesando area and want a vegetable-ful lunch set, I highly recommend Brown Rice Cafe. Popular with the office ladies, Brown Rice Cafe has a simple menu: vegetarian curry, steamed assortment of vegetables, and the Daily Special. Since it’s the cafe branch of Neal’s Yard and Remedies, you can pop over next door for some organic skin care shopping after your meal! Highly recommend getting the Daily Special–it’s a great mix of seasonal vegetables and getting a sample of different Japanese seasonings. You’ll walk out feeling energized for some shopping afterwards. Harajuku is the more colorful fashion hub nearby if you’re not feeling like Omotesando’s up-scale name brands. I cannot believe the year is ending already! I’m in Singapore this holiday season, but I’ll be posting an year end review …

Discovering Tokyo’s Trendy Wine and Dine Scene: L’AS ラス

L’AS ラス is a gem of a restaurant in the quiet backstreets of Minami-Aoyama. Boasting a diverse wine list and creative Franco-Japanese menu, L’AS is an absolute must-visit with its fresh ingredients and stunning flavors. My friend Mizuha and I dined there on a Sunday night and the restaurant was buzzing with energy. The animated chatter of diners enjoying their wine pairings pleasantly echoed throughout the restaurant. After the first couple sips of wine and bites of my caramel foie gras sandwich (it tastes just as phenomenal as it sounds), I wish I discovered L’AS earlier. Highlights of our meal include the crab miso with potato purée and the roasted duck with figs. Definitely start the night off with some champagne, sit back, and enjoy the culinary adventure created by Chef Owner, Daisuke Kaneko. At L’AS there is only the omakase menu but every so often it is changed to accommodate new seasonal ingredients and recipes. As we visited in September, we were excited to find traces of late-summer and early-fall ingredients in all our dishes–cherry, fig, pumpkin, etc. For my fellow wine drinkers, I highly recommend getting the wine pairing to go with each course …

Devour Amazing Chirashi at Ginza Sushi Marui

If you’re shopping through Ginza and suddenly crazing amazing chirashi or sushi, you don’t have to go far. Ginza Sushi-Dokoro Marui is tucked behind the main pedestrian crossing in Tokyo’s glitzy shopping district and one of my new favorite eateries. Tokyo can be overwhelming with its endless amounts of sashimi and sushi options but if you want a high quality yet affordable (and very filling!) lunch break, definitely grab a bar seat at Ginza Sushi Marui and watch the sushi masters perform their magic. A little tip: lunch sets are the best way to sample a Japanese restaurant’s various foods, as prices for dinner can skyrocket at least double or more! Keeping that in mind, Ginza Sushi Marui is wildly popular with the lunch crowd so get ready for a short wait on the weekdays. While the more popular lunch option is the sushi platter, I switched things up a little and ordered a Zukeana Chirashi-Zushi, a hearty bowl of tuna and conger eel over rice. Verdict? Absolutely amazing. The large bowl was filled with surprises under the rice–little sweet tamagoyaki pieces, snow crab …

在上海: Where to Breakfast like a Shanghai Localite

So you’re in Shanghai, a city where the pace of life is not for the slow-walkers or easy-goers. Restaurants on the city’s iconic riverside are all gorgeously situated with a view of the Bund. With the increasingly glitzy tastes of Shanghai locals, French cuisine is the undeniable crowd-favorite these days. But what if you want to have a taste of old Shanghai, the Shanghai where street food is validated by the amount of people waiting in line–including regulars that have visited these run-down food carts since childhood. Where do you go? Ignore the Micheline Stars Trek to downtown Shanghai where you can still taste authentic breakfast foods and see street vendors serve fresh orders of egg rolls, sticky rice shaomai, and more.

Somtum Der: Isan Thai in New York City

Isan Thai Food Nestled in NYC’s East Village From the Northeastern part of Thailand, Isan Thai food is distinctly different from its sweeter central-cuisine cousin (think Pad Thai). For one, it’s SPICY and fiercly so. Isan Thai also serves up copious amounts of sticky rice, Som Tam (papaya salad), and Nam Tok (grilled meat salad). I’ve enjoyed all the trendy Southasian restaurants in New York City recently but Som Tum Der has been the standout in terms of food. Big flavors, filling portions, and phenomenal grilled meats are some of the things I consistently find in my visits. Disclaimer: Som Tum Der received its first Michelin Star in 2016. As you can imagine, people are clamoring to try this place out now that it’s earned a coveted French star. Surprisingly, only one other Thai restaurant in the world has been awarded a Michelin Star (if you’re ever in Copenhagen, go visit Kiin Kiin Thai because I’ve heard raving reviews). So try to get a reservation if you’re going during peak hours–I never had trouble getting a table last summer but these …