Archive | May, 2009

Botan Rice Candy

18 May

Botan Rice Candy

Years back when I was still in grade school my mom gave me a pack of Botan Rice Candy and I remember being fond of it, not so much for the candy but because of the sticker that came with it. Over the years that fondness has subsided and today I enjoy picking up a pack of Botan solely for the candy.

Botan is a traditional Japanese candy made of sweet rice, but I didn’t taste any rice at all in it and it’s not very sweet. It does however, have a soft chewy texture with a nice citrus flavor. It also has an unusual double wrapping, one that you throw away and one that is edible. It looks like plastic when it’s dry, but melts when wet. Each box comes with six pieces and a free sticker. It can purchased at most local asian markets and online. Prices range from $0.75 to 2.00 for 3/4OZ box.

Advertisements

Glico Pretz – Honey Butter

18 May

Glico Pretz – Honey Butter

Honey Butter Pretz is your “round of the mill” Japanese stick biscuit that is not very different from their roast flavor. It has a smooth texture and is pleasantly sweet with a harmonious hint of butter. I found it to be very light and satisfying with a cup of tea. It’s imported from Japan and can be purchased at most local asian markets or online. Prices range from $1.5 to 3 for 1.09oz box.

Italian Tomato – Mother’s Day Cake Fair

10 May

Italian Tomato - Mother's Day Cake Fair

Today, May 10, 2009, Italian Tomato is holding a Mother’s day cake fair at the Mitsuwa Marketplace in New Jersey. There are more 30 Italian Tomato originals on sale as well as many new additions, all produced by Japanese cake patisseries.

The fair is located at the front entrance of the Mitsuwa Marketplace. The Mitsuwa Marketplace is on 595 River Road, Edgewater, NJ 07020 and is open everyday from 9am till 9pm. Shuttle Bus from NYC are available in the South Building of the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
View Larger Map

Italian Tomato - Mother's Day Cake Fair

Italian Tomato - Mother's Day Cake Fair

Italian Tomato - Mother's Day Cake Fair

Italian Tomato - Mother's Day Cake Fair

Menchanko Tei

7 May

Menchanko Tei

Rating: ★★★☆☆
131 E 45th St (btwn Lex Ave & 3rd ), New York, NY 10017
Website
(212) 986-6805
Price: $$
Hours:
Mon-Thur 11:30 am – 11:30 pm
Fri 11:30 am – Midnight
Sat 11:30 am – 11 pm
Sun 11:30 am – 10:30 pm
Nearest Transit:
Grand Central (4, 5, 6, 7, S)
Lexington-3rd Aves-51st St (6, E, V)
Foursquare

Not the best, but decent for a midtown lunch.

Menchanko Tei serves decent ramen, not the most authentic but definitely acceptable. The service is fast and their prices are not too bad. They have two locations, both in midtown (131 E 45th St & 43 W 55th St), the 55 St location was under renovations a month ago and I’m not sure if they have re-opened yet.

During my last visit to the 45th St location I tired their Hakata and Shoyu ramen, both were respectable but not comparable to Ippudo nor Santoka. Their gyoza gets a huge “Don’t Buy”, it  not fresh and tastes like it’s from a package. Overall, I like Menchanko Tei for lunch, but only for it’s ramen and nothing else.

Menchanko Tei
Pork Dumplings – $4.75

Menchanko Tei
Hakata Ramen w/ Mochi – $10 (8.50+1.50)

Where’s the Grill in KFC?

6 May

kfcgrillLast month, KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) introduced a new product line called Kentucky Grilled Chicken. It’s their answer to health-conscious consumers who have dropped fried chicken from their diets, or cut back on indulging. The Grilled Chicken recipe has half the sodium of their original fried chicken recipe, but 600 milligrams for a breast is not exactly what I call healthy. It’s being tested in six cities (Indianapolis, Colorado Springs, San Diego, Oklahoma City, Jacksonville, Fla., and Austin, Texas) at the moment and a national rollout is planned for early next year.

Oprah is also getting in on the action and is giving away their new Grilled Chicken Two-Piece Combo Meal for FREE. The combo includes two pieces of grilled chicken, two individual sides (mash potatoes and cole slaw) and a biscuit. Coupons for the deal can be found at unthinkfc.com or on the Cheapskat site. Some restrictions apply, see the KFC site for more details.

Update: Apparently the Kentucky Grill Chicken line has expanded beyond the six test cities mentioned above. I’m based in New York City and I had the FREE two piece combo last night. I enjoyed their grill chicken a lot more than their fried recipe, but it’s not good enough to convert me into a paying customer.

Where's the Grill in KFC?

Hapi Gummi Candies – Fun Burger

5 May

Hapi Gummi Candies – Fun Burger

Hapi’s line of Fun Burger gummies are produced by the Gold Seven Food Group in Hong Kong. It’s loaded with sugar, artificial flavors and colors; but which gummy isn’t? Okay, there are a couple that aren’t, but the majority are. It’s a hard gummy that’s a bit more chewy than the average fruit snack and the flavoring is mix between cherry, lime and sugar. It’s definitely not healthy, but being a fan of gummies I wouldn’t mind having it once in awhile. It can be found in most asian markets, I found it in the Hong Kong Supermarket on Hester in Chinatown, NYC. It cost me $2 for a 4.2oz/120g bag.

Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant

5 May

This venue is closed.

Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant

Rating: ★★★☆☆
4 East Columbia Ave, Palisades Park, NJ 07650
(201) 313-0025
Price: $$

Their food is decent, but what keeps me coming back is their attentive service.

Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant is a new Korean Restaurant on Columbia Avenue in Palisades Pak, NJ. They offer the round-of-the-mill Korean dishes, but specialize in Korean BBQ. The restaurant is broken up into two sections with a common area in the middle, one half is dedicated for BBQ and the other is for BBQ and non BBQ customers. This review is based solely on their non BBQ dishes, there will be a separate review for their BBQ offerings at a later date.

During my visit to Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant I tired their spicy rice noodle (duk bok ki), Korean roll (gimbap), fried pork cutlet, steamed pork dumplings and season beef rice stone pot (bulgogi bibimbap). None of those dishes are particularly special and compared to the vast Korean offerings in the Palisades Park area, they’re average at best . What I found particularly refreshing about Hong Ga Meun Ok was not their food, but their customer service. They’re very attentive and they go out of their way to make customers fell welcome. I was provided with a complementary dish because they felt that my bibimbap was not served prompt enough, which really wasn’t the case. The majority of their customers are Korean (I think 95%), thus they don’t even have a english menu but the waiter was patient enough to slowly explain the entire menu to me. I was told that they’re in the process of creating a english menu, but until that’s available it may be difficult for patrons that are unfamiliar with Korean food to order (even with a waiter translating the menu). The store front is also entirely in Korean (see image below), so unless you can read Korean get acquainted with the address and/or the image of their store front below.

Overall, Hong Ga Meun Ok has decent food, nothing mind blowing, but worth visiting because of their wonderful service.

Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant

Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant

Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant
Fried Pork Cutlet – $13.99

Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant
Steam Dumpling

Hong Ga Meun Ok Restaurant
Korean Roll (Gimbap) + Spicy rice Noodle (duk bok ki) Combo – $9.99

Tospia

4 May

Tospia

Rating: ★★★☆☆
1215 Broad Ave, Palisades Park, NJ 07650
Website
(201) 944-1100
Price: $
Facebook // Foursquare

Tospia is a South Korean franchise that recently opened a US branch on Broad Avenue in Palisades Park, NJ. They specialize in press sandwiches that are made using their custom press machine. All sandwiches are made to order and are served hot and toasty. My favorite are their bulgogi, pizza and chicken teriyaki sandwiches. In addition to sandwiches they also serve korean bread and pastries, ice cream, fresh fruit juices, bubble tea and Douwe Egberts coffee. Their fruit juices are decent, but everything else is very sub-par, I would only revisit for their sandwiches. Their service is very friendly and they do take credit (Visa or Matercard), but there’s no lot so be prepared look for street parking.

Tospia

Tospia

Tospia

Tospia

Tospia
Bulgogi Sandwich (Seasoned Beef) – $4.50

Tospia
Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich – $4.00

Tospia
Pizza Sandwich – $3.50

Tospia
Potato Salad Sandwich – $3.50

Tospia
Spicy Pork Sandwich – $4.00