Tag Archives: hot pots

The G20 Series: The Republic of Korea

22 Jun

Korean Hot Pot (Photo By Stephanie Dickison)

by Stephanie Dickison

I am not going to discuss the political difficulties between North and South Korea.  I just want to talk about the food.

On May 21st, I attended the Korean Food Products and Beverages Exhibition Toronto 2010 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  I brought my fella and my good friend Cindy, who is Korean and was excited to see her culture celebrated.

It was not just disappointing, but devastatingly heartbreaking.  A mere 6 booths were set up and speeches were being given by various politicians and business folks the entire time.  We got ourselves a DVD entitled “Korea Sparkling: A Sparkling Journey to Korea” and a pack of dried noodle soup.

We left after 10 minutes (and that was stretching it out) and went and got ourselves a stiff drink.

I think it was so soul crushing because we all love Korean food so much.  The blend of sour, sweet, hot and salty tastes  makes for some of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had.

In Toronto, we have our own Little Korea or Koreatown, that runs along Bloor Street between Bathurst and Christie. Not only can you get amazing food, but you can watch walnut cakes being made, shop for ingredients at the many fresh fruit and vegetable markets and even get Korean housewares.

I love the many places to get fried chicken and cutlets, the bevvy of hot pots available and have you had pork bone soupDolsot Bibimbap?  It’s easy to get vegetarian dishes when eaten Korean fare, but for meat-lovers like myself, I can tuck into noodles heaped with various cow and pig parts, otherwise unappreciated in other parts of town, and Korean beef ribs, which could give some of the Southern States a run for their money.

And if you’re wondering how to recreate it all back in the comfort of your own home, I refer to Quick & Easy Korean Cooking: More Than 70 Everyday Recipes by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee.  It is easy to use and gives fantastic, authentic results.

One of my favourite new dishes to make at home is Korean PancakesThis is the mix that I buy. This humongous bag is only $2.69, I think and it will make enough pancakes to get you to Christmas!

Okay, now I’m hungry!

p.s. If you’re from the Korean Food Products and Beverages Exhibition, Cindy and I are available to put together next year’s event and do it up right – standing room only

The G20 Series: Japan

10 Jun

by Stephanie Dickison

Japanese is just about one of the only cuisines I could have every day for the rest of my life.

I like that there are so many aspects to it.  We North Americans are taken with sushi, sashimi and maki, but in Japan there are noodle houses, dumpling houses, tempura delicacies as well as many unusual ingredients from the sea.

You can search for Japanese restaurants outside of Japan to find out where to get authentic Japanese dishes near you and The Japanese Food Report offers lots of pictures and videos.

My favourite Japanese restaurant in Toronto is Daio Sushi (45 Calton St. 416-260-2116 ) which unfortunately doesn’t have a website.  Daio is family-run and really authentic – there are rice paper walls and the servers dress in kimonos.

What it great about Daio is that it is not fancy, so you can go with a group of friends and feel comfortable, and it is not expensive, especially when you consider the ingredients and preparation.

They have items on the menu that many “sushi joints” pass over in favour of cream cheese-filled rolls and other Americanized plates.  Torigarage is deep-fried dark meat chicken served in pieces, Japanese style.  This is the kind of treat you would find in an izakaya in Japan.

Sukiyaki and Shabu Shabu are also available.  These are Japanese hot pots that are incredibly delicious and oh-so filling!

Your server brings out not only the homemade broth and all of the fresh, thinly sliced ingredients, but the heavy  cast iron pot and table-top element to cook it all in.  It says that it serves 2, but 3 or 4 could easily tuck into this lovely dinner.

And if you can’t resist getting makimono or sushi and sashimi, choose some of the more interesting selections that Daio offers, such as Burdock (Yamagobou maki) and Sea Urchin (Uni temaki hand roll).

To make authentic Japanese fare at home, try:

Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking: Simple, Elegant Recipes for Contemporary Tastes by Harumi Kurihara

Izakaya: The Japanese Pub Cookbook by Mark Robinson and Masashi Kuma

Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen by Elizabeth Andoh

どうぞめしあがれ or Douzo Meshiagare – “Enjoy your meal!”