The most delicious herbs (rau thom) hail from Vietnam – how to root them for free in just water

One of the things you notice quickly when sampling Vietnamese cuisine is the abundance of fresh herbs; herbs you probably have never seen or eaten.  Vietnamese herbs tend to be served on the side and used in dipping and raw in combination with the main dish. On our trip through Vietnam, there were few meals … Read more

Tired of Kimchi with MSG? Make your own !

There does seem to be a tendency in Asian countries to overuse MSG.  I remember cooking lunch with all natural ingredients over an oven pit fire in a tribal village in the high mountain plains of Vietnam with an indigenous family   Suddenly the mother reached for a bag of “salt” to add to the meal … Read more

Heavenly sweet fermented cassava with an alcoholic kick – Tapai Ketela with Indonesian Ragi Tape Yeast

This is probably one of my favorite fermented foods out there – not particularly healthy, it is quite yummy though.  Most of the Asian countries have some sort of yeast mix that is actually made of various fungi and yeasts.  While in the western world, we have used yeasts throughout the ages, in Asia, they … Read more

How to make your own Tempeh a.k.a Fungus Growing 101

Tempeh has gotten very popular  in the last few years and most supermarkets will carry it  in their organic or natural food sections.  If you have never tried it, Tempeh is made of soybeans that have been cultured with a fungus (Rhizopus oligosporus) forming white solid cake like ferments with a nutty and earthy flavor.  … Read more

Eureka – Tasting a chocolate pudding fruit (Black Sapote) – all the taste of chocolate without the added sugar

I had been looking for a chocolate pudding fruit for some time.  When I did find it, I picked a firm green one in hopes that it would ripen; it was not meant to be.  The fruit stayed hard and inedible.  If you’ve tried to taste unripe black sapote, skip it, it is very bitter. … Read more

Kumquats – The no-need-to-peel citrus fruit plus bonus how to grow Kumquats from seed

Kumquats (meaning golden tangerine from Cantonese) is one of the hardiest citrus fruits know.  The unique aspect of kumquats is that you can eat the entire fruit, skin and all – no peeling required. As a matter of fact, the peel tends to be the sweetest part with the inside slightly bitter balancing out the … Read more

Miracle Food from Japan – Easy homemade Natto

What is Natto? With the risk of sounding trite.  You either love natto or hate it.  In Japan natto is regularly eaten as a breakfast food.  I still remember a family stay in Japan, where the little three year old daughter chowed down on a humongous plate of natto – every morning. Natto, to me, … Read more

Spice up your tea with some Chinese Licorice

Chinese Licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) is one of the traditional fundamental 50 herbs used in Chinese medicine. In Chinese medicine, licorice is used as an adaptogen helping the body to cope with stress, for respiratory issues and abdominal discomfort. Chinese medicine also cautions against using this herb with heart disease or any other heart issues as … Read more

Tasting the world’s largest tree borne fruit – the ginormous Jackfruit

Every time I walk by the huge Jackfruits at the local Asian market, I can’t help but reminisce about my visit to Vietnam.  In the south of Vietnam, the sight of Jackfruits was a common occurrence. Although I didn’t see any that beat the world’s record of 80 lbs, I am certain that I saw … Read more

The day I bought a $5 cucumber aka Horned Melon, Kiwano, Jelly Melon, Blowfish Fruit, Cucumis metuliferus

I’ve seen these Horned Melons around in the local ethnic markets a few times, but the price of $8-10 per pound was a turnoff.  I finally broke down and bought one.  With a quick visual inspection, I figured this little one was about a quarter pound and around 2 bucks; but, when I got to … Read more