Wednesday, July 29, 2015

canh khổ qua

really too hot for soup, but I wanted to try @passthepocky 's dad's soup, canh kuo qua, since bittermelon are in season now. delicious! thanks Pocky! #dinner #canhkuoqua #vietnamese #bittermelon #soup #japan Blog friend, Passthepocky introduced me to a bittermelon soup called Canh Khổ Qua.

She said her father makes this soup and gave me a link to a recipe that is similar to what he does.

Since the video didn't give measurements, I used parts of this recipe

Canh Khổ Qua adapted from the internet : makes two servings

150 grams of minced pork
1 bittermelon, cut into 2-inch rings, cleaned.
4 pieces of dried woodear mushroom, reconstituted
several strands of harusame (glass noodles), boiled for 3 minutes until soft

Soup: 5 cups chicken stock
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce

Garnish: chopped cilantro

Chop up the reconstituted woodear mushroom and noodles and mix them with the pork.
Use the backside of a fork or spoon to clean out the insides of the bittermelon, then stuff each piece with some pork mixture.
Put everything into a pot with the stock and fish sauce
Bring to a boil then down to a simmer, skimming off any scum that rises to the top.
Cook until the bittermelon is tender with the cover off. (About 20 minutes)

NOTES: No need to pack in the pork mixture as it will expand when cooked. Keeping the cover off while cooking keeps the broth clear. The bittermelon I had was a bit "skinny" so it was kind of hard to stuff. The soup was super bitter because I didn't parboil the bittermelon before stuffing it. The weather was super hot and not really soup weather but I'm glad I got to try this. If I can find bittermelon in the Fall, I want to try to make this again.

Thanks Passthepocky!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

guli guli

I got to have lunch with Hiromi yesterday at Guli-Guli.

The name is the shortened version of "green green" which when said in Japanese "gu-li-n gu-li-n" turns out to "guli-guli".

Anyway they are mostly gardening company but on their property have a cafe and art gallery.

When you walk through their front gate it is like stepping into a different country.

@ guli guli Lush trees, a little brook. Too bad the weather wasn't a bit cooler.

In fact, it was blazing hot and sticky humid...gah!

@ guli guli We started lunch with a salad and cold pumpkin potage.

The salad had their homemade mustard dressing and the soup was creamy yet refreshing.

@ guli guli Next came appetizers.

From the left, a fried gnocchi which seemed more like a fritter filled with bits of squid and topped with their homemade tomato sauce.

Chickpea mousse topped with smoked salmon, too bad there weren't crackers or bread with this, so good!

Homemade sesame cracker topped with zucchini, peppers and a smoosh of cream cheese and a dab of shiso pesto.

Scallops marinated with grapefruit. (I want to re-create the last 3 appetizers!)

@ guli guli Our main dish was their keema curry.

Nice kick from the spices, I was impressed with the sweet dragon fruit that they used as a topping for the curry as well as the colorful veggies.

A great place to "get away", they also do weddings and parties.

Even though the weather was super uncomfortable, it was nice to catch up with Hiromi. (Thank you!)

I told Satoshi about this place and he's interested in checking it out.

I'll be back.

2-10-11 Hachizuka
Ikeda, Osaka
Phone: 072.734.7603
Closed on Tuesdays
Hours: 11:00-18:00

Monday, July 27, 2015


IMG_2474 Saturday night, we checked out Wagokoro which is next door to Cafe Yooi.

If I'm not mistaken, Wagokoro used to be closer to Ishibashi station, but moved to this area in the last couple of years.

I remember eating there with Satoshi (pre-blog).

This restaurant specializes in dishes using ingredients from Hokkaido.

I was sort of leery about eating here because every time I passed by, no one was ever eating there, ever.

We started with some "toba".

Salmon is dried in strips until hard like jerky. The owner/chef makes her version softer.

We enjoyed this. A bit on the salty side, the fish has a slight chew to it and the smoky flavor isn't overpowering. (sorry the photo is blurred)

IMG_2475 Next came a plate of some side dishes--these were kind of bland.

The fish that was in the middle of the plate was a bit "too fishy" for my liking.

IMG_2476 We also tried the curry with summer veggies.

This was good, nice kick and lots of grilled summer veggies like okra, corn, zucchini.

A bit pricey, small on portions and a very tiny menu, we don't know that we'll be back.

We're glad we got to try this place out though.

3-2-13 Iguchido
Ikeda, Osaka
Phone: 072.763.1154
Closed Sunday and Monday
Lunch: 11:30-14:00, Dinner: 17:00-21:00

Friday, July 24, 2015

doyo no ushi no hi

doyo no ushi no hi Today is Doyo no Ushi no hi, the day when we all eat unagi (eel) for stamina to withstand the heat of summer. I've written about this in the past here.

The price of unagi, especially on this day, tends to be quite pricey.

So, I was happy to find 2 good-sized unagi for 1680 yen (plus tax).

Just before dinner, I'm going to make my own kabayaki sauce using this recipe.

If you can't find unagi where you live or don't like it, you could also follow the recipe above to make an eggplant version.

I hope it is cooler where you are, we're melting over here!

Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

kero kero

amagaeru(literally rain frog) right outside our front door The rainy season is over but we've been having rain for the past two days, go figure...

As Satoshi was leaving for work this morning, we noticed this guy on our wall right outside of our front door.

What amazed us is that we live a couple of stories up, so we wondered how he got up so high?

dude! what you doing all the way up here?! (found this guy just outside our front door) if I'm not mistaken these types of frogs are called amagaeru(literally rain frog) #大阪#箕面 #雨蛙 #minoo #osaka #amagaeru #frog �� Here's a close up.

If I'm not mistaken this type of frog is what the Japanese call an "amagaeru" literally "rain frog" (hyla japonica is the scientific name).

wondering when the rain will stop When I left for the market he was staring out at the rain, possibly wondering when it would stop.

he's still here...think he's gonna have to start paying rent... And when I came back from the market, he was still there.

We'll probably have to start charging him rent if he continues to stay...

Oh, frogs in Japan say "kero kero"...what do frogs in your country say?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


at kohaku Phil is in town for a quick visit and it was nice of him to take some time out of his busy schedule to contact me to meet up.

We had drinks and some pupus (appetizers) at Kohaku.

This bar is a French-Japanese fusion type of place.

Let's start with the bad...chintzy servings of wine...and a bar atmosphere way too loud (you can barely hear each other talking)


We shared this daikon covered with a porcini cream sauce.

The daikon is cooked until tender then smothered in a rich porcini cream sauce.

at kohaku We also shared this "okonomiyaki". Lots of cabbage and some beef is smothered in a fondue cheese sauce and topped with a red wine tomato sauce.

Since the waitress asked if it was our first time eating there (and it was) I think she should have told us about ordering bread on the side to mop up all that melted cheese...grr! (actually I think more places should serve bread (for free) with their dishes that have sauces that need mopping up)

thanks Phil! Our ears blasted from the noise of the bar, we then headed up to quiet Tsutaya to hang out and chat.

Phil was kind to bring a foodie magazine from Australia for me, which I look forward to reading. (Thank you!)

The day was nasty humid and I probably won't be back to that bar, but the company and conversation was nice as always.

Thanks for meeting up Phil it was nice catching up with you!

Lucua 1100 Bar Chika, B2F
Phone: 06.6341.5089
Open 11:00-24:00, when Lucua 1100 is

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


We got to ride the Rilakkuma train. It's running on various undisclosed routes until the end of August♡ #rilakkuma #hankyu #osaka #リラックマ号 #阪急 There is a character by San-X called Rilakkuma. If I'm not mistaken his name comes by combining "relax" with "kuma" (bear).

From July 18 until August 31, Rilakkuma has teamed up with Hankyu trains and has trains running on the Hankyu lines to Kyoto, Kobe and Takarazuka.

The times that the trains are running are not advertised, so you need to be in the right place at the right time, I guess.

We were lucky to come across the one running to Takarazuka and jumped on board. The advertisements inside the train car are all illustrations of Rilakkuma.

The sign at the very front and back of the train are illustrated with Rilakkuma as well. Takarazuka's color is pink, Kyoto is green and Kobe is blue.

Only in Japan are they able to make trains look so kawaii (cute)!