Terakawa Ramen

Summer heat can’t stop the ramen love.

My love for ramen doesn’t stop because it’s 90 degrees outside. During my trip to Philadelphia, I stopped at Chinatown for a steaming noodle bowl. We started off with the takoyaki and chicken cutlet curry. From top to bottom, we ordered the miso ramen, bibim noodle (on the new/special menu) and the tan tan ramen.

If you’re ever craving a hot bowl of noodle soup, be sure to stop at Terakawa. Your tastebuds will thank you.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of my adventures at the mosaic garden and maze exhibition!

Overflowing buns

Try Asian fusion at Gigi in Wynwood, Miami.

Gigi‘s giant windows drew me into its space for lunch one weekend. The Asian fusion restaurant looked intriguing especially since it’s located in the Wynwood District. We even spotted a chicken crossing the road as we walked along the road.

The overflowing buns gave us a reason to go back, especially during Monday evening when they cost two for one. Be sure to check out weekly specials such as this sushi dish. Yelpers raved about the cornbread and it’s worth starting with a layer of sea salt half melted butter. Finally, complete your meal with thinly sliced grilled octopus.

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Take cover

Food, guns and alcohol at Bunker 1942.

Sure, this post might come slightly biased since I went to college with the bar owner, but here’s why it’s not: on my first day in Taipei, I sat with a group of new/mutual friends. Just before leaving, one man stood up and told us all to stop by Bunker 1942 before leaving Taipei. It didn’t really mean much to me, until I reached out to Josh to meet up and found out he actually owned and ran the venue.

It’s an interesting concept I still have yet to encounter in the US. Aside from food and alcoholic beverages (I only drank a cocktail or two with a friend), the most unique aspect is the shooting range. It’s in a small area that people sitting at the bar can peer into while sipping drinks. While there are a few real guns inside, the only actual weapons you could use are the BB guns. Targets light up and move around in a game simulation as you quickly try to shoot them down.

Oh, and yes, we are boostin.

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Dress: Korea

Shirt: American Apparel.

Sneakers: Adidas Ultra Boost Core Black.

Buddakan

New American Asian cuisine located in three of my favorite areas on the East Coast.

The the longest time, I kept Buddakan on my must-try list of eats in Manhattan. Naturally when my mom and I stumbled upon the Atlantic City location, we stopped for lunch after gazing inside the beautiful restaurant.

We started with the Spicy Rock Shrimp Bao Buns. Crusted with a sweet and sour sauce, the fried shrimp added a tanginess against the bun. A bit beavy, but one bao keeps you full enough till the entree arrives. Next came the Crispy Calamari Salad topped with the perfect amount of miso dressing. Cabbage, iceburg lettuce, cilantro and bits of fried calamari topped with a salty dressing composed one of the best salads I’ve eaten this year. As our entree, we ate the Vegetable Fried Rice that came with a delicious coconut foam the added extra flavor to a carb heavy dish I rarely ever order. We thought portions would come smaller and we added a side of corn with an aioli dipping sauce on the side. This meal could have fed three people perfectly, but we packed the leftovers for late night cravings.

After trying the Atlantic City location, I still want to try the New York restaurant, and perhaps the Philly one.  If there’s any reason to visit this place though, it’s to gaze around and soak up the ambiance of a giant Buddha sitting center of the room and a sky full of stars.

Buddakan is located in New York, Atlantic City and Philadelphia. 

The first Michelin Star Korean restaurant

The reason behind the award-winning restaurant.

While Jungsik still holds a nice spot on my bucket list, Danji proves that Korean food can be Michelin Star worthy with its array of tastes on traditional dishes.

I grew up with a mom who serves some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. She’s knowledgeable in all things cuisine related ranging from tasting other chef’s food to incorporating five recipes into her own. Naturally I formed a passion for a great-tasting meal and an appetite to try new dishes.

Danji exceeded my expectations for several reasons:

  • Cost to portion ratio: I felt I ate enough for what I paid for. I left stuffed without a heavy feeling often derived from Southern comfort food. The dishes are also broken down from small, medium and large so it’s up to the diner to choose how much he/she wants to eat.
  • Specialized drinks: Justin learned how to make an amazing margarita recently, which meant we understood everything from a weak/strong portion to a variety of flavors embodied into one liquid state. We tried three total and each one offered a reason to go back for cocktails.
  • Traditional, yet untraditional: Perhaps this is a contradiction, but let me explain further. If you go to a Korean local restaurant and perhaps even a food court, you would receive a traditional dish. At Danji, Chef Hooni Kim combines traditional flavors but adds an unconventional touch that doesn’t drive you away from its usual taste, but actually question what makes it special. When I visited momofuku CCDC, our waiter mentioned Asian diners usually construct negative feedback because David Chang’s dishes embody hybrid qualities of both American and Asian flavors. It’s like a watered down drink, you get the taste but there’s a missing element. Danji does an excellent job at keeping its traditional roots but optimized for a diversity of diners.

Walk inside and you’ll find a string of dim lights, cocktail and wine glasses hanging above the bar, several high-top tables and a small section of seating upon walking a narrow hallway. If you try and make a reservation on Opentable for more than 4 people, you’ll be prompted with a restriction, but perhaps you can call the restaurant?

Here’s what we ordered: Makgeolli, Soju Sangria, Tokyo Drift, spicy yellowtail sashimi with crispy potato flakes, bossam, soy-poached black cod with spicy daikon, braised short rib with fingerlings, steak tartare with quail yolk, tofu with ginger scallion dressing, spicy rice cake with Berkshire sausage, spicy ‘K.F.C.’ korean fire chicken wings and bulgogi beef sliders.

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There’s also a great interview with the chef here.

Then again what do I know? I ain’t no food critic. 

Danji is located on 346 W 52nd St in New York. 

Brunch reunions

The three of us shared everything including a flatbread and waffle sandwich.

One of my favorite restaurants at home is The Iron Bridge Wine Company. It’s in a small home-like building across from a farm so it sometimes goes missed since it looks residential. Recently, I met Brianna and Christina for a mini high school reunion and necessary mimosas. There’s always a nostalgic feeling whenever I meet friends from my Bryn Mawr days because even though time passed, it feels like we just left yesterday!

Mimosas come heavy on the champagne, which is perfect for its price tag. We split three pieces of freshly baked bread before digging into the appetizers. We quickly ate our deviled eggs before the flatbread arrived. The three of us split all dishes including our two entrees, a delicious waffle sandwich and foie truffle burger, and a cheese and charcuterie board. By the end of the meal, we boxed leftovers and left feeling stuffed.

There’s so much to try at Iron Bridge and despite long wait times between our meals due to a large party holding up our order, I keep this restaurant on my top Howard County eateries for its quality service, diversity of food and endless bottles of wine.

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The Iron Bridge Wine Company is located on XX in Columbia, Maryland. 

Hipster sushi

Sushi, shrimp coconut and tater-achoes at Sticky Rice.

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A long time ago, Justin and I celebrated our two-year anniversary at Sticky Rice. We ventured from College Park all the way to H St, and I clearly remember struggling to find parking.

Fast forward to the present, Sticky Rice isn’t how we remembered it. It might possibly be that we both experienced a variety of food after graduating from University of Maryland, or maybe the restaurant did change. We remembered a classy spot with delicious sushi, but this past weekend, we found it quaint and hipster.

Sticky Rice is known for its sushi, but having tried it before, I ordered a Tako Salad complete with fresh octopus sashimi mixed tossed in a lemon, lime dressing. Justin ordered Shrimp Coconut with vermicelli noodles, a dish that needs a kick of Sriracha to add more flavor. Kevin tried the popular Godzirra roll and deemed it tasty.

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Oh, and if you don’t order the Tater-achos, you’re doing something wrong.

How did we end up at Sticky Rice? Maketto sadly closes at 3 pm for lunch, which meant I didn’t get my fried chicken fix. Despite off-lunch hours, young adults filled the entire dining area upstairs and a few patrons sipped cocktails in the bar area below.

Perhaps I’ll try karaoke night one of these days!

Sticky Rice is located on 1224 H St NE.