During a trip to Japan, Mr. Chau and I took a home cooking class and learned how to make pork and cabbage gyoza or Japanese dumplings. When I looked up comparisons between the pan-fried Chinese dumplings (鍋貼 or guoti) and the pan-fried Japanese dumplings (餃子 or gyoza), the difference seems to be in the dumpling skin and the filling. While both types of dumplings usually contain meat and veggies, I find the ratio of veggies to meat is higher for the Japanese gyoza. I’m not sure if that’s true but both types of dumplings are super yummy. Plus dumplings are so freezer friendly that I’d always make a batch to keep in my freezer for a quick meal or snack.
During our first visit to Kyushu, Japan, we tried Karashi Renkon, a mustard filled lotus root, which is a specialty of Kumamoto. We also tried lotus root chips which I really liked and regretted that we didn’t buy more to bring home. So when I saw lotus roots on sale at the Asian grocery market, I decided to recreate the chips at home. In this recipe, I use simply seasoned the lotus root chips with salt and pepper. However, I’m sure they’ll taste great with other spices and seasonings so experiment with your own flavours!
Every time we visit Japan, we would eat rice balls or onigiri whenever we want a light meal or snack. That’s because they are delicious and convenient! While you can find onigiri in every convenient store, the best tasting rice balls I found were from specialty shops where rice is pretty much the only thing you can buy, such as rice balls or rice cooked with other ingredients. These places often have onigiri made with seasonal ingredients and I find the texture of their rice balls more superior (likely because they are made fresh).
Back in my university days, I did a co-op term in Ottawa. It was my first time living away from home for an extended period. During this time, I learned how to cook simple meals for one. But making breakfast is not easy for me as I’d prefer to get sleep more instead. So my coworker shared with me this apple cinnamon bran muffins recipe for a grab-and-go breakfast. At first, I was a bit skeptical because I hated bran cereal. In my mind, I had imagined these would be dry and taste like cardboard. However, I ended up loving these muffins! They were moist, with chunks of apples and cinnamony flavours. Even the picky Mr. Chau likes them for breakfast or snack! This recipe is definitely a keeper so I hope you’d give it a try too.
Hey there, I’m Jan, a food and travel enthusiast based in Burnaby, BC. I enjoy cooking because I believe food brings people together. Plus, I think the best way to experience different cultures is through the belly! Here you’ll find easy to make and hubby approved recipes, with a side of my travel and dine out adventures.