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  1. When I was in Japan last year, quite a few restaurants we booked specifically ask the guests not to wear perfume. Not sure what happens if someone ignores the rule as we didn't encounter any. I was cautious even putting on lotion from the hotel before going to a meal, in case it caused me to miss out on great food....
  2. I recently finished On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome, with Love and Pasta by Jen Lin-Liu. Quite an interesting read. Also enjoyed Spoon Fed by Kim Severson
  3. It depends on which bones you use. I tend to go with leg bones, which usually have a small amount of meat attached at the joint area. I like leg bones because of the marrow. If you end up with a lot of meat, sandwich, meat pie, etc. would be great.
  4. I generally don't strain the broth and just add the other ingredients in. I grew up eating the meat off the bone from soups, especially pork. Love dipping it in some soy sauce and sesame oil. Now, we generally don't use bone with a lot of meat on it. The small amount of meat next to the bone is usually quite tender.
  5. Yelp can be useful, if you know how to sort out the useless reviews. It also helps if you know the yelpers, such as who just write reviews to be popular and who actually put in an honest effort. Places are popular for various reasons. Some for the food; some for the price; some for the service. And there are those restaurants out there with reputations that foodies are supposed to love, therefore many foodies do love, regardless of if the food, service, etc. are actually good.
  6. While that may be your experience, my experience has been quite the opposite. Most of my experience in mainland was in the 70s/80s, when I used to go on business trips with my parents. Fruits was almost always presented at the end of the meal and often other sweets. My dad grew up in China and he knows what desserts to order for which regional cuisines. As for in the US, the complimentary desserts don't always cater to the American clientele, in my experience. In San Francisco, I've been served quite a lot of dessert soups, which isn't very popular with the non-Asian crowd. Frankly, if you are not Asian, some restaurants won't bother to bring out complimentary desserts.
  7. I grew up in Hong Kong and desserts were always part of banquets. Even when we've had banquets in mainland China, there were desserts. Even for the more casual meals, desserts/fruits were usually served, sometimes complimentary by the restaurants. This has been the case when I was a kid and when I visited Hong Kong/China as an adult. At home (ours or friends/relatives), we've always had fruits at the end of the meal. Sometimes, there were other sweets such as ice cream, baked puddings, sweet dumplings, dessert soups, jello or cake. My family owned several Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong when I was a kid. My parents also did business in China. So we ate out very often. Dessert was usually part of the meal.
  8. I am not quite sure I agree with you. During banquets, there is always a sweet course at the end. That is at least with Cantonese cuisine. Dessert can be fruits, dessert soup, sweet buns, etc. Even through you can order sweet items at any time during dim sum, growing up, sweets were always ordered at the end. We've also always had something sweet at the end for Shanghainese and Pekingnese meals, such as caramel coated fruit or red bean pancakes.
  9. I like making adobo (Filipino). Put chicken pieces in a pot, add vinegar (plam, coconut, white, apple or a combination that you like), soy sauce, peppercorn, garlic (lots of it), bay leaves. Cook covered for 20-30 minutes, until the chicken is about 10 minutes from being cooked through. Uncovered and add sugar to taste. Continued to cook until done. I usually use wings for this, but bone in, skin on chicken thights would work. For thights, I usually like the version with coconut milk. Same flavors as above plus coconut milk, chilis and tumeric. I would usually marinade the chicken the night before and then everything goes into a pot to cook. I don't really have measurements for adobo as I just make it by taste. You can marinade the chicken using the non-coconut version of adobo as flavoring and then bake. I tried a miso-butter-honey roasted thighs a while back and that was nice.
  10. annachan

    Dried shrimp

    There are different types of dried shrimps and their uses are different. The little ones, har mai, is often used to add flavor to a variety of dishes: stir-fry, steamed daikon/taro cakes, etc. The larger dried shrimps can be eaten as jerky (used to get these really large ones in Hong Kong when I was a kid and they're so sweet!) or just steamed with a little soy sauce. They can be added to other dishes as well.
  11. When I am able to get racks of lamb ribs, I usually steam them first. I then put on a dry rub and broil them till crispy. I cooked them till they look quite dark. But because of the fat, the ribs won't dry out.
  12. We cook at home regularly. So for VD, we go out. This year, it's a special Iron Chef (Japanese ones) dinner.
  13. This makes really great crispy skin: http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/12/the-food-lab-ultra-crisp-skinned-slow-roasted-pork-shoulder.html That's what I make for NYE.
  14. Do a search for crispy pata - Filipino style crispy pork hock
  15. I steam it in my rice cooker. I don't pay too much attention to the time. I say it let it steam for about 45 minutes to an hour, as long as they are tender. I don't recall a lot of fat being rendered while steaming. More fat is released when broiled. One of the butchers usually has lamb ribs, already cut into individual ribs. I have to preorder if I want the rack whole.
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