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Monday, November 23, 2015

Dining in missKorea BBQ in NYC

During my one week stay in NewYork city in October 2015, we went to miss Korea BBQ for lunch. My brother and his family are regulars there and they assured me that it was the best restaurant in the town.

I was not disappointed.

How could I be when missKoreaBBQ is named as NewYork City’s ‘Best Korean BBQ Restaurant’ at 2015 Times Square Asian Food Festival

It was freezing outside, and my brother dropped me at the end of the lane, and went to look for a parking place, we walked at a fast pace, stopped to look closely at the attractive food dressing in the window and entered the warm restaurant.

Halloween was just round the corner during that time, so this restaurant too was in Halloween mood

We seated at the far end, cuddled around the fire place that was at the centre of the table. The beauty of Korean cuisine is that the food is cooked at the table itself and you nibble on food straight out of the hot pan.

The romance starts as soon as (banchan) small side dishes start appearing on the table, among which there are lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, green onion salad (called paieori) and sauces.

We started to nibble on side dishes when the waitress arrived, placed a big shiny pan on fire place in the centre of the table. She puts the oil and then the marinated meat and mixed vegetables, stir fried the veggies as we sat munching on delicious kimchi pancake, that was served on our plates. I would highly recommend these pancakes for its texture and flavor.

Soon the pan fried pork belly with vegetables ( Ohsum Bikkeum) were simmering on the center tables and we began to pluck out the pieces of the cooked pork and vegetables straight from the pan. Hot and spicy, they tasted so good.

Kids wanted to eat Yakshu Bulgogi. This is the most popular variety of Korean bbq. Before cooking, the meat is marinated with the mixture of soya sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and pepper. A perforated dome griddles are place over centre fireplace at the table, and meat is roasted over it, while the soup and juices slide towards the cupped edges. You take the pieces of cooked meat, dip into the sauce and savour it.

Since they ordered beef, I did not eat it, but from the contentments (of oohs and aahs) from the girls, I can assure you that it must have been quite tasty. I was then informed that it’s most famous dish ‘Bulgogi’ had won ‘The Culture Trip’s New York Local Favorite 2015 Award.

Steak was another dish I missed out although it looked juicy and tender. There were roasted vegetables like apples and corn paired with this dish.

A vegetarian dish was made for me on another table, I did not watch her make but the sauces were sacculent and tasty

We were in the restaurant for over two hours, eating at slow pace, enjoying every moment. It was warm inside and the food was hot, spicy and tasty. When we got up to go out, we was greeted with strong gust of icy wind, we then realized, that choosing Korean cuisine was a wise decision on a cold day like this…….

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Indian Food Trail in America Part4- New York

For previous post

How can you miss India, when everything is available there? People living in America have created their own India adhering to the culture, tradition and food. They socialise on all the indian festivals and love Indian cuisine. Indian have westernised in India but Indian in America are very traditional in their values.

At every social gathering, they order Indian food from restaurants just like they do back home in India. The only difference is that Indians in America work very hard and with no house help, they normally don’t get much time to cook. Their freezer is stuffed with cooked food and they don’t mind eating stale food (which is sometimes one month old) Micro oven is of great help for converting stale food into a fresh hot plate.  

While in New York, my cousin wanted to take me to an south indian restaurant that is famous for best Dosas.  I am not too fond of south Indian cuisine, therefore he took me to Spice Market (at the corner of 9th avenue) instead.

We went for dinner, it was late evening, but the restaurant was bustling with activity, loud music, people waiting at the bar, with a glass of wine, while the tables cleared. I wondered if we would be able to have conversation. But once seated, everything was comfortable. We got a nice enclosed area tucked away in a pretty corner, with large low table and couch with comfortable cushions.

This restaurant had the most innovative menu like Ovaltine kulfi and spiced apple samosas. The food was good and so was the ambience. After heavy dinner it was perfect time for Gianduja chocolate Kulfi with Caramalised banana, popcorn with cocoa nibs and cream . 

I truly enjoyed the desserts at this place, especially Panandan and Tiramisu.

At the end of my four months stay in USA, I was home sick, beginning to crave for my indian cuisine back home. Most of the Indian restaurants concentrate on Biryanis and Butter Chicken and on snack menu is mainly samosas and bhajiyas. In India, we have a huge variety to select from: Sandwiches, Idlis, Vadas, etc,

Get the drift?

Different days, different food, travel all around the globe but Dhal and Rice at the end of the day……is always the best option.

Indian Food Trail in America Part3- Dallas

In continuation with

 In Dallas, Indian food is very much cherished by NRIs. I was surprised to see huge Indian grocery stores everywhere. The supermarket had all the possible things Indian. Many of the gluten free food was easily available at these stores. Freshly roasted indian bread was churned out of roti machines at the supermarkets. I saw many of the Indian working housewives shop for those hot rotis. Many of the Indian supermarkets also have a small area reserved for people to sit and enjoy street food, so while they shop for spices, they might try pani puri, idlis, vadas and samosas too.

There are many private supermarkets but Patel Brothers have spread their wings in all corners of America and many delicacies and Indian sweets are locally prepared in private homes and factories. There were all kinds of sweets available and things like khakhra, sev and other savories too. I am not surprised that visitors are discouraged from bringing food stuff into the continent., they are strict at the airports, there is really no need to bring grocery to USA, everything is locally available there.

My cousin insisted that I try the briyani at Chemeli. Their portions are large but the food tasted great. There were some mouth watering dishes like kababs and curries too. This one is the family run eatery that serves Bangladesi, Indian and Pakisthani cuisine.

Royal Sweet Mart specialised in Indian street foods. In this restaurant, the man was working in the open kitchen, frying a huge dosa, stuffing it with potatoes bhaji and cheese, cutting it into triangular shapes and serving like a pizza.

Week after week, Indians  in Dallas have regular religious meetings, either in the temple or in the private homes. At Hanuman temple and SaiBai temple, lunch is served weekly. Some of them have in private homes in rotation, where they enjoy Indian cuisine during pot luck parties. It is more like a social gathering. Elaborate lunch is prepared, people get to try new recipes each week thus keeping in groove with indian cooking.

to be continued

Indian Food Trail in America Part2- Atlanta

Indian Food trail in Atlanta, on the other hand, was much better. There are lots of Indians living here, quite comfortable in their second home, most of them seem to miss their food back home and were content to visit Indian restaurants. Many people told me that it is cheaper to eat outside than cooking at home. Prices are reasonable and servings are huge, therfore many bring back the left overs and enjoy the meal for one extra day. Most of the Indian restaurants are crowded in Atlanta and the food tastes good.

We went to a remote place at Kereke Kitchen. This was managed by close-knit family and it was truly a home style cooking. It was a small place (just six tables) with food served in paper plates, woman took our order, disappeared into the kitchen and came back with cooked food. While we waited for our order, we could help ourself with the home made savories left in the tin jar at the counter..We had chicken curry, it tasted strongly of burnt kokum the Appam served with this curry was not that great.

But the other restaurants that I truly enjoyed were Bawarchi Biryani Point and Zyka.

I loved the pilaaf at Bawarchi Biryani Point, its signature Hydrabadi style dum biryani is so famous that if you go late, you might not get it. They have a great selection of briyanis with in-house speciality like Natukodi, Ulvacharu, Panasapatty, Avakai, I loved it because it was tasty and spicy (and everybody knows how much I enjoy spicy stuff). At Bawarchi’s they have an honest, open and family-centered approach to franchising.

Zyka at Decatur is always crowded (I went thrice during my one month stay at Atlanta), This place is actually a huge community hall with tables and chairs randomly placed in the room. You grab a chair as soon as you see a vacant one.  You go order for your food, pay your bill and then wait for a roll call to pick up your order. There are too many hungry people waiting around your table while you are trying to relish food. I had enjoyed chicken in black pepper (my favorite), which was spicy and rich in taste. Also loved the freshly roasted Naan here (soft and fluffy, melt-in-the-mouth). This restaurant is mainly popular for its halal meat and its chicken65.

ChaiPani is the another good restaurant, that serves Mumbai street food but it is managed by a non-Indian couple.  Their sevpuri, bhindis fry are excellent and chai icecream( have you ever heard of this?) well it was tasting different (maybe because I am used to drinking chai and not eating chai icecream) I was so awed by this restaurant that I have a complete blogpost onthis place here ..

Global Mall is another popular place where you might find lots of Indians. Indians shop her for local stuff like clothings, jewellery and spices. There is a temple, social club and health club too. We spent many hours window-shopping for indian clothes, And like most of the other malls, this too had a food court with what else? Yes, Indian street food. We enjoyed sev puri and masala chai at Davat.

To be continued

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