Burdock/Gobo 蒡

These Roots are Not Parsnips!
A Cocktail Ingredient

Using burdock roots in Japanese cuisine

Burdock Root – Gobo

In the market, bundles of Burdock or Gobo  look like a stack of brown sticks.  About three and a half feet long, and maybe as thick as a forefinger. Sometimes they are tied with a string, so they look exactly like Continue reading

Joan Itoh

The Rice Paddy Gourmet Who Is Also a Novelist

“One can’t deny a very special kind of aesthetic sense in Japan.” —  Joan Itoh Burk

Joan Itoh Burk was born in New York City and lived in Somi, Niigata Prefecture, Japan, for thirteen years after she married the eldest son of an old landowning family in Japan.

During that time she immersed herself in Japanese culture and language, helped form an association of foreign women married to Japanese men and wrote extensively on Japanese food and cooking. Continue reading

Pacific Rim Cusines – Overview

Cooking – The Oldest Art

Chinese Tang Dynasty art from Silk Road

Chinese Men in Foreign Dress
Tang Dynasty Figures from the Gobi Desert

Our focus is the food and cooking of the Pacific Rim, but it is also a story of human history. As Brillat-Savarin said, “Cooking is the most ancient of the arts, for Adam was born hungry.”

With such a wealth of culinary styles, ingredients, cooking methods and national ways, how can we make some kind of order out of this ocean of recipes? It’s a good idea to create a kind of grid or structure to group the major national cuisines that we will feature in this Site. Continue reading

Germaine Swanson

Germaine’s of Washington
The First pan-Asian Restaurant!
IViet Nam - Saigon mapf you traveled to Washington, DC in the 1970s and 1980s, you may have visited Germaine’s Restaurant on Wisconsin Avenue in upper Georgetown tor some of her Asian food.

If you lived in Washington during that period, then Germaine’s was the place to take visitors from out of town, to show them that you were in the know.. Her restaurant survived for two decades, a rare thing for restaurants, anywhere. Germaine’s  clients Continue reading

Lumpia – The Best Party Snack – Part II

Memories of Old Manila. Somehow Lumpia Shanghai has associations of Old Manila, the Spanish walled city of Intramuros and Binondo, the ancient Chinatown of Manila, where I first ate the dish. visiting our attorney in Manila, whose office was in the old Spanish walled city.

Our talk was a long one, and as lunch hour approached, he suggested we continue over lunch.  “We Filipinos like to cement relationships over meals,” he said.  “Let’s go to my favorite Chinese restaurant near here.”

The restaurant was in the old Chinese quarter of Binondo, near Intramuros. The streets in Intramuros and Binondo are so narrow, we went, not by care, but by horse carriage, the Filipino kalesa. The mid day sun was sweltering, as so often in Manila, and the humidity was off the scale. Continue reading

Lumpia – The Best Party Snack

Lumpia Shanghai,
The Best Party Snack

When people talk about Filipino food, one dish that always comes up is Lumpia Shanghai, the crispy egg roll appetizer or side dish with its unique sweet and sour dipping sauce.

Chicken and pork adobo, cardereta,or pancit may be national dishes of the Philippines – depending on whom you talk to – but lumpia has to be the best snack food from that country.

It’s popular not only in the Philippines but wherever people have had the chance to try it, in Filipino restaurants or homes anywhere in the world. What is it that makes this dish so popular? Continue reading

China’s Great Cooking Discovery – Stir-Frying

Do You Stir-Fry?

The discovery of how to stir-fry foods, in deepest antiquity, was one of China’s greatest contributions to world gastronomy. It is not only a safe way to prepare food, but it is delicious and one of the things that gives Chinese food is distinctive character.

Yu Cai Chao Ji Pian
Yu Tsai Stir Fried with Chicken Slices

Stir-frying is very ancient and is a style that makes Chinese food taste Chinese. It has its own special word in Chinese, chao 炒, which according to  Matthews Chinese dictionary means literally, “to roast in a pan, to fry.” [note 1]. There is a misconception among many non-Chinese cooks who try to do it about just what this term means and how to stir-fry. Continue reading

Chopsticks and Weight Loss

Using chopsticks to lose weight

Chopsticks – a Tool for Weight Management

Can Chopsticks Help You Lose Weight?

Kimiko Barber thinks so. The Japanese-born British food writer came to this conclusion a few years ago while writing two Continue reading

Chopsticks and Weight Control Could using chopsticks help control weight or even help lose weight?

Could Using Chopsticks Help You Lose Weight?
The Chopstick Diet – Kimiko Barber’s Discovery

Using chopsticks to lose weight

Chopsticks – a Tool for Weight Management


“I lost two whole dress sizes!” — Kimiko Barber

The concept may have originated with British food writer Kimiko Barber, herself Japanese-born.

Continue reading