Month: August 2017

Grilled Blue Crabs

Hello! I’m two weeks into school and cruising along. Speaking of cruising, our driver, Mr. Yu, was cruising along the wet market when he saw insanely cheap and insanely fresh blue crabs. A phone call and a short wait later, 9 of them arrived at our kitchen. My first thought was to steam them, but Mr. Yu had a better idea- Wok grilling.

Last post, I promised a recipe,  but  it’s so simple there’s no need for one.

 

Heat a wok or large pan on medium high heat and place the crabs shell side down. After about 8-10 minutes, add 2-3 tablespoons of rice or cooking wine and wait 2-3 more minutes. Viola! Done! To get the most out of these crabs, serve with some ginger and soy sauce.

 

I honestly can’t believe we steamed any crab other than the hairy ones for so long. These crabs were DIVINE!!!! Steaming does wonders in preserving the moisture of the meat, but tends to dilute the flavor. Grilling, provided you don’t go crazy with the heat or time, preserves the beautiful natural salty-sweetness of the crab. Even better, the crab is literally cooking in its own juices.

There’s only 1 downside. The roe tends to bubble out a bit and burn. Honestly, there’s really no good way of preventing it all together. Just remember to cook the crabs shell side DOWN and reduce the heat a bit once things start bubbling.

I hope you all enjoyed this short little recipe. If you guys try this, please comment  with the results. See you guys next week!

 

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Summer Pt. 3: Business in Ukraine!

Hi!!!, Back again! I promise, this is the last post about summer. In case you missed them, I gave an overview in Part 1 and shared my favorite eats in Part 2. Well, as the title says, I’m going to talk about my trip to Ukraine!

Why Ukraine

I’m a HUGE Russia/USSR junkie. I also missed my chance to go to Russia in the spring last school year, so I guess a trip to Ukraine isn’t too surprising right? Actually, I didn’t go on any old family vacation; I went as part of the China Delegation for the SAGE (Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship) world cup, which happened to be hosted in Odessa.

SAGE is an organization based in California that hosts a global business competition for students. A group of friends and I actually started a project, but the regional qualifiers happened to coincide with SATII testing 😦 Luckily, the China delegation had a couple of spots open. I applied and was accepted!!!!!

What I loved…..

  1. The Event itself was AMAZING. The first day was a culture fair, and the other countries really brought their A-Game.

We handed out these cute keychains that resemble foods and some bookmarks

Each country also did a short performance, which was really cool to watch. Unfortunately, my phone ran low so I didn’t get any footage 😦

The competition was also very interesting. It’s actually amazing what some of the teams did. Israel’s team is developing an interactive emergency wristband for senior citizens and actually got government funding as well as grants from 5VC firms!

2. The weather and views were even better than the competition. We were given free time on the third day to explore :

 

 

3. FOOD!!!!!! Granted, the meals they provided us at the hotel sucked, but everything else was AMAZING, and incredibly cheap. Seriously, a bottle of kefir was only 20 hyrvnia (less than a dollar). In Shanghai, a small thing of Greek yogurt costs upwards 28RMB (around $4). The fruit  and rye bread were also incredible. My favorite, however, had to be the cured fish

 

Sure, it doesn’t look appetizing, but trust me, the flavour is superb. Basically, the freshness and salt removes any fishiness while preserving the fish’s natural oils. The flesh, both times I had this, was tender and not too salty. Anyways, its available in pretty much every grocery store, but for the best, head to the beach and pick a stall!

What didn’t go so well….

Only 1 thing didn’t quite work out: the traveling

First of all, the flights were at the worst times. Honestly, the flight there departed at 3am and the flight back arrived 1am…. so much for a getting enough sleep…….

The on-site visas also got screwed up, so my team ended up stuck in Kiev for nearly 6hrs while they figured things out. In the mean time, we missed our flight to Odessa and had to take a 6hr bus ride instead…….at least we didn’t have to take a 22hr bus to Kenya like the Ugandan team

So that’s it for this post. I hope the ending didn’t bum you guys out. Overall, I highly recommend visiting Odessa, or the rest of Ukraine for that matter.

Anyways, August is almost over, which means crab season is starting! See you guys next week with a recipe!

 

 

 

Summer Pt.2: Best eats

Hi!!! As promised, I’m back. My first week as a junior is over and it is definitely WAYYYY busier than freshman and sophomore year. Anyways, it’s the weekend now, and I want to finish my summer recap before fall sets in, so let’s get started! Part 2: Food

Honestly, I didn’t get much of a chance to explore the amazing food scenes of some of the cities I visited, but I still hit three standout spots.

1. Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack (Iowa City)

At camp, I mentioned to one of the counselors that I liked smoked meats/bbq, and this was the first place he recommended. The next day, I walked over for lunch, and discovered just how lucky these college kids were. I wanted the 3 meat platter, but there was no way I could finish everything 😦  I ordered a pulled pork sandwich instead.

 It was AMAZING. The meat was tender and incredibly smoky. So, the next week, I came back and got a half rack of ribs

 No disappointment here. The ribs were not fall of the bone, but they had such flavor I actually appreciated the extra chew. They were also not too fatty, so I didn’t feel uncomfortable, despite the nearly pound of meat.

Other notes: The service is amazingly fast and the people are courteous. They also have a complementary toppings bar with housemade pickles and over 15 types of sauce!. However, as a trade-off, it’s not exactly college- budget friendly. Still, I highly recommend it

2. EMC Raw Bar

We go to Irvine every summer, but since we stay in an apartment complex thing, we don’t really go out to eat. When we do, it’s usually to the Chinese places down the street or some sushi place we happen to drive by. One day, after doing some shopping in Heritage Plaza, I noticed a new building

Seafood and raw bar? Now that’s my type of restaurant. It was already noon, so why not try it out?

The menu was small but extensive with a large variety of quite creative dishes like uni(sea urchin) avocado toast  as well as more traditional soups and pastas. Before any of that, oysters to start!

These were the Chesapeake bay oysters, which were very tasty and fresh, but small. I would recommend some of the larger (but more expensive) varieties.

For mains, I got charbroiled whitefish filet and my mom got the spicy seafood soup

(I was too excited and started eating before remembering to take a pic)

I’ll start with the soup. My mom didn’t think it would be enough to fill her up for lunch, but she could not have been more wrong. It was loaded with clams, muscles, shrimp……and just to satisfy those who just need carbs, the soup came with some garlic bread.

Mom thought she hit the jackpot, until my dish arrived. The whitefish was not only fresh, it was JUICY. yes, a juicy fish. Even better, I could still taste the char.

Other notes: For sides, I highly recommend the grilled corn or one of the toasts. This is definitely more of a fancy dinner place (perfect for date night!)The food also took a while to arrive.

3. Pinefish

While in Philly visiting UPENN,  I was really craving seafood, so I did a quick search on Yelp and found that this place called Pinefish had $1 oysters during happy hour. Yep, $1. We were going.

It took a while to navigate all the one ways, but we eventually arrived to this:

 

Turns out, the happy hour oysters actually existed! Even better, cocktail shrimp and clams were also included in the deal!.  So, we did the logical thing and ordered a dozen of each.

 (our first batch)

I must say, the oysters were a bit disappointing, but GET THE CLAMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oysters, clams and shrimp are great, but not enough for dinner. The waitress brought us the menus. My dad and brother aren’t seafood people so they got overpriced meat dishes (not worth discussing). My mom and I took advantage of the place. Strangely enough, we ordered almost the same things we did at EMC.

 (grilled fish of the day- I don’t recall what fish)

 (Spanish spicy seafood soup)

This place was like EMC, but 5x better. I swear the fish I ate was still swimming this morning. Basically if you’re ever in Philly, find this place.

Other notes: They bring seafood in fresh everyday and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Come early. The service was actually pretty fast, but the highlight was the great attitude of the staff.

Well, I hope you get a chance to check out the AMAZING restaurants. I’ll be back soon with the final installment. See you then!

 

Back from Summer!

HELLO!1 Looong time no post. I hope everyone’s had a great summer because I know I did!

Basically, this post will be an overview of what I’ve been up to and the following 2-3 will get into some specifics. There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s get started!

Nothing really happened the first month or so. I just chilled, took a few test prep classes and found out I got accepted to the China delegation for SAGE (Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship)- more on that later

Things picked up in July when I headed to the states with my mom.

I hung out in Irvine for some shopping, then straight to Writing camp!!! In March, I was accepted to the Iowa’s Young Writer’s studio hosted by the Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop. It was AMAZING. Imagine: 87 extremely talented (and some published) high school writers gathered at one of the top writing programs in the country, taught by actual professors from the studio, for 2 weeks. There were also nightly readings by phenomenal local authors and plenty of writing time. I actually got 3 pieces written and workshopped during the two weeks! We also had some pretty crazy reading assignments.If you haven’t read them already, I highly recommend Blu’s Hanging, Enrique’s Journey and Brokeback Mountain.

After came, everyone headed to the east coast for college visits.

Columbia- They were actually filming a movie based on the Senate Papers, but we weren’t allowed to take pics of the set. Anyways, Columbia was by far my favorite

Harvard- It was rainy and miserable so no pics 😦

UPenn

Yale- Yale has a really cool thing called a student forum. Basically, interested students gather and talk with current Yale students- no parents allowed!

Finally- UKRAINE for  SAGE!!!!!- # squad

Well, tomorrow its back to school. See you soon!