Apr 212013

Last night Mike and I met two other couples at Little Sheep Hot Pot on Ngong Rd.  It’s just west of Adams Arcade, Green House.  Little Sheep is a restaurant chain in China and has quite a few locations in the US too.  My mom and I went to the one in Beijing in 2008.  It’s debatable whether or not the one in Nairobi is an official chain or if they just took the logo and name. 😉  The restaurant is literally in someone’s house that was converted, so the dining tables are in 3 different rooms, complete with floral wallpaper and paper lanterns and decorative fans hanging.

There were the classic two broths, chicken herbal and spicy.  Sometimes the spicy broth is way too hot for me with the Sichuan peppercorns, but last night it wasn’t too bad–just right!  I ended up using the spicy broth the most.

Our Meat and Vegetables Cooking in the Herbal Broth and Hot and Spicy Broth

Our Meat and Vegetables Cooking in the Herbal Broth and Hot and Spicy Broth

With 6 people, we got to order a bunch of different plates: thinly sliced lamb and beef, lotus root, two different types of noodles, seaweed, dong tofu, shitake, tofu skin and sheets, dumplings, and fish balls.  And believe me, we ate it all!  Our heat plate wasn’t working and then we blew a fuse, so they had to replace it.  There was a lot of fiddling with the outlet and the extension cord under Mike’s seat.  So it took a while to get it boiling so we were hungry by the time we could eat the food.  The good was great–I’ve really missed hot pot!  Reminds me of when we were in China and we had it all the time there.  I think that’s where Mike got sick of hot pot. 😉

The owners of the restaurant are really nice.  They’re from China (we think Jiangsu province?) and apparently they’ve been in Africa for 10-15 years.  She was really cute, coming over and speaking Chinese to us and saying “I like to listen in on your table since you speak such good English!” (there were 3 Chinese speakers are our table).  There’s quite a large Chinese population here; I think someone told me 30,000 Chinese in Nairobi?!  So quite cool that you get the “real” Chinese food in Nairobi, not American Chinese food.  Funny, huh?

For dessert, we topped it off with sweet sesame soup dumplings (tang yuan).  Yum!  Hope we go back soon.

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot - Thumbs Up!

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot – Thumbs Up!

 April 21, 2013  Posted by at 4:11 pm Food, Kenya, Nairobi Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  2 Responses »
Nov 212012

Mike and I are totally hooked on Ethiopian food.  I often get cravings for it, it’s so good.  So far, we’ve been to Addis in Dar and Habeesha.  The other one that’s often recommended here is Rohobot, which looks like the front courtyard of someone’s home.  It’s run by an Ethiopian family and their little boy is often running around with a toy.

We went with our friends Jacie (American) and Dan (British but Africa-born) after grabbing some drinks at the Waterfront restaurant at Slipway (where we are currently staying).  It’s on Ali Bin Said, a dirt road off of Haile Selassie Rd, close to Wonder Welders.  Rohobot is cheaper than Addis in Dar, so probably more sustainable choice if you wanted your regular fix of Ethiopian food.  We got a ton of food and it only came to $13/person including drinks. Addis in Dar usually comes to $20/person with drinks.  Funny again how our restaurant “expensive” scale changes so quickly in a different environment, compared to what we used to pay in NYC.

Jacie and Dan have been in Dar many years, so we let them do the ordering.  We got some beef tibs (grilled cubes of meat with onion and rosemary), beef in berbere sauce, chickpeas, lentils, cheese, tomato salad, and shiro wot (peas).  Each “dish” comes out in a small bowl that your pour over the injera bread.

Pouring deliciousness onto the injera

Here’s what our injera platter looked like before we put the shiro wot and beef tibs on.  The shiro wot you pour near the cheese and eat those together.  Dan got these chili peppers filled with tomato salsa that were SPICY.  Woo!

Clockwise from top: Tomato salad, chili peppers stuffed with tomato salsa, beef berbere, lentils, cheese, chickpeas. Doesn’t include the beef tibs and shiro wot.

Needless to say, we devoured the entire thing.  So we’ve actually been back to Addis in Dar a second time and the food actually wasn’t as good as the first time we went there.  I’m not sure if it was inconsistency, or if it just doesn’t work as well with two people since you don’t get as much variety?  We still love the ambiance there, it definitely has the best atmosphere with all the tables on the deck under the starry sky (what do they do in rainy season?).  But in terms of food, we decided Habeesha in Nairobi was #1, Rohobot second, and then Addis in Dar.   So I guess I should re-title my Addis in Dar post since I had proclaimed it best Ethiopian food of my life.  Ha!  I do love when it just gets better and better.

Full Platter and So Excited About It

Oct 312012

My first week in Dar, I met one of Mike’s coworkers Drew at lunch.  When it came up that I liked to dance, he said that one of his friends, Karen, teaches hip hop here. (!) So I got really excited and we were introduced over email.  I went to her class at Nanasi (in Oysterbay Shopping Center) and we found out we had so much in common…almost too much in common!  Both Chinese and from LA, both went to Berkeley, both were president of Danceworx at Berkeley…she was just 3 years after me.  Craziness!  And to meet in Dar, of all places.  She’s currently in the middle of her two year fellowship here with the CDC.  Anyway, class was a lot of fun but I did take it with probably an 11 year old and a 14 year old. Hehe.  So maybe I will try teaching once I get settled here.

Anyway, Karen and I bonded and we decided to go get Chinese food.  She mentioned that there was a good one downtown since I asked her if there were any good Chinese restaurants here.  She lives in Upanga, which is a neighborhood closer to town and popular with younger people.  Her apartment building complex is huge and really really nice.  We would definitely consider this if we were working downtown, but it’ll probably be easiest to stay on the Peninsula.

We went to the restaurant downtown with her coworker Lindsay.  It’s called Tai Huo San Zhuang Restaurant, which roughly translates into Sun and Mountain Seafood Restaurant.  The restaurant is on Jamhuri St. right next to the police post (it’s actually on Google Maps!).  When we went in, it was a smoke filled place—ahh…feels like I’m back in China.  But the restaurant was definitely filled with Chinese people!  There is actually a large Chinese population here.  They are all here building the roads and buildings since China is investing heavily in Africa.  The menu seemed pretty Americanized, but Karen and I could make out some of the Chinese to order some “usuals.” We got Sichuan beef, hong shao tofu, vegetable in bird’s nest, and a chicken mi fun (rice noodles).  It was all really good!  I was impressed.  Good Chinese food in Dar.  Sichuan beef and the tofu were my favorites.  Hong shao just means “red-cooked” which means you have soy sauce, sugar, star anise, and rice wine.

I’m mad at myself because I was so distracted by the food that I forgot to take pictures until it was all gone.  Oops!  Next time.  But I did manage to take a photo as we were leaving the restaurant. =)

Tai Huo San Zhuang Chinese Restaurant

Pretty Good Chinese Food in Dar!

Aug 272012

Ever since I got back from our Asia trip, I’ve been reminiscing about all the delicious food we had in China.  One of our favorite spots was in Xian, where we ate almost every night in he Muslim Quarter.  They are known for a dish there called pao mo, which is a noodle soup, usually with lamb.  It includes tiny cubes of bread torn up to soak up with tasty lamb broth.  I had never had anything like it!

So now that we’re back in LA, I was on the hunt for some pao mo.  I searched on Yelp, and Shaanxi Gourmet came up in the results in Rosemead, about an hour northeast of us.   My mom wanted to check out the dragonboat races in nearby Whittier so I thought that was a perfect chance to hit up this place for lunch!

Shaanxi Gourmet was in a small strip mall plaza and parking was packed on that Saturday!  We couldn’t find a spot so we parked on the street half a block away.  The restaurant looked new and clean and was a decent size with two rooms for seating.  We ordered 2 bowls of pao mo, 1 lamb and 1 beef.  To start, we had ma la lian pi, which is a cold rice noodle with hot chili oil.  It came with some cubes of tofu and we devoured that.  SO GOOD.  Then we got the rou bao, which is a lamb meat bun.  That was good too, but not my favorite.  Then the massive bowls of pao mo came out.  And they were massive!  We couldn’t finish it all so we took some home.  It even came with a small plate of pickled garlic, just like in Xian.  The lamb and beef bowls were both good, but I preferred the lamb.  Great flavor and definitely pretty close to the real deal in Xian.  Will be a repeat for sure. In the end, it was one of those blistering hot days in LA, so with a belly full of pao mo, we ditched the dragonboat races and went home happy. =)

Hearty Pao Mo Noodles



Aug 252012

I mentioned in an earlier post that when I come to Chicago, there are 3 things on my list of must-dos.  Well, Tank Noodle was closed on the day we went down in to the city, so we had to make the trek when we were down there for the wedding.  I would come here while I was in business school and it was always a treat.  I still think of it as the best pho I’ve ever had.  I think I’m biased mostly by the delicious beef tendon they have.  It’s the best beef tendon because its cooked until it’s super soft–if you have bad tendon it will be hard and chewy.  The broth is flavorful and the noodles are tasty.  Mike and I took the red line El north of the city and you get off of at the Argyle stop, which is known as little Vietnam.  It’s essentially one block filled with Vietnamese restaurants and shops.  I’ve never eaten at any of the other places because Tank is just to good to pass up.  It’s funny because when I met up with my friend Heidi who still lives in the city, I mentioned that I need to go to my pho place and she responds, “What, Tank?”  So people just know. =)

Craving satisfied!

Get in My Face

 August 25, 2012  Posted by at 1:15 am Chicago, Food, Illinois Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  No Responses »
Mar 242012

The most famous dish of Xian can be found throughout the Muslim Quarter, so we went back again tonight.  It’s called Pao Mo, and you can get it with beef or lamb.  It’s similar to beef noodle soup, but they use clear noodles instead and the bulk of the starch is actually made up of flat bread torn into miniature cubes.

We went to Lao Sun Jia, which was a couple of locations in Xian, and is the most famous spot.  We had noticed it the night before as it was packed and the huge fire stoves outside were going strong.

Lao Sun Jia Cooks

Cooks Outside Lao Sun Jia

Mike and I got one lamb and one beef pao mo.  So good!  The cubes were dense and almost like chewy noodles but heavier.  I was so hungry and it was so good I finished my entire bowl which probably wasn’t a good idea.  Definitely food coma afterwards.  It came with a small dish of pickled sweet garlic which was also delicious.

Xian Lao Sun Jia

Pao Mo from Lao Sun Jia

Highly recommended.

 March 24, 2012  Posted by at 3:03 am China, Food, Xian Tagged with: , , , , , ,  2 Responses »