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 »
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

 

 

Jul 062012
 

Our last day in Tokyo, we still had most of the day to kill.  We still had not tried out any soba yet, so we sought out a soba placed called Narutomi in Ginza.  Thanks to Amit for the recommendation!  I’d read that the soba here is different because the noodles are made from 100% buckwheat versus the standard 20%.  We ordered two soba sets at 800 Yen each ($10) and a vegetable tempura set.  Soba came out was really good, but I guess I’m not much of a soba expert, so I couldn’t tell you how different it was from other soba I’ve had.

100% Buckwheat Soba Noodles

The mistake was probably the vegetable tempura set.  While it was really good and included a fried shiso leaf (yum!), we ordered it at the waitress’s recommendation without asking the price.  $15…not too bad I guess but all told it turned out to be a pretty steep lunch for not a ton of food.  Probably a better bet to get ramen and be full!

Vegetable Tempura with Salt

 July 6, 2012  Posted by at 3:30 am Food, Japan, Tokyo Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  No Responses »
Jul 062012
 

The hunt for delicious ramen continues…There were definitely a few ramen places I wanted to check out such as Bossanova and Ivan, but they were a little bit more out of the way and with our limited time, I chose Nagi ramen near Shinjuku.  They have a few locations, each focused on a different specialty, but their Shinjuku location is known for their tonkatsu style ramen, which is our favorite.  We frequent Ippudo a lot in New York which is tonkatsu style (Ippudo started in Tokyo but we chose to try a different ramen place while we were here).  Poor Mike, I always drag him to strange out of the way places for the hunt for good food!

Well, it didn’t fail us!  The broth was rich and creamy and oh so good.  After you order from the vending machine, you are given a form where you can customize the oiliness of your broth, how much garlic, spiciness, and more.  It’s really nice to be able to suit your own taste.

Ramen Customizer

The pork was melt in your mouth.  Perfectly cooked noodles.  To compare it to Ippudo, the broth isn’t as heavy and thick at Nagi.  So if I were going for a one time ramen meal, I’d probably still pick Ippudo.  But if you were going to eat it on a regular basis, I would choose Nagi so you don’t get that I’m-so-full-I-feel-sick feeling afterwards.

Tonkatsu Ramen – So Good

 July 6, 2012  Posted by at 3:21 am Food, Japan, Tokyo Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  No Responses »
Jul 052012
 

After people watching in Shibuya, we went on a mission to find a good small ramen spot.  Ideally it would be counter seating only filled with local business people.  And we found it!  At first we were intimidated, but we snagged the last two seats after paying at the vending machine.

Counter Seating Only

In Japan, a lot of small restaurants have vending machines where you put in money and push the button of the item you want to eat.  The machine spits out change and you hand your ticket to the cook/waiter.  This makes so much sense because it automates all money handling and decreases order error.  Takes all the waiting time out of ordering too so restaurants can have faster turnover.  We need to implement this in the US!  Though it works best for places that don’t have many options on the menu.  These ramen places just do ramen and they do it well.  Too many options in the US.

Typical Food Vending Machine

The place had miso and shoyu style ramen and we both ordered the miso ramen.  Our personal favorite style is the tonkotsu pork bone broth but we’ll save that for a later ramen hunt.  It was super good and everyone around us was slurping away.  We noticed that we eat really slowly compared to everyone else!  People just came in, slurped, and they were on their merry way again.  What I love in Asia are the perfect soft boiled eggs everywhere.  Even the packaged ready-to-eat eggs in 7-11 are soft boiled.  Amazing!  I would tell you the name of the place, but there was no English name.  From looking at the Chinese characters, I can tell you that it probably starts with “wa”? =)

Delicious Miso Ramen

Tiny Ramen Restaurant

 July 5, 2012  Posted by at 12:13 am Food, Japan, Tokyo Tagged with: , , , , , ,  No Responses »
Mar 242012
 

We arrived in Xian late in the afternoon and after settling into our hostel, we walked across the street to the Muslim Quarter to grab some dinner.  Xian was the capital of China for 6 dynasties and the Muslim Quarter here has been around since the 7th century, but really established during the Ming Dynasty.

It’s a cute couple of blocks with packed restaurants and street food vendors selling kebabs, sweet sticky rice, fried dough filled with meat and vegetables.

My mom recommended we try hand pulled noodles while in Xian since Lanzhou, which is known for their hand pulled noodles is so close by.  We went to Hui Wen Ren Jia (Hui Wen Ren means Muslim) on the main drag.  If you order off of the menu it can get a little pricier, but if you order off of the “snack” menu that they cook outside, it’s much cheaper.

Xian Hui Wen Ren Jia

Cooks Outside Hui Wen Ren Jia

We ordered beef hand pulled noodles and they were delicious!  Just a hint of that numbing Sichuan peppercorn and cilantro.  Only 10 RMB (a little over $1).

Xian Hand Pulled Noodles

Hand Pulled Beef Noodle Soup

We also ordered a delicious vegetable dish with charred green beans and eggplants with three different kinds of peppers.  This was the first restaurant we finished everything we ordered (we always order too much).  There were also soup dumplings consumed, but those didn’t compare to the ones we had in Shanghai.

Xian Eggplant and Green Bean Dish

Three Different Kinds of Peppers!

All in all, highly recommended!

 

 March 24, 2012  Posted by at 2:20 am China, Food, Xian Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  Comments Off on Xian: Hand Pulled Noodles at Hui Wen Ren Jia in the Muslim Quarter