Santouka Ramen and Matcha Love

When trying the famous ramen shop Santouka popped up, I didn’t hesitate to try it as well as eating matcha ice green and shakes. I was also curious about green tea with fresh Japanese cherries flavor so I also bought that.

Santouka Ramen

I got the shio ramen, which consisted of white tonkotsu soup and red pickled plum on top, giving it a feminine touch. The rice bowl was full of frog eggs and chicken pieces, which balanced nicely with white rice. The white soup was very delicious to consume on its own after finishing all the toppings and the noodles. For the second round, I had the spicy ramen. The spice gave the soup and flavor a kick but it was mild enough that those who can’t handle spice could enjoy it. Compared to instant ramen, nothing could compare to the authentic ramen from Santouka since you can taste the toppings and noodles without being overpowered by sodium.

Matcha Love

For someone who drinks tea on a regular basis, the review would have some bias. Nevertheless, the matcha ice cream and shakes should be tried out for those who never had matcha flavored desserts. The items weren’t too bitter nor too sweet.

Green Tea with Japanese Cherries

When the box was opened, the tea leaves inside the pyramid bags had a pleasant strong cherry scented green tea aroma. The brewed tea had a hint of cherry flavor with the fresh taste of green tea. Cherry flavor items can be difficult to create since many companies input artificial cherry flavoring, which can led to the item taste like cherry cough medicine.

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Chinese New Year (Spring Festival)

For the last week, I’ve celebrated Chinese New Year by going into festivals. I was so excited at what they had to offer since it was my first time. There was great food, live performances, and variety of activities that showcase Chinese culture.

Dim Sum – Chinese version of tapas

There were other dishes I ate in a Dim Sum restaurant but were not pictured due to my camera being full. I also ate shu mai, congee, soup dumplings, and some desert buns.

For the topic of food, it is customary to eat dumplings for Chinese New Year since  they symbolize good fortune as they resemble ingots (ancient Chinese currency).

Gift Shop

Vendors and main stage

The festival have many booths that appeals to both children and adults. Activities appealing to children include face painting, red envelopes while tea tasting, calligraphy, and fortune telling were pretty popular to adults. Surprisingly, the festival was more diverse than I thought with about 30 – 50 % people attending are Asians.

Red envelopes are commonly given to children during Chinese New Year. Red color symbolizes happiness and good fortune. Inside the envelopes would be money. Honesty, if I get free money, it would represent happiness and good fortune regardless whether it was delivered in a red envelope or not.

Traditional Han Chinese clothing (hanfu) and Manchurian clothing (Qipao) 

People were taking pictures with Chinese young adults dressed in traditional garb. Those on the right were wearing hanfu while those on the left were wearing a traditional qi pao. However, the man in the brown robes in the right picture is wearing a hanfu.

Lion dance

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Face Change Opera

Face change opera is a performance originated from Sichuan province. Performers wear brightly colored costumes and move to quick, dramatic music. They also wear vividly colored masks, typically depicting well known characters from the opera, which they change from one face to another almost instantaneously with the swipe of a fan, a movement of the head, or wave of the hand.

Chinese Dance

 

Mooncakes (Mid-Autumn Festival)

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, corresponding to the night of the full moon. Also known as the Moon Festival, this is believed that this day in which the moon is at its fullest and brightest.

In the festival, a very important food item is the mooncake. The mooncakes can be sacrificed to the moon for offering or be eaten for celebration.The round shape embodies the reunion of a family, which is reunited at the time of the festival for celebration. During the festival, mooncakes are commonly bought and gifted to friends and families.

Mooncakes – tea & chestnut, longan, oolong tea, green tea, jasmine, and pomelo

 

Snow skin mooncake with lotus paste filling

The first set of mooncakes came in with a box full of tea and fruit flavors. They were tasty, better than the ones commonly sold with lotus paste and egg yolks inside them, which I don’t like. My flavor preferences are biased towards either savory or sweet, not together. Out of all the flavors, I liked oolong, pomelo, and green tea flavors the best. If mooncakes were more like this, then mooncakes wouldn’t have so much of a divide in opinions as some deemed mooncakes the Chinese version of fruitcakes.

The snow skin mooncake was too sweet for me. The skin itself was already sweet that the lotus paste filling combined altogether made the mooncake nauseating to eat. As a result, it’s not my cup of tea. Perhaps, if I drank tea with the mooncake, the bitter taste would balance out the sweetness?

Delving in the background of the holiday, the festival derives from the customs of moon sacrificial ceremonies. Observing that the movement of the moon was correlated with the changes of the seasons and agricultural production, sacrifices were made to the moon on autumn days to express appreciation and gratitude. 

Several stories and legends were inspired by the moon. The legend of Lady Chang E is particularly commemorated by the festival. In the legend, Lady Chang E drank her husband’s elixir of immortality, and as a result, flew to the moon.

Ethiopian Cuisine (First Time)

Of all the ethnic foods commonly consumed, Chinese, Italian, and Mexican are some of the most popular though tailored to American tastes. That being said, not every person gets a chance to try out Ethiopian. Ethiopian cuisine is novel to me as it was my first time in trying it so I was excited for the opportunity.

Vegetarian Combo – various dishes such as humus fit fit, and azifa, beets, salad, etc arranged on Injera bread

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Eating The Big Apple

Visiting New York City gives one the opportunity to try out a variety different dishes not offered in many places in the United States due to the ethnically diverse population. Here’s to showcasing the different foods I’ve tried.

Cafe Sabarsky – Viennese cafe that serves savory dishes and pastries with Neue Museum attached to the restaurant

Bavarian Sausage with warm Pretzel & Sweet Mustard 

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