Categories
Culture

Japanese Comfort Foods That Go Beyond Sushi Or Ramen

tamagoyaki

Photo: Laura Tomàs Avila

I didn’t realize how much Japanese comfort food is slept on. I’ve had it many times, but usually just order the same things. Like any culture, the cuisine is vast, and Japanese cuisine is more than just sushi and ramen. Many familiar dishes have existed for hundreds of years. Sushi in particular is estimated to have been around for 1,800 years. So just imagine all of the dishes you’ve yet to try.

pikunico kuniko yagi

With Los Angeles having the second highest Japanese population in the United States, it’s the perfect place to experience Japan’s world of comfort food. One person that’s making an impact in Los Angeles’ dynamic dining scene is Chef Kuniko Yagi. As the former executive chef of Michelin-starred restaurant Sona, contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef, and current owner of karaage (Japanese-style) fried chicken spot Pikunico, Chef Yagi knows delicious Japanese food. This deliciousness is confirmed by a slew of glowing reviews Pikunico has received since it’s opening. In hopes of sharing the dynamic world of Japanese comfort food, below is a list of six lesser known types you might enjoy — all with Chef Yagi’s own recommendations on where best to try them in Los Angeles.

Photo: Buenosia Carol on Pexels, Free to use

1. Japanese Curry

Hugely popular in the country, curry was introduced to Japan by way of Europe’s spice imports from India in the late 1800s. It’s typically served with rice, potatoes, carrots, and onions and is a milder, sweeter counterpart to Indian curry. Japanese curry also varies from Indian in that beef and pork are more commonly used rather than chicken and mutton.

Chef Kuniko Yagi’s Recommendation:

Coco IchibanyaThe place to go when you’re craving any type of curry and want it ASAP! It’s a Japanese fast food franchise, so expect a Burger King vibe, but with one of the most creative and extensive curry menus in LA.

Photo: untitled_folder on Flickr, CC by 2.0

2. Japanese Omelet

A unique take on the French creation, the Japanese omelet, mostly known as “tamagoyaki,” or grilled egg in English, is commonly served alongside sushi. Unlike western omelets, tamagoyaki isn’t served with filling but rather is rolled together using layers of egg. There are two types of tamagoyaki: atsu-yaki-tamago and dashi-maki-tamago. The first type is a thick fried egg and the latter is a rolled egg with dashi (cooking stock). Each type can be prepared sweet or savory. 

Chef Kuniko Yagi’s Recommendation:

OtafukuWhen you’re in the South Bay and craving Japanese, Otafuku is a must! It’s very low-key and unassuming, but they have an extensive, delicious menu. Their Japanese-style omelet is a must. Their seasoning with mirin, dashi, and salt make each bite so delicious.

Photo: Arnold Gatilao on Wikimedia commons, CC by 2.0

3. Potato Salad

Potato salad is a staple of Japanese home cooking. Differing from American-style in texture and taste, Japanese potato salad is mashed with chunks of vegetables and sometimes ham. While the ingredients are similar to Western potato salad, the  version here is made with Japanese mayonnaise and rice vinegar, giving it more of a tangy twist.  

Chef Kuniko Yagi’s Recommendation:

Nijiya MarketAn unassuming storefront leads into a well-stocked Japanese grocer, complete with produce, ready-to-eat foods and specialty snacks. Our favorite thing by far is the Japanese potato salad at the prepared foods bar: mashed potatoes coated lightly with Japanese mayo create a unique combination of creamy, sweet and tangy flavors!

 
Photo: Nakano Mune on Flickr, CC by 2.0

4. Yakisoba (Stir Fried Noodles)

Yakisoba, or “fried buckwheat,” is a popular Japanese stir-fry dish which originates from China. Although “soba,” which means buckwheat, is a part of the word, it is actually made using wheat flour. Yakisoba is typically prepared stir-fried with bite-sized pork, vegetables (usually carrots, onions or cabbage) and flavored with yakisoba sauce, salt and pepper. Yakisoba sauce is made from sake, mirin, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, Tonkatsu sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar, giving it a sweet and sour taste.

Chef Kuniko Yagi’s Recommendation:

IchimiCharacterized as a “soba-intensive noodle shop” by the LA Times, this restaurant, tucked away in the Rolling Hills Plaza, will fulfill all your soba dreams and needs. They import their buckwheat from Japan and take care in creating each dish — and it shows. 

 
Photo: Ernesto Andrade on Flickr, CC by 2.0

5. Karaage (Japanese Fried Meat)

Karaage is a style of Japanese cooking involving deep-frying breaded meats like fish and more commonly, chicken. Meats are typically marinated in soy sauce, rice wine and ginger beforehand, resulting in a juicy inside and crispy outside. Commonly sold at open markets on skewers, karaage comes in variations that include sesame, garlic or pepper. Karaage is often accompanied by veggies or a bed of rice with a range of dipping sauces.

Chef Kuniko Yagi’s Recommendation:

PikunicoChef Kuniko Yagi’s first stand alone project at Row DTLA centers around Japanese fried chicken (karaage), a dish she would get every Sunday from her grandma’s favorite Tokyo department store for a Sunday picnic supper with the family. Yagi’s nostalgic take on her favorite Japanese comfort food brings to life the delicate flavor and umami of karaage with more of an American fried chicken crunch through her homemade organic brown rice flour and potato starch batter.

 

Photo: Guilhem Vellut on Flickr, CC-BY

6. Cha-han (Stir Fried Rice)

Thought to have originated from Chinese immigrants, Cha-han is a fried rice dish which includes a wide assortment of ingredients: vegetables, onion, garlic, shitake mushrooms, tofu, pork, various seafoods, scrambled egg, and ground beef to name a few. The dish’s seasoning can vary between soy sauce and oyster sauce, sesame oil, salt, pepper or katsuobushi, a dried and flaked tuna product. 

Chef Kuniko Yagi’s Recommendation:

KourakuThis is the place to go when you’re in the mood for some comfort food. It’s a Japanese style diner and open until 3 am Monday-Saturday, making it perfect for a late-night stop any day of the week. Just keep in mind it’s cash only!

Additional Chef Kuniko Recommendation:

YakitoriyaThis is truly one of the hidden gems of Japantown in Los Angeles. When passing by, it might not appear to be much, but venture inside this family-owned and operated Japanese grilled chicken joint and you will not be disappointed!

As you can see, Japanese comfort food goes far beyond mere ramen and sushi. With Little Tokyo so close, us Angelenos are spoiled with many options. But for those who don’t have pockets of Japanese communities in their cities, recipes and local restaurants are an easy Google search away. The next time you’re in need of some Japanese comfort, perhaps try something new, instead of a familiar go-to.

Categories
Tastemade/Snapchat

12 of the Most Comforting Comfort Foods Around the World

No matter where you’re from, sometimes the only thing that can make you feel better is a nice, warm bowl of whatever your momma makes you when you’re feeling down. Predictably, this manifests itself in different ways across the world. Here are 12 examples of delicious comfort food around the globe that’ll make you want to plan a worldwide tour ASAP.

1. Poutine // Canada

A post shared by momwhoruns (@momwhoruns) on


Poutine is one of the most addictive dishes in existence. Composed of French fries, gravy, and cheese curds, the dish originates in the Canadian province of Quebec. Many people call poutine “heart attack in a bowl,” which, based on its components, is a pretty accurate statement. Luckily, the poutine craze has extended to the United States, so there are plenty of places to get your fix.

2. Pão de Queijo // Brazil

A post shared by Bocanervosa (@bocanervosa_) on


Pão de Queijo involves two of our favorite food groups, cheese and bread, so we’re hooked already. Essentially, pão de queijo is a starchy bread made with tapioca, eggs, milk, and cheese, that is oftentimes stuffed with more cheese or meat. The rolls are known for being a little crispy on the outside, and very chewy and soft on the inside, so you could say they’re everything we ever dreamed of and more.

3. Cha Siu Bao // China

A post shared by @photobyjovan on


If you’ve ever went out to get some dim sum, chances are you have experienced the deliciousness that is cha siu bao. Also known as barbecue pork buns, these babies are made with a soft dough filled with pork tenderloin and are usually steamed to order and served with a number of different sauces like hoisin, oyster sauce, sesame or soy. These steamed buns are one of the many highlights of Cantonese cuisine.

4. Chilaquiles // Mexico

A post shared by Tom Dale (@tomdale) on


Chilaquiles are usually served for breakfast, but the dish is so comforting we’d eat it for any meal. The best part about chilaquiles is that they’re pretty simple, so you could easily make them at home. The main component is fried corn tortillas cooked with some sort of salsa or mole. Then, the tortillas are topped with a variety of yummy goodies, like pulled chicken or carnitas, queso fresco, refried beans, crema, and eggs. In other words, pretty much everything we love in life.

5. Khichdi // India

A post shared by Huma Kalim (@huma_kalim) on


Khichdi is a dish that utilizes three main staples in Indian cuisine: rice, lentils, and spices like turmeric, cumin, and curry. In addition to being delicious, khichdi is a great comfort food because it’s fairly easy to digest, making it a meal of choice when your tum tum isn’t feeling its best. Plus, you only need one pot and a stove to create it, making it one of the easier dishes on this list to concoct in your own home.

6. Pierogies // Poland

A post shared by Irene (@thespicyolive1) on


Pierogies are a type of dumpling from Poland that are stuffed with basically anything you could ever want in a meal, like meat, cheese, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and onions. Some people love pierogies so much they’ve created sweet renditions, too. First step in making these babies is the dough, of course. Then once the dough is stuffed, each pierogi is pan-fried to a golden brown on the stove. We’re in love.

7. Moussaka // Greece

A post shared by Nadia (@lifebynanblog) on


The easiest way to describe moussaka is like a Greek version of lasagna, except instead of pasta sheets, the dish is made with thinly sliced layers of eggplant. Each piece of eggplant is sauteed separately, and then placed into a casserole dish in one layer on the bottom of the pan. It’s then topped with lamb, garlic, spices, onion, and sometimes chopped potatoes. To continue the assembly, add another layer of eggplant and alternate with the toppings until all pieces have been used. Then comes time for the best part: you get to cover the eggplant in all of its glory with bechamel sauce before placing it in the oven to cook. It’s as good as it sounds.

9. Spaghetti alla Carbonara // Italy

A post shared by Whitney Bond (@whitneybond) on


It’s pretty impossible to go wrong when pasta and pancetta or guanciale are involved. Spaghetti alla Carbonara is a pasta from Italy that is native to Roman cuisine. Once cooked, the pasta is tossed with the sauteed pork and parmesan cheese. Contrary to popular belief, this dish actually does not require heavy cream – if you go to a restaurant that includes cream in their carbonara, it’s probably not legit. After the pasta is fully incorporated with the pancetta and cheese mixture, it’s placed on a plate and topped with an egg yolk, which you then pop and mix throughout the dish for creaminess. This last step depends on who’s making the dish – some cooks will combine the parmesan and egg together before tossing with the pasta rather than serving the yolk as a garnish, but to each their own.

10. Shepherd’s Pie // Ireland

A post shared by Damien Coghlan (@ketocogdog) on


Shepherd’s Pie is probably the most genius way to get children to eat vegetables. Cooked in a casserole dish, the base of Shepherd’s Pie contains ground beef or lamb and vegetables like carrots, peas, and corn that have been precooked in a skillet. This mixture is then topped with creamy mashed potatoes and thrown in the oven to bake until the taters reach a nice golden brown. Leave it to the Irish to know how to master meat and potatoes.

11. Beef Bourguignon // France


The French may be the champions of comfort food, and beef bourguignon is here to prove it. This is a hefty stew that includes bacon, red wine, and flavorful herbs like thyme, bay leaf, and parsley. We’re not gonna lie, this dish takes a pretty long time to make – over an hour of cook time in the oven alone – but your beef will be so tender and rich you’ll forget about all the hours you slaved over it in the kitchen. Just don’t forget to serve it with even more red wine.

12. Pho // Vietnam

A post shared by Nick Koh (@nickc0ld) on


Pho has magical powers. Seriously, it feels like it cures hangovers, the common cold, and rainy day blues. This stuff has been our saving grace on more than one occasion. We’re not sure whether it’s the unctuous beef broth or the meat or the rice noodles, bean sprouts, and other accoutrements, but this Vietnamese dish is one of the most soothing additions to our diet and we can’t imagine what our lives would be like without it.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss Restaurants

This CHICKEN AND WAFFLE BURGER Is Red Robin’s Latest Masterpiece

I’m a sucker for fried chicken and waffles. Not really sure how the trend started, but when it’s available, it’s a hard choice to pass up. That’s why we were stoked to learn that Red Robin is currently offering a new chicken and waffle burger that we needed to try immediately.

The Bee’s Knees Finest Chicken Burger adds a new dimension to the popular chicken and waffle dish, but it’s only available for a limited time.

This welcomed twist on a traditional favorite features a perfectly cooked tempura-fried chicken breast glazed in Angry Orchard® honey, a spicy jalapeno relish, topped with citrus-marinated tomatoes and onions, with shredded romaine, all in between two crispy Belgian waffle buns.

Chicken-Waffle-RR

We had a chance to visit our local Red Robin recently and were able to sink our teeth into this new flavor-packed, sweet and savory creation. IT WAS LIT! The sweetness of the Angry Orchard® honey, paired with the spicy jalapeno relish is a perfect blend of sweet, sticky, and spicy — almost resembling the flavor of a buffalo chicken recipe, but with a little less kick at the end.

“Comfort food is a staple of the Fall season,” said Jonathan Muhtar, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Red Robin. “Red Robin’s new innovative menu items offer a playful spin on classic dishes and popular seasonal flavors that are sure to put a smile on our guests’ faces.”

Known as “The Gourmet Burger Authority,” Red Robin is only serving up The Bee’s Knee’s Finest Chicken Burger until November 6th, so go grab a bite while you can. When you do, be sure to order a side of S’mored Sweet Potato Fries. 

Smores-Fries-RR
S’mored Sweet Potato Fries take ordinary sweet potato fries to a whole new level, and are great as an appetizer or a dessert. It’s a bed of hot sweet potato fries topped with toasted marshmallows, drizzled with hot fudge and sprinkled with a dash of sea salt — there’s even a hot chocolate fudge dipping sauce that adds even more sweetness to this dish. It’s almost like the sweet potatoes and marshmallow Thanksgiving plate we all know and love.

We see you, Red Robin, and we like it.

Categories
#foodbeast FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss

Foodbeast Is Donating Proceeds From ‘Family Dinner’ To Less Fortunate

Foodbeast’s mission is obvious—we strive to offer value to our audience via the food-centric entertainment and information we provide via our food news stories, recipe videos, miscellaneous eating adventures, and of course, #foodporn. Some people are familiar with us from a mixture of all of these, while some know us best for one single channel. Above everything, you should know our hearts and souls lie with foodit’s what wakes us up in the morning, and it’s what sweetly tucks us into our beds every night.

We aren’t very into the idea of taking the food on our plates for granted, because at the end of the day, we know that there are individuals in this world who can hardly even pay for their groceries. These same individuals do not have the means to keep their children in school regularly. These same individuals cannot even afford a home. And even more, these individuals are living right in our own backyard.

Being based in Santa Ana, we are incredibly aware of how many are affected by homelessness in our beloved Orange County. It hurts to see your own community, your own family, in such a painful situation. Hence, this is the premise for our Foodbeast Family Dinner series—we wanted to somehow bring together our community, our family, to show support for those who are struggling each and everyday just to make ends meet. And it just so happens that food is the perfect way to bring people together.

We knew that we wanted to specifically benefit the Project Hope Alliance for our first philanthropic dinner, as the Costa Mesa-based non for profit organization has worked tirelessly to end the cycle of homelessness for children and their families in Orange County for over 25 years. We also knew that Chef Linh Nguyen would be able to create the perfect menu for the evening, one built around a comfortable, family-style palette, yet was very much “Foodbeast-worthy.”

Now all that’s left is bringing our community—our family—together, at the dinner table. We cordially invite you to be a part of our family too, and show your support and strength for those who need it most. See the details of the dinner below:

Who: Foodbeast x Chef Linh Nguyen x Project Hope Alliance x Melissa’s Produce x Goose Island Beer Co.
What: Foodbeast Family Dinner, Volume One (benefitting Project Hope Alliance)
Where: Foodbeast Studio Kitchen in the 4th Street Market
When: Saturday, July 2, 2016 (two sessions: 5pm and 8pm)
CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

Korean BBQ Style 6 Minute Scotch Egg

pqs9669g

KBBQ makes everything better, even the incredible, edible egg. Welcome to Flavor Town, y’all.


Cajun Gumbo Pot Pie

GrLWaHZg

Southern Comfort, comfortably concealed within a humble pot pie. There’s also just a hint of kick to keep things spicy.


Bacon Wrapped Meat Loaf Moco Loco

jw2R0R7g-1
You’re definitely going to want to hop on this Bacon Wrapped Meat Loaf Moco Loco-motive. Next stop: the gravy train.

Grilled Peach Bread Pudding with Sticky Toffee Caramel & Toasted Meringue

Apologies for not having some visuals here, but we’re pretty sure you can only imagine what this dirty ditty is going to look/taste like—HEAVEN.

 

 

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

This Pizza Chart Schools You On 40 Different Kinds Of Pizzas

Click HERE to see the chart in all its pizza glory aka full size!

Food Republic put together this chart showing 40 types of pizza. If you think about it, it’s a pizza pie chart. But don’t think about it too hard, because it’s technically not a pie chart at all. It’s just a regular chart with pizza pies on it. A few concerns: is a calzone really considered a pizza? I thought a calzone was a calzone. Then again, what do I know? Haha! Trick question! Not much, but I do know the hell out of some pizza, that’s for sure. As for the second concern, I can’t remember. Got too hungry with all this talk about pizza. To the pizza parlor!

pizza-chart-medium-e1461003396177

 

Written by Brittany High, IncredibleThings

Categories
Restaurants

Shoney’s Offers Chicken Pot Pie in a Skillet

SHONEY'S SOUTHERN SKILLETS

Shoney’s restaurant chain is releasing a taste of Southern-style comfort foods in the form of skillet items for their menus. The best thing about skillet items being introduced to restaurants is that they’re pretty much piping hot and waiting to be chowed down.

First up is the Homestyle Braised Beef — braised beef served with mashed potatoes, gravy and veggies. Then there’s the Chicken Pot Pie slow-cooked chicken and veggies in a creamy sauce, while the third dish features the Kentucky Hot Brown — roasted turkey breast topped with tomatoes, bacon and a cheese sauce. All the skillets  come with the salad, soup and fruit bar.

The skillets will be available through November 27.

Categories
Cravings

Cornflakes Crusted Grilled PB&J is Amped Up Comfort Food

PB&J

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches rule. It’s one of those timeless dishes that’s super easy to make and warms our inner 5-year-old souls in a heartbeat. Of course it’s hard to top such a perfect sandwich, but want to know a way to amp up the classic PB&J? Something that increases its mouthwatering nostalgia tenfold? We’re talking about a Cornflake crusted grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich. YUP.

It turns out Cornflakes add just the right amount of crunch factor to the sweet and sticky concoction, and the crusting process is simple. Go about your PB&J-making business per usual, dip both sides of the sandwich into an egg wash then dip in crushed Cornflakes, grill both sides and voila — you have yourself the ultimate comfort sandwich.

Try out the recipe here.

H/T + Picthx Fuss Free Cooking

Categories
Products

Little Old Lady Recipes

Is Grandma the best cook you’ve ever known?  Is she generous with hugs and kisses, but a bit stingy when it comes to sharing her wonderful recipes?  Will she tell you all the basics of how to make her fabulous chicken soup, but leave out that secret ingredient that really makes it special?  Well, this book is full of other people’s grandmas, but they are happy to share these dishes with you.  Perhaps you’ll find a recipe that tastes just like something your own grandmother would make!

The book contains many photos of the “little old ladies” looking adorable in their aprons and track suits as they prepare, serve, and enjoy their good-old-fashioned food.  Sassy tidbits are also scattered throughout the book, where the women share some of their wisdom and wit.  I find the “Sissy Version”  of the Macaroni and Cheese Casserole particularly endearing. It suggests: “Replace whole milk with skim milk and regular macaroni with whole-wheat macaroni. Enjoy it Less.”

So whip up a few of these classic dishes, and bring grandma some leftovers.  Maybe you’ll surprise her by figuring out her secret ingredient.  And you’ll be well-prepared to make these tried and true meals for your own grandchildren someday! ($9.95 @ Amazon)