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Rau Om @ Sunnyvale Farmers’ Market

We are so excited to announce that Rau Om will be at the Sunnyvale Farmers’ Market every Saturday from 9am to 1pm, starting from this Saturday November 5th. Come to downtown Sunnyvale (Murphy Avenue @ Washington) to visit us for some delicious samples and take these yummy goodies home:

Tofu misozuke:

Intensely flavorful, decadently rich and creamy miso-cured tofu. Enjoy it straight or as a spread, and don’t forget to pair it with sake or wine.

Tofu misozuke & company

Rau Om - Tofu Misozuke

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Anniversary Mega-Post: At RyuGin, the Most Amazing Meal

We can’t believe it’s been a year already – I’d say what a long strange trip it’s been, but we’ve only just disembarked! We thank you sincerely for visiting us and for adding your thoughtful comments to our posts. There are more recipes along the way we’re very excited to share, and beyond those there is still a barely explored world of ingredients and techniques. We’ll keep at producing dishes like you’ve always and/or never had; hope you’ll keep coming back to check them out.

Imo sochu / sweet potato spirits, on the rocks, with a dash of oolong tea at Izakaya Tokinoma

But first, on this occasion, we’d like to look back at a very memorable trip we took, and a mind-blowing meal encountered thereon. This was the trip where we first encountered tofu-misozuke and amazake, explored the Japanese drinking-food scene (izakaya), and ate an astonishing meal prepared by a chef known for embracing modern technology to better express his unique vision for the elaborate and canonized traditions of kaiseki meals. Have we mentioned we desperately want to be like Chef Yamamoto?

We were stopped on the way out of the restaurant because the staff said the Chef wanted to meet us. Yup that sounded as backward now as it felt at the time.

We were so inspired and energized after the trip, our whole outlook on cooking and food changed. Our playing in the kitchen took on new ambitions and urgency and became “experiments”. With interesting data came the natural urge to “publish”, which eventually led to our carving out this little niche on the Internet.

Without further ado, the most amazing meal we’ve ever had:

The plate was completely blank when we finished eating this amazing dish. Blank!

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Immigrant-chic bún riêu (paddy crab noodle soup) in London

We welcome our first guest post from our dear friend Xuân currently living in London. She showed us a sunny picture of her antidote to the gloomy British autumn weather and immediately made us both crave a piping hot bowl of bún riêu. We also love all the improvisations Xuân deployed to create a diasporic variant of a Vietnamese classic dish.

A yummy looking bowl of bún riêu

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Thịt kho trong trái bí (caramelized pork braised in squash)

In Michigan these days, the farmers market stocks are dwindling save for vibrant, colorful displays of winter squash that we don’t know what to do with. Well, roasted squash is always delicious, but for the variety and abundance of squash available, more ought to be done with them. We finally got inspired by daetongbap / Korean rice cooked in bamboo and baked pumpkin oatmeal to make several dishes using the squash as the cooking vessel. Here we introduce a new dish: Thịt kho trong trái bí (Caramelized pork braised in squash). The rich pork flavor, caramelized coconut sugar, fish sauce, and spices permeate the squash while extracting from it a  smoky sweetness. The dish taste different and new yet comforting, containing within it home-for-the-holidays flavors both from the New World and the Old Country.

Thịt kho trong trái bí / Caramelized porked braised in squash : fresh from the oven

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Our not-so-recent dinner menu (oysters & quails & mackerel & ducks! oh my!)

Wherever we’ve lived, we’ve become known among friends for elaborate, fancy dinners (but bring your own chairs). The shindigs serve multiple purposes: it’s fun to play restaurant and we love the occasions to cook together; they allow us to work out and organize into a menu the many random ideas we’ve collected; they let us hang out with our friends and provides us with, in the form of those selfsame friends, guinea pigs to test newest creations on.

This dinner was no different. Taking advantage of Lamp’s rare long visit to the bay area, we decided to hold a dinner with 4 originally planned courses that ballooned to 12 by the time our guests arrived. The menu was a mix of repeats of past successes (roasted salted kumquat quails, sake kasu marinated cod, forbidden rice amazake), brand new creations (bossam-inspired oysters, mackerel braised in green/barley tea, duck dishes, etc.), and cookbook recipe (tomato soup with yuba cream). The dishes were rooted in Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese cuisines but each had a twist marking them as a product of our kitchen. We took care with each dish to provide a different view, one that incorporated new ingredients available in a modern multicultural society, without obscuring the unique characteristics that made the traditional version so appealing.

Mackerel braised in barley tea

But wait, there’s more!