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End-of-the-year update

It’s been an eventful few months at Rau Om, hence our lack of posting on the blog. But we have exciting developments to tell you about:

  • The food blog turned 1 year old in October.
  • We started selling tofu misozuke and nem chua at Sunnyvale and Palo Alto farmers’ markets and online in early November.
  • The response to tofu misozuke has been tremendous – we sell out regularly at the farmers’ markets and aside from the great feedback, we love getting into interesting conversations about food with our customers. We were so excited when we first had tofu misozuke and it’s incredibly gratifying to see that excitement reflected when others tasted our tofu misozuke for the first time.
  • Then the big one: we were featured in the December 2011 installment of Zingerman’s Culinary Adventure Society, which meant making, packaging, and shipping hundreds of tofu misozuke pieces to be sent to foodies around the country. Zingerman’s world-class deli is a treasured part of our time in Ann Arbor, so it was especially exciting to work with them. Brad Hedeman of Zingerman’s Mail Order also wrote a lengthy essay on our quest for tofu misozuke, the most ego-boosting part of which we’re shamelessly reproducing below:
    Zingerman’s Culinary Adventure Society December 2011 excerpt

    We learned a lot trying to work out the logistics of such a large order, especially with less than one employee (time-wise. Oanh is not missing any limbs or organs.)

  • We served lamb nem chua and tofu misozuke to rave reviews at the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network holiday fundraiser in early December. That was a lot of fun – we made new friends and discovered an interesting space and community. Wish we had time to share our music with them, but we were too busy serving food.
  • Tofu misozuke has been well-received by food journalists; check out our new Press page for quotes and links to reviews.
  • This just in: we’re expanding beyond the South Bay – East Bay residents can now get our tofu misozuke from the Sacred Wheel Cheese and Specialty Market at 4935 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609. Come get tofu misozuke from Jena & co. to make us look good!

Phew – and that was just in the last 2 months. Looking back on this list, no wonder we were quiet on the blogging front.

Looking forward, exciting things are afoot for 2012. We’re exploring uncharted territories with a pipeline of new flavors for tofu misozuke and nem chua. We’re also looking to get tofu misozuke into more stores and restaurant kitchens. Can’t wait to see tofu misozuke in its natural habitat next to a cup of sake or sochu. Also excited to see it conquer new niches like the cheese shelves. Let us know if you have any leads.

Between the two of us and fun adventures in the kitchen that we regularly blogged about are a full time job, a dissertation, a fledgling side business, not to mention the distance between Michigan and California and the sad state of tele-tasting and tele-smelling technology. Sadly we will not be able to blog as regularly as we did or wish to. But we’ll try our best to find time for explorations in the kitchen to share with you. In the meantime, please follow Rau Om’s development on Facebook and Twitter.

Happy New Year!



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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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!


Updates on Nem Chua and San Francisco Street Food Fest

Oof, it’s been a crazy hectic couple of weeks leading up to the San Francisco Street Food Fest. Thanks again to everyone for voting Rau Om and our Nem Chua into the craziest crowdedliest food fest we’ve ever seen. Thanks also to everyone who stopped by during the Food Fest. We’ve heard from many Vietnamese that nem chua was too much of a delicacy for non-Southeast Asian taste, so we were glad to get such positive response from people who tasted nem chua for the first time at the food fest. We can’t tell you how many times we were asked where our restaurant was, and had to reply that for now Nem Chua and other items were available by mail-order only, but that we’ll be coming soon to Sunnyvale Farmers’ market. After a day to recover from our crazy adventure, time to get back to work to prepare for this next phase, with hopefully more of this:

Heeheehee, money...

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The bamboo boats have arrived!

All 2000 of them! Can’t wait to serve nem chua on them at the upcoming 2011 SF Street Food Fest. See you in a week!!!

bamboo boats