All About Asian Food

August 2008 Archives

 Thumbnail image for asianwoman2.jpgYou've heard that French women don't get fat, but if you think about it, neither do most Asian women and men. What is their secret? In this special weight-loss series, we will outline the six Asian foods that help you lose weight and feel great about yourself. We have chosen these Asian foods because they are healthy, tasty, economical, and easy to prepare-really!
Read on to discover the Asian food entrees, beverages and desserts (that's right, desserts) that directly contribute to a more vibrant, energetic, and slender you! Without further ado, our first weight-loss Asian food....

Thumbnail image for noodles.jpg 1) Shirataki Noodles. The star of our Asian food weight loss series, these Asian noodles pack an amazing amount of health benefits. Unlike wheat pasta, the low carb, low calorie Shirataki noodles are composed almost completely of fiber. Fiber rich foods like Shirataki noodles absorb water, which means, in addition to major health benefits, you feel more full and satisfied than you would from eating other craze diet foods.  Don't stick to cabbage and celery stalks and feel famished all day long!  Our Shirataki noodles leave you feeling completely satiated, all while packing amazing health benefits. Did we mention they are ready in mere minutes?

       Shirataki Noodles Health Benefits

  • Decreased blood cholesterol levels
  • Possible reduced risk of heart disease
  • May reduce risk of some types of cancer
  • May reduce risk of coronary heart disease

NOTE: Shirataki noodles can be an acquired taste. Eat in small quantities to adjust to the new texture, and consider adding yummy garlic, tofu, spinach or soy sauce to spice up the flavor.
If you take nothing else from this weight-loss series (although we certainly hope you will), consider substituting your typical pasta for Shirataki noodles one or two times a week. Your body will love you!

5 More Great Weight Loss Asian Foods after the jump, so read on....


Chocolate pocky.jpgIf we gathered all the Japanese candy out there and put them in high school, Pocky would be crowned prom king. It's no surprise - Pocky sticks are cute, super sweet, and full of personality. In the Japanese Candy High School yearbook Pocky would be voted Most Popular; Best All-Around Japanese Candy;  Most Likely to Succeed; Most Friendly; Best Smile; and even Best Figure (everyone envies those tall, thin Pocky sticks). But what about the Japanese candy living in the Pocky shadow? It's time to flip through the Japanese Candy High School yearbook and give other candy the recognition they deserve.

black black gum_1pack400.jpgBlack Black Gum - "Class Valedictorian." If Black Black Gum attended Japanese Candy high, it would be the Valedictorian (otherwise known as the over-achiever). Black Black gum contains oolong tea, ginseng, and vitamin B3 to stay focused on tests and projects. The Black Black Gum claim to fame? It was once featured in an issue of Wired Magazine for it's endless energy and achievements. Black Black Gum comes in a single pack, five-pack, or tub. Consider yourself lucky if you can get Black Black Gum as a study partner.

Coris-Bunny-Whistling-Ramune Candy -thumbnail.jpgRamune Candy -  "Sweetest Student." Remember the girl in high school who was only well-known because of her popular brothers and sisters? That's Ramune candy. Everyone loves her big brother, Ramune soda for his sweet nature and theatrics with the marble. But Ramune candy has a fun and fizzy side that only her best friends know about. Check out this Ramune Whistle candy or this Ramune candy five pack if you want to get to know Ramune candy better.

Kasugai gummy.jpgKasugai Gummy  - "Best Overall Personality." It's a toss up between Kasugai Gummy and Pocky, but Kasugai gummy has the best overall personality. Even people that strongly dislike Japanese candy fall for Kasugai. Try Kasugai grape, Kasugai kiwi, Kasugai lychee or any of the other Kasugai gummy flavors. Each one has a refreshing burst of real fruit flavor and a pleasant aroma. Kasugai is definitely not the smelly kid in class.

Kanten Konbu.jpgKanten Konbu - "Most Misunderstood." When most people think of seaweed, candy doesn't come to mind. Yes, Kanten Konbu is the "nerd" of Japanese Candy high. But like with the unpopular kids in high school, people really miss out if they don't give this candy a try. It's unique, artsy, and rich with flavor. Once you get past the "ick" factor from the unusual seaweed-candy combination,  Kanten Konbu will be a regular in your rotation.

If only we had time to feature all of our favorite treats. From the misunderstood to the sugary sweet, every Japanese candy deserves a chance in the spotlight. Check out the Japanese candy that didn't make the cut, as well as many delicious Asian food recipes, at Asian Food

Japanese Bread is a Staple of Asian Food


Although Japan is best known as the land of sushi, rice, and tea, Japanese  bread is quite popular as well.

The sweet bread of Japan functions as a light Japanese dessert, not unlike the English scone or French baguette. In fact, the Japanese enjoy nibbling on sweet bread with a cup of tea or as a light snack on the run.

How to Buy Japanese Bread

If you are traveling in Japan and ask for Japanese bread, don't be surprised if you don't find it. The Japanese call bread "pan." Also, if you see the popular "melon pan" be advised the term refers to the bread's shape and not the flavor.It's delicious just the same though, so if you want to try some, check out our Daiichipan Melon Pan bread.

Asian Pastries Make Like Japanese Dessert or Lunch Item

With flavors like strawberry pan, chocolate pan, and cream pan, the sweet bread can make a satisfying Japanese dessert. However, this Japanese bread also comes in cheese pan and red bean pan if you are looking for a more savory lunch item.

Whether you are in the market for sweet bread or just some delicious Japanese food and recipes, check out AsianFoodGrocer.


fun chop.jpg  Introduce your kids to delicious Asian food early in life when you purchase them a Fun Chop. These colorful rubber "clips" function as training wheels for chopsticks, adding extra grip and control for ease of use. Created by a father who wanted to help his children learn to use chopsticks, they are perfectly based on youngsters' needs. By buying your kids Fun Chops, you set them up for a yummy life of easily feasting on Asian food. In fact, with Fun Chop they will be eating sushi, miso, noodles and more in no time!

 Since picking up new skills is easier for children, it pays to get your children started on Fun Chop early. Fun Chop is suitable for children over the age of three, so basically if they can dress themselves (however oddly) they can use chopsticks with Fun Chop. Teaching them to use chopsticks early will help them cultivate a taste for delicious Asian food early, and save them the trouble and embarrassment of having to learn when they are older. Prepare your child for a life of culture, travel and cuisine with Fun Chop!

 Available in a variety of colors, these playful little chopstick helpers are a friendly addition to your Asian food utensils. Help your child develop a taste for Asian food early in life with a little help from Fun Chop (hint, they work for adults too!)

ikura.jpgCenturies ago, someone (surely a genius) found out that salted fish lasts longer if it's placed in rice. Behold the birth of sushi! These days, sushi isn't so simple. As shown, it comes in many variations, from the basic rainbow roll to the exotic sea urchin.

Sushi usually takes on four basic forms: norimaki (roll), gunkan (small cups made rice and nori), temaki (hand-rolled cones) and nigiri (small rice balls). Sushi wouldn't be so delicious without the help of its three friends: soy sauce, Wasabi paste, and pickled ginger.

RainbowRoll.jpgWe corralled all different kinds of sushi into a survey to find out what fish has the most fans. If your favorite sushi isn't on the list, comment below and tell us why you think it should make our sushi survey. Before you take the poll, get to know the various types listed below or read up on the difference between sushi and sashimi.

Rainbow Roll - As visually stunning as it is delicious, a rainbow roll is a California roll with sashimi (usually hamachi, sea bass, salmon, and tuna) and avocado on the outside.
Ikura  - Salmon roe (eggs) usually served in small cups (gunkan) made of sushi rice and nori. Don't order this if you can't stomach caviar.
Tekka Maki -  Classic tuna roll. A good starter sushi for novices. 
Toro - Tuna belly. Think of it as the foie gras of the sea. It's tasty, super tender, and sometimes the most expensive sushi on the menu.  
Tako - Octopus
Unagi - Eel
Hamachi - Yellow tail.
Uni - Sea Urchin. You can also find uni roe, although it's somewhat rare.
Now that you picked your favorite sushi, get rolling with our Beijing Olympics-inspired sushi kits. These Beijing Olympics sushi kits have everything you'll need to hand roll your own sushi or garnish store-bought sushi. If you do throw a sushi soiree, don't forget the Japanese beverages! Pick up Ramune soda and check out some great recipes at Asian Food Grocer.

It's difficult to watch the Beijing Olympics without feeling the urge to compete. Instead of pole-vaulting onto the couch, aspiring chefs can put their culinary skills to the test in  our record-breaking meals challenge.

You'll need quick and easy Asian cooking packets rice, a timer, and bullhorn (optional). Pick one recipe and make a savory Asian dish for the whole family. Bonus points if you flavor your creation with Japanese seasonings.
If you'd rather not make a record-breaking meal, try a sushi sprint with one of these Beijing Olympics sushi party platters and see which one of your friends can roll sushi the fastest.

Your Beijing Olympics challenge starts now....go!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for vegetalb packet.jpgSANSAI GOMOKU KAMAMESHI

You'll need: Japanese Vegetable Rice Mix, 2-1/4 cups of rice, 2 cups of water, rice cooker (optional).

Wash 2-1/4 cups of rice; drain well.

Add Dashi flavoring packet (small packet) to rice.

Add 2 cups of water to rice and Dashi packet; mix well.

Pour entire Kamameshi Vegetable Packet (large packet) and spread over rice. (It is not necessary to mix content with rice). Use rice cooker for best results.



You'll need: 4 oz. diced chicken, Lee Kum Kee Plum Sauce, 2 oz. each red and green pepper, 1 tbsp. cooking oil.
Stir-fry 4 oz. diced chicken in 1 tbsp. cooking oil

When chicken is cooked half through (when it turns white in color), add 3 tbsp. plum sauce and 2 oz. each red and green bell pepper.
Heat through.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for shrimp chili sauce.jpgSHRIMP WITH SPICY CHILI SAUCE

You'll need: Moranbong Shrimp Sauce Packet Mix, 10 oz. Shrimp, 2 medium green onions chopped, 2 tbsp cooking oil.

Peel Shrimp and wash. Pat dry shrimp on paper towel. Place dried shrimp and flour packet content (white packet) into a plastic bag. Shake mixture until flour covers the shrimp.

Preheat oil in frying pan and add floured shrimp. Pan-fry floured shrimp over medium heat, turning shrimp as needed, until shrimps are fully cooked.

Add large flavoring packet and green onions; stir until contents are thoroughly mixed.

The optional  small hot sauce packet may be used to spice up the Chili Shrimp. Note: this dish is extremely spicy. Use optional hot sauce packet in small amounts or not at all.

Congratulations on completing our Beijing Olympics cooking challenge! Comment below with any tips or tricks for rapid meal making. Reward the winner with tasty treats and more available at Asianfoodgrocer.

maki roll.jpgIf you frequent sushi bars, one day you might come across a sushi snob. Such a person will bring their own designer chopsticks,  (sushi snobs scoff at disposable chopsticks) and throw around all sorts of sushi jargon. If this so-called sushi king points to a maki roll and says "I'd like some of that sashimi" inform him that just because two words begin with "S," it doesn't mean they have the same definition. That's how you outsnob a sushi snob!

But if this pretentious, sushi-finado points to sliced raw fish served without rice and calls it "sashimi", don't attempt to correct him; he's right. Although they sound similar and people use the words interchangeably, sushi and sashimi are two different things.

Outside of Japan, many people think sushi means raw fish. However, sushi refers to the vinegared rice that is sometimes, not always served with raw fish. Sushi literally means, 'it's sour.' Next time someone says, "I don't eat sushi because I don't eat raw fish," point out this fact and maybe they'll give it a try.

sashimi.jpgSashimi (pronounced sah-shee-mee) is a Japanese delicacy that consists of thinly sliced raw seafood. The word sashimi means "pierced body." Restaurants use the freshest seafood for sashimi. Sometimes the fish are kept alive in aquariums until the moment they are put on your plate. Usually sashimi is served with a dipping sauce made from wasabi paste, soy sauce, and ginger.

Now that you understand the difference between sushi and sashimi, it's time for your own sushi kit! Are you a sushi gold medalist or a bronze beginner? Serve sushi or sashimi in your home with these Olympics-inspired sushi party platters. Don't forget the disposable chopsticks! And comment below with your favorite sushi recipes and stories.


How to Create Your Own Beijing Olympic Torch and Other Origami Paper Crafts



Welcome to the AFG Olympics Party Planning series! If you have already checked out our amazing Beijing Olympics party platters and taken the Wasabi Challenge, its time to get creative with some Olympics crafts. Below, learn how to make your very own Beijing Olympics torch, as well as other cool origami paper crafts such as plum blossoms and pandas. Let's get started!

                                  What you'll need for your Olympic torch



Burgundy colored cardstock- 12x12 size

Silver cardstock- 8.5 x 11

Swirl paper punch

Glue gun

Spray adhesive glue

Sealant - Any all purpose sealer- safe for paper that dries clear.

Red sharpie



Yellow tissue paper- 1 sheet (cut in half)

Red tissue paper- 1 sheet (cut in half)


  1. Check out the pictures of the real Beijing Olympics torch online. It will help you get a sense for your creation.  The example shown above has a little artistic creative license taken to suit the needs of the crafter and supplies at hand.
  2. Roll the sides of the burgundy cardstock up, corner to corner so that they meet in the center, tightly rolled to form the torch base.  Hold there for a moment to get the paper to hold the shape and reach for your glue gun.
  3. You'll have to let go and the rolls and apply a dab of glue to one of the corners of the cardstock and re-roll.  Hold the roll until the glue and hardens and apply a line of glue to the edge of the roll and press to the torch so that the roll holds it's shape. Repeat for the other side.
  4. Now that you have the main torch shape, take your scissors and cut in a rounded arc the top pointed end of the torch to give the right shape at the top.
  5. Do the same for the bottom pointed end of the torch, rounding it out.
  6. Next, take the swirl punch and begin punching out swirls from the silver cardstock.  Punch a lot.
  7. In small sections, of no more than 5 inches in length and no more than the width of the swirls, spray the adhesive glue on the side of the torch. Begin placing the punched out silver swirls on the torch, pressing gently to adhere them.  Watch your finger though, spray glue is very tacky and often will pick up anything else around you.  So don't drop it on the carpet or you'll have a fuzzy torch.
  8. Continue doing this until you are satisfied with the number of silver swirls on your torch.  Depending on your patience level, you may elect to cover it from the halfway point to the top, like the real torch, or like I did and elect to cover the top third only. 
  9. Once all the swirls are in place, grab your sealant and lightly spray or brush it on over the swirls.  Only place sealant on the section of the torch with the swirls. If you place the sealant on too heavily it might saturate the cardstock which will cause it to warp while drying or the paper colors to bleed.
  10. While the sealant is drying, construct the emblem.  I recommend using a very close up picture online to copy the figure and writing from.  Cut an oval from the silver cardstock of 3 inches in width and 5 inches in height. 
  11. Trace the figure, script (Beijing 2008) and the rings on with pencil
  12. Fill the pencil in with red sharpie, filling in the red spaces around the silver figure.
  13. If the sealant has dried, using a hot glue gun, apply glue lightly to the back of the oval and adhere it in place on the front of the torch.  Hold it in place until the glue dries.
  14. Now we create the fire! Take one of the half sheets and of yellow tissue paper and same for the red.  Place the yellow on top of the red, lengthwise, while the yellow lies widthwise. 
  15. Pinch the center of the yellow towards you and start gathering and crumpling it up.  Twist the bottom of your gather together so that it will fit inside one of the two cavities in the torch.
  16. Stuff one of the bunches of "flames" into the torch, repeat for remaining tissue paper and other torch cavity.


That's it!

Additional Resources for Fun Origami Paper Crafts

If you're in the crafty mood after completing your Beijing Olympics Torch craft, continue the festivities with other fun origami paper crafts! Here are some links to Asian origami paper crafts like pandas, plum blossoms, and more. Have fun!

origami.jpgWant to continue with your Beijing Olympics decor? Learn how to make a flags of world craft here.

How does your origami paper garden grow? Learn how to make a rose, hydrangea, water lily, camellia, morning glory, iris and plum tree here.