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Monthly Archives: July 2008

  • Beijing Olympic Party Planning: Wasabi Olympics

    When planning your Olympic party, don't sit around staring at the television. Capture the Olympic spirit with your own spin-off competition - the Wasabi Olympics! Entertain your guests during those long commercial breaks with these three events. Not everyone can be an Olympic athlete, but most people can compete in this triathlon. Hopefully, your guests show up hungry.

    wasabi paste 1.jpgEvent 1:  Wasabi Eating Contest 
    Only the strong will survive a Wasabi eating contest. Even Glutton Bowl champions can't handle the Wasabi heat. See how much Wasabi your friends can withstand by putting a quarter-size dollop of this Wasabi paste on their sushi plates. After they stop crying, give them another and keep score until all of the contenders drop out, leaving one Wasabi warrior in the winner's circle. Once the contest is over, the winner might be able to light the Olympic torch with their breath. Extinguish the fire in their mouths with Ramune soda and get the camera ready -- you will want to capture your friends' faces as they take on Wasabi.

    wasabi grated.jpgEvent 2: Wasabi Trivia Contest
    During the second event, give your stomach a rest and test your brain power with a Wasabi trivia contest. Read this Wasabi blog and write down a few trivia questions, such as, how is Wasabi grown? And what ingredients make up Wasabi paste? After you crown the winner, blindfold your guests and have a taste test to see if your friends can tell the difference between real Wasabi and the impostor.

    wasabi peas 2.jpgEvent 3: Wasabi Pea Catch Contest
    Coordination. Balance. Speed. The last event tests three important athletic abilities. Throw Wasabi peas in the air then try to catch them with your mouth. Tricky, isn't it? Only the most accomplished Wasabi athletes can catch 20 or more peas in their mouth without any falling to the floor. In this contest, whoever catches the most Wasabi peas wins.

    You can also rate performances. If someone dives to the floor and makes an amazing catch or twists into a triple axle, hold up the 10 card. To make it more challenging, blindfold contenders or have them catch peas with disposable chopsticks. You could even try to shoot Wasabi peas through a straw at a target, archery style.

    Closing Ceremony

    After the Wasabi Olympics, celebrate your triumphs at a closing ceremony. Make it less somber and more spirited than the one held at the Beijing Olympics. Spray event winners and Wasabi warriors with Ramune soda. Hand out Wasabi-related prizes for first, second, and third place.

    Comment below if you ever held your own Wasabi Olympics and have any stories to share. Shop for Japanese snacks for your party and fun prizes for your guests at Asian Food Grocer.   

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  • Beijing Olympics Party Planning: Sushi Spectacular!

    If you want to plan a Beijing Olympics party, Asian Food Grocer has all the theme party tips and supplies you need to throw the bash of the year. Readafg-olympics-2008.jpg here for the next few weeks to check out all our spectacular Beijing Olympics party planning advice and coverage.

    Our first party planning idea is a cool mix of cuisine and decor. Think outside the bento box with a true showcase of Beijing Olympics spirit-the Sushi Spectacular pictured here. By artfully arranging circles of sushi on colored plates, you create a clever replica of the Olympic Rings. Best of all, thanks to assortment of sushi, it's also totally delicious. The beauty of this idea is that it's creative and eye-catching, without being extremely difficult to execute. You can modify the level of difficulty by choosing to hand-roll your own sushi using one of AFG's sushi party platters, having the sushi rolls catered, or simply buying sushi at the Asian Food Store. Easy peasy!

    You can also choose to purchase rimmed plates in the Olympics colors, or simply paint the rims of some ordinary white plates for a fun Olympics craft project. The Beijing Olympics Sushi Spectacular is easy to complete and allows you to check off both party decor and menu planning in one swoop! We believe this is what is known by Olympic athletes as "shaving time. " Very nice!

    To make executing this beautiful Beijing Olympics party idea even easier, we have compiled three sushi party platters available at various price points. We are sure they will assist you in having a fun and stress-free Beijing Olympics Party. Order now, 08/08/08 is just around the corner!

    *Should you choose to take this Sushi Spectacular Challenge, please post pictures of your display
    to Flickr and send us the link! We would love to see your handiwork.

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  • Japanese Snacks: Create a Unique, No-Stress Party Spread

    If you want to have Japanese snacks at your next bash, but the thought of rolling sushi makes you break out into a sweat, relax. There are plenty of no-stress Japanese snacks that still achieve the authentic affect you are going for. Continue Reading
  • Celebrate Summer with Strawberry Pocky Cupcakes

    Every summer we eagerly anticipate the arrival of strawberries. Now that we can find them in the produce section, it's time to put the berries to work. But we're sick of shortcake. This time... Continue Reading
  • Top Ten Asian Culture Blogs

    afg-banner-jul08.gif1) 3 Yen. From Japanese fashion, gadgets and travel trends, this Asian hipster blog has it all. Check out funny videos, timely human interest articles, and the cultural phenomenons that are all the rage in Japan.

    2) Eating Asia. While this blog has a heavy food focus that made us seriously consider it for our top food blogs round-up, the way Eating Asia brings the sights and sounds of their Asian adventures to life through vivid photography and intricate narratives convinced us it was more of an Asian culture blog overall. You will love these awesome action shots of Asian food being prepared, as well as the often-verbatim dialog transcripts that accompany them.

    3) Tofugo. If you need a crash course in Asian food and etiquette, this blog is the place to be.  It is also filled with relevant news, like who won the most recent hot dog-eating contest.No matter what the topic, each article is in depth and well-researched, making this our top three pick for best Asian Culture blog.

    4) East Asian Culture Blog. This is culture with a capital "C," forsaking pop references for more high-end matters like Asian instruments, poetry and history. Light on fluff, heavy on social issues and seriously thought-provoking questions, this is the blog to turn to for Asian culture with a side of intellect.

    5) Hyphen Blog. The blogging branch of this uber-hip Asian-American magazine is just as edgy as its publication partner. Learn everything from the history of the fortune cookie (who writes those things anyway?), to current advances for Asian-Americans in entertainment, law and history. For the very latest in Asian-American news and pop culture, come here.

    Five more great Asian culture blogs after the jump, so keep reading!

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  • Top 10 Asian Foods: No. 8 Original Ramune Soda

    Original Ramune Soda takes lucky number eight in our top 10 Asian foods countdown. Yes, it's a technically a beverage, not food. Continue Reading
  • Top Ten Asian Food Blogs


    Asian Food Grocer Blog Top 10

    1) Adventures in an Asian Food Market. Love Asian food, but feel a little overwhelmed every time you set foot inside the vast Asian food store? If you have ever suffered from "aisle fright" while shopping in a Japanese food store, let blog author Deatren act as your Asian food insider, fearlessly trying all the Asian snacks on the shelf and reporting back on his favorites. Covering everything from disposable chopsticks to Japanese snacks and beverages, this blog is updated regularly with great candid reviews and clear pictures, so check out this cheat sheet next time before you hit the Asian food store. Hint: you can also shop some Asian food stores online to avoid in-store anxiety.

    2) Sticky Rice. From the vivid imagery to the disarming dialog, the best word to describe this Asian food blog is "colorful." Sharp wit and often hilarious insight are just two ingredients in this "man on the street" approach to eating out in Hanoi. Great pictures and information-packed posts finish off this feast for the eyes and funny bone. Sticky Rice is less of a guide to cooking Asian food recipes at home (although there are a few), and more of a foodie guide for the out-and-about Asian diner, so enjoy!

    3) Rasa Malaysia. Translated from Sanskrit to mean "Taste Malaysia" this Asian food blog is an absolute scene-stealer when it comes to gorgeous photographs of Asian food recipes. Generously bestowing all the knowledge she learned in her childhood kitchen in Malaysia, the blog author chronicles generations of Malaysian recipes, as well as Chinese and Japanese, in a light-hearted, educational tone. In addition to much more professional polish than the average blog, Rasa Malaysia features 90% original recipes. Check out this Malaysian masterpiece to see for yourself.

    4) Noodles and Rice. Every food blog round-up must include a beginner's guide, so here it is. Noodles and Rice is a faithful little cooking-for-one guide to making Asian food, perfect for people who want no-muss, no-fuss Asian food recipes. Billed as "bachelor food" by the author, this blog features frequent posts, plenty of recipes, food reviews and cooking short cuts for the culinary novice. Great read too!

    5) The Gary Soup blog. Gary Soup is blog writing at its best, from fascinating subject matter to intelligent, entertaining prose. In addition to the standard fare of Asian food guidebook reviews and Chinese food recommendations, Gary Soup bestows awards to the top "Chinese food mavens", chronicles the ten most popular Chinese teas, and includes a blow-by-blow photo essay of Paris Hilton attempting to eat Asian food in Shanghai. Culture and cuisine intersect perfectly at this cozy little blogspot, so check it out!

    5 More Great Asian Food blogs after the jump, so read on!

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  • How to Use Chopsticks 101

    You love Asian food, but when it comes to chopsticks, you're clueless. Read this tutorial and next time you're at an Asian restaurant, forgo the fork. Continue Reading
  • Top Ten Favorite Asian Foods: No. 9 - Golden Curry

    Thumbnail image for golden curry.jpg
    If only there was an awards ceremony for the best Asian foods! Since we'll probably never get to see Pocky walk down the red carpet, we created our own weekly countdown. The number nine slot goes to the ultimate Japanese comfort food: Golden Curry.


    curry man.jpg

    Because it is relatively easy to make, Golden Curry is like the mac-and-cheese of Japan. It is thicker, milder, and sweeter than Indian curry. The Japanese add it to many meat and vegetable dishes and commonly serve it over rice.

    In the U.S., Golden Curry can be found at many Asian food stores; S&B Foods Inc. makes the most popular kind. In an effort to capture the fun flavor of curry, Japan introduced a curry spokesperson -- Curry Man, who now spices things up in the ring as an American wrestler. Yes, that's a plate on his head.

    Get Creative with Curry

    There is no golden rule with Golden Curry. Don't limit yourself to rice dishes; get creative with your curry! Pour it on mash potatoes, use it as a condiment on hot dogs, or as a dip for tortilla chips. The possibilities are endless.


    golden curry over rice.jpg

    The Basics of Cooking Curry
    Did we mention how easy it is to cook Golden Curry? Golden Curry comes in a sauce mix block (roux) or powder. Both are easy to use and take under an hour to make. Follow this recipe for Hot Vermont Curry and you'll have a savory dish in no time at all. Pick Mild Vermont Curry if you prefer a smooth taste to spicy. Keep in mind that Japanese curry is not as spicy as Indian curry, so don't be afraid to kick the flavor up a notch.

    S&B
    GOLDEN CURRY SAUCE MIX - HOT


    Directions:

    1. Cut 1 to 1-1/2 lbs of lean beef (or chicken, lamb, shrimp, or
      tofu)
    2. Dice one large onion.
    3. In a large skillet, saute meat and onion in oil until lightly
      browned, about 3 minutes. If desired, add carrots, potato, celery, or just
      about any vegetable you like. Discard excess oil.
    4. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and
      simmer until meat (and potato) is tender, about 10 minutes.
    5. Break Curry Sauce Mix (roux) into small pieces and add to pot
      stirring until (roux) is completed melted.

    6. Simmer for another 5 minutes or so stirring constantly. (If sauce
      becomes too thick, just add water)
    7. Pour over freshly cooked rice.    

     

    To really impress your friends, experiment a little. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of curry powder, or top it with boiled eggs. To find Golden Curry, rice, and other Japanese snacks, shop Asianfoodgrocer.com.

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  • Pocky Poll: What's your Favorite Flavor?

    It started in Japan with a simple biscuit stick coated in chocolate. More than forty years later, it can be found in Asian markets from the U.S. to Australia... Continue Reading

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