Tag Archives: korean food

Easy Korean-Style Beef Bowl

If you know us, we love Korean food (as Chris spent a summer in South Korea and consequently fell in love with the culture he had already been into). So when I stumbled upon this fantastic easy (ridiculously easy) recipe by one of my favorite food bloggers, I had to recreate it (altered it slightly)! Mine may not look as pretty, mostly because it was all for Chris so he got the entire beef bowl (4 servings) so that you can’t see the rice (oops!). My version of the recipe has less sugar, less spice (Chris has a Geographic Tongue, so he can’t have spice), and brown rice instead of white. Makes it a little bit healthier, but it was healthy from the start.  He had worked a long day at work, and I was taking a rest day on workouts, so I decided to make him something that he would love and fill him up...Korean style!

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  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 10 minutes
  • Serves: 3-4 normal people (Chris ate it all)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame teriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 crushed red-pepper flakes [you can use more if you like spice]
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1.5 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • cooked brown rice

Directions

  • Mix together the brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame teriyaki sauce, ginger, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. It’d be best to use a fork or a whisk to really blend everything together.

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  • Leave that to the side. Heat up the oil in a saucepan over medium to high heat. Add the chopped garlic to the oil

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  • Once you get that lovely cooking garlic smell, it’s time to throw the ground beef in. Cook it until it’s browned, breaking it up as you do. Could take 4-8 minutes depending on your stove. While it’s cooking, chop up your green onions.
So purdy

So purdy

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  • Drain the excess fat (ew). Stir in the magical mixture we created at the start, letting it get to all of the meat and soak up the flavor. Add the green onions as well. By this time, it will be smelling goooood. 

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  • And serve over rice! It’s smart to cook it beforehand so it’s ready there waiting for you.

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You won’t be able to see the rice in my dish, because it’s smothered by the beef! It was such an easy, quick recipe (perfect for summer days when it’s too hot to cook a lot), I would do it again in a heartbeat. Chris loved it and literally ate the whole pound of ground beef plus the rice. Guess it was alright. Thanks to DamnDelicious for the recipe and use it to stay hungry and fit!

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BONUS KITTY PIC

Sajah watching me cook

Sajah watching me cook

Hungry Eats… Ramen (Little Tokyo, Los Angeles)

If you read the title you know that there are a lot of good things going on so this has to end well. Hungry’s favorite soup and potentially his favorite food is ramen. Most of you are probably thinking why would Hungry love ramen; it’s not good for you and it’s disgusting. That’s what a lot of people I know say until I get them some real ramen. Ramen is a type of noodle popular in Asian cultures such as Japan and Korea.

You can find it in American supermarkets made by Maruchan and Top Ramen for anywhere from 15-25 cents a package. It’s almost completely nutritionally void or negative with dead calories and large amounts of sodium and abundant processing. But I love it. Ever since my sister ate ramen in high school, I have loved it. Luckily, I live a generally healthy lifestyle so I do not feel guilty or see the negative effects of eating it, even in excess, but you need to be careful consuming these supermarket brands (but the real stuff is okay!). BUT this all is going to be saved for another time because I didn’t mean to say this much about ramen. This is a restaurant review for Men Oh Tokushima Ramen in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.

Little Tokyo

Little Tokyo (you can see Fit on the left corner!)

Daikokuya is the most popular ramen spot in Japangeles. It is always packed and it was very busy when we went with our party of 6. We decided to pass it up and continue to Men Oh because of reviews on Yelp. It is not in the main drag of Little Tokyo and is hidden in a strip mall so it can be hard to find. You need to find it. The 6 of us (Fit’s family and family friend) walked in the Sunday night before Memorial Day. It was empty but by the time we left it was completely full although it is small. The menu is tiny but I can assure you that nearly everything is amazing since we had nearly everything. Everything we had was amazing so we figure everything is just as good.

The Menu

The Menu

The atmosphere mimics a perfect, small ramen shop but not ramen stop. It was very clean and cute. The staff was organized, kind, professional and efficient. The food was ridiculously filling, delicious and cheap as dirt. It also was much healthier than your store-brand ramen. Their theme is ramen influenced by Tokushima Prefecture on the smallest of Japan’s 4 major islands, Shikoku Island. The industry here is based on raising pork so the ramen has broth heavily flavored by pork bones and filled with pork meat. We got 4 of their 3 ramen dishes available (custom) and all were nearly flawless. I was the only one with great ramen experience but even people having it for the first time were as thrilled as I was.

Awesome painting

Awesome painting

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My dish

My dish

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Fit's dish (without meat or pork broth)

Fit’s dish (without meat or pork broth)

I can’t say much more than this is the perfect spot. You get a cheap, delicious, and filling meal that is quickly served by an efficient and kind wait staff in a clean and enjoyable environment. We will go back whenever we can and bring whoever we can. Michelin might not give this place a star, but I certainly do. And that says a lot. Really. Hungry approved. More to come about my obsession and history with ramen in the future!

Hungry & Fit chowing down

Hungry & Fit chowing down

 

Double-fisting...finishing everybody else's broths

Double-fisting…finishing everybody else’s broths

The Japanese Taco Masters: Sunny Blue (Santa Monica, California)

During my time in school in South Korea, I found it very challenging to maintain my daily caloric intake of 10,000-12,000. One reason is the food is extremely healthy and calorically low. The second is that the servings are tiny compared to those in the United States. Finally, so much of the food is extremely spicy and very painful for me to eat because of my geographic tongue. The result was I first found out how to say, write, and read wrappers for food. The first words I learned were beef, chicken, tuna and spicy/hot.

I learned how to read the wrappers on a portable food called kimbap, or gimbap, or however you spell or say it. The g and k sound in Korean is one of the tricky ones to learn how to differentiate between when you learn the language. It’s pronounced kimbap, if you’re American. I lived on these… I mean I must have had at least 6-12 a day and they were not of the highest quality. They were typically from 7-11 or a local market similar to 7-11 depending on where I was. We had one of these markets in our residence hall on campus so I got all the ones I could from there. Typically, I would have the not spicy tuna with mayo. It gave me the protein I needed, wasn’t spicy, and had some extra calories from the mayo. It was good, it made me happy and it only led to me losing 30 pounds in Korea as opposed to maybe 40. That’s another story I’ll cover in the future when I talk about my fitness journey and goals. So why did I bother to tell you all this history… well this is why.

Tuna

Tuna

On Main Street in Santa Monica, you can find an amazing little food shop called Sunny Blue. Fit and I went there the first week they opened a few years ago and it was dead every day. The female owner, Keiko,  was nearly the only one working there but we frequented it every day during that week in Samo. Why? Because they served omusubi, or onigiri, or rice balls. These are the Japanese twin of my kimbaps and I was thrilled to find it. They are VERY similar and this location does not lack quality control and creating great flavor profiles. They make all of their omusubi fresh for you. The ingredients are prepared earlier but they are assembled to order, and freshly seasoned in the process.

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Over the past few years, they have gotten much more popular and now when we visit, the line is out the door. We are thrilled that they have seen such growth and success because they deserve it for their devotion to their craft. They also serve some traditional Japanese sodas, shrimp chips, and frozen yogurt. When we got the froyo when they first opened, it wasn’t quite the quality of YogurtLand nor did it match their level of omusubi, so we’ve never tried their froyo again. Nevertheless, Sunny Blue is a must stop-by food location in Los Angeles, and the brilliance is you can eat one whenever. I don’t care how full you are from lunch, each rice ball is a snack sized treat that can find its way to your stomach.

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From our most recent trip, yesterday, the menu has expanded to include daily specials and a long list of classic selections. Popular choices include: miso mushroom, hijike shitaki, tuna mayo, tokyo tori, curry chicken, miso beef, and more. Those are our favorites because of the lack of spice, but richness of other flavors. They are reasonably priced in the range of $2.50-$5.00 depending on what you get. I’ve actually never seen one for more than $4.50 so $3-4 is a more accurate range for the normal menu. PLUS, now they sell very cute t-shirts! Sunny Blue is a hungry and fit favorite. We even learned to make it ourselves so when we depart Santa Monica, we can somewhat resemble the deliciousness. It tastes delicious, is light on the wallet, and can definitely help you stay hungry and fit!

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Tuna

Tuna

Bibimbap: Korea’s Perfect Meal

Let me start off by saying I’m pretty proud of myself for creating this dish tonight after a day’s worth of work and a workout. It took a good bit of work and time, but it was so worth it. Most of you are probably wondering…what in the heck is bibimbap? Well thanks to my Korean-obsessed partner, I am now blessed to the amazingness that is Korean food (and yes amazingness is a word). Bibimbap is basically mixed rice with vegetables, but is so much more. It really proves why and how Koreans are so healthy and why the obesity rate is so low there. I can’t wait to move to South Korea one day where this will be a regular meal.

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You can really make it your own, using a variety of vegetables and proteins. I used this recipe and this one as well, deciding from each what I wanted to do. Chris had a so-so day so I wanted to surprise him with a Korean dinner that he would really enjoy. Now that I know how to do it from heart, I believe I will be doing this on the regular (I know that makes Chris happy).

  • Prep Time (for n00bs like me): 20-40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Serves: 2.5 normal people (Chris isn’t normal)

It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but it really is a simple dish once you get the hang of it. Let’s first start off with a special sauce that is for non-spice people (Chris unfortunately can’t have spice). It’s easy and delicious.

Ingredients

  • 4 green onions
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame teriyaki 
  • 1 clove minced garlic 

Directions

  • Chop up the green onions and put into small bowl
  • Pour in the soy sauce
  • Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Stir well

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Now onto the good stuff– the bibimbap!

Ingredients

  • red cabbage
  • 2 small zucchini
  • bag of bean sprouts
  • spinach
  • 1 cup (uncooked) rice
  • 5 mushrooms (any kind)
  • 4 baby carrots (you can use regular)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Korean radish
  • sesame seeds
  • soy sauce
  • sesame sauce
  • garlic
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  • First off, I didn’t include cooking time of the rice. I did a running and core workout, so before I started that, I put the rice on ahead of time. DO THIS
  • Rinse your bean sprouts and cook them in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain them and season them with your special sauce and some salt

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  • Bring a pot of water to a boil (doesn’t need to be much water). Grab your spinach (whether it be a bunch or separate leaves) and put into boiling water for 1 minute. Take out and drain, run cold water over it, wring it out, then season with salt and sauce.

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  • Cut all your veggies into thin slices and sprinkle salt over  

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  • Separately, saute each veggie one by one [except for carrots] in pan over medium-high heat. You can use oil and garlic, or use the special sauce we created earlier to season and wet them. You only need to cook them for a few minutes to heat them up and infuse them with flavor.
  • You can either put them back on the cutting board OR have the rice ready in a wide bowl. Place the veggies in a circular fashion on the rice, leaving the middle open
Waiting for a few more ingredients..

Waiting for a few more ingredients..

  • For the carrots, just throw them in the hot pan for 30 seconds, so that they’re still crisp
  • For the last ingredient, throw your egg (or eggs if you’re making for two or more people) in the pan on medium heat. You want to cook it sunny side up (over easy). Put the egg in the middle
Ready to be eaten

Ready to be eaten

Pour the special sauce over the top for extra flavor. And that’s it! Not so hard, is it? It looks like a long list of ingredients, but once you get the hang of it, it can be done quickly (as I found out the next night–yes, I made this two nights in a row…red cabbage goes forever!). You can cycle a ton of different ingredients into this. Whatever you have or whatever is fresh at the market. Last night, I used green pepper, beets, and tofu as well as some from the night before.

A traditional way to do this is to serve it in a hot stone bowl, so that the rice gets crispy on the bottom. I did this style for Chris, but it was less attractive as it was a little too big. But that same fresh delicious FILLING flavor.

Chris' "plate"

Chris’ “plate”

It didn’t last long as we both dug in and watched Chopped All-Stars. I, of course, couldn’t finish it all so Chris ate his huge serving AND the rest of mine. Big surprise.

After we tore into it

After we tore into it

Enjoy! And use this recipe to…stay hungry and fit!

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The Best of Best of Boulder County 2012

This is a review of a review. Every year the readers of Boulder Weekly vote on the Best of Boulder County and while it is all opinion, local businesses love to hang their awards throughout their shops and eateries. Although we haven’t even lived here for a year, we have tried to eat and venture to as many places that our busy lives allow. We are also very opinionated, especially when it comes to food. People can claim they love food as much as me but I would challenge you to put your money where your mouth is if you doubt our hunger. So I’m essentially going to flip from page to page and rant when I feel necessary so hang in there.

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The cover features a picture of Naoto Kanda, the owner of Sushi Zanmai. His restaurant won Best Japanese Restaurant. Despite recommendations from my boss, Ryan, and our family/friend, Fred, we have yet to try this location because every time we walk by it is closed. Despite mediocre Yelp reviews, we’re going ASAP so look for an upcoming review.

Before I move on, since I have already gone through the whole magazine, I would like to say that this isn’t really a fair judge of the Best of Boulder County. I would venture to estimate that 90% of the votes received are from people living in Boulder like ourselves. Other towns in Boulder County, with lower populations and population density, most likely are not fairly represented but it is a poll for readers and everyone acknowledges that truth.

Best American Bistro who cares. I don’t eat bistro sized or priced portions typically so I can’t say much about the top five here. Best Appetizers went to The Med and the one time we went we did enjoy the multitude of appetizers that our large group got so fair enough. Who cares about best brunch? Not me. I want more meals so I break them down… not combine them.

Megan's Graduation...and Chris has Bell's Palsy here so no judging!

Megan’s Graduation at The Med…and Chris has Bell’s Palsy here so no judging!

Here is the first crime. Best Asian Fusion Restaurant. Chez Thuy won with Japango coming in fourth place. Chez Thuy was one of our worst dining experiences yet. We ordered a lot of variety and nearly everything we had was bad. Not decent, but bad. The pad thai was awful. Second worst I’ve ever had to Pong Sri in New York City. Japango was also a bad meal and the menu did not represent many Asian cultures. You want good Asian Fusion… go to Kho’s Asian Bistro in Longmont. It’s New York or L.A. quality.

Kho’s

I’d have to give Best Bakery to Spruce Confections. Their pies and croissants made our family from across the country and world very happy on Thanksgiving. Breadworks serves “fresh” bread at the Farmer’s Market and by fresh I mean stale. Dot’s Diner rightfully wins best breakfast for the bucks. Don’t sleep on The Buff or Turley’s for best breakfast even though they place third and not on the top five. And please try the Panaderia on 28th Street. It has a museum’s worth of delicious Mexican and Latin American baked choices. That should definitely be on the top five for best bakery now that we think about it.

Our latest trip to Spruce

Our latest trip to Spruce

Alana's typical house breakfast

Dot’s Diner breakfast

Us at the Buff! (that's my brother on the left)

Us at the Buff! (that’s Alana’s brother on the left)

Racks of delicious baked goods at Panaderia

Racks of delicious baked goods at Panaderia

Larkburger winning best burger is a sham. It was the worst burger I’ve had in town yet. Expensive, slow, small, and worthless. Mountain Sun takes the cake for me, and Mustard’s Last Stand is the best burger for the buck. Moe’s bagels and service has been awful every time that I have gone and we have Einstein’s in Pennsylvania so it wins by default for having locations near New Jersey and New York.

Tempeh burger at Mustard's (basically what Alana gets)

Tempeh burger at Mustard’s (basically what Alana gets)

Las Palmeras in Longmont has the best burritos along with some Taqueria on Lashley Street. Seriously, if Boulder locations win best burrito with the population of Mexican Americans that exist in Longmont, it’s obvious where people have eaten. Not in the right place. China Gourmet and Tsing Tao are the best Chinese restaurants. China Gourmet is one of the best Chinese food places I have ever eaten in my life. If you want a good restaurant dessert, you need to go back to Kho’s Asian Bistro or Pasta Vino in Boulder. They have a tower of puff pastry and fresh fruit greatness that tops anything I had at The Med.

YUMM

Pasta Vino awesome dessert

I have no quarrels with Best Fine Dining because we’ve only been to John’s Restaurant and The Cork. Ripple and Glacier win as they should for frozen yogurt and ice cream. Tibet Kitchen should win best Indian/Nepali Restaurant or whatever category it fits best into. We haven’t been happy with any Italian yet so that’s that.

Tibet Kitchen...heaven

Tibet Kitchen…heaven

Snarf’s sandwiches are the best. Sun Deli has some good sandwiches as well, definitely better than Deli Zone. Best overall restaurants are Kho’s Asian Bistro and Korea House. Tibet Kitchen and Mediterranean Market are best non restaurant style eateries. Abo’s is the best slice and pizzeria… the makers of this poll don’t know what a pizzeria is. The best gyro is Med Market and not Falafel King. Kho’s and Korea house have the highest quality fish for sushi we’ve had so far. Much higher than Tora and Japango. Tibet Kitchen is the most vegetarian friendly so says Alana the veggie. It also gets the best chai drink. You can tell where we like to eat right? Well that’s enough of my ranting. I’ll stop there before we get into gyms and grocery stores and useless things. We’ll try more restaurants and have a better input for next year. Stay hungry and fit!

Alana's choice...Tuna Melt with everything from tomatoes to lettuce to hot peppers

Snarf’s

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Mediterranean Market platter

Boulder’s Tastes of Korea

Ever since moving to Boulder, we’ve been experiencing all sorts of great ethnic and domestic cuisine. Dot’s Diner, which we visited today, is Alana’s go-to breakfast spot; Tibet Kitchen is our favorite lunch special; Kho’s Asian Bistro in Longmont might be our top choice for dining out. However, that top spot was potentially challenged in the past few days as we decided to give two Korean spots in Boulder a try. The bar was set high because of past experiences, but I’m an easy going guy sometimes. So here are the two comparative “restaurant” reviews.

Friday night, after Tangier Moroccan was closed because of a private party (very unreliable spot), we crossed the street to finally give Korea House a try. It was a cold, dark and quiet night and we were starving. When we walked in the door, I was immediately very excited. We hadn’t had Korean food since visiting a Korean spa in Fort Lee, NJ. It was a very cute atmosphere with an overload of Northeast Asian trinkets that obviously didn’t bother me at all. Sometimes I like having more to look at.
More decor
Korea House
Essentially, the music was authentic and varied, the service was friendly and efficient, and the food was delicious and healing. We had a kimchi pancake and vegetable dumplings to start. Alana had a ginger-honey tea and I had a barley tea. Her’s was delicious and mine was warming. For entrees, she got the calamari bbq while I got the beef bbq and a traditional bowl of vegetables, beef, and an egg on top. Alana’s dish wasn’t quite what she expected, but she ate most of it. My bulgogi and bibimbap were delicious! The green tea mochi ice cream was so good that I ate my half, and I don’t like mochi ice cream. It was about $60 in total, but we were full enough and it was well worth it in terms of atmosphere, service, and taste.
Ginger honey tea
Vegetable dumplings
Bulgogi
Calamari BBQ
Bibimbop
Green tea mochi
The next day we ventured to A Cup of Peace for lunch. It was much different so I don’t want to compare the two. They have a sign that says this is not a typical Korean restaurant. Well, it’s not quite a restaurant, but rather a cafe. Their focus is beverages including tea and coffee. The atmosphere was much simpler and the food was generally more expensive, less filling, and not as good. The service was quick but you don’t get served. It was about $30 for bibimbap, bbq beef in a different form, and a plate of mixed sides for Alana. We weren’t very full after it and while Alana loved the pickled sides at Korea House, she didn’t touch them more than once at A Cup of Peace. I’m sure there are many people that would prefer this spot, but it’s not one we’ll likely return to due to our own likes and dislikes.
Beef BBQ
Bibimbop
Plate of sides
Also, I have been very sick and sore lately and after having Korea House, I felt healed. After A Cup of Peace, I had some stomach issues.

 

So, try to find a Korean restaurant around you, grab a meal, and let us know how it is! Maybe we’ll try to stop by there on our journeys. Until then, stay hungry and fit!