Category Archives: Japanese Food

Cocary Shabu Shabu BBQ, Monterey Park

 

If you’ve never been to a shabu-shabu or hotpot then leave all your preconceived notions at the door, Cocary Shabu Shabu is not your typical BBQ place. A mix of Chinese hotpot and Japanese shabu shabu, Cocary makes BBQ a much more arduous task. Instead of picking your meats and seafood from the menu, they make you stand up and pick the plates off some industrial size window fridges (4 in fact). And for just about $2 to $3 a plate, pick you meats, your seafood, your vegetables, your fruits, your condiments, and desserts of choice. And the rest is all up to you.

This is not where you just worry about cooking the meat to your liking, it’s picking you grilling items plus boiling items too. In the middle of the grill comes a pot full of boiling soup, and with much Iron Chef-like style, go ahead and practice that skill and harness it with the mixing of your ingredients to come up with either a boom or a bust.

Beef, lamb, pork, chicken, salmon, button mushrooms, squid, prawns on the buttered grill? Sure! Tofu, quail eggs, rice noodles, corn on the cob, fish balls, crab, and clams in the hotpot? Why not? The possibilities are endless. In fact let’s not leave Cocary without trying something out of our usual realm of comfort picks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We, and by that I meant I, tried the pork intestines. Chewy, the usual acquired taste, nevertheless I thought it was okay. It was even good when I actually cooked it perfectly. The century egg is actually a favorite of mine, but not to the rest of the group. Although this one was not completely preserved to the black color I wanted but I have missed it terribly so it was a great delight devouring this plate all by myself.

And there’s dessert. The taro flan has always been my go-to here; it’s smooth, creamy, and with light yet obvious taro flavor. I had two, hurray diet.

We were slightly unsuccessful with flavoring our broth but it was definitely an experience I’d love a repeat of. It has been a VERY long time since I’ve had hotpot or shabu shabu so every bite had to linger much longer in the mouth. Whew. I was sweating bullets, but I wouldn’t mind slinging that towel on my shoulder just to come back again.

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Filed under Chinese Food, Japanese Food, Shabu Shabu, Smorgasbord, Soup

Octopus, Glendale 

For the sushi lovers out there. Here’s a little delicious serving of Octopus in Glendale. I wanted to share one of my favorite places to go to for sushi. It’s just a laid-back, unpretentious, casual place where friends and I can have inexpensive yet fresh sushi, be served by really friendly and accommodating wait staff, and enjoy drinks and conversation ’til we finally give up. It’s not really one of those where they blow you off the water, but sometimes simple and generic, like a chain restaurant such as Octopus, is as gratifying as authentic and high-end. Here are the photos and I hope you all enjoy and salivate as much as I do whenever I get a peek at them:

KAMPAI!!!

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Filed under Clams, Dessert, Fish, Ice Cream, Japanese Food, Mixed Seafood, Sushi

The Orochon Challenge: 3 Men VS 1 Food

On this corner, with an aggressive doubles strategy and a gazelle-like movement on court-Juan “Jolly Green” Flores.


On another seat, with a tested doubles prowess and cheetah -like court speed-Deo “The Coach” Sy .


And on the other side, with a multi-faceted serve and an unconventional forehand power-Joseph “Bebe” Villafuerte.


The challenge: finish the SPECIAL #2 in 30minutes  (the spiciest Ramen in LA and featured in Man vs Food) at Orochon Ramen and get your face and name on their wall of fame.


It seemed like a daunting task for three of our tennis fanatics, but there was no turning back. Reputation was at stake and egos were not about to get hurt easily. YES is a YES, and no chickens were coming out of their coops tonight. The air was thick with testosterone as we took our seats and waited for these fire bowls to come out of the kitchen. The challengers were pumped up; chopsticks on one hand and milk on the other. And it was evident that they were all willing to slurp to win.

The bowls came out full to the brim with a deadly red broth mixed with fiery jalapenos, serranos, and a secret recipe of powdered spices. A side bet was made. Alliances were formed. The crowd was ready to spectate. Strategies began. Ready, set, go!

And into the halfway point we were made aware that these boys were here to battle. The wear and tear started to show, but none owned up to it. The sweats and tears may have come out but losers, we saw, they were not.

Juan-was taking it slowly but surely.

Deo-paced himself beautifully.


Joe-speed was his strategy and began the attack on his chilies.

Almost 30min was up and we were sure of a winner. He was not a quitter, devouring the ramen without even a sliver of doubt and drinking the broth as if it were only water. The rest have stopped, as if to say, “we no longer stand a chance”. The diners started staring, as if in amazement of the surefire achievement. The waitstaff readied to press that button on their camera to capture this expected victory.

Then the body suddenly gave up and fought back with the natural means of extracting the violence inside a very disturbed stomach. The bags came out (and the rest will be left to imagination). With only 2mins left and 2 spoonfuls inside the bowl, we declared a winner between the three, but sadly-no winner for Orochon this very spicy Saturday night.


With maybe a picture of the trials and not of the wins. Surely, this will be enough to be posted on my blog, for now. This is dedicated to those that have tried and failed, for the next picture taken will then be up at that wall, beaming, proud and steady. Just like a passing forehand, an inside-out backhand, or an overhead smash. Joe will have his chance another time to finally finish, as they say his third time might be the charm.

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Filed under Challenge, Japanese Food, Ramen, Related Article, Soup

Post-Valentine’s Day

I thought I should just share.

February 13- We had a couple’s massage at Barai and it was really, really good. This is not your usual “Burke-Williams” experience. They swing you around, break your bone, bend your body, pop your joints to your limit. Dinner was at AFloat Sushi in Pasadena. It was good. I mean, the sushi was unspectacular but for the price and the fun of it-it was actually worth it. I had a very nice time.

February 14- We had lunch at my favorite hole-CORAL REEF. We may not have had the best lunch conversation but the food was amazing (and cheap) as usual. His fish with black bean sauce and my pork chops were finger licking good as always. Yummy, indeed.

Reviews to follow. I need to get better pictures.

It just goes to show, you really don’t have to spend a lot to make the most out of the day. Sometimes, simple and cheap is as good (or even better) as elaborate and expensive.

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Filed under Chinese Food, Japanese Food, Occasion, Related Article, Sushi

Daikokuya Ramen (Initial Post for the Examiner)

Comfort food is all about indulging to one’s craving and hunger pain. And there’s nothing more comforting than a big, bowl of hot soup, especially on a cold winter day. Visit Daikokuya Ramen when you feel the need to give in to your comfort.

Daikokuya Ramen in Little Tokyo, Downtown LA, serves one the most delicious bowls around. This bowl is not the typical 99-cent ramen one can get at the local supermarket. The broth alone is a product of hours of boiling pork bones and joints until the flavor becomes intense, but that’s not yet enough. It is then mixed with their special soy sauce based mix so that the flavor is completely embedded in every spoonful. The dense broth and the ramen noodles simply come together in sync. But the soup does not overpower the rest of the players inside this bowl. Each order comes with kurobuta pork belly chashu that is tender enough to melt in one’s mouth. And as if the pork is not indulgent enough, Daikokuya adds marinated boiled egg, bamboo shoots, green onion, and a touch of sesame seeds to complete the offer.

But Daikokuya is more than the bowl of comfort. They also offer a multitude of appetizers; from the crispy gyoza (their version of Chinese dumplings) to Japanese sausages filled with their famous kurobuta pork. They also serve rice bowls and bento box combination if a huge bowl of ramen is not enough for the complaining stomach. Order either a diet coke or Asahi (yes, they serve alcohol) to wash the goodness down and one is set and ready to curl up in bed for the rest of the day.

So when that craving hits, either after a night of over-indulging in the diuretic called alcohol or upon waking up on a cold, rainy day, Daikokuya is a sure fire hit to comfort that rumbling stomach and ease the salivating palate back into a calm with a certain sigh of relief. Just come hungry and ready to slurp.

Daikokuya Ramen is at 327 E 1st St Los Angeles CA 90012. T: (213)626-1680. Don’t worry about bringing cash, they accept all major credit cards.

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Filed under Dumplings, Japanese Food, Ramen, Related Article, Sausages, Soup