Chowking – a fast food chain from the Philippines

Noodle Soup Review #19

Wonton Noodle Soup

Sometimes it rains and sometimes happiness is found in a styrofoam cup (or bowl).  I don’t even like malls, but I found this bowl of soup calling out to me and I ate it all up.

1379 Southcenter Mall
Tukwila, WA 98188

HOURS daily 8am-10pm

Beef Wonton Noodle Soup – $6.01 (includes tax)

Almond Edged Butter Cookies

Happy New Years!

“You cannot go back and make a new start, but you can start now and make a new ending”                ― Michelle Cohen Corasanti, The Almond Tree


The sweetness of cookies and cakes symbolizes a rich, sweet life in Chinese lore.  And the round shape signifies family reunion.

I do not think of myself as a baker.  But the holidays compel me.  Cookies are satisfying.  We share them and they bring us together in a common, simple cooking language of care –  expressing nuisance, finesse, and patience.

This is my interpretation of a New Year’s Almond cookie. The almond edges remind me of my Mother’s amazing layered birthday cakes that were slathered in sweetened whipped cream then finished off with toasted sliced almonds.

Almond Edged Butter Cookie  – Recipe
1 stick salted butter, room temperature, cut into 8 piece (if using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 egg, room temperature, separated
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup slivered almonds, chopped lightly

With a fork, cream the butter, sugar, and almond extract.  Add the egg yolk and beat until blended thoroughly.

Add flour and incorporate.

Roll into a 8″ log.  Brush with egg white and roll in almonds to coat well.  Place log in an airtight plastic container (or wrap in plastic wrap) for 2 – 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Slice cookies into 1/8″ disks and arrange on a cookie sheet 1″ apart.  Bake one sheet at a time in the center rack until edges just begin to brown, about 10 minutes total (I turn the sheet at 5 minutes).  Cool on the sheet for 2 minutes and remove to a cooling rack.  Enjoy!

variation:  substitute almond extract with pure vanilla extract and roll log in 1/4 cup of coarse sugar.


The family album is littered with photo after photo of us behind the same almond covered layer cake.  This is my brother, Bryan at age 1.

Hue Ky Mi Gia | Chinese Noodle House

Noodle Soup Review #1820150110-121635-44195260.jpg

If you love ramen and pho, you’ll likely find happiness in a bowl of Chinese Egg Noodle soup too.  Like ramen noodles, Chinese Egg Noodles are made with alkaline, producing a chewy, slippery texture.  In fact, the Japanese ramen noodle is a descendant of the Chinese alkaline noodle.   Chinese soups, like pho, tend to have a light clean, refreshing nature. A good fast Chinese dinner trick is to make a broth and then add store bought fresh noodles and a pre-cooked duck as toppings.  Add green onion, a marinated egg and some greens into the bowl and you’re good to go.

Or, you can go to Hu Ky Mi Gia, it’s inside the Great Wall Mall in Kent and is a great place to stop on one’s way to Southcenter or Ikea.  It’s worth the drive as a destination too.  I love duck, so the braised or roasted duck egg noodle soup are the only things I have ever ordered and I love them to death – and though I can’t really eat too much of the noodles due to my gluten intolerance, I return again and again and force my stomach into knots.  The steaming sweet and savory chicken broth is topped with a leg-thigh section of braised duck, noodles, shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, and green onions.  Typical of Chinese noodle houses, you have a choice of noodles –  I like the super thin ones, probably because that is what I ate when I was a kid, but the thick ones are good too.

The menu is extensive and there is enough variety to please everyone.  On a recent trip, Rene ordered Beef Chow Fun (dry): It was also very good. In addition to Kent, there are two other locations – Seattle’s International District and Tacoma’s Lincoln Area.

18230 E Valley Highway, Ste 152
(Inside Great Wall Shopping Mall)
Kent, WA 98032

HOURS Wednesday-Monday 10am-9pm

Braised Duck Egg Noodle Soup and Beef Chow Fun – $15.50

Arashi Ramen

Noodle Soup Review #17

It’s frightening to think about, and I cannot shake the worry that I am not doing a good job as a Mom, but my kids eat a lot of ramen. Not “real” ramen, but the stuff that comes out of a package or that comes with it’s own styrofoam cup/bowl. Then there is the worry that the MSG might make them overly hyper, or even worse, unhealthy in unmentionable ways. I try to offer other morning fare but so far, frozen breakfast burritos and hot-pockets have been incorporated in our early morning frenzy.

I myself have eaten a lot of ramen. And I unscientifically attribute my gluten intolerance to having eaten so much bad stuff that my system just said “stop.” In spite of the fact that eating wheat noodles makes me feel kinda sick, I have been taste testing ramen shops along with the search for great and good Pho.

During an art pilgrimage to see the Jeff Koons exhibit this fall at the Whitney Museum, we added ramen to our noodle soup search. It was nearing mid-night and we wandered into Momofuku, bypassing the legendary line around the block. Upon first slurp, I became intrigued (well, maybe obsessed) with ramen – not the packaged stuff but the stuff that has moved from Japanese fast food to New York gourmet.

The first thing I did was watch Tampopo, the second thing I did was read Ivan Ramen, and the third thing I did was start eating at ramen restaurants. Then, I started eating more Asian noodle soups of all kinds, especially the Seui (water) Mein of my childhood.

Ramen places in Seattle are far and fewer between than Pho shops. Arashi Ramen had been getting some press and notoriety and it is relatively near my house. Rene and I were eager to try it and weaved it into holiday shopping. Arashi sits in the corner of a strip mall across the street from Southcenter Mall and what it lacks in atmosphere, it makes up in a simple menu made up of Tonkostu-based broths (a milky rich pork soup) and good service.

Our Shio ($8.95) bowls were rich and the meal slipped easily into our bellies, filling us with pork, marinated egg, noodles, red ginger, green onions, bean sprouts, and a hearty broth.

Address: 17046 South-center Pkwy, Tukwilla, Washington
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11:30 AM-3 PM and 5-10 PM

Orange Door Review #16


Tacoma is a culturally diverse city and hosts many great eats, including Vietnamese restaurants and Pho shops. On a recent rainy afternoon, Rene and I took a short stroll along Pacific Avenue – just four blocks north of the main offices of the Tacoma School of the Arts, where I currently work. It’s nice to have Pho places in the downtown corridor where it is convenient to lunch.

The high ceilings and big windows inside the Orange Door give it a light and airy feeling. Even tough the menu lists Pho by the Vietnamese names along with an English translation, the food tastes authentic anyway.

One is met at the door by a bar to the right and my friends say the restaurants does a great happy hour. The dining tables spread along a very narrow and deep space. A curtain separates the kitchen from the dining area and the food seems appear as if by magic transport from another location.

At $6.95 for a small and $8.95 for a large bowl, the soup is a deal. Rene says the broth is about average (good- not amazing). But it comes very hot and very fast and the meat and tendon is tasty. On two separate occasions, I ordered the Banh Mi sandwich (pork and chicken) – they are very good, but heavier on the meat than I usually like. At $5.49, it seemed rather pricy compared to other establishments.

The Orange Door has good solid food at fair prices. I will certainly lunch there again soon, but would probably not go out of my way to eat there.

Address: 701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma WA
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Rene’s rating 3 1/2 because it is really nice place to sit, but the food is good, not great.

momofuku noodle bar & slowly cooked poached eggs Review #15

I do really love to eat. My husband, Paul, says I am an eating machine. I think this offends me a little; but I do love to eat. And I do like trying new foods and restaurants. But. . . I’m not one to be overly fancy or to overly keep up with trends. And while Momofuku has been around for over a decade, it is still a very popular place. On a recent trip to New York to see the Whitney’s last show (Jeff Koons) before it closes and moves downtown, we just so happened to rent an apartment literally across the street from Momofuku.

If I am going to stay across the street from Momofuku, I’m going to try it – right? So after an amazing day with my family – riding bikes in Central Park on a perfect fall day, gazing at the heart and career of Jeff Koons, and seeing the Big Apple from the top of the Metropolitan Museum, I was going to crown it with something hot and salty and chewy and creamy and full of umami. I was going to try Momofuku ramen.

At mid-night (9PM west-coast time) I knew recruiting a companion would be difficult. I admit to appealing to Rene’s weakness; I told her that this would be the best ramen she had ever eaten. You should know that Rene eats a lot of noodles – Pho of course. But she likes Udon, and spaghetti, and especially RAMEN! So she was in. And as you can see from the photo, serious. (note: it was so good that we went there for lunch the next day — the whole family plus my cousin, Sheldon).

Yes. The ramen was amazing. But when I got back to the apartment and opened the Momofuku cookbook on the self of the airbnb, I noticed the broth was made with a lot of meat, including whole chickens and a pound of bacon. Well no wonder it tastes so good!

But what I loved the most was the perfect nature of the noodles – salty and chewy and soft all at once. AND the EGG! I REALLY liked the egg. I dream of that egg, I love eggs, especially poached, and the Momofuku poached egg white is creamy instead of hard. The cookbook reveals the secret and I gave it at try. . .


cold cooked egg on spoon

Slow-cooked poached egg – recipe
Cook whole eggs in 140 degree fahrenheit water for about 45 minutes. Keep the water as close to 140 as possible. Us a colander or similar device at the bottom of the pot so that the eggs are not too close to the heat source (and over cook accidentally).

I used a pasta pot (the kind with a strainer) and a meat thermometer inserted into a hole of the strainer. I brought my water (on a gas burner) up to 140 and added 6 eggs from the refrigerator. I put the pot on a simmer burner at a little higher than the lowest setting with a loose lid and it seemed to stay at a constant 140 degrees farinheit. 45 minutes later – warm but still raw egg. 10 more minutes – pretty much the same. 25 more minutes – WOW! The results are amazing!

The white is really soft and creamy in contrast to hard whites when one drops and egg into water or soup the traditional way. I sprinkled sea salt and ground fresh pepper. It was the single best thing I ate that day. The recipe says you can keep these eggs in the refrigerator for future use (up to a week – I think).

I added an egg to soup the next day. And as Paul says, “when the egg breaks and it hits the broth it is money.”  Either way, it is unusual and good.

My guess is that the 45 minute cook time applies if the eggs are at room temperature. –  if the eggs come out of a 40 degree refrigerator, it takes 80 minutes.


Just Phở You – review #14


Once a month, my family volunteers at Northwest Harvest, a non-profit organization in Washington State that supports local food banks. A warehousing system enables purchase and donation of food in bulk. Volunteers are used to sort and package staple foods for pennies a serving. While there, we have meet old friends, and worked alongside citizens from diverse backgrounds. I have meet meat packers, bankers, lawyers, teachers, students, and a lot of kids.

Since I write a lot about food, it seems responsible and heart felt to speak about the Mission of Northwest Harvest to provide nutritious food for our hungry neighbors while respecting their dignity.

Northwest Harvest weighs in my thoughts today, having spent last Saturday packing frozen sugar snap peas. As fall envelops our mood and the holidays approach, consider the power of what you can give and do.

About a mile north of the Kent warehouse is a Pho house that does a really great job. The broth is flavorful and sweet. After working in a refrigerated warehouse, it’s a great place to warm up and consider how lucky I am.

Address of Just Phở You: 20038 68th Avenue, Kent
Hours: M-Tu 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM, Wed,Thur,Fri 9:30 AM – 7:30 PM, Saturday 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Sunday -Closed

Address of Northwest Harvest Kent Warehouse: 22220 68th Avenue, Kent, WA 98032
Website: : northwestharvest,org
Consider: Volunteering and donating