Saying Goodbye to The Kitchen God

The day after Trump’s inauguration, I was in Tokyo doing some food ‘research’ on route back from my pop up dinner in Niseko. An American friend of mine Elizabeth, who had moved there a couple years back, invited me to join her and some others on a march at Hibiya Park, one of the 676 sister marches planned around the globe in alliance with the Women’s March on Washington. About 650 of us, mostly expats, traversed the city in a respectful, quiet and distinctly Japanese fashion, in a neat double file to the side of traffic on the road.  Later that night, I returned to my Airbnb in Shibuya and watched as Gloria Steinem declared that “God may…

Sketch by the Zen monk Sengai Osho (1750-1837), to illustrate the journey to bring meaning out of something that seems to have none

Kajitsu – Shojin cuisine

I can’t think of a more thoughtful culinary practice, more grounded in principles and devoted to harmony, than that of the Japanese.

I have long held deep respect for Japanese food culture, even etching a Confucius-influenced Okinawan food philosophy permanently on my forearm. Not that I follow it, ever. But it feels virtuous to look at.

On a recent trip to NYC, I was intrigued when ChuckEats put Kajitsu on my radar. Not only because it features “Shojin Cuisine”, which I knew little of, but also that it is a multi-course vegetarian meal, one of just two restaurants I know of that are Michelin rated and completely vegetarian. Kajitsu received two stars last year.

Shojin cuisine is an ancient culinary practice developed in Zen Buddhist monasteries, and following the Buddhist principle of preserving life, no meat or fish are used. Instead the focus is on fresh, in season vegetables, herbs and grains.

Executive chef Masat Nishihara worked for…

Can Jubany  • Jing Theory Restaurant entryway tasting menu The first amuse that arrived was a plate of hot macademia nuts coated in a crispy golden batter, followed by a second plate of crisp puff pastry topped with a glorious slice of jamon iberico, golden caviar and flecks of sea salt. A waitress then arrived with a loaded cart of what appeared to be scientific kitchen tools, and whipped up a batch of 'solid limoncello' by our table. What ended up looking like white, fluffy popcorn was refreshingly icy and concentrated with flavour. Our third amuse was a light consome poured over a thin parmesan crisp Then came the first course, puffy bread cake with sweetened fig and foie. Probably my favourite dish of the day, the combination of silky foie and sweetness of the fig sauce was an unbeatable combination.

Can Jubany – New Catalan cuisine in Barcelona

“In the centre of the Plain of Vic, on a slight rise near Calldetenes village, there is a welcoming traditional Catalan farmhouse, now a space for discovering a new concept in taste…”

This is all I allowed myself to read before arriving at Can Jubany’s quaint yet modern farmhouse restaurant an hour outside Barcelona. I previously had little interaction with Catalan cuisine and left both and mind and palate blank slates for the brief, food focused trip I took with four friends. Our party was as diverse as it comes with myself, Adlyn – Malay, Mayumi – Japanese, Adrien – French and Salome – Swiss, a truly global ensemble of serious gourmands.

We weren’t going to score reservations at El Bulli, so turned to other heavyweights during our short stay in Barcelona. After much deliberation, we settled upon El Cellar de Can Roca and Can Jubany for our two day trips out of the city. My friend Larissa turned me onto the latter after…

Jing | 10.07.11 at 01:12 AM |
Hong Kong Man Wah • Jing Theory Hong Kong Man Wah • Jing Theory

Hong Kong: Dim Sum at Man Wah

On the 25th floor of the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, Man Wah’s panoramic views take your breath away. Even on a smoggy day as this, Victoria Harbour looks as grand as ever. The interior has a sort of understated opulence, fine bone china and crystal ware adorn pink satin tablecloths, but in lieu of the usual chandelier light fixtures, the ceiling is dotted with humble red lanterns.

I was invited by MO to sample some of Chef Man-Sing Lee’s masterful dim sum creations. Formerly from Hoi Yat Heen at Harbour Grand Kowloon, Chef Lee has cooked for government officials and heads of state, and collected numerous awards along the way. I hadn’t experienced high-end dim sum in Hong Kong yet, with Tim Ho Wan being the FMOT, and looked forward to a refined, contemporary take on dim sum staples.

Almost immediately after we sat down, the food started arriving. I deferred to the chef and didn’t glance at the menu. All 14 dishes came out from the kitchen in perfect…

Jing | 11.05.11 at 01:00 AM |


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