Natto in Japan and Beyond

Natto, or fermented soybeans, are everywhere in Japan. There are natto burgers, natto bruschetta made with heaps of natto mixed with melted cheese or tomatoes on toasted bread, and even natto curries and sushi. But the most common way Japanese people eat natto is for breakfast over steamed rice with condiments, such as pickled fruits and vegetables. To me, one of the most interesting things … Read more

Thai Pork with 1000-Year Eggs

This next to last recipe for 1000-Year Eggs might be my favorite way to prepare them. It is savory, spicy, and hot, and the Thai basil lends a wonderful lightness to both the pork and the eggs for a winning dish. This recipe also lightly fries half of the Thai basil for a delicious, crunchy herbal topping that one encounters in lots of dishes from … Read more

A Taste of Burma in Downtown DC

Morning mist rises above the stupa like diaphanous tendrils from the forest floor as the sun warms the earth. Birds of all shapes and sizes clatter in the treetops proclaiming their territory, and in the village, dogs bark the dawn like town criers. Until recently, those of us in the US and Europe had to travel half a world away to get Burmese food. But … Read more

Durian: The Fruit We Love to Hate

It’s almost durian season again, so a post both extolling and denouncing the flavorful, pungent fruit seemed like a great idea. The British Naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace noted in describing the sight, smell and taste of a durian: “The five cells are silky-white within, and are filled with a mass of firm, cream-coloured pulp, containing about three seeds each. This pulp is the edible part, … Read more

The Origins of Tea in Burma . . .

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river . . . And she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China . . . I grew up hearing Leonard Cohen croon these words over and over. Telling perhaps about my age and background, but important as an introduction to the history of tea as well. As a global drink, … Read more