Social Saturday – 2019 Queens International Night Market

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Almost two months ago we were privileged to attend the preview of this year’s Queens International Night Market behind the New York Hall of Science inside Flushing Corona Park in Queens. With a small fee $5 which went to charity, we get the opportunity to taste dishes from returning and new food vendors. Founder John Wang, started the International Night Market back in 2015 in the effort to create a cultural event to celebrate the diversity of immigrants and small businesses. The Night Market was designed to sell dishes at a cap of $6 and in the beginning of this project, I’ve learned that half of the proceeds were going to be donated.

On April 27, there were 54 food vendors that participated in the event. The vendors came from various countries such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Colombia, Korea, Vietnam, Burma, Mexico, Moldova, Malaysia, Ukraine and Indonesia. In addition, to the diverse food options, there were unique food creations such as the Moffle Bar and Twister Cake.

This was my fourth time I visited the Night Market and this time my goal was to taste the food at Burmese Bites. This vendor always had a long line because you get your money’s worth. Portion sizes were shareable. So finally we were able to order a dish from Burmese Bites. Burmese Bites were selling three dishes and we ordered the Keema Palata for $6. The dish tasted authentic and really good plus it fed two people, the portion size appeared deceivingly small but it was extremely filling.

During our visit to the Night Market, we sampled food from 7 out of the 54 food vendors. We just want to disclose that healthy food choices during this visit did not cross our minds as we were embracing the diversity that was celebrated through cultural and even fusion dishes. Below are the dishes that we tried that stood out from the event. The total cost of the dishes below we spent was: $40 for two people, which was not bad for 7 different dishes.

There were five other dishes we tried including the Pho Ga (chicken pho soup) from Em Vietnamese for only $5. The soup was really good especially that it was cold that night. The soup was also hot, fresh and filling.

We were already full at this point so we walked to various vendors and we spotted another vendor that we wanted to try: Jibarito Shack which is a Latin food vendor that served sandwiches using fried plaintains instead of bread. As a result we decided to split a low carb sandwich. We ordered the El Dominicano made with roast pork, pickled onions, queso frito and Dominican salami for only $5. The sandwich was definitely low carb but the first two dishes we had previously were better.

We also checked another new vendor called KINIKorean Dakgangjeong & Ganjang Chicken. We ordered the Ganjang (not spicy) fried chicken $5. The chicken was messy but tasty however it wasn’t as crispy as Bon Chon.

The next place we tried again was Joon a Persian rice cup spot that can be filled up with various flavors. We got the Pomegranate Walnut Chicken and Tumeric Beef and Eggplant at $6 each. Personally I like overcooked rice which is a little dried but other people didn’t like it. In addition, the proportion or balance of meat with sauce to rice was uneven meaning that there was more rice leftover after eating the meat(s). The leftover rice had no flavor and once it got cold, the taste was not the same once served hot.

For dessert we went to Wembie for some awesome Farmer cheese donuts ($4). The donuts definitely hit the spot.

We ended the night with Ecuadorean dark chocolate from Element Truffles. These chocolates were raw, organic and dairy free. We ordered a small dark chocolate bar with sea salt and tumeric for $3.

The Queens International Night Market runs every Saturday night starting at 5pm until midnight starting now until August 17 and September 28 thru October 26. It’s free and prices for each food item is capped at $6.

Lent – Sugarless Diet Game Plan

Hello everyone Happy Presidents Day! We as the title states it’s that Christian season again, Lent. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which was the same day as Valentine’s Day. This Lenten season I decided to give up sugar with the exception of fruit and vegetables. So far, I’m getting through it but at the same time it is difficult especially when I had to eat out for Chinese New Year. Eating out was a challenge because I don’t know whether sugar was added to the diet. As a result, I ended up at a buffet, a Middle Eastern and Hibachi restaurant.

For the first five days of Lent, here were my meals containing 0g of sugar:

What I’ve realized is to successfully accomplish this I have to cook my meals at home.

After going through my current pantry at home, I’ve discovered more limitations to this no sugar sacrifice. However, this week’s game plan will consists of the following ingredients that contains no sugars to date:

Black beans

Red Kidney beans

Eggs

Salmon

Cod

Ground Kobe beef

Ground Turkey

Olive oil

Coconut oil

Ghee

Butter

Quorn Chik ‘n Patty

Cauliflower

Asparagus

Oats

Rice

Parmesan cheese

Cream cheese

Almond milk

Strawberries

Blueberries

Follow me on Instagram at tablespoonsandteaspoons for updates on the recipes made this week with these ingredients.

Social Saturday: 24th Annual Japanese Food and Restaurant Expo 

We happily attended the 24th Annual Japanese Food and Restaurant Expo hosted by the New York Mutual Trading Company

This year’s expo had a better layout but fewer food vendors and sample products were smaller especially the ramen.  There were new products, but last year’s food sampling was better.  I felt that this year’s food expo highlighted the trend of shochu drinks, which is a type of liquor that can substitute for hard liquors such as vodka, rum and whiskey. There were more warm sake options. Below are highlights of event:


Throwback Thursday – Weekend Lunch for 3

Happy Thursday! Let’s travel back in time to earlier this year where I took my parents out to lunch during Valentine’s Day weekend.  We decided to return to Coco in Elmhurst, NY.  The restaurant specializes in Malaysian Cuisine.  Personally it was Malaysian fusion cuisine.  The restaurant is currently in the process of updating their menu on their website, but one of the major changes is that they deliver food now with a minimum of $10 purchase.

However, after a long cold winter day of running errands, my parents and I decided to have lunch.  Check this out, total cost for three people plus leftovers to go = $35

The Roti Canai and Singapore Rice Noodle dishes were my favorites.  The Lamb Curry was on the spicy side and the crispy duck was on the dry side.  Service could be better.  The meal was hearty, comforting and affordable especially for three people.  I would definitely return to try other dishes such as the Hainanese Chicken, Curry Laksa, Belacan Kang Kung, and Satay Chicken.

First Sunday Game Plan

It’s been a long weekend but very excited to post Tablespoons and Teaspoons’ first Sunday Game Plan for the week.   After reviewing various circulars, a budget of $30 was set aside to do some grocery shopping for this week’s meal plan.  This meal plan works well with anyone who wants to lose weight and take up “clean” eating.  Below is the handwritten version of the game plan which lists recipes that will be prepared and made.20160110_231941-1

Utilizing the ingredients purchased on a $30 budget, at least 12 healthy cost effective recipes can be created for the week with the high probability of leftovers.  In terms of current pantry items the biggest investments were the olive oil, rice, cooking spray and soy sauce, everything else in the pantry was purchased under $3 per item.  Current pantry items are separate from the $30 budget grocery shopping.

Can’t wait to put these ingredients into great use and make quick, budget friendly and healthy dishes.  Stay tuned!!