Sweet Glutinous Rice Dumplings with Black Sesame


This is my interpretation of my grandma’s (my mom’s side) recipe. It is a dish from a specific region in China called “Chaozhou/Chiuchow 潮州”. My grandma is from Chiuchow. The original name of this snack is “Lok Tang Ci 落湯糍”, but most people will know this as “Nuomici 糯米糍”. Why is this sweet snack being served on Chinese New Year? It is because the word “Ci 糍” sounds almost exactly like the word “Chin 錢 (money)” in Chiuchow dialect. The dumplings are the symbol of wealth.

The dumplings should be made on New Year eve. On the first day of New Year, everyone in the family will go to grandma’s house. We greet each other, give red packets, receive red packets, sit around, eat and chat. These dumplings are one of the things that everyone loves. When the steaming hot dumplings come out of the kitchen and arrive on a table, everyone would run over with a pair of chopsticks and munch on their dumplings. Great memory!

One really interesting thing: My mom and my aunt are never allowed to eat the dumplings. It is because they are married. In Chinese culture, when a daughter married someone, she is the member of the husband’s family. Any family traditions from the daughter’s side of the family will not pass down to the daughter. And the daughter is considered an outsider. Since the dumplings symbolize wealth, my mom never got to eat the dumplings after she got married. But this year, my grandma has suddenly changed the rule to allow my mom to eat under one condition. No take out. (No money is being taken away from the family). Mom said that she hasn’t eaten that for 30 years. Haha… Lucky mom!

But yes, these little dumplings are gooey. Dip as much sugar as you want when eating. Don’t start talking when eating. I don’t think anyone will understand you when you have that sticky dumpling in your mouth. It is fun and tasty, and it will bring you wealth! Have a great new year!

P.S. Special thanks to my fifth uncle for helping out with the background information and recipe tips! I can’t finish this post without his help.

Continue to the recipe…

Baked Smoked Paprika Chicken Wings


Super Bowl is coming up on Sunday. And we can’t go without some chicken wings. These chicken wings are perfect. They are smokey, little sweet and packed with flavors. Absolutely fantastic! The most important is that they just need to go in the oven. Not much work is needed. You can just sit back, relax and enjoy your game with your families and friends, instead of being stuck in the kitchen to cook.

Continue to the recipe…

Egg Tarts

Egg tart is one of the Hong Kong classic. Everyone in Hong Kong loves egg tart. They like to eat it for breakfast, brunch as dim sum or tea time snack. An egg tart is a baked egg custard in a pastry. There are mainly 2 types of egg tarts. One with a shortcrust pastry and the other with a puff pastry. This recipe is the shortcrust one. I personally love this crust the most. It is buttery with a hint of savory, which is perfect with the smooth and lightly sweetened egg custard. Whenever I am baking these little egg tarts at home, the house just smells incredible. It is hard to eat only one. Maybe, I can sneak in two in my stomach before anyone found out.

Continue to the recipe…

Snack: Kit Kat Big Little

Kit Kat Big Little

Last week, I was shopping at Mitsuwa Marketplace (Japanese supermarket). When I was in the snack aisle, the Kit Kat Big Little box was talking to me. I always love Kit Kat, and bite-size Kit Kat sounded even better, so I bought it.

When I got home, I couldn’t wait to try it. The little Kit Kat was the size of a Whoppers candy. It was just like a regular Kit Kat, but small in size. The outside was a layer of chocolate, and the inside were layers of wafers and chocolate. The name “Big Little” was really perfect for this snack. The Kit Kats were little, but packed with flavors. They were chocolatey. The wafers were very crispy, and they melted in your mouth. Delicious! I think these little ones taste better than the original Kit Kat.

I tried my best to control myself only to eat 3 pieces, because I knew Bryan would love to try. Bryan got home before dinner. I showed him the Kit Kat and he had a bite. He said, “WOW….. Did you buy more than one box?” Haha……. I really wish I did! And, we almost finished the whole box before dinner.

Kit Kat Big Little is easy to eat, and I think it is a better version than the original. The only thing is you can probably find them in certain Japanese supermarkets. And, they are not very cheap. I bought mine for about $3.50 a box. There were about 15 pieces in each box. Even so, I will probably still go back to buy some more tomorrow. They are real good!

Want to get Kit Kat Big Little?

Mitsuwa Marketplace (3760 South Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA)

Snack: Trader Joe’s S’mashing S’mores

Trader Joe’s S’mashing S’more

Last week, Bryan and I took my Hong Kong friend to Trader Joe’s. My friend, Tony wanted to bring some food snacks for his friends back in Hong Kong. While we were looking for some cool snacks, Bryan saw this box of S’mashing S’mores. Unlike traditional s’more, this snack is in a cube shape. It is a chocolate covered marshmallow with graham cracker. Oh my…. They taste almost like the good old s’more without the smokey flavor. But if you want, you can pop them in the microwave for a few seconds, then you have a half-melting s’more. These little s’mores are so much easier to eat, which are the perfect snacks! They are so delicious!

Bryan and I finished our box of S’mashing S’more within 4 days. I know that we can finish even faster. We were trying to save the best for a bit longer. No surprise! We went back to Trader Joe’s after one week and got another box. I would love to get more, but that was the only box left on the shelf. That would tell you how good they are. Get some before they are gone!

Where to get S’mashing S’more? Read

Reese’s Minis at CES 2011

Last week, Bryan and I were in Las Vegas for CES (Consumer Electronics Show). We were there for Bryan’s work. We were so busy that I didn’t have time to update. Sorry about that.

Believe it or not? There was also food product being release in CES. Reese’s revealed their latest product “Reese’s Minis”.

Reese’s Secret Box

Cute little Minis

Reese’s were giving out these cute little Minis for free. I love them so much!

These Minis have no wrappers. They are just like the classic but smaller, which are perfect for one bite. I am so glad that Reese’s have finally developed a product like this. I like Reese’s, but it is usually very messy to eat. You have to unwrap the little brown paper. When you are unwrapping the paper, all the chocolate crumbs and peanuts pieces fall over the place. It is definitely hard to eat, especially in the car. Now with the Minis, there won’t be crumbs. Bryan and I had eaten many Minis in the show. I can’t wait to go out and buy more!

Reese’s Press Release: Read

Hong Kong Snack: Rice Noodle Rolls

Rice noodle rolls is called “pig intestine noodles” with literal translation in Cantonese. The noodles do not contain any pig intestine. It is because of the shape of the noodles. They look like the intestines of a pig. There isn’t much flavors from the noodles themselves. Some of them are made with little dried shrimps and scallions, but mostly, the noodles are plain. It is good to eat the noodles with some sauces, like the sweet soy sauce, sesame sauce, and hoisin sauce. This noodles are usually served as breakfast, brunch, lunch or snack.

Back in high school, I loved to go to lunch in the near neighborhood. In there, I can get my favorite pig intestine noodles from this small general store. Other than selling crackers and drinks, the store also sold some hot food, like fish balls, fried noodles, and Hong Kong style waffle. All this stuff were really cheap, and they were so tasty. This place was one of students’ favorite! Because of that, I tired to walk faster every time  and hoped to bet the crowd to get to the store first. If I got there a bit late, the line would be long.

The other day, I saw the pig intestine noodles in Shun Fat Supermarket. I was so happy, and I bought a package home. The noodles were already cooked, I just had to steam the noodles and made the sauces. The outcome was good. It was almost the same as I can remember. I am glad that Bryan liked them too.

Pig Intestine Noodles

Where can you get the noodles?

Shun Fat Supermarket (1635 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776)