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In Uncategorized on August 7, 2014 at 18:18

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Salmon Salad

In Food, Home Creation on August 1, 2014 at 10:44

The lovely sunny days in the Northwest we had been having were fantastic and absolutely enjoyable.

The side effect of the heat was that it made me lost appetite.

The appetite that was left in the cooler evening made me craved cold food.

Coupled with the abundance of fresh vegetables in the summer time, I created this light salmon salad, taking after the conventional tuna salad.

It was great with bread or crackers, as filling for sandwich or on its own.


It contained lots of vegetables and I used fava beans in this as it was one of the sweetest beans and fresh in the season to have.

Its unique flavor was highly priced.

It was, however, a very low yield produce — 1 lb of fava beans resulted in about 1/3 cup of cooked beans.

Feel free to omit fava beans in the recipe if preparing fava beans was too much trouble or lack of supply.

Fennel was also used for its crunchy freshness and mild licorice flavor.



Shell the outer long layer of the beans

Cook the shelled beans in boiling water for about 2 mins to soften the inner shell

Quickly drain the beans and rinse with cold water, drain again

Shell the beans again to remove the harder shell



2 cans of wild salmon

1 bulb of fennel

1 bunch spinach

1 lb fresh fava beans, prepared and cooked as described above

4 tsp Japanese mayonnaise*

juice from 1/3 of a lemon





Cut spinach into sections about 2 inches long, wash and drain

Blanch spinach in boiling water — take the spinach out as soon as they turn bright green

Immediately drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again

Using hand, squeeze excess water from spinach until they were nearly dry^

Empty and drain cans of wild salmon

Using a fork, break the salmon chunks apart to small pieces

Slice the bulb part of the fennel into thin slices, washed and drained


Mix spinach, fava beans, fennel, salmon, Japanese mayo and lemon juice together

Add salt and pepper to taste


*this version has very light mayo, feel free to modify if a creamier salmon salad is desired

^ this process would take a while as spinach retained lots of water.  The drier the spinach, the less runny the final product would be.



Dough Zone

In Eating Out, Food on July 30, 2014 at 10:44

Fairly new soup dumpling place in Bellevue called Dough Zone.


The menus were full of small dishes, from dumplings, buns, to noodles and congees.


I went there twice already and was able to try different dishes.

Great news that finally there was a place serving comparable soup dumpling, Xiao long bao, to Din Tai Fung‘s.



Equally thin-skinned and very juicy with tender gingery meat, the Dough Zone Xiao long bao were delicious and at a lower price point than Din Tai Fung – a bonus!

The rest of the menu items were hit and miss.

For starters, I had the spicy cucumbers and radish.

Both were tasty.

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The spicy sauce was very spicy in the crunchy cucumbers and I just loved the garlic in them.

The dish was less sweet and less sesame flavor than Din Tai Fung’s and yet still good.

The radish was very savory and additive and with a harder crunch.

It reminded me of the radish that my family in Hong Kong ate with plain congee every Sunday morning.

My next favorite would be the pan-fried buns, Sheng Jian Bao.


The buns were soft and the pork filling once again were very juicy, flavored well and just fantastic.

The inconsistency came from frying.

Some of the buns on my plate got the much expected crispy bottom which was the highlight of sheng juan bao — slight burnt, harder crusty bottom gave slight caramelized flavor and added texture to the bun; but others were barely fried and completely paled.

Hopefully they could make the pan-frying process more consistent otherwise it was very much a waste on otherwise really good buns.


I had wonton soup, spicy wontons and leek pockets on one occasion.

The leek pockets were awesome!

Again very juicy; and the skin was light and was pan-fried top and bottom in just right crispiness, totally delicious.

The filling was made with aromatic leeks, mung bean noodle and eggs.

The wontons had very thin skin and smooth which was fantastic except the filling was extremely minimal.

I felt like I was only eating wrapping.

The spicy wonton sauce was good but not as good as the one at Din Tai Fung.


On another occasion, I had beef roll and it was tasty — fresh cilantro with well marinated thinly sliced cold beef in a crispy buttery pancake and a little sauce inside, the textural contrast was great and a very decent dish.

The stewed pork noodle I did not much care for.


It had a nice soy sauce flavor and noodle had great texture; I could not get over the, lack of a better term “porky” flavor of the meat.

It was the unpleasant, “gamey” meat flavor that pork generally should not have.

I also had a crepe-like dish called jianbing guozi, with egg outside and fried dough inside, and that was probably the worse dish I got there.

The wrap was chewy when I was expecting crispiness, and the fried dough inside was completely soggy.

We had a very pricey beef burger which had tender tasty beef with strong cilantro flavor but the bun was doughy and soggy — felt like I was eating a mouthful of flour and soggy from soaking up the grease from frying.

All in all, if one knew what to order, and that the restaurant was consistent in their delivery, the meal would be wonderful.

Dough Zone still had long line on weekends and night-time, and the last time I was there for lunch, I did not have to wait.
Dough Zone Dumpling House 麵貼面 on Urbanspoon