Yukkuri Countdown JAPAN
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
 There's No Food Like Home,

What is this? Something inspired by memories of all the japchae recipes I've looked through on the internet; an attempt to copy California Thai food; an experiment? Do I know? I think I started with a vague idea but whatever it was it had changed by the time I finished making it.

First, I pulled out the surplus bag of bifun purchased from the Smart&Final-like supermarket that I think is a wonder to be found in Japan but that is just far enough away that we haven't bothered to go back since the time I got the noodles. Did you know that two little blocks of bifun noodles makes a lot? Good thing I went with just two and not three!

Then I pulled out all the vegetables that seemed proper: spinach, carrot, onion, bean sprouts. I thought two eggs would be a very tasty addition. For a second I considered tofu as well but then thought no, too much, too risky. Looking back this was a good choice because tofu would've released a lot of water and made the taste too bland.

Shoyu, goma yu. (That's soy sauce and sesame oil.)
I just added those to taste and the dish ended up mostly shoyu and egg being the sources of flavor. Some pepper went in too. A lot of shoyu went in.

Bifun noodles sure were a nice change from common Japanese food. I kept hearing mmm's from the left pocket, haha! I like the texture of bifun noodles when biting into them. From now on I'll add more vegetables to go with all the noodles. I'd try to add something spicy if I could; the left pocket had a few gyoza on the side. Still, by itself as it was I thought it was good!

When we get that at Little Asia in IV, they let us substitute tofu for meat; but more often than not, it's on the dry, sticky side. So I just pour a little of the soup they serve along with it on top, or a bit of shoyu. I have noticed that it's not real strong on flavor, though, for a Korean dish. When it's moist enough, it's perfect!
Ok, i was talking about japchae, with "glass noodles". What's bifun? The Thai pad woon sen uses bean thread noodles, but seems closer to the Chinese maifun, rice noodles, which I love! I'm confused, but I'll eat 'em all! Yours looks yummy!
I think bifun is thinner than "glass noodles". The bifun package says its ingredients are rice and cornstarch. When dry, the noodles are pretty much opaque and off-white in color but when boiled they become more translucent.

Bean thread noodles are made from sweet potato, right? They are very thin and white when dry but then you soak them for a long time and they become fat and clear? I think in Japan bean thread noodles are called harusame.

Are "glass noodles" the same as bean thread noodles?
yes, mung bean flour noodles/cellophane noodles/bean threads/long rice/vermicelli/saifun is made from mung bean, is clear, and of varying thickness (many exported from Taiwan)

I get it confused with dried rice flour noodles/rice sticks/rice vermicelli/maifun, which also comes in varying thicknesses and also should be soaked instead of boiled and can be deep-fried to make it puff up crispy (many from Guangdung province- southern China)

all this from my trusty book of Asian ingredients!
aaaaah, that's all good to know! The package I have says to boil the noodles but next time I'll try just soaking. I never would've thought of deep-frying those noodles either!
Yer noodles look yummy.. !! you should try.. fried bee hoon.. :) a great recipe can be found at :- http://mik.typepad.com/
Thanks for the helpful reference!
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Seize the food, for Japan is time-service only! In other words, this blog is to preserve, share, and make the most of my six months left living in Japan. Yes, I am obsessed with food. Cheap food!

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Location: Tokyo/Saitama, Japan

Life is short so I eat fast, lest it get cold or disappear. I'm currently teaching English in Japan for two years. I was born and raised in California, and will be returning there in Summer 2005. I was ovo-lacto-vegetarian for about seven years but decided to let it go during second year in Japan!

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