Pro-Tip Tuesday: Free Seeds for Gardening, Summer Dreams Included!

Are you stuck inside, dreaming of next year’s garden?

Are the kids (or your inner child) driving you nuts as you scrape the bottom of the bucket on distracting -er- enriching indoor activities to keep them busy learning?

Maybe your New Year’s resolution was to save money to put them toward some personal goals.

Did you know, you can get free seeds for gardening? Continue Reading

Crispy-Bottomed Oyster Mushroom Steaks

Introducing a new category for this blog: crunchyI’ll be indexing recipes by what’s got that crispy, crunchy thing going on. Contribute by writing in the comments with your top favorite crunchy Food the Wong Way recipes, and stay tuned for a new “crunchy” category in the navigation menu!

Crispy-Bottomed Oyster Mushroom Steaks With Chimichurri Sauce Recipe

– Prep Time: 15 minutes
– Cook Time: 15 minutes
– Serving Size: 2 -3


For Mushrooms:

– 1 pound of oyster mushroom, get a cluster if you can
– 2-3 tablespoons canola oil (olive oil will smoke more)
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste Continue Reading

Radish Cake (No Shrimp!)
Gluten-free options included

Radish Cake by Food the Wong Way: homemade, with gluten-free ingredients and no dried shrimp bits.

A super-processed food recipe! Special exceptions must be made for once-a-year-events. Happy lunar new year! Special thanks to my mama, and also to my co-conspirator Sarah, for providing her grandma-made childhood memories and decisive nature to help with quality assurance, with decision-making, and for even loaning me a steamer.

Other names for this dish:

Turnip cake
Lo bak gao (phonetically in Cantonese dialect, often found via dim sum restaurant lingo)
Carrot cake (in Singapore)
蘿蔔糕 (Luo Bo Gao written, traditional Chinese)
萝卜糕 (Luo Bo Gao written, in Simplified Chinese)

Why no shrimp? I tried this labor-intensive recipe at home because lately when I go to some Chinese restaurants in the States, they’ve sprinkled their radish cake with bits of shrimp so I can’t eat it unless I want to risk anaphylactic shock (re: crustacean allergy, i.e. shellfish that has an exoskeleton). This is one of my favorite standard dishes for dim sum both in the U.S. and abroad, I especially love when they get the outside just-right crunchy, and a soft, squishy inside.

The finished product: take 2 post freezing and thawing.
The finished product: Take 2, post-freezing and -thawing.

蘿蔔糕 (Luo Bo Gao)! Radish Cake!

Makes: 2 medium steamers and one rice cooker 4″ x 4″. Enough to serve a dozen ppl as a small side
Overall Time: 60+ Minutes to Multi-Day


1.5 long daikon/Chinese radish (2lbs), skinned & shredded
2-3 chinese sausages, thinly minced into tiny pieces (for vegetarians: you’ll still get umami if you do the mushrooms and no sausage)
16 oz. rice flour
3-5 shiitake mushrooms, minced (you can also used dried, but fully rehydrate it before cutting, at least 1 hr or overnight)
1.5 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 cups water
high heat oil for frying

Optional but Recommended: choose a few for umami

Continue Reading

Gluten-Free Pot Sticker Wrappers

Gluten-free pot sticker wrappers: the cutting phase
What’s more Chinese than wheat-filled porky pot stickers?
Being a good host who makes all your guests feel welcome, that’s what.
In 1980s Minnesota, growing up a first generation American-born child of Chinese immigrants, Asian produce and processed goods were not readily available at the grocery stores on University Ave in Saint Paul. For special occasions, my parents would host parties and invite all our family friends over to help fold dumplings. They’d mix the pork filling and procure wrappers and get everyone –ethnic Chinese or not– involved in trying their hand at wrapping the dumplings.  I still remember one time our friend Javed found the filling so fragrant (it’s the toasted sesame oil in the pork) he asked if he could eat it raw. Was it that he grew up partly in Germany? Not sure, but sesame oil sure does make things smell good. Then my Mama would boil and/or fry round after round to fuel yet more dumpling wrapping. Some times my Baba would buy wrappers, other times I remember him mixing the flour and water and letting is rise, then rolling it out (by hand or by pasta roller), to be cut by the rim of an aluminum green bean can.
In light of this childhood memory, I was excited when K conceded to hosting a few friends over for a pot sticker* party for lunar new year with only a week’s notice.
New challenge: make gluten-free wrappers for my friend Jillian, so she could join in the fun!

Continue Reading

Travel Pro-tip: How to Pack Beer to Fly Home in One Piece

How to pack beer in your check-in luggage home.

“How do you pack beer home when you fly?”

-My old friend Kyle (readers may know him as the one who married an Iowan named Susannah*)

This was the nudge to finally draft this post I’ve had in mind. I hope those of you over 21 find it handy as we head into holiday travel this year. Kris and I like to bring a little craft beer back from travel as a souvenir to enjoy with friends. We’ve logged, him especially, a lot of airline miles with beer in luggage and gotten some routines down to accommodate.
[insert 10/22 photo of luggage, brighten and crop, draw arrow, caption: you can see I went with multiples of optional step 4]

The Beer-Packing Formula Continue Reading

Pro-tip Tuesday:
Unintended Extra Groceries + Tote Hack

Do you ever go grocery shopping and discover that you’re picking up 150% more than you intended to buy, that you are really hungry, and now you’re trying to figure out how to bike or walk it all home?

I recently picked up a new trick for those reusable sacs (usually cloth or polyester of some sort) with sizable handle-loops. It keeps me covered when I am carrying way more than any sane, less-ambitious urban nomad would carry. Continue Reading

Need an Easy Dinner Next Monday?
Food-related blog news.

Panko-Crusted Chicken with Zesty Lemon-Garlic Pasta, Salad

Dear Reader,
I am sharing a bit of exciting news — as of today, my good friend Sarah Yee​ and I are starting a little food business! As you all know, we both love to cook. Now, we’ll be channeling this passion and skills into cooking for our community through Josephine.

What’s Josephine?
Josephine is an awesome community where approved cooks sell their home cooked meals to friends and neighbors. You order online, pick up the food from my kitchen and take it home to enjoy! Each meal, Sarah and I will be taking turns leading, all while we get to cook together and learn from each other’s recipes. Continue Reading

Your Friends Will Love These Treats – Paleo-Friendly Granola Bars

On the tails of last week’s post: this time, some people treats!

My crossfitting significant other sent me this paleo-friendly recipe via Flipboard message about a year ago, and I’ve been making it ever sense, especially for road trips and hiking. Most recently, I heard my next adventure is going to involve food price sticker shock, so naturally I whipped up some, and thought it a good morsel for you to try.

Continue Reading

Back to School – An Update

This scenic photo taken on the UW campus near Red Square in the early dawn hours.

Faithful readers may be asking, “where’ve you been, Yiling?” All over. Here is a list:

– Mount Adams at 9,000 feet elevation, getting altitude sickness, then waking up feeling extra grateful to be past it. Hooray!
– Just outside the faux Bavarian town of Leavenworth, bouldering for the first time
– Cheering on my spouse and his good friends who scaled Mount Rainier successfully.
– developing personal projects to help build community via food systems Continue Reading

I tried this meal kit and it did not change my world view

Laksa Chicken from Amazon's Meal Kit

Happy Friendly Friday, Folks!
It’s Fall, and the start of a new school year for many. What do you do to keep everyone fed and full of healthy energy to get things done?

I explore one option here.

While hosting family this summer, we gave those partially-prepped ready-to-cook meals a try, and started with Amazon’s kits, newly on the market. The lucky couple getting married Washington, Alanna & Alex even played guinea pig, and Kris picked up the slack when I started to feel a little spun around running multiple meal trials at once.* Continue Reading

Pro-Tip Tuesday:
Waterproof Camping Matches, an Anti-Tip

When I was a kid in Minnesota, I went to this one summer day camp where they taught us, among other things,* to waterproof regular matches by painting clear nail polish on them. Years later living in Seattle, I diligently painted and dried each match this way. That’s the Dahlia Lounge matches you see in the picture. Then for about 4 years I brought them with for car camping and found they were annoyingly hard to strike, delaying my access to delicious and/or experimental dehydrated camp meals. I ended up defaulting to regular ones, like the ones above from Fish and Game Hudson here. Conclusion: you could also always go for survival matches like the ones above, or regular ones in a ziploc bag. Sometimes DIY is overrated.

From left: stormproof matches, regular matches, DIY waterproof matches with nail polish, and a gas canister with camp stove.

*I vaguely recall them also teaching us to cut radishes into rose shapes…