Brainless Butterfly Shrimp [recipe]

IMG_3808I used to not eat shrimp. Ever. Which is funny because I’m Cantonese and Chinese, and shrimp is a staple seafood of the cuisine. Growing up, going out to eat dim sum was a frequent family event on the weekends. We’d order xiā jiǎo (shrimp dumplings, a.k.a. har gow), and I’d peel out the shrimp filling, plop it on one of my parents’ plates, and only eat the starchy rice flour dumpling wrapper. My parents joke that I missed out on “the good stuff.”

seafoodIt wasn’t until our family took a trip to Hong Kong when I was nine years old that I began eating shrimp. There, we rode a ferry out to the tiny island of Cheung Chau, which is restricted to motor vehicles. I remember biking along the water front and seeing fisherman laying out their freshly-caught scallops and shrimp to dry in the sun. Our host simply walked up to one of those fisherman and purchased seafood. She only had to go a few feet away to a restaurant where she handed over the fish and shrimp. That shrimp was the juiciest, sweetest shrimp I have ever tasted and I have yet to experience shrimp that matches that standard. Continue reading “Brainless Butterfly Shrimp 


season’s bounty corn salad + a nifty trick

Allow me to introduce you to something that kind of blew my mind.


Yup. As usual it’s food related. But let me tell you, this is no ordinary salad. It’s the marriage of some of the best summer veggies, namely corn and tomato. What could get any better? The flavors dance in your mouth and for people like me who love salads with a burst of sweetness, the corn brightens up the dish. The drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil just enhances everything. Continue reading “season’s bounty corn salad + a nifty trick”

summer pasta salad

This is the second post in a series called From the Mixed Up Manila Folder where I am cooking from a collection of assorted recipes clipped from magazines and copied from cookbooks. 

I admit that I am a lazy cook. I like the end result but I don’t like the part that involves a ton of chopping or a lot of stress. And I especially prefer when I already have every ingredient in the pantry/fridge/garden that I need without having to make a grocery trip.

That’s why this recipe floats my boat. It can be whipped up in 30 minutes and made in advance. In fact, it even tastes better if made ahead because the flavors meld and the pasta soaks up the dressing.

P1050025 Continue reading “summer pasta salad”

My Chips N Guacamole Hack


If you’ve ever been to a warehouse bulk store like Costco, you know how much of blessing and a curse it can be.

Blessing: Stores like Costco have free samples which makes the whole shopping trip more enjoyable, are relatively affordable, and offer lots of organic produce and products at a fraction of the price.

Curse: While you can buy lots of inexpensive food at Costco, oftentimes the amount you get is overwhelmingly large. Like if you’re planning to feed an army or bring food to a potluck, it works. But if you’re just picking up food for a family of five, be prepared to eat the same thing for a few days in a row. Because you don’t want that gargantuan pack of grapes to spoil and go to waste. Continue reading “My Chips N Guacamole Hack”