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September 2016 Archive

Pho 101

Pho 101

'Pho' is a traditional Vietnamese soup of rice noodles in a meat based broth, which is popular both in Vietnam and in many Western countries.

Pronunciation of Pho

Because of the difference between Vietnamese and English spelling and phonetics, many English speakers commonly mispronounce the name of this delicious soup. While most people pronounce Pho with an extended 'oh' sound (like 'fo'), it is actually pronounced 'fuh'.  

Origins of Pho

Pho was once believed to have originated in Hanoi, Vietnam but has since been found to be influenced by both the Chinese and French culinary traditions.

Types of Pho

There are two main types of Pho.

Pho Bo - This is Pho with beef which is cooked medium rare and continues to cook in the broth. Different types of beef used in pho include steak (rare, medium, and well done), flank steak, brisket or meatballs.

Pho Ga - This is pho with chicken, simple as that.

Both types of Pho have a selection of vegetables which may include basil, mint leaves, bean sprouts, coriander and other seasonal greens as well as lime and chili for dressing.

Basic pho ingredients

1.       Rice Noodles

2.       Meat based broth (chicken/beef)

3.       Protein (chicken/beef)

4.       Herbs/chili (coriander, basil, mint)

5.       Dressings (lime, bean sprouts)

Pho can be a relatively healthy fast food option full of protein from the meat, good carbs from the rice noodles and micronutrients from the vegetables, the only health pitfall in pho is the level of sodium in the broth. It is relatively cheap and readily available at street stalls, making it a Vietnamese staple and a fast and fresh favourite in many Western cultures.

To make your own delicious pho soup at home, grab one of our pho spice paste and get cooking!

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Table Etiquette in Chinese Homes

Table Etiquette in Chinese Homes
Dining is an important ritual in almost every culture in the world, with the sharing of a meal playing an important role in creating social and familial bonds. The dining ritual has particular significance in China, and there are a number of important traditional etiquette guidelines which should be observed when eating in a Chinese home.  

Presenting the best food to the senior members of the family first: This is a sign of respect and gratitude for what the elders have contributed to the family.

Waiting for the host: Dining only begins once the host and all their guests are seated. Before starting to eat, the host may offer some words of welcome to their guests. 

Respect for the chopsticks: Chopsticks are never meant to be licked or used to point at others. Neither should they be waved around or stuck into food, as these are signs of disrespect and may cause offense to your fellow diners.

Serving others before yourself: The person closest to the drinking jug is expected to pour drinks for the other diners, who should offer thanks to the person serving the drinks. 

Raising a toast: Toasts are an iconic part of the Chinese dining ritual. All cups should be filled and guests should all listen to the host as they give their toast.

Asking before taking the last bit of a dish: Ideally, the host should offer their guests the last serving of each dish, but if this does not happen, guests should offer the dish around before taking the last piece for themselves.

Now that you know how to dine in traditional Chinese style without making any faux pas, why not host your own sumptuous Chinese dinners with Asian Home Gourmet's Chinese range.

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World's Healthiest Food

World's Healthiest Food
Kimchi is arguably the healthiest food in the world - but what is it? Well, kimchi is a fermented blend of cabbage, chili peppers, garlic, and other spices which is most commonly consumed in Korea. Kimchi can be used in a variety of different ways: it can be added to soups, paired with steamed rice or eaten on its own.The most noteworthy health benefits of kimchi are: 

Gut health - due to the fermentation process, kimchi aids to strengthen the immunity and encourages good bacteria in the gut.

Rich in vitamins A & C - vitamin C helps growth, development and repair while vitamin A is key to a healthy immune system and cell growth.

Lowers cholesterol levels - kimchi contains garlic which is a rich source of allicin and selenium, both of which help to decrease cholesterol levels.

Contains healthy bacteria - due to the fermentation process, kimchi contains healthy bacteria (like yogurts) which help build gut health and help fight off infections and bad bacteria.

Aids in weight loss - kimchi is low in fat and carbohydrates but adds flavour to a meal, helping you to feel satisfied without consuming excessive calories.

Rich in amino acids - such as iron, calcium and selenium which help recovery and fat loss. 

High in fiber - which aids digestion. 

You don't have to visit Korea to get some Kimchi on your plate - you can make it at home with minimal ingredients and enjoy all the health benefits. For more Korean cooking inspiration, try some of our Korean spice mixes.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Japan

Best Time of the Year to Visit Japan

Japan is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year, with each season offering something unique. Ultimately it is down to individual preference, and this quick guide to each season should help you decide which time of the year you are most likely to enjoy.


Spring (March - May)

Spring is the most popular time of year to visit Japan due to the blooming of the cherry blossoms which lasts about one week. The festivals celebrating the cherry blossoms draw in massive crowds who come to admire the beauty of the delicate pink flowers. The cherry blossoms are the mecca of nature in Japan during Spring and the cherry blossom festivals are a definite must-see.

There are plenty of places across Japan where you can celebrate the cherry blossom season.

1.       Hirosaki Sakura-Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival at Hirosaki Park (April to early May)

2.       Yoshino-Yama Mountain

3.       Osaka Mint Bureau

4.       Ueno Park, Tokyo

Weather: not too hot, not too cold, minimal-average rainfall


Summer (June - September)

Summer in Japan can be very hot and humid but it's the perfect time of year for festivals, mountain hikes and sample some of Japan's famous beer!

To do:

1.       Sumida-Gawa Fireworks Festival

2.       Obon Festival

3.       Tenjin Festival

Must Try:  Somen Noodles - Summer is the best time to try this iconic Japanese cold noodle dish which is a refreshing and delicious way to cool off in the summer heat!

Weather: extremely hot, humid and rainy


Autumn (October - November)

Autumn in Japan is the time to see the changing colours of the maple leaves as they turn beautiful shades of red and yellow and transform the streets into picturesque landscapes.

Places to see beautiful leaves:

1.       Hida Takayama

2.       Rikugien Garden

3.       Kamakura Hiking Trails

4.       Hozu Valley

Weather: warm and relatively dry


Winter (November - March)

Winter in Japan is like a picturesque winter wonderland, with ancient snowy-white landscapes as far as the eye can see. Japan also has some of the best skiing in the world making it a popular destination for lovers of snow sports.

Best places for skiing:

1.       Niseko Ski Resort

2.       Hakuba Ski Resort

3.       Sapporo Ski Resort

Other activities if skiing isn't for you:

1.       Tokyo - If you don't like the cold, Tokyo has plenty of indoor attractions to keep you warm. Winter is a great time to enjoy some nice hearty meals and Tokyo will keep you entertained with its famous Cat Cafes, Ninja Restaurants and fine dining restaurants.

2.       Temples - Japan's many temples are even more beautiful in the winter with their triangular rooftops covered in snow.

3.       Hot Spring Baths - Warm up and take in some spectacular views in one of Japan's famous hot spring baths.

Weather: cold and dry, with snow in selected areas.

For a taste of Japan any time of the year, try our range of Japanese spice mixes and be transported by your tastebuds.

5 Street Food Locations in Hong Kong

5 Street Food Locations in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a city of unique experiences. When it comes to finding street food or street side stalls, locating one can be quite difficult as they constantly move around to different areas. Locally known as Dai Pai Dong, these individual street stalls serve up delicious traditional snacks and foods that you definitely shouldn't miss out on while visiting Hong Kong. Here is a selection of locations you can look into that tend to contain Dai Pai Dongs.

Fa Yuen Street, Mongkok
You'll find some of Hong Kong's favourite Dai Pai Dongs in this street. During the day time there isn't much of an atmosphere here, but wait until the evening hits and you'll find the streets coming to life with a number of night markets.

Hau Fook Street, Tsim Sha Tsui
Hau Fook Street has a wider range of foods than most places. On a side note, be prepared for a whole lot of pointing and hand gestures as most vendors here don't speak any English.

Li Kung Street, Sham Shui Po
Head over to Sham Shui Po for a local experience where many market workers and fabric salesmen at the wooden tables set up each lunchtime. We recommend hitting up Keung Kee, a stand out option that's inside a metal shack where you'll find pots of steaming chicken claws and delicious chicken stews. 

Haiphong Street, Tsim Sha Tsui
Compacted into a small collection of Dai Pai Dongs, Haipong Street sells a mixture of Cantonese and seafood specialties near Kowloon Park. Try to avoid heading here during lunch hours, as it gets busy with office workers. 

Graham Street, Central
Located in the heart of Central, you'll find here a couple of owners that are well-renowned for their delicacies. Word of warning, be prepared to get swamped by office workers during lunch hours 12:30pm - 2pm, it's worth trying to avoid these times. 

If you're craving for a little Chinese check out our wide range of Cantonese Sauces, Spice Pastes and Marinade. Create your own dish that are staples of Chinese cooking - whether it's Lemon Chicken using our Cantonese Lemon Chicken Sauce or San Choy Bao with our Cantonese Lettuce Cup Sauce. Bring the authentic tastes of renowned Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine that are well loved too your home. View our full Chinese range here.

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Pho 101

Pho 101

'Pho' is a traditional Vietnamese soup of rice noodles in a meat based broth, which is popular both in Vietnam and in many Western countries.Pronunciation of PhoBecause of the difference between Vietnamese and English spelling and phonetics, many English speakers...

» Read more

Table Etiquette in Chinese Homes

Table Etiquette in Chinese Homes

Dining is an important ritual in almost every culture in the world, with the sharing of a meal playing an important role in creating social and familial bonds. The dining ritual has particular significance in China, and there are a number of important traditional etiquette guidelines which should be observed when eating in a Chinese home.

» Read more

World's Healthiest Food

World's Healthiest Food

Kimchi is arguably the healthiest food in the world - but what is it? Well, kimchi is a fermented blend of cabbage, chili peppers, garlic, and other spices which is most commonly consumed in Korea. Kimchi can be used in a variety of different ways: it can be added to soups, paired with steamed rice or eaten on its own.

» Read more

Best Time of the Year to Visit Japan

Best Time of the Year to Visit Japan

Japan is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year, with each season offering something unique. Ultimately it is down to individual preference, and this quick guide to each season should help you decide which time of the year you are most likely to enjoy.

» Read more

5 Street Food Locations in Hong Kong

5 Street Food Locations in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a city of unique experiences. When it comes to finding street food or street side stalls, locating one can be quite difficult as they constantly move around to different areas. Locally known as Dai Pai Dong, these individual street stalls serve up delicious traditional snacks and foods that you definitely shouldn't miss out on while visiting Hong Kong. Here is a selection of locations you can look into that tend to contain Dai Pai Dongs.

» Read more