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reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
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reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
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reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine kyokochibi@live.com
Kitty Kanagawa is a contributing writer from New York City. Born in Osaka, Japan and raised in Los Angeles her love for Asian desserts knows no ends.
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine In the Korean drama Sweet Buns, heartthrob actor Park Kwang Hyun gives a dessert bun to win a girl over and initially starts a catastrophe among the characters of the show. The bun, a ddeok, changed relationships and central to what made Park Kwang Hyun so sexy in the show. Wow, us Asians sure take our red beans seriously, right?!

This had my mind on the fence about how many items in Asia revolve around red beans and how much it spans across all Asian cultures.

The Flips have the halo halos, the Koreans have their patsirutteok and yummy injeolmis, my thai sista and brothas have their khao niaow ma muangs (say that three times fast) and my shoutout to the Indian kachori only scatches the surface of red bean desserts. Once all the Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese dessert items are involved, it's a wonder why red bean is constantly in excess of its demand in that part of the world.

reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine

In Asia, red bean is a big part of popular culture. In Japanese, we call it azuki. It's a flavor found in snacks like Pepsi, Kit Kat, chips, yogurt, mochi and ice cream. Whenever I'm in Japan, I can't take enough red bean Kit Kat with me because they're so elusive here in America including most Japanese stores! It is widely mentioned in television dramas and a soft prop for silly humor and romantic couple food. I've often had fantasies of Park Kwang Hyun offering me a Hello Kitty red bean popsicle!

The popularity of the red bean is also displayed in names of Asian businesses, songs, themes and baby names (in fact, my best friend from elementary school was a girl named Azuki!). Red beans are frequently used in wedding games, celebrations and just about anything that is related to happy times or the suggestion of happy times (hence its symbol romantically).

reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine

But wait up! Old people love red bean too.

Elderly Japanese men and women often cite the spiritual healing properties associated with azuki. Departed loved ones were offered azuki-related items as gifts to carry on into the afterlife. In return, these same items were also considered to ward off evil spirits!

In the realm of science, red bean also scores high points among health conscienceness. It's a natural ingredient to healthy desserts that contain a good source of potassium and other B vitamins. A daily dose of red bean helps lower cholestrol and provides low calories that fill but also help lose weight. A friend of mine from college once went on a red bean diet and she lost 20 pounds in a span of a month. Jenny Craig who?

Red bean also is a very attractive source for body builders looking to fill up on protein and minimize the fat. A body building friend of mine, Vinh, explains:

"Most people recommend soy as a natural, non-produce supplement of protein. But I've found that red beans are much more higher in quality and because they're combined with other foods high on grain. I can actually eat little meat and still get the protein I need from large quantities of red bean. As long as it's not something that's full of fat, red bean things really work"

Hear that guys? Go pump some iron and stock up on red bean dishes!

reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine

Cooking enthusiasts like myself will appreciate red bean as a versatile element that works in cold (Vietnamese ch ba mu), warm (Chinese mooncakes) and hot (Korean gochujang) settings. I find Azuki beans to be readily available in most Asian markets or places like Whole Foods and Central Market. If you're out of ideas, it's often a safe pick to just turn the beans into paste form and mix it in with sugar and some form of dough. For those wanting a quick and easy, red beans make great salad compliments along with assorted fruits and vegetables. I've managed many a working day's budget bringing azuki bean salads to my lunch hour.

These same markets also carry the red bean related snacks, most notably carried by companies like the Japanese Mikawaya or the Taiwanese Xiaomei.

reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine

Of course, none of this is worth mentioning if we don't acknowledge what red bean related items can be found in restaurants. Guess what? You're in luck! Almost all Asian restaurants carry with them their respective culture's red bean dish in their dessert sections! In Chinese restaurants, most dinners offer complimentary free tang shui, a flavory sweet soup composed of red beans. Japanese restaurants carry shiratama zenzai. Vietnamese restaurants offer che ba mau. Most Taiwanese and Cantonese bakeries carry items with red bean, while tapioca and ice cream places do the same as well.

reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine

With so many options and variety that red beans have in Asian culture, it's no wonder entire drama, songs and art are intertwined with daily Asian life! You could say that it's been popularity has never waned since it first was ingrained in Chinese and Japanese culture in 18,000 B.C. Not surpisingly, North America has starting to adapt azuki red beans into fusion dishes more and more into the present century. Red beans are readily found in muffins and cupcakes, salads and even pizza! With so much growing acclaim for them, it may be that the best import from East to West is not martial arts, horror movies, video games or silk, but the ever loving natural ingredient that is the azuki red bean!


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reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine Kit Kat
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine Pepsi
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine Mochi
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine Ice Cream Bars
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine Yogurt
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine Buns
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reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
Desserts of the Pop Stars
Which desserts do Asian pop celebrities enjoy the most? From Kpop/Jpop and other entertainment singers to famous Asian athletes like Yu Davrish, explore their preferences and find out what they have in common with you!


reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
Western Influences
Throughout the past century, East meets West as both European and American influences have introduced and changed the landscape of Asian desserts. The result? A strange new breed of Asian sweets that are neither quite one part of the world or another!


reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
Ms. Kitty Talks Hello Kitty
The explosive marketing of Hello Kitty has hit Asian dessert culture. No article can capture the thousands upon thousands of Hello Kitty branded snacks sold throughout the world, but Kitty Kanagawa gives a passionate summary of Sanrio's most marketable character.


reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
Ramune Soda Power!
It's here, written by popular request, the article about ramune soda! These quirky carbonated drinks are about the fun twisting of the cap, the drop of the marble and the endless assortment of flavors! Read all about ramune soda here, it's all the rage in Asia!


reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
Sweet Korean Junk Food
Korean's call their junk food gansik, which basically translates to "food between meals". What are some of the more popular Korean gansik? Do some of them have special pop-cultural meaning?


reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
Desserts for Pets!
Come find out what desserts are for pets in an ever-growing industry in Asia! Read all about dog gum and mochi for cats! Kimchi-flavored goldfish pellets? Cool! All this and more in the ever zany Desserts with Kitty!


reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
Asian Dessert Places in the U.S.
Craving Asian desserts? Not in Asia? Don't worry, there are plenty of places in the U.S. where you can your Asian dessert fix! Here are several of the best across the country.


reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
Fun Tokyo Snacks
Going to Tokyo? Here are some common snacks you can find off the streets. Kitty Kanagawa ranks them in her self-declared Kanagawa-meter...


reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
My First Boyfriend
Kitty Kanagawa describes her very first "boyfriend" and how it ties in to the Japanese origins of Valentine's Day and White Day. How is it different in Japan?


reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
Lucky Lucky Desserts
Desserts in Asia are seen as spiritual rather than recreational. Kitty Kanagawa brings eight guests from eight different cultures as they explain which of their Asian desserts bring good fortune and prosperity.


reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
The Many Names of Boba
The popularity of Bubble Tea has taken the world by storm! So many names and many more flavors. What led to its overnight popularity?


reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
Pocky Galore
Pocky is the internationally loved snack that has endured itself to the world since 1966. Read fun facts and more about Pocky!


reviews restaurants asian chopstix houston chinatown food foodie online magazine
All Things Red Bean
Red beans have been a constant staple in all Asian cultures throughout history and modern times. Its contributions to pop culture, health and spiritual benefits are a big part of its revered popularity.


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