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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Friday, September 29, 2006

5 Things to Eat Before You Die

Indah tagged me for this meme and I am more than glad to participate. It was very, very difficult to choose only 5 things to eat before you die but I think I made a pretty truthful list.

1. Dim Sum
Dim sum means "a little bit of heart". A proper dim sum is made up of many, many Chinese dishes, usually served in small portions. Some famous examples are sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves, black bean spare ribs, roasted BBQ pork, shrimp dumplings, chicken feet, crab dumplings and much more. Often there are over 50 dishes to choose from. I have loved dim sum since I was a little kid (although it was hard to find on Guam) and have traveled far and wide to sample all the different varieties (Vancouver, B.C., Chicago, New York, Hong Kong, San Fran, Seattle, London and one of the best, Richmond, B.C. (labeled the new "Hong Kong" by my aunt and uncle.) Being Cantonese, I have my favorites but have no idea what they are called in English. When I see the steaming carts roll by my table, I just point and eat!

2. Sushi and sashimi
When I first watched the movie "Cast Away" with Tom Hanks and saw him catching fish with a spear, I thought, "I've gone spear fishing." When he bit into the fish he had caught, I thought "Yuck, that looks terrible." Then I remembered that I love raw fish. Most of the time they are sliced thinly and accompanied by rice, wasabi and soy sauce but I love raw fish nevertheless and the fresher the better. I have to admit though that the only sushi or sashimi I cannot stomach are natto, uni and ikura. I have tried them repeatedly and still, they have no appeal whatsoever.

3. Porcini Mushrooms
I must say that I love these mushrooms above all others. They have a distinctive meaty taste that is much more recognizable than crimini, oyster, chanterelle, shitake and portobellos. Again I must admit I do not have much experience with morels which I hear are also fantastic. I can honestly say that I do not think I could live without porcinis as in my humble opinion they are tastier than even the famed white truffle from Alba.

4. Pho
The world famous Vietnamese Noodle Soup can be bought for 55 US cents in Vietnam and about $5.95 a bowl at my dad's and step-mom's restaurant but the taste and the aromas just can't be beat. Imagine cinnamon, anise, cloves (sometimes), ginger, onion, Thai basil, green onions, cilantro, and my favorite sawtooth herb, all mingled together into a fragrant and intoxicating soup. If I say this soup on a menu in Torino, I think I would cry.

5. I am going to cheat on this last one and list several fruits that I just could not live without and think that everyone must try at least once in their lifetimes.

a. fresh lychees-Nothing beats a fresh, plump, juicy lychee. The flesh is white and succulent with a light, crisp and very juicy taste. Lychees are often an aroma in fine white wines such as Rieslings.
b. a pomegranate-This is a fruit of myths and legends. Thousands of years old, they are a common subject in Roman mosaics with delicious, sweet and succulent seeds.
c. a Philippine mango-Probably the most luscious, creamy and delicious mango variety of them all.
d. jackfruit or jakfruit-A giant amoung the fruit world, the heady and pungent yet sweet taste and aroma are so prized that back on Guam it is not uncommon to see dogs chained to the tree trunks of jackfruit trees to prevent thievery.
e. alpine strawberries -my first taste was in Rome and these little gems are so jam packed with strawberry flavor that a normal berry doesn't hold a candle to them.

See more great lists here.

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At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Peter in Turin said...

One more reasons why I don't do memes ... this one would kill me :) But funny thing .. ikura and uni are by far may favourite .... but I do understand very much that uni can be tricky ... my first uni ever was fishy in the direction of stinky feet .. i thought ' that's it' .. very glad I gave it a chance again .. in japan, in winter, great quality ...

Is there any good dim sum place in Torino that you know of?

At 4:29 PM, Blogger Gia-Gina said...

Peter, there is no dim sum place here I think but I am not 100 percent sure.

I have a great new sushi place to recommend.

Corso Reg. Marg. 167/C
011.473. 2188

Great stuff, good service. Better than Wasabi on via Ferrucci.

At 5:06 PM, Blogger Sara said...

We should hit a dim sum place with Mom when we get together in Seattle.

(I've tried everything on your list! Jackfruit is my favorite fruit in the world! I think I could confidently trade shrimp soup [the red one] for Pho.]

At 6:08 AM, Anonymous nunu'smum said...

Hi Gia, I've been lurking for a bit. Just wanted to say there's 2 or 3 things on your list that are on mine too. But Philippine mango...that's the one and true mango. The mango to rule them all...and I just cannot stress it enough. I sooooooooo miss it!!!
Mancho l'Italia anche!
Hope all goes well for you & the baby!

At 7:04 AM, Blogger A Novelist said...

Great list! I love Dim Sum. And Porcini Mushrooms are the best! Hope everything is going well. :)

At 11:45 PM, Blogger Stelle In Italia said...

cute list here, Gina. I agree about pomegranate and lychees, as well as porcini mushrooms, but I tend to like Shitake more, I think, and I miss it soo much!


At 12:24 AM, Blogger Stef said...

I miss the dim sum the most.

At 1:50 AM, Blogger Gia-Gina said...

When I get to Seattle in March, I know I will pig put on all the old favorites. I really want a Vietnamese sandwich too.

At 12:58 AM, Anonymous Ritsu said...

Hi Gina! Just came back from Sri Lanka.

Pho is definitely on my list too!! I lived in Hanoi for a year (from 1995-6) and had Pho almost every day! We had good Pho in Toronto and Australia too...


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