China Daily Life Food Inspiration Tips & Guides Yunnan

Hot apple cider, gingko trees, & roasted mochi

What a busy week! I’m finally taking some time off to enjoy the beautiful weather, riding my bicycle around town and cooking at home. This morning, Taurin and I drank some hot apple cider and stopped by the university to check on the gingko trees. The leaves are brilliant gold!

Hot homemade apple cider and children’s books.

Cheesy bean + salsa dip with olives and tortilla chips.

Artichoke pesto pasta topped with sun-dried tomatoes and parmesan.

A Japanese children’s book for learning body parts and emotions!


Gingko trees at Yunnan University



I’m loving my gold sparkle tipped nails, though I wish my nails were a bit longer. I don’t know why I can’t stand growing out my nails. It makes me feel fidgety, so I always keep them trimmed.

I really like seeing outdoor potted plants in public places.


Two winters ago, Taurin got me David Chang’s notoriously adventurous cook book: Momofuku. I frequent David Chang’s restaurants whenever I’m in New York. It’s good to support a fellow pork-loving northern Virginia Korean American. And the food is really good.

I shouldn’t have been surprised the recipes turned out to be quite challenging. Taurin and I have spent hours tracking down supplies and slaving away in the kitchen to prepare Momofuku dishes. It definitely helped take our cooking skills up a notch, and inspired me to experiment with traditional flavors.

Here’s a ddukboki recipe with a twist. I secretly think my dragon sauce tastes better than David Chang’s!


Roasted Rice Cakes in Korean Red Dragon Sauce
adapted from David Chang’s Momofuku Cookbook

2 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 long rice cake sticks, chopped
3 tablespoon corn starch
1/2 cup onion slivers
1 cup of Sewon’s red dragon sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/4 cup of chopped spring onions

Sewon’s red dragon sauce:
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon usukuchi (light soy sauce)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon gochujang (korean red pepper paste)
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes

1. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan. Lightly coat chopped rice cake in corn starch. Cook the coated rice cakes until light golden brown. Remove and let them cool.
2. Add onions into the pan and cook until caramelized. In a small bowl, mix sauce ingredients together and make a paste. Add the paste to the caramelized onions. Reduce the heat to low and bring the sauce to a boil.
3. Pour the sauce on top of the rice cakes and garnish with spring onions and sesame seeds. Toss before serving.

*Make sure the rice cake is at room temperature. If it’s frozen, thaw before roasting.

The roasted rice cakes add such a nice crisp. I had to restrain myself from eating them all before I finished making the sauce.


  • Reply
    Thuraya Lynn
    November 12, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I wished we had four seasons in Kuwait. We’ve only got two.
    The golden leaves are magical to look at.

    Lovely post.

    • Reply
      November 13, 2011 at 3:30 am

      I like warm weather, though! Yunnan doesn’t quite have four seasons, either, because it never gets very hot or cold. xx

  • Reply
    November 12, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Oh man, homemade apple cider…I think whenever I look at pics on your blog, I start to get food cravings…alas I am stuck with my blueberry bagel I picked up from the bagel shoppe this morning, haha. The gingko trees look so different from the last pics you posted of them, autumn is definitely in full swing. Might try the recipe for your red dragon sauce when I go home next month ^^ Hope you continue to have a good weekend!

    • Reply
      November 13, 2011 at 3:37 am

      Ah, the blueberry bagel sounds good. :] Ohh let me know how the recipe turns out!

  • Reply
    November 12, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    oooohhh loving the nails girl! That sauce looks delicious.. that dish kind of reminds me of those bread bowls we had in Xi’an.

    • Reply
      November 13, 2011 at 3:58 am

      Thanks! I feel like I’m channeling Michael Jackson and holiday festivities at the same time. Haha whenever I think of Xi’an I have this image of you gnawing on a meat stick. Let’s cook something from my Momofuku book together when I get home!

  • Reply
    November 12, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    You know, Yunnan is THE place I want to visit. You only inspire me even more. 😀

    Thank you for the recipe. Genius. 🙂

    • Reply
      November 13, 2011 at 4:00 am

      You should visit! I think it’s one of the loveliest parts of China. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 12, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Those trees are so lovely. Are you learning Japanese?

    • Reply
      November 13, 2011 at 4:02 am

      I picked up the book thinking it was Chinese (I’m learning Mandarin), but it turned out to be a Japanese children’s book! I just looked at the illustrations and read parts of the Kanji. 😛

  • Reply
    Michelle of The Feather Den
    November 12, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Ahhhh, it looks so beautiful there. I love the children’s books! Though, I wouldn’t be able to understand the writing, haha, I wish I could speak/read Japanese! Also – those rice cakes look deliiiiiish.

    x Michelle |

    • Reply
      November 16, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      🙂 The pictures were entertaining enough! xx

  • Reply
    November 13, 2011 at 4:01 am

    You have such an eye for detail, I really like the photo of the potted plants. That food looks super delish-iss!

    • Reply
      November 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm

      Thanks, Omar. I hope your writing this month is coming along! I can’t wait to read more of it.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2011 at 4:50 am

    The recipe looks amazing, you have done a brilliant job and perhaps one day (when my skills are better) I might try it myself as it looks soo delicious!


    • Reply
      November 16, 2011 at 3:58 pm

      Thanks, Annie. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 13, 2011 at 9:33 am

    The trees, beautiful!!!
    I also can’t stand to have long nails, always cut them short. 🙂

    • Reply
      November 16, 2011 at 4:01 pm

      Short nails are so much more practical! 😛

  • Reply
    November 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    they all look so delicious.
    glad to hear that you can go home on holidays this year. where is your home?

    • Reply
      November 16, 2011 at 4:02 pm

      Thank you. Home is Virginia!

  • Reply
    November 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    With the holidays coming up I had to purchase a bottle of gold sparkly nail polish! I love what you did with your nails! All the food in this post looks delicious, especially the dip and the rice cakes dish!

    • Reply
      November 16, 2011 at 4:08 pm

      I got mine done at a nail salon, especially because they’re quite ubiquitous here. Just keep layering on the sparkly polish, concentrating on the tips. 🙂

  • Reply
    Musings by Di
    November 13, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Really love your blog. once again, awesome photos!
    very cool sparkly nails~
    momofuku….loooove. His cooking style is such a great representation of fusion cuisine.
    roasted dduhk, I never thought it could make such a difference! gotta try that sometime.
    how is it that your sauce came out such a bold red? do you use a particular brand or is it the soy sauce that helps it make it deep red? Mine tends to come out more orange-y…hmm.
    your’s looks delicious! I admire your culinary prowess ;p It can be frustrating yet adventurous when searching for hard-to-attain ingredients that seem to be such easy-finds in other parts of the world.
    xoxo Diana

    • Reply
      November 16, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      Thank you! The soy sauce is crucial in this sauce. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 13, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    i had NO idea you could eat rice cakes roasted– yummy! they look so good!

    those pictures of the yellow leaves against the blue sky are amazing. such a beautiful colour combination x

    • Reply
      November 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm

      Yeah! I love the texture of roasted rice cakes. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 13, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    I remember someone online tried to make some cookies from his cookbook and an ingredient that was listed was glucose. What!! Where do you find stuff like that? In any case, those roasted rice cakes look so tasty. I’d definitely sample some 😉

    • Reply
      November 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      I know! When I cooked from his book directly, I went to at least three different international and specialty grocery stores for the ingredients, including the very specific cuts of meat. I got totally hooked on grape seed oil afterwards, though I’m sure canola oil doesn’t make a huge difference. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kelly Zarb
    November 14, 2011 at 8:03 am

    The leaves on the trees are so pretty it reminds me of one of my fave songs “Autumn Leaves,” sung by Eva Cassidy divine singer!! The food looks so yummy to Sewon.

    • Reply
      November 16, 2011 at 4:24 pm

      🙂 Thanks, Kelly.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    momofuku!!! i never got a chance to eat there, only at the milk bar. it’s awesome what a small town new york somehow is. this looks AMAZING AND DELICIOUS and I’m bookmarking it.


    • Reply
      November 16, 2011 at 4:25 pm

      Ohh I love the soft serve at the milk bar! 🙂

  • Reply
    November 15, 2011 at 7:43 am

    New reader here! Oh how I love your blog! I just devoured a lot of your archives in one sitting! Your photos and write-ups on the adventures you have are so addicting, and make me so envious! Your posts are so relaxing and fun like a Hayao Miyazaki movie! 🙂 I’ve linked you to my domain, you’re one of my daily reads!

    btw that hot apple cider looks so good! 😀

    • Reply
      November 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm

      Thanks, Ms. Pinksugarichigo. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 15, 2011 at 8:39 am

    The tea is the same color as the leaves. Beautiful!!!
    mmm mmmm mmm! I can always find yummy food on your blog! WOW!
    Those roasted rice cakes look scrumptious. I want to make it now! (of course with Ms. Sewon’s sauce!)
    p.s. I keep my finger nails trimmed short as well, for the same reasons…

    • Reply
      November 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm

      🙂 Let me know if you ever make the roasted rice cakes! <3

  • Reply
    Pink Ronnie
    November 16, 2011 at 9:58 am

    So nice to be back here! Those ginko trees are gorgeous, every single photo is stunning as always…
    Ronnie xo

    • Reply
      November 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm

      Thank you, Ronnie! I’m so envious looking at photos of beaches on your blog. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Apple cider, salsa dip, artichoke!? These are at the top of my “favorite foods” list!
    I love your nails, simple sometimes is best. I think I might do this with some new copper glitter polish I purchased 🙂

    • Reply
      November 16, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      The girls at the nail salon really wanted me to go for fake nails with pearls and ribbons. When it comes to nails, I’m a simple girl!

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 4:57 am

    Woah, the rice cakes look like little marshmallows!

  • Reply
    Happy Thanksgiving Day! | Maps and Fragments
    November 26, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    […] All the fruit vendors are selling strawberries this week! I’m still rocking my gold nails. […]

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