Ramen Fest at Makan Decatur

ramenfestmakan_by_ohmyomiyage

The food scene has exploded in Atlanta since I last lived here 10+ years ago, and my calendar is filled with one food festival after another – not that I’m complaining!  It’s such a great way to get acquainted with the city again and the many amazing restaurants.  Last week, my cousins and I couldn’t wait to attend the ramen fest hosted by Makan, a new modern Asian restaurant in Decatur.

Most of you know my love for ramen (evidence here, here, here, here, and here).  I’ve shied away from it since moving back to the US since.. who could do ramen better than Japan?  Well, I’m happy to say that although ramen in Atlanta isn’t as steeped in tradition or honed to perfection as in Japan, it’s definitely more innovative and imaginative with unconventional flavors.  It’s like coming up for fresh air after a month of eating nothing but your grandmother’s (very tasty) home cooking.

ramenfestmakan_by_ohmyomiyage

ramenfestmakan_by_ohmyomiyage

8 different restaurants served up their version of ramen in trial-sized bowls.  My favorite was the one from Makan (top photo), served in a flavorful overnight duck broth and served with a tender slice of duck breast.  I also loved the one from Victory (below), topped with perfect shiitake mushrooms.  Congrats to Makan on such a fun event.  I’m sure the next one will be even bigger.  Prepare your stomachs!

ramenfestmakan_by_ohmyomiyage

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Smell Your Phones’ Foodie Photos (Literally!)

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As if we don’t get hungry enough looking at our foodie-filled Instagram and Facebook feeds, we can now smell them too.

The Japanese have come up with a little device called Scentee that attaches to your phone’s headphone jack, and using some preinstalled cartridges, it ‘blows’ foodie scents at you.  You can already buy a Scentee with coffee, apples, and cinnamon roll scents (breakfast anyone?), but coming soon is the smell of Japanese beef BBQ. Continue reading

International Foodie Pen Pal Program: December

I’m happy to formally announce that the International Foodie Pen Pal Program is now open to everyone (bloggers and non-bloggers alike)!  If you are interested in joining for the upcoming December box, please drop me an e-mail at ohmyomiyage@gmail.com with your name, location, blog URL, and acceptance of the terms below by Nov 30th.  The test run was a huge success!  Thank you again to the test runners for your participation and feedback.  Here are the edited guidelines for the program here on out:

  • Who can participate: foodies worldwide.
  • International foodie boxes will go out every other month: February, April, June, August, October, and December.
  • The suggested maximum value of each box is the equivalent of 15 USD.
  • One month turnaround: You’ll receive an e-mail with the name and e-mail of your foodie pen pal at the beginning of the month.  Please contact your pen pal about dietary restrictions and preferences.  Pack a box filled with local foodie products and a hand written note (making sure that everything will survive the long journey).  Your box should arrive before or during the 3rd week of the month, giving your pen pal time to photograph and try the products before blogging about it on the 30th or 31st.  For readers, feel free to offer to guest post on your pen pal’s blog!

And the fine print:

  • International shipping is expensive so use your best judgement.  Heavy packaging like glassware and bottles increase costs so it’s something to think about when shopping.  International shipping and customs can be fickle so purchasing tracking information is recommended.  (We didn’t have any problems in the test run, but it’s best to be safe.)
  • Continued participation in the program is assumed unless you e-mail me otherwise (ohmyomiyage@gmail.com).  Please cancel before the foodie pen pals are assigned on the 1st of the month.
  • I’ll do my best to mix and match pen pals from different parts of the world for different months, but your desired location is not guaranteed.
  • All participants will do their best to meet the dietary needs and restrictions of their pen pal.  It’s your responsibility make sure that any goods you receive will not cause you any harm.  Oh My Omiyage is not responsible for any foul play or sickness.
  • Please beware of country’s customs restrictions.  Try your best to avoid any foods that may be held or confiscated by customs.
  • If for whatever reason you don’t receive a box, Oh My Omiyage isn’t responsible.  Although most participants have the best of intentions, sometimes shipments are lost or confiscated or sometimes a box fails to be shipped.  If your box doesn’t arrive, Jen at Oh My Omiyage will look into the cause.  If the box didn’t arrive because it wasn’t shipped at all, the participant will receive a warning.  If this happens a second time, he/she will no longer be able to participate.  (Just keepin’ it fair!)
  • You give permission to Jen at Oh My Omiyage to distribute your e-mail and/or blog URL to your foodie pen pal of the month.  Your personal information will not be distributed or used for any other purpose.  Participants won’t distribute any personal information from pen pals or use it for spam, promotions, or any other unsolicited contact.

Feel free to spread the word if you have foodies in your network :)   Here are some of the test run posts: Fukutoshin Daily Press, Cardinal Guzman, and my reveals 1 and 2.

International Foodie Pen Pal: Reveal #2

I made a little communication error with the foodie pen pal program so Adeline over at Intrigued With and I did a simple exchange just for kicks.  Her blog is filled with great photos of Singapore, her travels, and yummy, yummy food so stop by to say hi.  Speaking of yummy food, check out this great Singaporean spread she sent me:

Foodie Pen Pal International Reveal Singapore from intriguedwith.blogspot.comMy box from Adeline was compact but packed to the rim!  My husband and I have already had a many snacks and a few dinners thanks to this box, and I even used her ingredients for a very successful dinner party.  How great is that!  Here’s the contents:

  • Moon Cake: The first in the box to disappear.  My hubby couldn’t put it down! It was so fresh. *drooling*
  • Peanut Punch: This is one of my favs – kind of like an Asian peanut brittle that’s soft and crunchy at the same time and made of many delicate layers!
  • Wu Xiang Gao: I don’t know how to explain this one.. some help, Adeline? :)
  • Piggie Cake: The most adorable dessert I’ve eaten!
  • Bah Kut Tea Spices: This made the most amazing braised short ribs – enough for a party of 6!
  • Hainan Chicken Rice: Nothing reminds me of Singapore more than this! It was a huge hit and made for yummy leftovers the next day too.
  • Padang Rendang Paste: Yet to try – I’m savoring them best I can.  I’ll be sad when they’re all finished!
  • Sambal Chilli: Also yet to try
  • Kai Yang Marinade: this is dinner tonight!

Awesome, right?  Here are some close ups:

Piggie Cake from Singapore

Moon Cake from Singapore International Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

Adeline is such a crafty and sweet gal, and you could tell at first sight – there was a cute vintage address label, washi tape-wrapped envelopes and packaging, and she included this pretty handmade surprise:

Handmade Necklace by Adeline from intriguedwith.blogspot.comIf you love this necklace as much as I do, Adeline will be posting up more little trinkets for sale soon – follow her blog to hear more about it!  Thanks so much for all of the goodies and treats, Adeline! I’m savoring the last few bits I have left :)

If you’d like to join the International Foodie Pen Pal exchange for December, leave me a comment!  I’ll be posting more info about it early next week.  Happy weekend all!

Your Thoughts: Foodie Pen Pals Asia?

Do you remember when you would get a package or letter in the mail when you were a kid, and how excited you would be?  It was always the highlight of my week, and that’s why I had multiple pen pals – even from my friends just across the street!  Now that I’m a bit older, mail has become synonymous with bills and junk, but I just found this awesome program that makes it fun again – foodie pen pals!

If you were like me and haven’t heard about foodie pen pals, here’s how it works.  You sign up, and every month, you’ll receive the name of a blogger or blog reader who will be your ‘pen pal’ that month.  Within a $15 limit, you put together a box of local food and goodies from your hometown and ship it to your pal along with a little note.  On the last day of the month, all the bloggers blog about what they received!

I don’t know what rock I’ve been hiding under that I didn’t hear about this – or maybe I selectively ‘forgot’ it since it wasn’t available in Japan.  So far, foodie pen pals are only available in the US, Canada, and UK through The Lean Green Bean and Rock Salt.  I’m sure there are some custom/shipping regulations that make this program a little harder to adapt to Asia, but my ultimate question to all of you bloggers and readers is…  

If I were to start a foodie pen pal program in Asia*, would you be interested?

Imagine how amped up this would be in Asia*!!  There are some nice localized products within US and Canada, but it’s nothing in comparison with the variety of products in Asia.  All of our countries have such different foodie options, snacks, ingredients, flavors, and spices that make them so special!  My mind is reeling with all the great options I could send from Japan alone.

I love food and foodie gifts, which was the inspiration for my blog and my blog’s title (‘omiyage’ is Japanese for a souvenir from your travels, typically in food fashion) so I naturally LOVE this idea.  I’m wondering if there are any more of you out there like me?  Maybe we could start with a small group from various countries to test out shipping, customs, and all those other details?  After we work out the kinks, we can open it to everyone!  If you’re interested (either now or for the future), leave me a comment below or drop me a message at ohmyomiyage@gmail.com.

*UPDATE: After some thought and feedback, I’m opening this up to any bloggers or blog readers internationally.  If you’re interested, please contact me by the end of the week, 9/8.  I’ll be putting together the details, and contact those involved with the info!