Nanban: Big News!

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I am thrilled to announce that I have found permanent premises for Nanban and we will be open for business soon in Chelsea! Our new concept is “Japanese Soul Food For The Soul,” with a focus on healthy ramen, a fresh new idea for London and the world. The menu will include paleo tsukemen, raw vegan reimen, hot green smoothie detox ramen, and our revolutionary new bone broth ramen, made from wholesome boiled bones. And for takeaway lunches, we’re offering our new Ramen Wrap™, noodles with spicy hummus, ancient grains, and kale in a delicious Asian flatbread.

Follow Nanban on Twitter for more updates. We look forward to welcoming you for some great and great-for-you ramen soon!

Can’t wait? Pre-order Nanban: Japanese Soul Food now!

#Cornography Day 81: Silk Road’s Medium Plate Chicken with Corn

I am in the home stretch. Nine days left. LET’S DO THIS.

A couple days ago I went to dinner with a few foodie friends at Silk Road, a Camberwell institution serving food from the Xinjiang region of China. It’s cheap and extremely tasty, known especially for its lamb skewers with cumin and chilli, smacked cucumber, plump dumplings and stamina-building tripe dishes. Everything on the menu is distinctly flavored – there are no interchangeable, sweet-and-salty or sweet-and-sour sauces here. One of their signature dishes is something called big plate chicken, and a slightly smaller (but still massive) version called medium plate chicken. I don’t know how it’s cooked, so I won’t attempt to explain it, but I can describe how it tastes: stewed on-the-bone chicken fortified with the heady flavor of star anise, along with boiled potatoes and green chillies in a sweet broth punctuated and lifted by hits of Szechuan peppercorn and dried red chilli. It’s served with floppy, chunkily hand-cut noodles so thick and wide they could almost be classified as dumplings. It’s comfort food, cranked up a notch.


We didn’t order the big or medium plate chicken for our dinner, but I got the medium as part of a takeaway order for Laura, among (too many) other things. It has been enough for three meals and counting. Yesterday I mixed some corn into the chicken stew and reheated it along with the noodles. It was every bit as aromatic and delicious as it was when it’s fresh, though the corn made the whole thing a bit too sweet. Nonetheless, I happily wolfed it down for lunch, and it was so filling I only ate yogurt for dinner.

#Cornography Day 79: Zakkoku Rice with Corn and Furikake (Again)

This is the first repeat in nearly 80 unbroken days of cornophagy, which I think is a pretty good track record for ingenuity. And it’s actually not exactly the same because it’s a different furikake. In this case, I used (an immoderate amount of) chirimen umeboshi furikake, made from baby sardines and pickled plum. It was tangy and sweet, with a moreish, meaty flavor from the little fish. It was full of flavour and filling in a wholesome way.


#Cornography Day 78: Veggie Omelette


Vegetable drawer contents: half a courgette, three white mushrooms, half an onion, one third of a romano pepper. Dairy basket contents: 18 grams of butter, 40 grams of cheddar cheese. Upper shelf contents: five large free range eggs, about to expire.


Chop vegetables, fry in butter, add corn, add beaten eggs, reduce heat, add sliced cheese, grill, fold, garnish, eat.


#Cornography Day 77: Corn and Egg Hash with Salmon Fushi


I had a carton of eggs in the fridge that were about to expire, so I set to work using them up. I boiled three of them for eight minutes and let them cool. Meanwhile, I boiled some corn briefly in its own brine along with some butter-soy sauce furikake for seasoning. When the liquid was gone I added chopped spring onions, sea salt, and Tabasco. I peeled the eggs and chopped them into quarters, then mixed them into the eggs. I loaded it into a bowl, added a dollop of mentaiko mayo, and a handful of salmon fushi, flakes of smoked, dried salmon from Hokkaido. To finish I added a pinch of aonori. Like katsuobushi, the salmon fushi was an excellent match for the corn. I especially loved how the shavings were thick and toothsome; their slight chew provided a slow-release, lingering umami without being overly fishy. Most satisfactory.