August Top Commenter: Single Guy Chef

Meet the Ben, the Single Guy, our Top Commenter for the month of August. To thank Ben for being the top commenter, I want to showcase his site and ask him a few questions to introduce himself to you.

ben the single guy

I first noticed Ben’s site because he was a commenter on mutual friend Carolyn Jung (the Food Gal)’s site. His was one of the few blogs I’d run into that was talking about eateries in the East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley) as well as San Francisco. I found out that we had something in common – we were both Hawaiian-born Chinese who had transplanted to the Bay Area. So we began commenting on each other’s sites.

Last year we had the pleasure of meeting up with him at a dinner at Carolyn’s house. Ben has a great sense of humor – just read all his snarky recaps of reality food tv shows like Top Chef. He’s a prolific blogger – keeping to a posting schedule that resulted in an amazing 1,000 posts in a little over 3 years – but his content is consistently high quality. In addition, he is a prolific commenter…which is why he’s the top commenter on the House of Annie this month!

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Mum’s Popiah is the Best!

Updated 31 August 2010
Originally posted 28 September 2008

Popiah (also spelled poh piah, poh pia, baobing (薄饼)), is an Asian dish popular in Malaysia and Singapore that’s like a fat spring roll, only not fried. Think of it as kind of an Asian burrito. Except that the popiah filling itself is much more complicated and contains so many more ingredients than a regular burrito.

Mum’s popiah are the best. It’s a perfect combination of sweetness from the flour sauce, the savoriness of pork and prawns, the spiciness of chili and garlic, and the crunch of cooling vegetables. It’s so yummy, you will gobble it down and hurriedly make another without even thinking about it. I have had popiah from hawker stalls in Singapore and Malaysia, even in Penang, where you will find the best food in the world. Mum’s popiah beats them all.

Mum's Homemade Poh Pia is the Best

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Homemade Popiah Skins

We learn from a master popiah maker how to make the skins for this popular roll by hand, from scratch.

Homemade popiah skins

It all started on our friend Mike’s blog with his post about his cousin making popiah skin. I commented that we should have a popiah making party; a couple months later, his cousin was back in town and he invited us to come over to his house to watch and learn. According to him, his cousin put her three children through college by selling her popiahs at the night market. That makes her a master in my book!

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Modern Kaiseki Dinner at Maru in Aoyama

We find an oasis of delicious calm in the middle of the madness of Shibuya, the heart of Tokyo.

Shibuya Scramble Crossing

shibuya scramble crossing

Annie had gone to spend the day in Tokyo, and the plan was for me to meet her there after work for dinner. Our plan changed, but we were fortunate that my colleague also had dinner plans with his wife in Tokyo that night, and extended the invitation to us to join him. We took the train up to Shibuya Station, where we met up with our respective wives.

My colleague had a friend, now living in Tokyo with his Japanese wife, who brought us via short taxi ride to Rakushokushu Maru Restaurant in nearby Aoyama. The restaurant’s small storefront is about a block down a narrow street from the main Aoyama Dori thoroughfare. The restaurant itself is actually midway down a steep flight of stairs (watch your step!). But once you find the landing and enter the dining area, you completely forget about the harsh concrete jungle above.

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About Us

My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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