The UM Reader

May 5, 2017

The Umami Reader: The Asian Salad Must Die

by Kayoko Akabori

We often joke about the Asian Salad genre at Umami Mart HQ — Chinese Chicken Salad, Chopped Asian Salad, Oriental Salad, etc. It is so ridiculous and it boggles me that it’s still on menus around the country, and even, ehem, the Bay Area. What exactly makes a salad “Asian”? Is it the cilantro? The thin […]

April 14, 2017

The Umami Reader: The Japanese Wiener Obsession

by Sarah Han

– Hot diggity dog, check this out! Kayoko is quoted in a recent article written by Jonathan Kauffman for the San Francisco Chronicle on Japanese hot dogs. Kauffman reached out to Umami Mart for any tidbits we could give on the All-American-meets-Japan food mash-up, which has recently been showing up on more menus in San Francisco […]

April 7, 2017

The Umami Reader: Here’s How You Shouldn’t Eat Soup Dumplings

by Sarah Han

– Oy vey, Time Out London got some people down in the dumps about a recent video on Xiao Long Bao, or soup dumplings. The video on how to eat soup dumplings was posted on Facebook on March 28 with the caption, “Love popping spots AND eating dumplings? Combine the two with exploding soup dumplings […]

March 31, 2017

The Umami Reader: Drake Learns Not to Eat Crappy Sushi in Amsterdam

by Sarah Han

– Seventeen-thousand disappointed Drake fans in Amsterdam learned 75-minutes into waiting for his Monday-night performance that the rapper would not be playing after all. The reason for Drake’s abrupt cancellation: bad sushi. TMZ reports that he got a case of food poisoning so bad that he had to get medical treatment. Fans were angry and started throwing shit […]

March 24, 2017

The Umami Reader: The Art of Handmade Soba

by Sarah Han

–  If you’ve had freshly-made soba, you know that the difference between dried and fresh buckwheat noodles is astounding, but even then, you might not know the amount of work that goes into making these noodles. To get an idea, watch this short film about Seattle-based chef Mutsuko Soma of Kamonegi, who makes soba in the traditional Japanese way. Every […]

March 17, 2017

The Umami Reader: The Death of Lucky Peach

by Sarah Han

– Some sad news for fans of Lucky Peach: The six-year-old food media company created by Peter Meehan and David Chang announced that it will soon close up shop. Lucky Peach will put out one final book (about eggs) in April, and the magazine will put out its last regular issue in May, and close out with a double […]

March 10, 2017

The Umami Reader: Japan’s Pizza Hut Cats Are Back!

by Sarah Han

– In 2014, Pizza Hut Japan created a cat-tastic ad campaign. “Pizza Cat!” was a fictional Pizza Hut location run by an all-cat staff. The ads featured Tencho, Hime, Dora, and Detch “working” (aka doing cute cat stuff) at a Pizza Hut. Last month, Pizza Hut Japan brought back the Pizza Cats to promote coupons via their new mobile […]

March 3, 2017

The Umami Reader: Kawaii!! Japanese Animal-Shaped Donuts

by Sarah Han

– Floresta Nature Doughnuts in Tokyo makes animal-shaped donuts that are pretty much the cutest fried and frosted things you can stuff in your mouth. (LadyIronChef) – Chef René Redzepi recently announced some groundbreaking news about his 2 Michelin-starred Copenhagen restaurant, Noma. Redzepi explained Noma, known as one of the best in the world, would have […]

February 24, 2017

The Umami Reader: Can Ethnic Restaurants Be “Authentic” If They’re Not Cheap?

by Sarah Han

– Hopefully you got a chance to eat at Hawker Fare Oakland before it closed last weekend. Chef James Syhabout (who also opened Oakland’s Michelin-starred Commis) opened the original location of his Issan Thai restaurant in 2011, but Hawker Fare closed due to Oakland’s “rising wages, pricey real estate and competition for customers.” Although Hawker Fare was popular and garnered great reviews, Syhabout […]

February 17, 2017

The Umami Reader: We Support Restaurants that Support Immigrants

by Sarah Han

– The restaurant and hospitality industries are two of the biggest with large immigrant workforces, and people within the food industry are beginning to speak out about the anti-immigrant Trump administration policies. For example, restaurant owners are showing their support for their staff by printing it right onto their receipts, reminding diners who they can thank for the food they’re eating. […]