Foodie Fridays: Asian Eats, Sort Of

In the 4 years I’ve been a Pescetarian, I’ve gotten a lot of inquisitive looks & on the more extreme end, antagonized for choosing not to eat land creatures as if I’ve somehow insulted these individuals’ very being because I don’t eat cows. Since the social norm is to consume meat, those of us that have special diets often get harassed for not eating like the rest of society. Not only is it annoying to deal with, it’s incredibly disrespectful to those of us that choose not to eat the popular way society does. If you’re going to try to mock our way of living, you might as well do it intelligently instead of immaturely, e.g., “but meat is so tasty; lol you’re missing out lol more meat for me lol. lol. lol. lolol.” Choosing to cut meat out of my diet is not due to the tastiness of said land creatures, so don’t assume my tastebuds are dysfunctional. I can appreciate a fine plate of beef tartare as much as any bovine connoisseur, but why I choose not to is environmental, ethical, & political. This doesn’t mean that I think consuming seafood is exemplary because it isn’t – I see it as choosing the lesser of two evils, so to speak.

Without even asking me what it is I eat or how often I eat what I eat, people just plunge into the, “well, aren’t you just going to get mercury poisoning?” question as if their consumption of fast food isn’t going to kill them first. Although this post is going to have tons of pictures of fish, it doesn’t mean that I consume seafood everyday. I believe in eating a mostly vegetarian diet & do my best to consume seafood that has low mercury content such as catfish, clams, crab, tilapia, octopus, oysters, & scallops. If you’re considering becoming a Pescetarian or if you’re obsessed with seafood, please make sure you check the mercury levels of your favorite seafood before you think you can consume it all without consequences. As much as I love Chilean Seabass, it’s a fish that’s endangered, so try not to order it. If you want to consume it in the future, you have to make sure it doesn’t die out now. It’s good to mix up what you normally eat with something new. Try having a meat-free day & challenge your culinary skills. You may just delightfully surprise yourself! Okay, now for a huge food dump.

Nana San

My girlfriend Vy & I caught up over dinner at Nana San in Newport Beach. We sat at the bar & ordered omakase. This omakase was much different than Kitayama’s because we ended up choosing what to eat instead of the chef. He was a bit shy & didn’t seem confident in his choices, so he asked us if we were okay with specific fishes, which was very considerate. However, the best omakase experience is one in which the chef can profile you & figure out what you might & might not enjoy. When you eat at a new restaurant, you should try things you’ve never had before at any other restaurant, which was what I was hoping for from Nana San. The soft-shell crab was one of the best I’ve ever had with its excellent coating without sacrificing the moisture of the crabmeat. The conch dish was by far, the most unique dish of the night as it was served in a flavorful broth & seaweed; a much different approach to serving conch from the Bahamas! All of the nigiri was melt-in-your-mouth great.


Marukai is another one of my favorite Japanese markets that has some great items from plates to produce, they’ve got an array of items that’ll surely satisfy your ingredients list for that Japanese recipe you were thinking of making tonight. I didn’t particularly enjoy the Chirashi plate I purchased even though it was practically a steal because it wasn’t fresh, the rice was rock hard since it was refrigerated, & the octopus was too chewy. How could I expect any differently though, honestly? The caterpillar roll was just a California roll topped with avocado instead of the fresh water eel & California roll combination. Nevertheless, the roll was still enjoyable & cheap. The best pre-made meal from my trip to Marukai was the Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Noodle Salad) although it was adorned with ham. They gave you two packets even though one would’ve been sufficient as it’s really quite salty, but tasty! The texture of the noodles & the combination of the egg, cucumber, imitation crabmeat, kelp, & masago complemented well.

I didn’t eat all of this in one sitting, in case any of you were judging me. It was spread throughout the week!

Trader Joe’s + San Marzano Plant Progress

Since my birthday dinner landed me a bunch of Pretzel Crisps & potato chips, I figured I had to get back to my “fancier” snacking habits, so here we see a cheese + fruit plate I put together from Trader Joe’s – fancy like Iggy Azaela.

Also, here’s the progress of my San Marzano tomato plant I potted 4 months ago. I’ve picked about 4 of the tomatoes so far. Honestly didn’t think it was going to make it because the pests kept at it like it was heroin, but it survived!

Portfolio Coffeehouse

Here we see that Josh & I both had a vegetarian lunch while we were working at Portfolio. This is the “sort of” portion of my post.

Gallery Updates

Stay tuned for more recipes & food pictures!


  1. I feel super silly now, I finally figured out what I am: a pescetarian! Ha 😛
    I always tell people I am semi-vegetarian because I skip all kinds of meat, except fish. From now on I’m gonna tell people I’m a pescetarian c: I’m pretty sure it’l make people have weird looks on their faces.
    I’ve been in conversations before where people say how “tasty this drumstick is, you are so missing out” or even worse: “these animals are dead anyway, so why not eat them anyway..?”
    That’s the thing that is makes me really sad and that makes me push more into the vegetarian side. I believe eating more vegetarian is not only healthy for your body, but also financially and environmentally good as well.

    Anyway, the food dump is absolutely tasty looking! :c And my country needs this Marukai grocery, it sounds like thé food place to shop! Xx

    • Oh, wow! I never realized you’re a Pescetarian too haha. Well, good for you. Yes, I absolutely agree with you. Eating a more vegetarian lifestyle is not only healthier, it it’s financially & environmentally friendly. If all meat eaters ate like a vegetarian twice a week, they would be really driving down pollution, demand for meat, & save tons of money. It’s harder for those living in poverty to eat vegetarian or whole foods because fast food restaurants can sell you a burger for $1.50! So what’s more appealing? A burger or lettuce & tomatoes? It’s cheap to eat fast food & it’s one of the many reasons America has an obesity problem.

      People don’t realize they’re being annoying. They just don’t see it from our perspective, so you have to kindly tell them how you feel when they try to make you eat something you refuse to eat. They don’t realize they’re being disrespectful of your diet.

      Thanks for the sweet words. I’m sure you’ll find similar items at an Asian grocery store!

  2. I’m wondering what’s in the sandwich? I’ve never attempted to make a vegetarian sandwich before, and I’m seriously considering it. I don’t eat that much beef, or meat in general. My family likes to have nights, where we just eat veggies, and some fruit. Which is good, because I don’t really like eating that much meat (My brother is another story). I love my veggies, and if I couldn’t have my vegetables, I would probably be really, really sad.

    • That’s good! Vegetarian sandwiches can be anything you want them to be sans meat, so in this case it was just lettuce, tomatoes, avocado spread, cheese, cucumbers, & a few slices of red onion. Josh’s panini had pesto spread, mozzarella, & tomato.

      Your family practices some good, healthy dining habits! My brother also loves & consumes truckloads of meat.

  3. Well said, my dear! As a vegetarian (that rarely eats fish, OK what am I?) I found a bit difficult to attend social and sport events . They all sell and eat hot dogs and hamburgers! Things are changing though, more and more people realize that eating meat is not only “risky” for your health but also something that has a bad impact on the environment. p.s. Good job with the San Marzano tomatoes!

    • I think you’d be called a “flexitarian” to be honest! Or you could call yourself a pescetarian, but strongly emphasize that you RARELY eat fish. You’re right, it is really difficult to eat some social events, but as you said, things are changing. Not only do I spot vegetarian dogs & hamburgers at many sporting events, veggie options are available at nearly every restaurant I go to, even Korean BBQ places! It could be a Californian thing though, but it’s changing & that’s what’s great. It makes it easier to have lunch dates with friends, that’s for sure hahaha.

      & thanks for the San Marzano plant growing compliment! I know if I get an Italian’s approval, I’ve got to be doing something right!

  4. I will hold my hand up and admit that I use to think that people who didn’t eat meat were missing out. But then I started dating/living with a vegetarian, and I soon realised that I was wrong. Particularly because now you can buy so many products that resemble meat but that are actually meat-free. In fact (and I can’t believe I’m admitting to this) I prefer veggie bacon to normal bacon. It just tastes so much nicer!

    The sandwiches look delicious. 😛

    • Holly, you aren’t alone. I remember eating pork in my kitchen with my mom & thought, “Vegetarians are crazy. This shiz is delicioussssssss.” Then, I took a class on food & it changed the way I viewed meat, how my consumption & the world’s consumption of it, has been environmentally unsavory. So, just like you, my worldview changed when I had a personal experience. Just as you said, there are lots of new soy products that are suitable for vegans & vegetarians alike, some of which are even tastier than their meat inspirations! One of my vegetarian friends even wondered if she could trust these products because they tasted so close to meat that she thought they snuck some in haha. Lots of those products have way too many processed ingredients in them though & they’re really expensive, so whole foods is always best. :)

  5. I think it’s weird when people have issues with other people’s diets. I mean, it’s really none of their business. The whole “missing out” thing can really be applied to anything, whether it’s food, a hobby, an experience, etc. I bet they wouldn’t like it if you told them they were missing out on something too!

    All of the food at Nana San looks really good. I’ve never had conch before, so I thought that was interesting. I’m the same way about omakase. I like surprises and would rather the chef pick out all the dishes. It’s a great way to see what the chef thinks is best :)

    Aah, that’s too bad the chirashi plate wasn’t that good. I would be sad if I got a catepillar roll without unagi! It’s one of the reasons why I get it in the first place, haha.

    That’s awesome that you’re growing your own tomatoes! I’ve been wanting to grow my own herbs but been kind of lazy about it. My parents have tried to grow tomatoes but with no luck. The birds keep pecking away at them :(

    The sandwiches look tasty too!

    • Haha, I think humans are taught to ridicule those that veer from the social norm, so although it is annoying, you do have to patiently remind them that it is disrespectful & condescending. Many of us are guilty of it & I’m not innocent of it either. It’s just best to, as you said, mind your own business or POLITELY ask about their lifestyle.

      Right?? Unagi is why I order caterpillar rolls in the first place! Should’ve read the ingredients – they tricked me!!

      Conch is really interesting. It’s pretty good fried but then again, what isnt?

  6. All of your food pictures always make me so hungry. :) I have been making some dietary changes and I would love to go either Vegan or Pescetarian. However, both are virtually impossible living in a small town with only a Wal-Mart to shop at. :( The sandwiches look delicious!

    • I’m really sorry to hear that, Jessica. I’m sure there’s got to be a grocery store around you somewhere. I’m really anti-walmart for numerous reasons, so if there’s a farmers’ market on the weekends near you or if there’s a small grocery store with local produce, it’s really not difficult to become a vegetarian & then transition into veganism. Even if you shopped at walmart, there should be produce there, right? So long as you have vegetables & vitamins, you should be okay.

  7. Love all your photos as usual! To be honest, it has been a while since I’ve taken photos of food. Part of it was just to appreciate how my food tastes, haha. I know if I cook my own things I will be more inclined to take and share photos though.

    You know how I feel about being a pescetarian – also I never properly thanked you for that long email with all those tips and hints on how to deal with those judgmental and narrow minded people… so thank you for that. I usually take the “OK leave me alone, you don’t know the half of it” route because you always get those people who are going to pull the stupidest arguments. I’ve honestly never had the “aren’t you going to get mercury poisoning one” but I can imagine you mental eyeroll at most of these people.

    I do get incredibly annoyed at people who assume pescetarian = eat fish all the time. Omnivore ≠ carnivore…! Given the option, I actually sometimes go for vegetarian over seafood. Unless it’s Japanese or Asian food in general… that I dig. :p

  8. I really enjoy what you said at the beginning of your post. To be honest, I admit I used to be one of those people when I encountered vegetarians. I would always ask “But what about chicken? And ribs? Are you sure you’re from the South?!”. Yep, that was me. But I quickly learned that one) the choices people make aren’t my business and two) eating meat all of the time can be trite. It’s nice to switch it up every once in awhile. Lately, I’ve been wanting to try the vegetarian / pescetarian route myself, but not sure how to transition. I’ve heard of some people quitting cold turkey or by slowly omitting meats from their diet. I still have a bit more research to do, but the link you gave above definitely helps, so thank you!

    The food, as always, looks amazing!

  9. I feel the need to comment on this post because of how much I can relate to you, the whole people judging how we eat and what we choose to eat. Born as Chinese, tradition believes in so many hoax and (for a less better word) bullshit such as consuming shark fins giving a long and healthy life, all those kind of stuff. unlike them, I choose to stop consuming shark fins. Growing up, I was spoonfed with that lie and now that I’ve known how cruel the process for the sharks is, I’ve stopped and people can’t respect my decision in not wanting to consume it. These Chinese relatives be like “omg you’re so stupid lolol shark fins soup is really good lolol you’re so stupid for caring about the animals!” it makes me wanna smack them on the face. how inconsiderate can they get anyway..

    like you, I choose not to eat meat too even though I MAY consume it like once in a blue moon. most times I’m pescetarian and by most i’m like 98% of the time and people can’t respect that. they think I’m being dramatic and they wave me off like “then why don’t you go and be a vegetarian loser instead” … like what the hell?? it piss me off how some people cannot respect our decision and preferences.

    sigh, i’m just really tired of people antagonizing me and well, honestly, people like us (you and me). just because they like to consume “dangerous” food (like fast food) doesn’t mean they can point fingers at us :( it’s also the reason why i dislike family gathering because i’m the alien among them haha

    • Aw Alice, I loved this comment. I’m sorry to hear that you still often get guilt tripped or bullied about your lifestyle choice. I don’t think people actually understand the gravity of eating shark fin items…because they’re so removed from the problem, they don’t see it. It’s best to appeal to them on multiple levels like an emotional one, environmental, ecological, & health.

      1. Emotional: the sharks will survive the fin cutting until they drown when they’re tossed back into the ocean. If we’re to eat animals, we should treat them with respect because they give us nourishment. We shouldn’t just abuse them because we can, that makes us awful beings. We cannot just rape the earth of it’s resources like that. We should always use an entire animal for its resources, not just part of it. How would you like it if I cut off your dog’s hind legs & set it free? Yeah.

      2. Environmental & ecological: shark fishin hurts the environment of the ocean. It ruins the food chain because it damages the animal at the top of the food chain. When the population is decreased, there becomes an over population of the fish that the sharks regulate. In addition, the sharks that drown, sink to the floor & all the critters that eat deceased carcasses may not be residents of the area & can be invasive species. Fishing in those boats also is environmentally unfriendly because they run on gas & those nets might capture other fish like dolphins or other fish that are endangered.

      3. Health: mercury poisoning, bitches.

      It’s frustrating, but you have to be patient with people. They’re more likely to listen if you keep a cool & calm collected exterior than if you’re about to slap someone hahaha. Stay strong!

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