Decorated Sugar Cubes

I know the spring is just around the corner ….but it doesn’t feel like it.

I have had enough snow and grey weather for this winter!
I miss seeing the lush green hills and colorful flowers.

I can’t wait for my garden to start blooming again. Which inspired me to make my own garden in the kitchen!

Have you ever made a Gingerbread house and decorated it with Icing Sugar? The concept with these sugar cubes is the same, but I find it so much more satisfying!

I started to decorate my sugar cubes after my family went to bed which meant I could decorate the sugar cubes all night long.

These spring decorations definitely brightened up my kitchen.

To make Royal Icing Sugar it is very simple! All you need is three ingredients: Icing sugar, Egg whites, and water. If you do not want to use raw egg, you can use meringue powder instead.

Sugar cubes are probably the smallest canvas I have ever “painted” on, so it was very exciting to do. You can use piping bags or even use Ziploc bags to decorate the flowers onto the sugar cubes!

Pink Roses are my favorite type of flowers, so I made a hundred roses within 10 minutes

These cute flowers will definitely make your day brighter especially during those dreary mornings.
-Marimo

Uni Story

Sea Urchin and the Little Boy

 
Have you ever tried Uni at a sushi restaurant before?
If the answer is YES, I think you are a brave person!
Uni was not quite appetizing  for me.
My family had a sushi restaurant  in Japan, Uni was in our fridge all the time.
When I was kid, I was thought that Uni was the tongue of the fish.
So I was never tempted to try one…
 
 
Until I met this boy… and I was going to regret why I did not try Uni for such a long time! 
 
In the early 90’s my friends and I went on a camping trip in Aomori prefecture .
It is on the north end of the main island .  
It was a 15 hour drive from our area, 
but everybody was so excited to see the beautiful ocean. 
 
The Camping trip was great! 
Our campsite was just by the beach.
Local people were very kind to us and we were having such a good time!  
 
My friends enjoyed snorkling everyday.
I would not go into the ocean because I was stung by a jelly fish many years ago.
I spent my time going for walks and collecting sea shells. 
 
Then in the middle of nowhere, this kid started following me around.
He was not shy to ask me a bunch of the questions.
Where I came from ? Which language my  friends are speaking?
This kid was so curious about us! 
 
Suddenly he ran into the ocean and picked up the black spiked creature!
And he told me that this is the Uni! I had never seen Uni in their shell before!
Then he grabbed a rock and crushed the Uni shell and pulled out what was inside.
Then he washed it with the ocean waves and threw it into his mouth!
 I was so amazed I just stared at him.

Then he found another one and did the same thing.
This time he put the Uni in front of me and said 
 “ this is for you! ”
I didn’t want to be rude by saying no thank you, so I tried Uni for the first time.
 
I was so scared at first, and I had a little bit of panic…
but the Uni I just tried was so good!     
It was the most creamiest thing I have ever had!
It is hard to describe!
Some people say Uni tastes like butter with the flavour of the ocean! 
 
Later I found out that the market at our campsite was selling baskets of Uni.
So I bought some Uni for my friends to try.
 
I  clean the Uni  just like he did.
My friends were so surprised that I prepared Uni like pro.
There was no hesitation for them to try fresh  Uni!
They love it very much !
 
If I did not meet this boy …  I would have never tried Uni till this day. 
 
The camping trip was unforgettable for us!
We were invited to the Bon festival and danced with the locals.
We saw Noctiluca and Spectacle milky way above of the night ocean !
 
It was close to 30 years ago.
I still keep in touch with my friends and still we talk about our Aomori camping trip!
One day I would like to go back there and reunite with those people that I met at the beach!
Especially with the little boy!
He must be over 30 years old now… I hope he became a great fisherman. 
 
 
 
 

About our name: “Y93”

Why Y93? What is the meaning of “Y93”?

Y is the initial of our last name, 93 is our house number, Y93 represents our family. The meaning behind it is to invite you to our HOME. Enjoy the things that we love — from Food to our living style, our hobbies, our stories.

In our “home”, everything has a little story in it. Not just the people, even the dishes and the chairs inside our cafe, all have their little stories in it. (Ask us when you come visited, ok?) We believe that every story has a heart, it is exclusive and valuable, it is meaningful and full of memories and emotions. This is why we love sharing stories and listen to yours.

We are not just share the food & drinks that we liked; we also share our love with you. When we have time, we love to talk to you. Our customers are just like friends!! They would love to share their wonderful moment and sometimes they also share their sadness moment. We really appreciate your love and trusted. Our philosophy is “Love only grows by sharing.”

“The universe is not made of atoms. It’s made of TINY STORIES.”

“Real happiness doesn’t come from getting everything you want. It comes from sharing what you have with the people who matter.”

When you walk through our doors, we hope that you know you are invited into our home. We hope that our stories can inspire you in some way. Every single story is an experience, it’s unique. Even though life is not smooth all the time and it very well never be, but there is always, always be someone out there to support you until the very end.

This is the meaning of “Y93”.

Meet our team — Jessica

She is our newest team member. Welcome to Y93 Family!

I’m a fourth year marketing student who has fallen in love with studying languages and their culture. Of course, along with culture comes discovering their food. I’m the type of person who doesn’t “eat to live but lives to eat”. Thanks to social media platforms such as Instagram, it has given me the opportunity to try different cuisines predominantly around Calgary or wherever I’m traveling to (pre-covid times). Luckily, with a marketing major, I’m able to study trends like food from both a business point of view and as an interest. What I respect about Y93 is the amount of attention and love that goes into the food. It’s the best place to get Japanese food that’s authentic AND food that will definitely nourish your soul.

As a typical university student, I had to learn how to balance work and studying. This sometimes meant that I would study during the morning, go to work late afternoon and come back in the evenings to continue my study sessions.

Being born and raised in Calgary, my parents were determined to teach me at least a second language. They always said that by knowing more than one language would bring more opportunities. I didn’t quite understand at the time but I went along with it. The first language I learned (after english) was “Tagalog” or some of you may know it as “Filipino”. My parents basically scared me into learning it by saying I’d get “sold” in the Philippines if we ever visited. I honestly thought they were referring to something like child trafficking but it turns out by getting “sold” they meant that I wouldn’t get the tourist price if I ever found myself at the market.
With that being said, I learned Tagalog by the age of 11 and my interest for languages spiked. I eventually started learning Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, ASL (American Sign Language) and JSL (Japanese Sign Language). What I found really helpful for learning languages is to watch a lot of variety shows to pick up on intonation, pronunciation and vocabulary. In order to practice grammar, there are a lot of apps out there to help you brush up like “duolingo”.

The Japanese chat corner is a great way for us to connect with you guys on our affinity for Japanese culture and cuisine. This will gives us the opportunity to share what we know and learn something new with them. We want to build a relationship beyond just restaurant and customers. I’m so excited to be able to talk to all of you and to get to know you all.

Yes, we WON!! ——————— Champion of “Calgary’s Best Fish n Chips Award”!

In December, we jumped out from our comfort zone and challenged ourself to join the “Calgary’s Best Fish n Chips Award” competition hosted by Culinaire Magazine. Although Fish n Chips isn’t our specialty; we still decided to accept this challenge.

We accepted because we also love Fish n Chips. We have been to few different places to find the best one. The most memorable one was in Montreal Old Port. That dish is memorable because they used Salmon, not many places used salmon in Fish n Chips. More surprising was the seasonings, it has a touch of curry favour in it. It’s crispy, delicious and also different from others. So we loved it.

Although we are not specialty in Fish n Chip; we also want to SHOW Calgarian there may be another way to enjoy Fish n Chips too. That’s the reason we created the Y93 Japan cultural infused Fish n Chips and join this competition.

Joining the competition is a fun and valuable experience. It’s also an learning process too. We need to find the best balance in ingredients, taste, sides, presentation, original creativity, innovative, affordable. and more. But the most important part is the judges’ overall experience. This involved suggested pairing drinks, adding fun & surprise factor to the dish, and how easy for them to enjoy. We want to let our diners know, we used our heart on each creation. We care about every single details. This is also our promised. Every customers are invited guests to Y93 home enjoy the best we offered.

It’s our honour to be the champion of “Calgary’s BEST Fish n Chip” Award in contemporary category. It’s definitely the best news we’ve got in the beginning of year 2021.

We are thankful that our CEO is guiding us and walking through with us in every single step. Ask us for more journey with God story when the dine-in option open up. It’s very real and we would love to share that with you, hope it could also inspire you.

In the future, we will keep being innovative. Creating lots of different delicious and fun Japanese food to all of you. We promised will do our best in every creation. We approved, you approved!

For the full details on the other best Fish n Chips in Calgary and more information of this award, please go visit Culinaire Magazine official website or simply get a free copy of the magazine.

 

Review of the Year 2020

Year 2020 is almost over, it was definitely a challenging year for most of us. Not just for small businesses, but it affected every single household. Some lost their jobs, others lost their businesses, and many lost their loved ones. Once you hear their stories, you can also feel their pain.

However, we decided to change our perspective on the lock-down and see it as a given opportunity. During the time of the 1st lock-down, we had closed for 1 month. In that month, we had extra time to utilize a new way to serve our customers. We were able to spend more time with family and created more new items to add on to the menu. For example, our original bento boxes, more vegan options like Green Vegan Roll, Vegan Soup, Vegetarian Ramen and much more. We also launched the ramen kits and other frozen meal kits for anyone who works from home or does home schooling, so that they can enjoy the authentic Japanese food at home. 2020 was a difficult time but that also entailed more opportunities out there! For us, we have faith that our CEO is guiding us every step of the way! Read our Add Oil 加油 Faith Story!

In December, it is also a very special month for us at Y93 Sushi Crave — our Anniversary month. Thank you all for your support for the past two years. From a 2 people team, we grew into a 4 people team. Still very small but as they say, good things come in small packages!! We are blessed to have two amazing team members who are good match to our Japanese cafe; in return, we also empowered them to growth into their unique personalities, to be a much better self.

In December, we also accepted a very interesting challenge —  Joining the “Calgary’s Best Fish n Chips” award competition hosted by Culinaire Magazine and in collaboration with British Consulate General. This is a very interesting challenge. Although Fish and Chips isn’t our specialty; but we did our best! We created and served the best Y93 version to the judges. Those 5 judges cover the whole city trying out every fish n chips nominees. As I know there were more than 40 nominees. The scoring are based on 4 different areas. The final result will be announced on Global TV on Jan 3, 2021 at 8:20am!! Do you want to find out who will be the champion of the BEST Fish n Chips in Calgary too?

We know year 2020 is not an easy year, many of us want it ends soon. We are looking forward to the year of 2021. We know the best is yet to come. Wish you have a Happy New Year and all the best in 2021.

 

All about Ramen — Reveal the Secret of Y93 Ramen Broth

In Y93 Sushi Crave, we served various Japanese comfort food. One of the specialty comfort food that we served is Ramen. Our customers love our ramen, especially in love with our broth. To be proud to tell you, we make our broth and tare in-house. Today, we are going to reveal the secret of our ramen broth to you.  — Y93 Kitchen.

Tonkotsu Broth

Ramen Tonkotsu Broth

When talking about Ramen broth, one of the most popular broth must be “Tonkotsu”. Borrowed from Japanese 豚骨 (tonkotsu), from (ton, pork) + (kotsu, bone, rib).  Many ramen restaurants make their own broth too; then what makes Y93 Tonkotsu broth different from others? The secret is we specifically used the local sources (more fresh!!), and we also used different parts of the pork bones and chicken bones. Each pot of our Tonkotsu broth using a consistency ratio of different parts of the pork bones.

Why used different parts of the bones of the whole pig? It is because each unique parts have different tastes and functions. For example, neck bones and backbones — create the sweetness; head bones and hock — create the creamy texture; chicken bones — create another dimension of sweetness.

In addition to the bones, our broth also added lots of onions, gingers, garlic, and potatoes; Each pot needs to boil in high heat for at least 8 hours and after that, simmering for another few hours. The bone broth cannot be boiling for too long; otherwise, it will burn. The collagen and the water will separate, the broth will become very oily.

The last step and this is another secret of Y93 Tonkotsu broth is: after simmering, we separate the bones and most of the big chunky ingredients; then we will use the mixing blender to lightly blend all the remaining ingredients with the soup. So every drop of the soup is full of nutrition, we guarantee there is no msg added in the broth.

Y93 Ramen Chicken Broth

Y93 Shoyu Chicken Ramen

Our next popular Ramen is Shoyu Chicken Ramen. Some people like me will find Tonkotsu has a very strong “meat” taste and sometimes the texture is too thick. Therefore, they prefer to have something lighter, not that meaty taste broth. Another great option they love to choose is Y93 chicken broth. Even though it’s light, doesn’t mean a lack of favor or in an extreme — way too salty. It must have tasted the chicken favour as well as having umami out of it. Some ramen restaurants want to simplify the preparation procedure, they may only use the instant powder or pre-made chicken broth.

Y93 Chicken broth is 100% in-house made. Not only use the whole chicken, but the secret behind it is we also use fish bones and lots of different vegetables.

Pork bone broth needs to be boiled for at least 8 hours; in contrast, chicken broth cannot be boiling for too long; otherwise, it will turn sour. The secret is right after the water boiling, the heat needs to turn down to low, and let the broth simmer for at least 6 hours. Again, no MSG needed to add, the broth itself already full of umami.

Shoyu Chicken Broth with assorted mushrooms confit, tomato confit, greens and egg.

Vegan Broth

Y93 Coconut Soy Milk Vegan Soup

The new trend of the ramen market is “Vegetarian / Vegan” options. In tradition, there isn’t any vegetarian ramen; therefore, we do have lots of creative space for us to create this new vegan broth. Our vegan broth is not just a mix of vegetables; we also used the perfect amount of soy milk and coconut milk. But the real secret is adding sesame paste and a touch of curry to create the creamy favor. More exciting is, our vegan broth isn’t just the broth, it actually a full-size serving of vegan soup. When adding the special toppings — assorted mushrooms confit and tomato confit, the juicy from the confit mixed with the broth, become umami explosion. Again, no MSG needed.

Meet our team — Chef Alan

Alan is the co-founder of Y93 Kitchen (Y93 Sushi Crave Japanese Cafe).

He is an artist, a chef, a guitarist, a husband and a loving father of 3 children.

Alan moved to Canada by himself as an international student at the age of 15. During that time, he had to live independently, which means including cooking for himself. Being born and raised in Hong Kong in the 80s, he was deeply attracted and influenced by Japanese culture. In order to satiate his hunger for Japanese food, he used to read a lot of Japanese comics such as “Shōta no Sushi” (将太寿司) and “Magic Chef” (伙頭智多星 ミスター味っ子) in order to learn how Japanese Cuisine was prepared. One should never underestimate the content of these comics because all the recipes used in the stories are actually based on the practical experiences and secret tips of chefs in real life! Every episode of these comics would talk about a special dish, ranging from the simplest finger food to the most complicated cuisine, and everything would be mentioned in detail. In the stories, the main characters (味吉楊一 & 將太) have to figure out the perfect way to cook the best dish ever. In those days, these comics were a huge thing in Japan too. As a teenager during that time, Alan slowly developed his interest in cooking.

After finishing his post secondary education, Alan opened his first bubble tea cafe with his friends. Established in the year of 2000, it was the first Bubble Tea cafe in Calgary. Do any of you remember “Banana JAK”? It was a very popular hangout place and had been a huge success at that time. However, because of the high rental fee and the lack of experience running the business, the cafe was shut down eventually. With his passion and gift in cooking, Alan continued his career as a chef as well as the kitchen manager in one of the most well-known Italian restaurant (Chianti) in Calgary.

An interesting thing is that Alan is not only passionate about cooking. He is also a very talented guitarist. Well, maybe he was too bored while living alone overseas, especially when there was no Internet. To kill time, he spent quite a lot of his time on self-taught guitar playing. He watched lots of live concerts VHS performed by the most famous rock & roll bands, such as Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses and Matellica. He watched the videos so many times until he could learn a thing or two from it or even jam along with the band!

Alan said,

“Making a Dish is like Playing a Song!”

“Each musician is unique. Each has his own emotion and skill level; therefore, even using the same music sheets and instruments, the outcome can be very different. “

The same theory can be applied to cooking as well. Each chef has his own unique background, learned the cooking skills in different ways, and possesses different knowledge about ingredients too. Therefore, even using the same ingredients and recipes, the final taste and presentation of the dish can be very different.

When playing music, a decent instrument is very important. As a guitarist, Alan’s guitars are like the extension of his arms; while the amp is the tool to help him project his mind to others. Since different guitars have their unique sounds, you need to find the right one for the right job. In fact, Alan has a huge collection of different guitars!! It is the same as cooking, that the chefs’ knives, other cooking tools and equipment are like their weapons. Without the proper weapons and the knowledge of using them, one also cannot produce the taste of authentic Japanese cuisine.

Interesting comparisons are:

Cooking has many different ingredients to choose from; Playing music has many musical ideas to use.

Cooking has recipes; Music got music sheets.

Cooking method can be influenced by different cuisine; Playing music can be influenced by different musicians and artists.

“As a Chef and also as a Musician,

it’s my privilege to use MY TUNE to cook for you.”

— Alan Yau

Feature photo credit: Jacky The Lamb IG: @VisualStoryTelleryyc and @MoleculeStudioyyc

Meet our artist — Paulina ShiiYo (Japanese candles making artist)

Hi!  My name is Paulina ShiiYo. I am the owner of Drift Home Candle. It is my pleasure to share with you our candle creations here at Y93 Japan Chat Corner.

Sharing the joy of making candles is one of our missions. Drift Home Candle is not only a place to find handmade scented candles, but also a one-stop-shop where you can purchase DIY kits to make your own ones at home.

In 2017, I was introduced to soy wax flower piping which had opened my world to all kinds of candle art. To enrich my candle and flower piping knowledge and skills, I went to Korea to study candle making and buttercream piping, and obtained certificates from the Korea Candle & Cake Association. Since then, I have been working on Japanese & Korean candles art.

Scented candles bring comfort and relaxation, and are essential in creating an atmosphere in all settings.  The process of candle-making also brings us joy, peace, and satisfaction.  Each candle requires different composition and temperature to make, which means that every candle is a unique creation.

We are looking forward to sharing more with you about our candles and buttercream piping!

Stay true to yourself, embrace the journey and at the end of it all… Drift Home 

IG: @drifthomecandle

 

 

 

 

 

My first REAL guitar — It’s Japan made!!

It is a Fender Stratocaster Hot Rod Reissue, means it got upgraded hardwares like Floyd Rose tremolo and Dimarzio pickups and some fancy wiring under the hood, it was made in Fujigen factory, Matsumoto Nagano, Japan, arguably the best guitar factory in Japan. I brought it new in the summer of 1993, and oh yeah, mum paid half of it.

It was a hot summer break, and for some reason, I managed to got myself a decent, but boring summer job, working at a bank.I remember it was mostly a data entry and filing kind of a job. It was kinda nice to sit in an office all day with A/C cranked. Also, the same summer, I got dumped by my girl friend.

I been playing guitar for couple years by then, I had an budget electric guitar that never really suits my needs or style, more importantly, most of my guitars heroes play Stratocaster. So I saved up most of the money I got form the summer job, and start shopping, I remember spent a couple weeks going to the biggest music store in Hong Kong, played all the Stratocaster they have, and keep going back to the rack that they stock all these Japanese made Fender guitars, they played and sounded and looked great, the only problem was, they were a bit out of my budget.

One night, I sneaked out for a cigarette and got caught by my mother, surprisingly, I didn’t get yelled at too much, instead, she started lectured me a lesson about life, specifically focused on relationship and and all those stuff, the whole point was, it is ok to be dumped. At the end of the conversation, she asked me if there was anything she can do to make me feel better, and the next day I was at the music store again, having trouble to pick the color of the guitar I wanted!

It was red and basically my weapon of choice for all the gigs I’ve got.