The Latest Scoop, er Skup

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Just when you thought all the utensils in the world had been invented, and just when the drawers in your tiny kitchen were filled up with so much crap you couldn't shut them, along comes another utensil that you might be tempted to add to the collection. The skup (pronounced "scoop" the press release prompts, we prefer "scupp"), is a serving spoon for sauces. But unlike a real serving spoon, it won't slide down into the sauce, because it's equipped with a curl at the top that allows it to depend from the rim of the serving bowl. As if that weren't enough, the surface of the skup allows you to write on it with grease pen. Now, the inventor intended you to inscribe the name of the sauce on the skup, but why not improvise at your next dinner party? How about writing "You're too fat already!" on the front?

The skup is available only on the web from Placetile Designs, at six for $19, here.

Strange Snacks of the World -- Rice Worms

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They came in a clear cellophane bag with bright red trim. They looked pretty good, but as I peered into the bag I couldn't really tell what they were. "Kong kang," said the counterguy with a smile. "You don't mean kang kung," I replied, using a common name for water spinach. The shopkeeper looked over at his companions and they all started to guffaw.

Had I just made my first joke in Siamese, or had I just made a fool of myself? Either way, the curled brown snacks proved delicious when I got them home--salty and sweet at the same time, with a whiff of exotic herbs that may have included lemongrass and screwpine. There were some chile flakes in the mix, too, making them a perfect snack.

A little web and cookbook research yielded inconclusive results, except that the snack is sometimes called in English "rice worms." Enlighten me if you know more about this snack, which is available at Ayada Grocery, 76-13 Woodside Avenue, Elmhurst, Queens, 718-426-5006.

A High-Fiber Breakfast

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Looks pretty damn good, right? And who doesn't love a traditional hot breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast? But look a bit closer to discover that the breakfast is a knitted one, more suited to covering your ass in cold weather than sliding down your gullet.

This mercery masterpiece was created by a craftsperson known only as jugglerz4. You can see it, among other amazing feats of knitting (including a red lobster, a perfect maki roll, and a dissected frog) at toxel.com.

Khandvi!

Categories: What Is It?

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We played 'What is it?' on Friday with the dish pictured above. Brownvid got it first:

it's called "khandavni" and it tastes delish!

And then dadand10 chimed in asking if it is "khandvi maybe?"

You're both right, it's the Gujarati dish khandvi (that's how I'd spell it anyway, I'm sure there are spelling variations in English). It's made by heating a batter of chickpea flour and yogurt until thick, and then spreading the batter thinly onto a surface, cutting it into long strips and then rolling it up. The texture is very delicate and similar to fresh pasta.

Usually khandvi is topped with spices that have been sizzled in oil. The version that I ate at Rajbhog Sweets and Snacks on Friday was garnished with sesame seeds, mustard seeds, halved green chiles and cilantro. Yum.

If you want to make it at home there's a great step-by-step photo essay about making khandvi here.

Or, try it at Rajbhog Sweets and Spices.

7227 37th Ave
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 458-8512

What is it? Jackson Heights Edition

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It's Friday afternoon, so let's play "What is it?" a game in which I take pictures of semi-obscure dishes and ask you to figure out what they are.

A hint: I ate the mystery dish pictured above in Jackson Heights.

Anyone want a crack at it? I'll be back on Monday to tell you what it is and where to get it.

We Have a Winner

Categories: What Is It?

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Yesterday, we played "What is it?" a new featurette in which I take (hopefully, in focus) pictures of dishes and ask you to identify them.

Commenter Mai was right on when she wrote:

It looks like a Vietnamese dish called Banh Beo. Rice dough steamed, topped with dried shrimp powder and fried onions. Yum!

Exactly—banh beo, jiggly, steamed rice cakes topped with puréed mung beans, dried shrimp powder and fried onions. And yes, yum.

Congratulations Mai, your prize is fame and glory, and we hope that the paparazzi won't bother you too much.

The banh beo above are from Pho Tu Do, which I find delicious—anyone have a different suggestion for where to find good banh beo?

Pho Tu Do
119 Bowery
(212) 966-2666

What is it?

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I'm borrowing (stealing?) an idea from the the VV's sister food blog in Houston—the writers there have been taking random pictures of food-related locations around town and asking readers to guess where it is.

I thought I'd play the same game with semi-obscure plates of food. So, what is on the plate above? Put your guess in the comment section. I'll post the answer later today or tomorrow morning. (Next time I'll try to take a picture that's actually in focus. Sorry about that!)

The winner's prize will be fame and glory.

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