We decided to go to the Museum of Natural History to see their exhibit, Global Kitchen. I really wanted to see it because this exhibit is about food, culture and nature: it not only explains the food chain, but also give a glimpse about the food in other cultures. Of course, we could not go to this exhibit with empty bellies! So we first stopped by Sapporo Ramen that was recommended by our cousin Jessica. Yes, I know: ramen again? I love it, what can I say!
We tried in fact to go to Sapporo ramen last Friday for dinner, but the restaurant was packed and we ended up at Pho 66 for a different kind of noodle soup (but this is another post...). So we decided to show up early on Sunday to avoid the crowd and were lucky because the restaurant only started to get busy after noon.
Similar to other ramen restaurants we went to, we could sit at a table of the kitchen counter to see the cooks making these succulent dishes. We chose the table. What I liked first is that they propose different types of broth and explain what they are on the menu, so you can decide if you would like a traditional one, a salty one, etc. They also have, for $11, a lunch special, where you can pick your ramen and an appetizer: pretty good price I would say.
So we started off with pork and vegetable gyoza (dumplings):
They were 3 of them and they were fried on one side. It was very good: the meat was not dry and the shell was thin, soft and perfectly cooked, with a bit of char that gave them some delicious crispiness. We ate them with some soy sauce.
Jodi ordered the Shoyu Ramen, the most traditional style of ramen - a light, soy sauce based flavor, and added a boiled egg and bamboo shoots.
I ordered the Shio Ramen, a clear, salt based flavor that uses a mineral rich sea salt and is infused perfectly with chicken stock. I added a boiled egg and some pork shoulder.
The noodles were thin and perfectly cooked. The boiled eggs were also perfect: the yolk was slightly runny with an amazing orange color. In terms of broth, I preferred the one Jodi picked as it was more flavorful, with bolder flavors. The shio broth was good, light and not too salty, but I would have liked a bit more chicken taste. The pork however was fantastic: tasteful, it was very tender.
I definitely liked Sapporo Ramen that is in my top 3 ramen restaurant after Ippudo and Momofuku Noodle Bar so far!
As the day was kind of nice, we walked back up and went to Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Building, on Columbus Circle, as I heard that they were serving Kouign Amman, a very buttery specialty from West of France that I tried at Dominique Ansel Bakery recently (Check out my review of the Kouign Amman at Dominique Ansel Bakery). For those who never had Kouign Amman, imagine a croissant with much more butter and sugar.
The one from Bouchon Bakery was incredibly good! Flakey, it was very, very buttery. I think I prefer the one from Bouchon Bakery than the one from Dominique Ansel Bakery just for that reason!!!
Walking further uptown, we ended up at the Museum of Natural History. Before going to the Global Kitchen Exhibit, we wanted to see the butterflies (no link between the two exhibits although I am sure that butterflies are delicacies somewhere...). I could resist to post few photographs of them: they were beautiful!
After that, we went to the Global Kitchen exhibit:
I liked the introduction that said:
"Food is not just about nourishment. It helps to define us, as we share meals with family, friends and communities - to give thanks, remember the past, celebrate the present and look to the future."
This is so true!
The exhibit was well laid out, giving you information about certain facts that many of us ignore. For instance:
- India produces nearly 30% of bananas, more than central and South America combined. 99% of its production is sold and eaten in India.
- More Brazilian sugar ends up in the gas pump than in groceries as it is transformed in Ethanol.
- over 2,000 species of insects are eaten worldwide.
- There are 40,000 bean varieties.
- The Aztec used cacao beans as a currency. You needed:
- 3 cacao beans to buy a turkey egg.
- 300 cacao beans to buy a large turkey
- 1 cacao bean to buy a ripe avocado
They even displayed a replica of an Aztec market:
And all over the exhibit, you had the possibility to smell different scents: cinnamon, lemon, garlic,...
At one point, there was a kitchen, where they served us a tiny sample of coffee with condensed milk.
The website of the Museum gave the impression that there would be some food tasting from all over the world ("join us for tastings of seasonal foods—in the exhibition kitchen"), but it was not the case. This was a bit disappointing I have to say as we were expecting it and the tiny cup of coffee was a bit ridiculous!
We continued anyway through the exhibit that had some interesting facts about how food has been transformed and bred. For instance, they showed a square melon from Japan.
It was not the result of any breeding, but because the farmers grow them in glass boxes!
I also discovered some variety of potatoes that I have never seen before!
It was pretty interesting and fun! I am sure Adults and kids would be interested, but I just wish that it was included in the price of the ticket for the Museum that was not so cheap! This exhibit runs until August 11th 2013.
Enjoy (I did)!
And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!