Yelly Eats

So Fuwafuwa!

So apparently, according to a google search, fuwafuwa means fluffy, airy, light – like a pillow or foam.

A few months ago, I noticed an interesting photo on Ed T’s (@onehungryasian) instagram feed.  He said he had a recipe for fluffy Japanese soufflé pancakes and I wanted to look at the recipe.  I was on the verge of perfecting my version of a Japanese matcha cheesecake and I was curious about the pancakes, whether they would really be soufflé-esque.  I noticed that one of the comments was this guy saying they were  opening a pop-up for Japanese soufflé pancakes.  I thought it would be good to find out where it was to try it so I knew what I was aiming for.  I followed the Instagram account and thought I’d look through the feed later.  And then I promptly forgot about it.

© by @onehungryasian

Then Ken Mok (@kingken_photography) wrote that he finally went to try the pancakes and they looked fabulously soft and pillowy.  Exactly what the name of the purveyors of these heavenly pancakes meant: Fuwafuwa.

© by @kingken_photography

So since then, I’ve been thinking about these gorgeous pillows and wondering when I can go and taste them and find out for myself how they felt in my mouth!

Yesterday, we were going to London to see a friend who was going on a trip at the end of the month and we wanted to spend time with her before she flew off on her adventures.  Alan suggested we stop over at Westfield in Stratford where Fuwafuwa (@fuwafuwalondon) had their pop up shop.  It was just before 9AM and on Saturdays they open from 9AM until 9PM.  I was looking forward to ordering the matcha pancakes, but they weren’t on the menu.  So I settled on Nutella and banana and Alan ordered S’mores.  But they changed the menu at the last minute and said they had the matcha pancakes and the lovely manager of Fuwafuwa allowed me to change my order from the Nutella and banana to the Matcha Love pancakes.

I absolutely LOVED them.  They are as airy, soft, cloud like, light, pillowy and soufflé-esque as I built them up in my head to be.  The matcha cream that accompanied my pancakes were generously flavoured with matcha and you could really taste the green tea, which I loved.  They were also VERY generous with the red bean paste that was served on the side.

Alan’s S’mores pancakes were yummy with marshmallows and chocolatey goodness that reminded me of childhood memories of marshmallows and chocolates melted and sandwiched between two pieces of graham crackers.  Alan’s pancakes were topped with a dusting of icing sugar and a couple of pretzels.  Knowing I loved pretzels, Alan very generously shared one with me!

I need to know what the name of that lovely manager of FuwaFuwa is.  He asked if he could take photos of our pancakes because, apparently, they were so busy that they rarely had time to photograph their heavenly creations.  We, of course, obliged.  I had brought my little Olympus EPL7 on this trip (I wanted to capture the cherry blossoms in London) so I was also busy snapping away with the sole purpose of posting it on Instagram.  I was also determined to write about it on the blog.  I offered to take photos of the pancakes with his phone.

He had a surprise for us though.  There was a Salted Caramel Miso and Popcorn pancake option on the menu.  I loved salted caramel.  I loved popcorn.  I loved miso soup.  I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted them all together on a plate.  So I was more than a little dubious and didn’t order this particular flavour.  He came back to our table and he gave us a double stack of the salted caramel miso and popcorn pancakes.  To say thank you for waiting for the pancakes (they opened late) and for taking photos.

It was absolutely gorgeous!  It was sweet and fabulously savoury with the crunch of the popcorn for brilliant texture.  I know miso was good but I didn’t know that it would be a great flavour that could be used for sweet treats as well.  You learn something new everyday.

Fuwa Fuwa London (@fuwafuwalondon on Instagram) is currently at their pop up at Westfield in Stratford City and according to Westfield’s website they will be open this week (16 April to 22 April) Monday to Friday from 10AM to 9PM, Saturday from 9AM to 9PM and on Sunday, 12PM to 6PM.  They’ve just announced that Matcha Love will now be available on weekends too!  I’d recommend going when you can and bringing a bag of patience with you because if you can’t get there early and be first in the queue, it might be a substantial wait.  The pancakes are made to order and can take until 30 minutes to make and if they’re busy, the wait will be a little longer. I know 30 minutes might seem to be a bit too long to wait for pancakes, but they are very definitely worth it.  It’s a heavenly party in your mouth!

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Yelly Writes

Of passports and celebrity sightings

I am now officially eligible to apply for British citizenship…but I am a proud carrier of a Philippine passport.  I am planning on applying for UK citizenship though, if only for the ease that it presents when I do intend to travel to parts unknown because apparently you get visa-free access to 173 countries with a UK passport!  Not that I’m a traveler but it would be good to take be able to take advantage of travel deals, to have the convenience of going on a mini-break to almost anywhere, if and when I can.

But until then, I shall have to renew my Philippine passport every 5 years.

I went to London today to renew my Philippine passport because my passport expires in June this year.  I came armed with my tablet so that I could read my ebooks or work on work emails while I waited.  Because there would be a wait.  One thing that hasn’t changed much is the waiting in line in Philippine government institutions.  The Philippine embassy in London isn’t any different.  But as soon as I stepped through the double doors of the Philippine embassy in London on Suffolk Street it felt like being back home.  You could hear conversations in Filipino and for some reason there was an aroma of steamed rice wafting all over the embassy!

I like to come prepared and I like to make sure that I prepare for every possibility (or at least, I like to think so!).  Before I left for the embassy, I made sure I read and reread the instructions for passport renewal.  Also, if you are applying to renew your passport, if you can, I suggest you print a copy of the application forms because, whilst there are forms that you can fill out at the embassy, it makes things move along quicker if you have all your forms filled out, your money ready, and your passport and other supporting documents available and in order according to the numbering on the forms.

You get to the embassy and take a name from the number thingmebob and wait for your number to be called.  It was a bit of a wait because not everyone came with the right documents, or they didn’t have photos or they didn’t fill out the forms right, or they didn’t have the right forms.  I guess, after filling out forms for my UK residency (there were pages and pages) I learned to prepare and pay attention to detail.  Am not trying to say anything bad about my countrymen at all.  I’m sure anyone who worked in an environment where I worked would make sure all the boxes that needed ticking would be ticked and all the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed.

It took all of 5 minutes to submit my documents, get them inspected and me to make the payment.  Then I was sent upstairs to wait to get my photo taken.  They call you when your passport is ready for pick up so I had the rest of the day to spend in London.

I was horribly hungry so I went to my new favourite place to eat:  Tokyo Diner in Chinatown.  It’s a brilliant little space on the corner of Newport Street.  The food is tasty and authentic and you get a small serving of Japanese rice crackers and bottomless genmaicha (brown rice tea) on the house.  They don’t accept tips, by the way and prefer that you pay in cash.  (They also give you extra rice if you ask for it…as much rice as you can manage!).

Tokyo DinerI ordered a tamago don from the lunch specials menu and waited for my food to arrive.  And when it did, it was mmmm-mmmm good!

Tamago DonI did my usual people watching and noticed this beautiful and familiar blonde sitting in the corner of the restaurant.  I thought she looked like Myanna Buring from Ripper Street and Downton Abbey.  At one point, she moved to the table next to me.  I noticed her looking at my food and when she ordered, she placed an order for the tamago don lunch special as well!  I was certain she was Edna Braithwaite from Downton Abbey.  I even did the creepy thing of taking a sneaky snapshot!

Myanna BuringI sent her a message on Twitter to ask.  And she confirmed that she was indeed Myanna Buring and that I should’ve said hi.  Ah well!  I didn’t want to interrupt what seemed to be me-time.  One never knows whether you can interrupt celebrities these days.

TweetMyannaBuringAnd the celebrity sightings didn’t stop there.  After having my late lunch, I headed back to Liverpool Street.  I was early but all I had to do was hang around Liverpool Street Station for the direct to Harwich Town train that left 16:44.

London Liverpool StreetI went to WH Smith to get myself a free drink (thank you O2 Priority!) and as I was walking back to the main central area of the station I heard a girl giggle heartily and the sound made me smile so I turned to look at where the sound was coming from.  It was from a very pretty Filipina-looking girl in a black turtle neck paired with black palazzo trousers and chatting to someone animatedly on her phone.  My jaw dropped.  Two celebrity sightings in one day?  I had to say hello to a fellow Filipino and one of the prettiest faces in country.  So I turned on my heel and went to say hello to Dominique Cojuangco (Gretchen Barretto’s only child).  Then I started to doubt myself.  I may have just imagined that the girl was who she was.  Also, I didn’t really want to act all stalkerish.  Everyone deserves their alone time and I thought most celebrities enjoy time where they can be themselves and have time to their thoughts.

I did the usual and sent her a tweet and she did say that it her and I should’ve said hi.

TweetDBCojuangcoAh well!  Next time, maybe?