Quick Bite: Banana Peels

can make bruises look better.

banana peel

Maybe you shouldn't throw this away so readily. Image by Tony Latham, Iconica.

Some believe that by holding banana peels over a bruise for ten to thirty minutes the colour will be drawn from it.  Apparently warts, splinters, and even headaches also fall before the incredible utility of the often overlooked banana peel.


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Drunk Monks

I would go so far as to say that the common stereotype for a bartender doesn’t look at all like a disciple of Buddha, but if one were to venture into a bar called Vow’s in Nakano (中野区), this innocent assumption is easily challenged.

Nakano Broadway Shopping Mall

Vow's Bar is located near the Nakano Broadway shopping mall. Image from brbjapan.tumblr.com

Nakano is one of the 23 special wards in the greater Tokyo area, known for its multiculturalism, community spirit and memorable eccentricities.  One of the many dive bars in this small municipality is operated by Shaku Genko, a Buddhist monk.  Continue reading

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Quick Bite: Yams

are not sweet potatoes.

yam and sweet potato

The yam (right) is not a sweet potato (left). Image: Jennifer Baldwin

While both the sweet potato and yam flourish into tropical vines, using these two words interchangeably as many North Americans like to do is, well, wrong.  The yam (hailing from Asia and Africa) and sweet potato (an American descendant) come from entirely different families—dioscoreaceae and convulvaceae, respectively.  And even though it’s common to find orangey “yams” at the supermarket (in North America), they are merely a squishier version of the sweet potatoes sitting beside them.

Happy 2010!


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The Panda’s Favourite Food

is something people enjoy eating as well, especially in Asia.

Bamboo leaves.

Bamboo leaves. From Cornstock Images.

Bamboo is an extremely industrious plant.  Some have been known to grow up to a metre a day, and forests of this ambitious grass can pop up in no time after a refreshing monsoon.  Bamboo, when fully mature is a surprisingly sturdy material.  Fashioned into tools, garments, furnishings and even structures, bamboo has not only been a survival material for small ethnic groups in many parts of Asia, but also possess enormous commercial potential as a  more sustainable substitute for many organic raw materials.

These strong bamboo culms, however, are not fit for eating.  Continue reading


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Quick Bite: Apples

were once regarded as feminine symbols, associated with Venus.

green apple halved

Apparently the core looks just like something else... From Getty Images.

While this was only true in some esoteric cults, this connection was theorized to be made because an apple cut vertically in half bears some resemblance to female genitalia.

Happy December!

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Quick Bite: Dragonfly

larvae are eaten in rural communities in Eastern China.

dragonfly larvae

You can only imagine the satisfying (or not) crunch of these insects. From feffi on Flickr.com.

The fisherman catch them in shallower parts of the river, leave them out in the sun to dry for a few hours and then bag them to sell in markets.  Apparently, they cash in better than the fish they catch.

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Better Than Kobe

In rarity, price, and marbling, Mishima beef (見島牛) is regarded as superior than the now not-so-exotic Kobe beef.  Mishima cows* are thoroughbred in Japan; they have not crossed with European breeds because the island on which they graze has existed in relative isolation.  Mishima (見島) is a small island off the Southern sloping end of Honshu, in the Sea of Japan.

mishima island

Mishima (見島), the home of the prized Mishima cattle.

mishima cow

A Mishima cow*.

The cattle of this island have lived isolation from other Japanese cattle breeds for about 200 years, and either because of their genetic purity, their limited number, or meat quality, a head of mishima cattle can ring up a substantial multi-digit figure shaming Kobe beef to the discount aisle. Continue reading


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Tokyo Tops Paris

The capital city of Japan is a metropolis of neon lights, face-paced shopping, lively districts and a confluence of global influences.  It’s also an extremely delicious place, according to Michelin Guides.  Toyko was recently crowned with the honor of possessing more Michelin 3-star restaurants than any other city in the world, even Paris.  The final tally (of 3-star establishments) was eleven to ten, Tokyo, squeezing it just above Paris.


Tokyo trumps Paris in battle for the 3-stars. From tedtalks.ning.com.

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Quick Bites!

Quick Bite is a new feature on Gluttonize!

Basically, crumbs of food-related information will be thrown at you for those in need of a quick food trivia fix.  They’re going to be filed under the category “Quick Bites” so you can access them easily by clicking on the “Quick Bites” category icon on the side bar →

Click on this image on the sidebar to access Quick Bites!

Check back regularly for more tasty morsels of food facts!

The links to the first and second Quick Bites are here, and here.

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Farm Sanctuary

is an animal rescue organization operating out of New York and California that strives to protect factory farm animals from abusive treatment and exploitative husbandry.

Gene Baur and book

Gene Baur, co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, on the cover of his book that documents the life of the organization.

In a perhaps more exaggerated sense, they seek to drive home the cause-effect relationship between the cruel reality of animal maltreatment and the succulent top sirloin that deliciously sizzles on our home grills.  The notion that a sentient creature was conceived, raised and slaughtered is often lost in the face of the glaring “SPECIAL” sticker slapped on the styrofoam and plastic packaging of the numerous meat products at the supermarket.  Farm Sanctuary works to bridge this disconnect and make known the deplorable practices of factory farming.  Continue reading


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