Dec 26, 2023

Zucchini, Corn Kernels, and Ground Pork Stir-Fry

This blog was started back in 2007, and I'm pretty proud of myself still updating it years after. Many recipes were shared here, but to my surprise there's no single similar recipe about zucchini and corn kernels stir-fry, the one dish that I made constantly throughout the years.

Just like a simple leafy greens stir-fry or basic seared steak, perhaps the zucchini stir-fry was too common to me that I totally overlook its recipe potential. Glad that this dish finally caught my attention, and here I present you one of my dinner table regulars.

Zucchini, corn kernels, and ground pork stir-fry - 

Zucchini, corn kernels, and ground pork stir-fry


  • 1 big zucchini
  • 1 medium bundle cilantro
  • 1 can/150 grams corn kernels
  • 370 grams ground pork
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Peel and dice the zucchini. Drain out the liquid for canned corn kernels. Chop the cilantro, about 1 1/2 loosely packed cups in the end.

Prepped ingredients for zucchini stir-fry

Bring out a pan and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Use medium high heat and add in the garlic. Quickly sear the garlic till aromatic but not burnt. 

Transfer the ground pork over along with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Mix and cook till the pork has changed to a whiter paler color. 

Searing ground pork with chopped garlic

Add in cubed zucchini and cook for about a minute.

Cooking cubed zucchini and ground pork

Add in drained corn kernels and chopped cilantro. Mix and cook for one more minute. Taste and adjust if needed. I actually added extra pinch of salt and black pepper here.

Zucchini, corn kernels, and ground pork stir-fry

This recipe doesn't require much seasonings, basically just let the sweetness of the corn kernels and the aroma of cilantro do their job. The result is light but not boring. I love to serve it with rice, sometimes I'll serve it with dry noodles with additional soy sauce, black vinegar, and chili sauce to mix together.


Other recipes using zucchini:

Dec 20, 2023

Seafood Gnocchi in Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce

At a glance, this recipe seems hard to put together, or might need a lot of effort to come up with. No no, please look twice. I've used high quality canned seafood instead of prepping them from scratch. Also possibly the hardest part, the gnocchi, I'm using store-bought pre-made version, that definitely saved tons of work.

Seafood gnocchi in roasted red bell pepper sauce - 

Seafood gnocchi in roasted red bell pepper sauce

Ingredients (about 2 to 3 portions)?

  • 400 grams frozen or fresh gnocchi
  • 250 grams roasted red bell pepper
  • 110 grams canned salmon
  • 110 grams canned cockles
  • 1 can/411 grams whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 loosely packed cup basil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Some aged Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Some salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


If using fresh gnocchi, cook a little then scoop out and set aside first. Note that the cooking time for gnocchi is much quicker than pasta, so don't overdone it. If using frozen version, the one I got doesn't need to cook the gnocchi in water, only need to toss them in the sauce.

Fangst canned seafood and frozen gnocchi

For the food processor, add 2 peeled garlic cloves, 1/2 cup of loosely packed basil, 1 can of whole tomatoes including its juice, roasted and lightly pickled red bell peppers without the juice, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Blend till smooth.

Blending tomatoes and roasted red bell peppers

I used store bought roasted red bell peppers, which was lightly pickled also. If you need to do it from scratch, simply roast the red bell peppers with open flames on the stove till charred. Wrap the hot peppers in foil and wait a little before removing the foil and peeling off the skin. 

Bring out a big pan and pour in the mixed sauce.

Heating up the roasted red bell pepper sauce

Switch to medium heat and wait till the sauce starts bubbling. Adjust the heat to keep the sauce at a light bubbling stage. Continue to cook till the sauce thickens a bit. Add in the gnocchi and toss to mix.

Cooking gnocchi in roasted red bell pepper sauce

Add in drained canned seafood. I used salmon and cockles. Toss till evenly blended. Taste and adjust if needed.

Cooking gnocchi and canned seafood in roasted red bell pepper sauce

Plate and grate some aged Parmigiano Reggiano all over. It has to be aged, and definitely not the already grated version on the shelf. That I have to insist.  

Seafood gnocchi in roasted red bell pepper sauce

So how's the result after putting together all these pre-made ingredients? Fantastic. The canned seafood, a big jar of roasted red bell peppers, and frozen gnocchi really save a lot of time and work, but without sacrificing any taste.

The aroma is definitely up there. After all I did blend in garlics and basil for extra kick. And the frozen gnocchi I got was soft and can easily get squashed with a little force by tongue. 

By the way, the canned seafood I got was purchased during my trip to Denmark, the Fangst brand with ingredients sourced from nordic waters. If you ever get a chance to visit Denmark, this is the stuff I would recommend you to stock up other than the wonderful Danish pastries and cakes.

Extended reading:

Dec 14, 2023

Pickled Chilies and Beef Stir-Fry 剁椒牛肉

I was hoping for a darker-colored stir-fry in the end, but I guess skipping the use of dark soy sauce really has its effect on the final presentation. However, the flavor is still on par with the pretty looking version served at the restaurant. That I can guarantee.

Pickled Chilies and Beef Stir-Fry 剁椒牛肉 - 

Pickled chilies and beef stir-fry


  • 400 grams Taiwan yellow beef 
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons light-tasting cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons pickled chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon aged Shaoxing wine
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch


I specifically said Taiwan yellow beef because this breed has a stronger beef aroma. You can substitute it with other type of beef but try to stick with the flavorful kind. 

Slice the beef to smaller pieces and about 1mm thickness. Transfer the beef slices to a bowl and add in all the ingredients listed under the "marinade" section. Give them a gentle massage and marinate for 20 minutes.

Marinating Taiwan yellow beef slices

Peel and slice the garlic cloves. Destem, remove the pits, and slice the bell peppers.

Bell pepper slices

Use a non-stick pan or a wok, drizzle 2 tablespoons of preferred light-tasting cooking oil then switch to medium heat. Once the oil warms up a little, add in the beef and cook till the meat just turn to pale/white color. Scoop out and leave the oil in the pan.

Cooked beef slices

Still using the same pan, add more oil if not enough to coat the surface. Switch to medium high heat and add in the garlic slices and Sichuan peppercorn. Quickly cook for 30 seconds to release the aroma but not burnt.

Add the pickled chilies along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Cook for another 30 seconds or so.

Cooking the aromatics for pickled chilies beef

Add in the bell pepper and cook for one minute.

Lastly, add the cooked beef back and mix till blended. Taste and adjust the flavor if needed. Once ready, plate and serve.

Pickled chilies and beef stir-fry

I suppose if I use additional dark soy sauce and perhaps some sugar will help darken the color of this stir-fry dish. If doing so, add these two when cooking the pickled chilies. Let the heat melt down the sugar and cook a bit longer before mixing in the bell pepper. 

Extended reading:

Dec 9, 2023

Tuna and Sesame Oil Rice Balls (Onigiri)

Do you carefully read the labels when doing grocery shopping? I do, and sometimes when not in a hurry, I tend to ready all the available products' labels before making a decision. You'll be surprised to see how many chemicals and additives are out there, even in a simple jar of jam or canned food.

And it is especially hard to find canned tuna without all the extras. That's why when I saw this Japanese brand canned tuna HAGOROMO with no weird ingredients listed, I quickly grabbed a set to test it out. And that's how this recipe was born. 

Tuna and sesame oil rice balls (onigiri) - 

Tuna and Sesame Oil Rice Balls

Ingredients (about 3 medium or 2 big servings)?

  • 1 rice measuring cup white rice or quinoa rice
  • 1 small can/70 grams tuna
  • 3 strings scallion
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil


Cook the rice like usual, but with a bit less water. Once ready, fluff the grains and let some steam escape first. When the temperature drops a little, scoop the rice to a big bowl that has been wiped with some sesame oil first to prevent sticking.

Quinoa rice

I actually added some quinoa to the rice. Not just for the color pop, but also for the extra nutrition.

Into the bowl, add in chopped scallion. You can simply use a scissor to cut the scallion, that way you don't have to wash any knives or cutting board for making this recipe. 

Ingredients for tuna and sesame oil rice balls

Add in drained tuna and toasted white sesame seeds. Also add some salt and 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil. Gently mix these ingredients with the rice till evenly dispersed. Taste and see if more salt is needed. The saltiness varies depending on the canned tuna you're using. I used a total of 1/2 teaspoon of salt here.

Sprinkle a few drops of drinkable water to your palms, rub your hands then start shaping the rice mixture to individual onigiri. The water here also help in preventing the ingredients stick onto your hands. But not too much, just a bit moisture goes a long way.

Tuna and sesame oil rice balls / onigiri

So how's the version of HAGOROMO canned tuna I got here? It even says on the can with big letter 純, meaning pure. Not bad actually, especially if you're looking for really fine and flaky texture with minimum flavoring. The taste is quite bland, but that's how I want it to me because I would like to be the one controlling the seasonings. 

However, if you're looking for something saltier or with bigger chunks, other varieties might be a better option. I believe HAGOROMO also offers mild, flake, and oiled kinds. But down the road, despite the purity of ingredients used, I think all canned tuna tastes pretty good, especially when mixed with other ingredients like the onigiri here, or salad and sandwich. 

Extended reading:

Dec 2, 2023

Substans - Our Monkfish Tail Main Course at a Michelin Restaurant in Aarhus Denmark

From the elegant old town city vibe formel B in Copenhagen, now to our second Michelin restaurant Substans in a port city Aarhus. The location setting, style, and food presentation are quite different bewteen formel B and Substans, and I'm pretty happy with my semi-random picks of these two establishments.

Monkfish from Substans

And so it happened when we stroll around the city of Copenhagen. Of course we'll run into one more two McDonald's in busy area. I was checking on the menu, curious to see if the McDonald's in Denmark offers anything different compared to McDonald's in Taiwan.

Substans building

Then there it was, an ad board showing a man wearing chef's white jacket with royal blue apron. Next to him was a delicious-looking bacon paprika burger. I'm so glad that the description was showing English. So I looked closer, it says René Mammen Substans. Wait a minute, that sounds awfully familiar. Isn't René Mammen the chef at Substans, and Substans is the restaurant that we booked in Aarhus?

Substans building

What a coincidence that I chose a Michelin restaurant whose chef happened to be the campaign star during my travel to Denmark. Of course I have to give René Mammen's bacon paprika burger a try. Paired with paprika mayo and chili relish, also with beef patty, bacon, and melted Cheddar, the burger has to be good. 

Substans building

It was indeed delicious. So from there I've already tried the entry level food from Chef Mammen, it's time to move up a few tiers for the fine dining stuff. Substans in Denmark's second largest city Aarhus, here we come.

The restaurant address shows Marianne Thomsens Gade 2F, can't blame someone, per this case, me and Mister mistakenly thinking that Substans is located on the second floor. Instead, 2F is the number of the building, and Substans is actually located on the 11th floor. 

Substans building

The black door is the closest entrance from the parking lot at the basement. Note that the basement are connected from various buildings around the area. If you're about to get lost, just look for 2F.

However, many parkings are actually private spots for the residents, so try to find the parking meter too, where nearby spots are usually open to the public. 

Substans also has a designated parking area managed by QPARK that's about 200 meters away. In which the restaurant will offer a discount. I've noticed that not just the restaurants, the hotels we stayed at also charge parking fee for parking at their own designated area. Maybe it's just how Denmark works.

Substans front door

Substans and Michelin star sign

Once reached the 11th floor, you'll find the front space actually quite simple but cozy. In fact, Substans share the floor with another business entity right next door. I wonder who put up the table football there?

Table football at the front door of Substans

The main dining area is not overly spacious, but the rectangular space with big windows offer a great view of the harbor city. We also spotted a group of people sailing till sunset hours. You can also find some world renowned buildings such as The Iceberg and the red bricks cladded Nicolinehus.

Substans interior near the front door

Substans interior near the front door

Substans set up an open kitchen in the center, which feels like a processing hub in which you can see the bustling kitchen with servers moving in and out the area. No matter which corner you're at, customers always have a view of where all the magic begins.

Substans' open kitchen in the center of the restaurant

Substans open kitchen and dining table

Substans dining area with big windows

Downstairs on the 10th floor, it's also Substans' lounge space. Usually 10th floor won't open unless for larger group of people or special events. We got a chance to take a look of the area, but I'll save the pictures for later. 

Substans dining area

We got the corner table, which I think might be the best table because we've got big windows on both left and right sides, offering the most view compared to all other seats in the restaurant.

Substans corner table

Welcoming tea flavored with yuzu and mint -

Welcoming tea at Substans

The feeling of touching the rough surface of the cup is very similar to the texture of artificial coral. Rustic yet somehow brings out a warmth to it.

Menu - 

Substans menu

Substans menu

Substans menu

We both got champagne to kick start the meal (don't drink and drive). It's not that I feel like drinking alcohol that night, in fact, I got the non-alcoholic pairing instead. But something bubbly seemed festive, sometimes it's more so for the mood, a way of celebration, an anticipation for the dining experiences coming up.

Champagne at Substans

Champagne at Substans

Oyster, sake, fennel -

Oyster at Substans

Fennel is one of the stable ingredients in Denmark. The fennel bulb provides volume and a satisfactory bite. The fennel leaves give flavor, aroma, and sometimes a touch of cuteness to the food. Here we have both, so not just the silky smooth oyster, but also a juicy crunch when biting into sliced fennel bulb, followed by a faint anise-like scent in the end.

Oyster at Substans

In Japan, you'll find chives, spicy grated daikon, and ponzu being commonly served with oysters. Lemon wedges, Tabasco sauce, and horseradish for America. That's why when every part of fennel was used for the oyster, immediately we think of Northern Europe.

Oyster at Substans

Herring roe, ponzu, egg yolk -

Black tart from Substans

The black tart shell was colored with squid ink. The texture was actually on the light and airy side despite its manly appearance. 

Black tart from Substans

By the way, I didn't take as many notes compared to when we dined at formel B in Copenhagen. Throughout the meal, I probably took a couple short videos and snapped some shots of the food. That's about it, I didn't bother to touch my phone except that. 

Goods and bads, some details were lost, such as how the food was prepared, the source of ingredients, etc. But I was able to truly immersed at the whole dining experience at the moment. Engaging in the conversations and embracing the vibe. I kind of like it to be honest. It's nice to do things differently once a while. And after all, if the dish has something outstanding or so unique that it triggered my mind, I'm sure I can still remember a thing or two even days or weeks after the meal. 

Celery, smoke, mussels -

Celery from Substans

The skewer-looking thing was actually celery. It was dried first then they rehydrate it with apple juice. A bit smokey overall too. 

Celery from Substans

If I didn't check on the menu, I might never guessed that there're mussels involved. All I tasted was like a umami burst, yet dense and creamy at the same time. The texture is also similar to eating layers and layers of croissant. Sweet and savory aroma gently remixed in my mouth.

My favorite course of the day, squid, carrot, cilantro -

Squid from Substans

For people who doesn't like carrot, seeing julienned carrot might not be a happy sight. However, there's only a condensed sweetness left, almost like enjoying sweet yam. I guess all the other distinct carrot flavors were already cooked and melted into the broth. 

Squid from Substans

Oh the broth, my favorite. It had a little Southeastern Asian curry touch, and the consistency was silky smooth. That smoothness worked like a wonder when fully coated the squid strips. Making the already tender seafood even more delicate, like drizzling olive oil on top of buffalo cheese balls.

ARENSBAK White, my first non-alcoholic beverage pairing - 


Oolong tea as base then further gone through fermentation, maceration, and other steps in order to achieve layers of flavors. Refreshing melons, citrus, and vanilla are some of the more prevalent notes. As for the wine pairing, Mister got 2022 Crus des Abbesses Auvernier.


Lobster, tomato, verbena - 

Lobster from Substans

I enjoyed this one a lot. Tomato really work so well with lobster, especially when served cold. The acidity can always bring out the natural sweetness from the crustacean. 

Lobster from Substans

And there're more than just fresh tomatoes. You'll find tomato granita, tomato broth, and dried tomatoes on the plate. Among them all, the dried tomatoes act like salt flakes here. Once a while when you bite into dried tomatoes, a sudden pop of concentrated acidity came through. While that pushes you right to the sweet spot, but also brings the entire dish to a new peak of umami burst.

Caviar, beets, hazelnut -

Caviar and yellow beets from Substans

Toasted hazelnut cream on the bottom, and the top was drizzled with herbal oil. Together, they're like a tranquil lake hidden in the forest. Stacked up yellow beets looked like wood logs, which were cooked then slightly pickled in white soy sauce. 

Above them all sitting high off the ground were caviar from Bordeaux, what a noble place to be born with. 

Caviar and yellow beets from Substans

But the caviar is not just for the show. It needs to deliver its savory core to all the elements below. So pick up a spoon and scoop from top till all the way down to help the caviar achieve its goal. Once you successfully done that, what awaits you is a carefully orchestrated harmony. Soothing aroma coming from the hazelnut and herbs. Then the beets turn into sponge soaking up all the seasonings, only to disperse when the pressure builds up by crushing and grinding from teeth and tongue. 

"Mission accomplished," said the caviar, hazelnuts, and beets. 

My apple and quince juice, Mister's 2021 Chablis 1er Cru by Christophe et Fils -

Juice pairing at Substans

Juice pairing and Chablis pairing at Substans

It's fun to have wine pairing and non-alcoholic beverage pairing at the same time. You get to observe how the restaurant decides to approach the upcoming identical dish with difference beverages. 

Juice pairing at Substans

Take my apple and quince juice with Mister's Chablis for instance. These two are prepared for the king crab with vin jaune. So you can start pondering, are there same flavor traits between the juice and the wine? Or perhaps one has aroma similar to the dish and the other has completely the opposite characters?

Juice pairing at Substans

Also don't take non-alcoholic beverage pairing lightly. Some of them are actually pretty good, to my experiences many times even better than the wine pairing. If you're a wine lover, just consider going the non-alcoholic pairing route once a while, you might find some incredible experiences down the road.

King crab, cauliflower, vin jaune -

King crab at Substans

If you never had vin jaune before, try to imagine white wine that has gone through oxidation process, or perhaps the flavor of fino sherry. For Chinese, Hua Diao wine or Shaoxing all share similar traits of vin jaune and we like to enjoy crab with it. Subsequently, it makes sense seeing westerners pairing king crab with vin jaune. 

King crab at Substans

What about my apple and quince juice? I think the high acidity goes hand in hand with the sauce plus additional refreshing touch. That's why I intentionally saved a big sip in the end. Once I finished the dish, I'd drink up the juice and feel freshen up all over again.

Night view at Substans

Another round of pairings, my "tea juice" consists of milky oolong tea and gooseberry. Also Mister's 2021 Montlouis sur Loire Taille aux Loups - 

Milky oolong and 2021 Montlouis sur Loire Taille aux Loups at Substans

Look closer and you'll find a single guest in the background. He was really enjoying the meal, also ordered extra whisky in the end. So him plus our table, there was also a big group of about 8 or 10 people. That's all the customers for the night. 

2021 Montlouis sur Loire Taille aux Loups at Substans

Milky oolong from Substans

It was quite different compared to formel B in Copenhagen, which was crowded and seemed fully booked. However, the night we went to Substans was on a Tuesday. When I tried to search for a high-end fine dining restaurant in Aarhus, many options were closed on Tuesdays. So perhaps the locals don't really go out and eat fancy stuff on Tuesdays over there?

Witch flounder, corn, yuzu -

Witch flounder from Substans

Witch flounder from Substans

Look at that plump fish, almost translucent if you shine a strong light source in the back. But don't take it lightly, the killer is in the sauce. The sauce has a spicy touch to it, but not like chili pepper kind of spicy, but Japanese yuzu kosho kind of kick with a brush of citrusy aroma. 

Witch flounder from Substans

There were also baby corn slices hidden in the sauce, not the ingredient that I usually fall for. But I can deal with Substans' version, especially the baby corn has been fully submerged in such velvety sauce. 

Far & Søn, not hard to guess the name means father and son. Main flavors including lemongrass and lime with slightly fizzy touch. Also Mister's 2022 Rabarberum Cold Hand Winery. The wine is made with rhubarb, how cool is that?

Far & Søn from Substans

Far & Søn from Substans

Bread, herbs, yogurt -

Potato bread from Substans

The bread is mainly made of potatoes. It's nice and dense, you can feel the sturdy weight when holding it. On the contrary, the actual bite is soft on the inside and not dry at all, with a thin crust on the outside.

Potato bread from Substans

I think the creamy sauce on top also contribute certain level of moisture to the bread. Note that there were so many types of herbs being used. These were sourced from a local garden. If I heard it right, the owner of the garden/farm actually worked at Substans before, but decided to become a grower instead.

So with this relationship, the restaurant was able to customize their orders with the garden, such as baby fennel bulbs, which are very hard to find without such connection. 

After the potato bread, our server asked if we would like to take a tour downstair.

Stairway inside Substans

Sure, why not? You can walk down the stairs to the 1oth floor directly from the restaurant. 

Substans lounge area

Substans lounge area

Substans lounge area

10th floor is more like a lounge area, and can be tailored to a big group of people or designed for special events. You can walk to the terrace outside, overlooking the harbor and buildings in surrounding neighborhood. 

Outdoor terrace at Substans

10th floor view at Substans

The tallest building is called the Lighthouse 2.0, which is a a 44-story residential tower. Our server informed us that there will be a restaurant open to the public soon on the highest level.

The Lighthouse 2.0 in Aarhus Denmark

To the other side, you'll see a building with lighted octagon design. If you come here during day time, that octagon is actually a clock with hour hand and minute hand. And to the back of it is actually someone else's home and window. 

Nightview at Substans

Both the hour hand and minute hand used to glow at night too, but the residents complained that it's too annoying at night, so they turned off the lighting accordingly. 

All these tour, me and Mister knew is because the kitchen might not be able to get our food ready in time. So it's a sidetrack so that we can be absent for a moment, at least enough time for the kitchen staff to catch up. We know, that's why we really took our time walking around the floor and might as well use the restroom too.

But it's so cold outside, and we tried to stay out and enjoy the view for as long as we could, until the indoor warmth called us back in. 

It's ok, the staff brought over our next pairing, which should help in buying extra 5 to 10 minutes for the kitchen. 

Beverage pairings at Substans

The juice was the combination of earl grey, coffee, peppercorn and berry, and 2020 Oberrotweil Späburgunder Selway for the wine.

Beverage pairings at Substans

Continuing the previous use of potatoes - 

Potato dish at Substans

Earlier, the potatoes were formed into bread, here the potatoes are hidden under all the herbs and foamy Havgus cheese sauce. 

Potato dish at Substans

Havgus is a local semi-hard cheese that needs to be aged for at least 35 months. One can relate its taste with sharp Cheddar. Its condensed savory note works well with light-tasting potatoes, yet not overpowering it thanks to the airy foamy texture and the herbal scent throughout.

Now these two both look like wine bottles, but the one on the right is my non-alcoholic pairing, juice made with Gamay wine grapes - 

L'antidote Gamay and wine from Substans

2020 Côte de Brouilly Alex Foillard on the left.

Gamay juice and wine from Substans

The orange color is my gamay juice. Even though it's juice, but still went through second fermentation and thus the fizzy body.

Gamay juice from Substans

Main dish, monkfish, cabbage, mushroom -

Monkfish from Substans

I've had monkfish hotpot with big pieces of monkfish inside, but usually with bones. So this should be my first time enjoying meaty chunky monkfish, no bones of course.

Monkfish from Substans

It's the tail section of the monkfish, with texture that totally blew my mind. I thought it would be somewhat gelatinous, or reminiscence of cod. However, the monkfish tail was like a giant crab claw. You can taste and feel the threads compiled together, forming this big piece of meat. But they won't fall apart as you chew, a bit bouncy too.

Monkfish from Substans

The generous use of chanterelle also brought so much flavors to the sauce. It's earthy, dense, and packed with savory deliciousness. The cute fennel flower on top wasn't just for the show. Once biting into it, a bit of anise aroma bursts out, like a sudden pop of herbal element cutting through the heavy sauce. Unfortunately, since there's only one flower, you've only got one shot to enjoy that sudden blasting fun.

Greek mountain tea with syrup and yuzu, plus Mister's 2017 Tokaj Szamorodni Barta Pince. Yes, we've come so far and now it's time for desserts -

Drinks for desserts at Substans

Drinks for desserts at Substans

Despite their alcoholic content and all the flavor differences, these two have matching color!

Cherry, hip rose - 

Dessert at Substans

Dessert at Substans

Miso, plum, rice -

Miso dessert at Substans

I hold no special opinion regarding the previous ice cream course. And for this one, I don't mind the sweet and savory combo. In fact, I think introducing miso here with creamy parfait was a brilliant idea. The rice puffs also provide a hearty aroma, binding the miso and creamy ingredients together. 

However, it was such a hassle tackling the dried plum pieces on top. The more I chew the more they stick onto my teeth and hard to get off.

Good thing that the leftover pieces from making croissant came to a rescue - 

Croissant trimmings from Substans

It truly was leftover ingredients. They use the trimmings when making croissant and turned that into a satisfying sweet pastry treat. 

Croissant trimmings from Substans

It's simple and both the texture and the flavor can be expected. But the most important thing is that it has the basic things that a dessert should have, something fulfilling and something welcoming. Not the fancy bits or novel ideas, but a treat that sticks to its purpose.

Coffee and crème fraîche cookies.

Coffee cookies at Substans

So I think the sequence of the dessert courses were well-arranged. First they show you something creative. Interesting but not always necessarily gratifying. Then they end with what we known as basic desserts. Something we would expect at granny's place, but put together in a more elevated way of course. 

All that, we can complete the meal with a happy ending. 

Before we leave the restaurant, our server brought over an envelope with a business card, receipt, and tonight's menu in it.  

Menu at Substans

Come to think of it, our entire meal didn't contain any meat, I mean land animals. No two-legged and no four-legged animals. Well, there was king crab with 6 legs and 2 claws, but that doesn't count. This shows again that Denmark is truly a seafood abundant nation. 

Not just this fine dining meal, we literally ate seafood on a daily basis during our trip in Denmark. You can find salmons and fresh shrimps in so many places. There were tons of pickled and smoked varieties in the market. I also find many seafood vendors tend display the entire monkfish in the center of the fridge. With its flat but fat body paired with big wide mouth, monkfish always draws some attention from passersby.

Based on my past experiences, I never thought of monkfish being used in an entrée. In Japan, they do use monkfish for hotpot, but I rarely or have never seen it used in western main course. So having this opportunity to try something unexpected, per this case, the monkfish tail as the center of attention, it was a fun ride. And a delicious one too.    

Substans currently holds one Michelin star status. 


Marianne Thomsens Gade 2F, 11.1, 

Aarhus, 8000, Denmark 

+45 86 23 04 01



Opening hours:

Tuesday through Thursday 6:00 p.m. ~ 12:00 midnight

Friday and Saturday 12:00 noon ~ 12:00 midnight

Sunday and Monday off