Saturday, January 29, 2005

AP reporter has 376 jiaozi in 6 days in Harbin

It's all in a week's work. But he found out that he liked them.

33 flavors at Dumpling Kings - The Washington Times: Travel - January 29, 2005

Yao Ming to get some home cooking

Here's one way to make sure you get food from home - buy your mother a restaurant. The restaurant will be handicapped-accessible, too, as in the handicap of being 7 feet talll. - News - Yao Ming's Parents To Open Restaurant

The Manila Times goes on a Chinese food trip around the metropolis

" To count the number of Chinese restaurants in Metro Manila today is next to impossible. Much like trapping that darn fly between a pair of chopsticks! For even Aling Nena—if you please—serves her version of the chopsuey and chicken mami at the neighborhood turo-turo. And that would certainly affect the final tally......."

The Manila Times Internet Edition | LIFE & TIMES > Chow!

Indian Restaurants adding Chinese dishes to the menu

The Telegraph - Calcutta : Metro:
"The popularity of Chinese cuisine has forced many non-Chinese addresses to either hold a food festival or introduce the cuisine on a permanent basis. The latest in line is the Indian speciality restaurant Manthan on 3 Waterloo Street, hosting a 20-day-long Chinese food festival ending February 10."

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Leon Redbone live at a 100-year old Chinese restaurant

Where? Woonsocket RI, that's where. Read about the fascinating history of Chan's Fine Oriental Dining in the Woonsocket Call.

The Chan Dynasty

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

New Mecca for Chinese food;: Concord NH

Concord, New Hampshire, with a population of 40,000, now has 13 Chinese Restaurants. Why so many? It's explained here, more or less.

Thanks to David Chan for the link.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Passionate about Chinese food in Thermopolis, WY

From the Casper, Wyoming Star-Tribune police blotter:

A Thermopolis police officer arrived at a house on the afternoon of Jan. 9 to settle a dispute between an unmarried couple about whether to drive to Worland for Chinese food. The woman thought it was unsafe to take their toddler out of town on the snow-covered roads, says a brief in the Thermopolis Independent Record. It is unknown if they decided to go out for Chinese food.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

A Denver Chinese food fan's lament

From the Rocky Mountain News' Dining page:

Reader mail

Dear John: "I have just about despaired of finding a place that has good (or even bad) chop suey in Denver. Why do the Chinese restaurants here eschew chop suey? You would think I had asked for poached horse (stuff)!"

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Message board thread on Taiwanese Night Snacks

Found this while Googling for information on Taiwanese snacks. It's a thread in the Japan Today forums, and contains some good photos.

Taiwan Night Snacks

Friday, January 21, 2005

The state of Chinese Food in Hong Kong

The Financial Times brings us an excellent article by Fuchsia Dunlop summarizing the current dining situation in Hong Kong.

China serves up treats for HK

Here's one quote:

"It used to be the other way round," says Rose Leng, businesswoman and gourmet, "but these days the food in Shanghai is so good that Hong Kong people go there for the weekend, just to eat. And now Shanghai restaurants like Xinjishi and Lulu are opening in Hong Kong, and introducing new dishes." Hong Kong also has branches of the famous Beijing lamb hotpot restaurant, Donglaishun, and the Sichuanese Tan Yu Tou. This new wave of restaurants, with chic design and modernised regional cooking, (sanitised, say their critics), are fast eclipsing established haunts such as Lao Shanghai, whose traditional eastern cooking is more popular with the older generation.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Been sprouts in your cow mains?

From an on-line Five Star review of Ho Ho Restaurant in Greenville, RI (thanks to "katya"):

This restaurant is a real gem. I grew up living just outside of Boston's Chinatown. For as long as I can remember I've been eating Chinese once or twice a week; that for about 50 years. I know good Chinese. Ho Ho is great Chinese, especially if you like Cantonese. Here been sprouts are rarely seen; unlike many places that make most cow mains and chop sueys with mostly bean sprouts and use them as fillers in all but the most expensive dishes. Here all the dishes have their own distinctive flavors as well. However, be prepared for some unexpected twists, like the pickled beets, cole slaw and french fries that they serve with each menue choice. Strange (maybe a Rhode Island thing), but nice.

If the waiter says "You won't like it," listen to him.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Wine with Chinese Food? Hold on a minute..

I've finally found a visible supporter of my theory that "beer is the wine that goes with everything -- especially Chinese food.

Wine lovers beware; sometimes, only a beer will do

01:00 AM EST on Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Bloomberg News

Too many wine lovers find it hard to fathom that not every food in the world should be accompanied by their favorite beverage.

Some foods, like artichokes, which contain cynarin, are chemically antagonistic to wine, making them taste oddly sweet. Others, like chile peppers, obliterate them. And no matter what enophiles may say, Cabernet Sauvignon is absolutely awful with chocolate desserts.

I was reminded of this while having dinner recently at a very good Indian restaurant in New York, Khyber Grill. I was struck, not for the first time, that wine and Indian food have little natural affinity.

One might argue that a crisp, acidic Riesling will help cut the heat and spices of, say, mulligatawny soup or a creamy chicken korma dish. And since tandoori dishes need not be particularly spicy, a simple merlot might work.

Others contend that Gewurztraminer, which is itself spicy, with a little sweetness beneath it, is a credible match for milder curries or with the sweet, milk-based desserts in Indian restaurants.

To which I say, why bother? Such recommendations are certainly not ideal; they are merely a way to get wine on the table.

Beverages like beer or tea go much better with the incendiary heat and spices of Indian food. Simply put, there is no wine I know of -- not Cabernet Sauvignon, not Zinfandel, not Syrah, and certainly not a complex, expensive Bordeaux or Burgundy -- that does anything more than quench thirst with Indian food.

During my visit to Khyber Grill, I was accompanied by two winemakers and a restaurateur from California; we tried to make reasonable matches with the restaurant's highly aromatic northern Indian cuisine.

The restaurant actually has a pretty substantial wine list, with several dozen wines from many countries. We chose a Patz & Hall Chardonnay from California.

With its well-rounded fruit and balanced acids, it seemed an ideal match with aloo papdi chat (crispy crackers topped with chickpeas), tangy yogurt, sweet tamarind, and chopped coriander.

The flavors were mild and tropical, the wine adding its own lushness. And that was that.

The parade of wonderful dishes that followed -- spiced ground lamb (seekh kabab); tandoori chicken marinated in a pickling brine (achari kabab); lamb morsels with the complex spice mix called garam masala; chicken vindaloo in a hot chile paste; Goa fish curry made with red chile sauce; and black lentils cooked with garlic, spices, and butter -- completely blew away both the white wine and a big-bodied Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel that followed.

If any wine could have held its own with Indian seasonings and chile peppers, this massive, plummy Zinfandel should have. But it came up short.

The wines didn't compromise the food at Khyber Grill in any way, but neither did they complement it. There just didn't seem any good reason to match wine with such highly seasoned food.

Indeed, if an enophile were to insist on drinking wine with Indian food I would recommend an inexpensive white wine of almost any varietal. After a taste or two of red chile paste, which has a searing heat to it, no wine can go the distance.

This would be just as true of matching wines to hot Thai food, Korean food laced with the incendiary chile pickle called kim chee, and most Chinese food, which contains assertive spices, high salt from soy sauce, and a good dose of sweet flavors, as in Peking duck or dishes made with hoisin sauce.

Cantonese cuisine, which is far more delicate, is not so much of a problem. Many dishes in that repertoire, like clear chicken soups, many dim sum items, pan-fried noodles, and steamed fish with scallions would be enhanced by white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Grigio or light reds like Beaujolais, Bardolino, and Red Sancerre.

Traditionally, the Cantonese drink tea or beer with their meals, occasionally rice wine or brandy. Still, as Eileen Yin-Fei Lo writes in her book New Cantonese Cooking (Viking, 1988), "Wine selection can be tricky. The problems inherent in pairing wines and Chinese foods is that the sweet, sour, tart, salty, steamed, fried, roasted, stewed, and blanched all may be included in a single meal."

So, if my wine-loving friends and colleagues will excuse me, I prefer to revert to my Joe-Six-Pack persona at Asian restaurants. For me, an ice-cold Eagle beer from India, or Tsingtao from China, or Singha from Thailand is not just a better choice, but one I don't have to think too hard about to have a good time.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

How's that again?

"If the Irish, in fact, had invented Chinese food, Korean would be the result."

So sayeth the Sunday Times (UK) and explains it, sort of, thusly:

Korean food is not dissimilar to Chinese, if less psychedelically flamboyant. If the Irish, in fact, had invented Chinese food, Korean would be the result. It’s aggressively carnivorous and stew-based, with a violently spicy edge. To the untrained palate, it has two basic ingredients: dead animal and napalm.

Read it in depressing context in The Times Online.