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Chinese/ dinner/ San Francisco

Mister Jiu’s: An Emergence of “New Chinese”

Chinese food is one of my comfort foods – give me a meal full of dumplings, noodle soups and rice dishes, and it’ll satiate my hunger and subdue any feelings of anger, frustration, and woe. Mister Jiu’s is a bit different than your normal MSG-filled Chinese restaurant around the corner. Even though they are located in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown, they’re making a new version of Chinese food, one that’s worth trying out and waiting for.

The photos will showcase dishes from the banquet and a la carte menu, so make sure to check out their seasonal menu prior to dining if you’re looking to have the same exact dish.

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Rice noodle roll (腸粉) with uni was a luxurious update to the traditional shrimp or pork filled noodle roll that you find at dim sum restaurants. The crepe felt as if it was very delicately made – silky smooth, not too oily – and worked well with the bits of creamy uni as it would slosh in your mouth.

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The charcuterie plate made of: Devil’s Gulch Pig Head, Chilled Beef Tendon, and La Quercia Cured Ham with fried dough (油條) is worth tasting. Like the traditional cold plates, it was served as an assortment and each cut with great balance between salt, meat and fat. The fried dough was not oily either, and only made me wish I had a bowl of porridge to go with it. Note: I’m also a huge fan of anything Devil’s Gulch so this won over my heart easily.

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A simple vegetable dish of tendrils, greens and stems was topped with uni mousse and pieces of uni. It was easy to scarf down this dish, with tender bites of vegetables mixed with intense umami flavors that sloshed around in your mouth.

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Chinese/ Events/ nyc

Cinco De Mayo: Eating Tour Anyone?

Taken by Vivienne Gucwa

Despite the fact that Cinco De Mayo is a Mexican holiday, that doesn’t mean you can’t eat your heart out right?  Save some room for an eating tour being held by MOCA (Museum of Chinese America).  It’ll feature the food establishments in Chinatown that have made a mark on NYC’s food culture.  Did I also mention that there’s going to be a wine tasting to end off a great event?

 That’s right – take a look at the description and vendors that are participating:

Reserve your spot here: https://mocanyc.obsres.com/Info.aspx?EventID=7

Every restaurant is a story.

There are stories of legacy: Chinatown’s sons and daughters who grow up to be entrepreneurs and restaurateurs. Stories of diversity: the flavors of China’s regional cuisines converging in New York City. And stories of evolution: a constant weaving between the classic and modern, the old and the new.

Join the Young Professionals of MOCA for “Beyond Takeout: A Culinary History Of Chinatown.”

A MOCA educator will lead you on a tour through Chinatown to learn about the past and ongoing histories of some of your favorite eateries. End the day at the Museum for a food and wine tasting while mingling with your fellow MOCA YPs, members, and friends.

Exclusive offers for tour participants in celebration of Asian American Heritage month:
– free admission to MOCA for the month of May
– a chance to enter a raffle for two tickets to the Museum’s First Annual Celebration of Community Heroes dinner on May 16 (total value: $300)
– the following establishments are offering a 10% discount from May 5 through May 31:

Hong Kong Station (45 Bayard Street and 45 Division Street)
Red Egg* (13 Doyers Street)
Nom Wah (202 Centre Street)
Quickly** (11 Pell Street)
Won Ton Garden (79 Mulberry Street)
Kung Fu Tea (234 Canal Street)
Harney & Sons (433 Broome Street)

*dine-in only and cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions (e.g. happy hour)
**tour participants will receive 20% off their Quickly purchase at the 11 Pell Street location

To take advantage of these offers, tour participants will be given a designated card during guest check-in on May 5 that they can present to the various business partners from May 5, 2012 through May 31, 2012.

Reserve your spot here: https://mocanyc.obsres.com/Info.aspx?EventID=7

Chinese/ lunch/ Taiwanese/ travels

Taiwan: Foodie Heaven Pt. 1 – Minced Pork Rice

It’s been a while, but I am back and ready to blog about all these food journeys that I’ve gone through in the past 3 months!  I’ve been working on lots of food pictures so there will be more posts to come (woo hoo!).  Anyway, in December I went to Taiwan, one of the best places to eat-your-heart-out, and I felt like I was home; all I did was eat, shop, and eat some more.  You’ll see what I mean with my pictures.

One of the places I must talk about is 天然紅豆腐, where I ate one of the best minced pork rice (滷肉飯) in my life.  The rice glistened as it was topped with marinated minced pork belly.  Not only did it have the perfect ratio of meat to fat, but it was perfectly salty and the red bits on the side gave it a slightly sweet flavor.  I quickly gobbled up my bowl and wished I had some more. Delicious.

They are also known for their pork blood soup (豬血湯).  Texture-wise it is not like anything you can get in New York; the pig’s blood pieces were soft and tender, paired with a clear soup that was seasoned with scallion made the soup easy to finish.

For those who are thinking about taking a trip to Taiwan, this is definitely a place I would recommend you go to for minced pork rice and pork blood soup.  You will not be disappointed.  In fact, you will want to bring friends and spread the joy of minced pork!

Restaurant Name: 天然紅豆腐
Address: 台北市吉林路319號
Telephone: (02) 2586-2201
Hours: 10AM~10PM
Chinese/ Events/ nyc

YPX Gala 2011: Celebrating Connexions

This year at YPX Expo’s Celebrating Connexions, held at Studio XXI, focused on cultural and community connections for Asian Americans.  While people mingled and fought for a spot in the open bar, I found myself inclined to follow the caterers like Dim Sum A-Go-Go and Red Egg, and quickly grab at the appetizers that they brought out.

Plate of shumai and another type of steamed dumpling, all skewered.

Dumpling!

Oh yes, another dumpling! I guess it is easy finger food (quite literally).

They made sure the open bar was stocked by Absolut with special drinks.

Needless to say, everyone had a good time hearing the great music, eating these apps, and drinking tasty drinks! For more information about the Museum of Chinese Americas, check out the website: http://www.mocanyc.org/

Chinese/ dinner/ nyc

Hung Ry: Hand-Pulled Noodles Outside of Chinatown

With a name like Hung Ry, how can you not want to try out this restaurant? Okay, seriously beyond its name, I’ve heard that they hand-pull their noodles and cook up tasty noodle soups outside of Chinatown. A review said that it had more complex broths than their Chinatown counterparts, which accounts for a more expensive bowl of noodle soup. So I gathered a group of curious foodies and made reservations. Another appeal: you can make reservations here as opposed to many ramen / noodle shops that will not take any reservations.

Apps featuring different animal parts, anyone? We started off with beef tongue served with black beans, rutabaga, pickled in an aromatic broth. How does tongue taste? It’s actually pretty good, and it wouldn’t be obvious that you ate a tongue. There wasn’t any particularly memorable about the dish aside from the fact that it was tongue.

I’m used to seeing frog legs stir fried in an onion / scallion sauce. Instead Hung Ry serves their frog legs with celery root and walnuts. A bit more gourmet and very tasty. The frog legs are tender and have a lightly crisp skin. Definitely something I would eat again.

Amongst their list of 8 types of different broths, I order the Duck Breast noodles served with gizzard, Szechuan peppers and kaboucha squash. You can choose between having thick or thin noodles and as you can tell from above, I ended up choosing thin noodles. The noodles are well cooked, al dente, and have good firmness to the bite. The broth didn’t end up being so “complex” as I hoped and lacked a few ingredients I feel to be vital to chinese noodle soups. As seen in the picture above, there was no trace of any green – no scallions, no cilantro – and that makes this noodle soup less colorful and interesting. My noodle dish wasn’t the only one that suffered from the lack of green either. It’s an easy addition and something I would hope they include in the future.

Do I think this place is worth $16 for noodle soup? Not quite. However, there are a lot of pros: accepts reservations, freshly made noodles, and a variety of broths to keep you satisfied all winter. It’s worth a try and look to enjoy some delicious strings of noodles, at least.

Hung Ry Restaurant
55 Bond Street, between Lafayette and Bowery
(212) 677-4864

Chinese/ dinner/ drinks/ nyc/ Taiwanese

YPX Gala: A Celebratory Night for Chinese Americans

I was invited to attend the YPX Gala held by the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) which celebrates Chinese American artists, chefs, and designers that are becoming America’s trendsetters. They had several honorees like Lucy Liu, Dave Liang of the Shanghai Restoration Project, and Chef Chris Cheung. There was only Chinese food served but no complaints here!

One of the highlights was that they were serving Taiwan Beer. Even though they didn’t have the Gold Label Taiwan Beer (my fav), it was still really great that they had this as an option. Right now only Xiao Ye serves this beer but hopefully more places will get on this.

Foie gras buns, made by Chef Chris Cheung of Lair Lounge and Restaurant, is an interesting take on chinese buns and a french delicacy. The starchy bun exterior helped tone down the richness of the foie gras. Being a person that doesn’t like foie gras, I was surprised how good this was, and easily would have eaten two more.

Another dish by Chef Chris Cheung’s Lair Lounge and Restaurant. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to see what this was, but it was very good. The outside was a thin fried roll and inside there was a light crab mixture. I took two and still wanted more.

Bite-sized dumplings paired some some vinegar and soy sauce. I felt these were very good but hard to grab them by the chopstick. It’s probably easier to eat them using a fork but no such utensil was in sight.

Kyotofu took care of the dessert that night and brought mini chocolate miso brownies. They were nicely dense and moist, and a perfect dessert to pop into your mouth.

Lastly, the mini yuzu tofu cheesecake. The yuzu added a nice citrus flavor to the cheesecake. Another easy dessert to eat and enjoy.

Great food, music, and drink. All in celebration of the achievements that Chinese Americans have made in American culture. Hopefully there will be more to come in the future!

Breakfast/ brunch/ Chinese/ lunch/ travels

A Taste of Chinese Comfort Food: A&J Restaurant

It’s hard to find good authentic Chinese breakfast / lunch food these days. As a Manhattanite, I find myself frustrated with the limited options of this city. In a city full of Chinese people, generations and generations of us, I have yet to find solid comfort Chinese breakfast. Where did I end up? Not Flushing or Brooklyn. Instead I was brought to a place in Virginia called A&J Restaurant.

What kind of name is that? Don’t ask me. All I know is that there were a healthy number of clientele at this place, where steaming bowls of noodle soup and fresh soybean milk (豆漿) were served. Can’t stop drooling? Okay, onto the pictures!

Bean curd with mustard greens and soy beans (毛豆百葉) was a nice starter to whet our appetites. Not too oily and the bamboo was nicely crisp.

Pan fried pork dumplings (鮮肉鍋貼) was perfectly soft yet crunchy at the same time. They had a nice thin dumpling skin while maintaining a fair ratio of meat.

Szechuan Style spicy wonton with hot sauce (紅油抄手) is one of my favorite dishes in general. Granted, the ones in Taiwan I had are still the best I’ve ever had in my life, but their version surely was not forgettable. Though there might have been too much sauce provided for these wontons, they still proved to be a scrumptious bite of spice and savory, with the delicate wonton skin to wrap this delicious package.

Oh yes beef noodle soup (紅燒牛筋麵) is one of my ultimate comfort foods. The intense and steaming beef broth was brought out along with thick noodles and greens. How much more comfort can you get from a beef noodle soup? Yum.

Shredded pork and mustard green noodle soup (雪菜牛絲綿) had a clear broth, possibly a chicken-based stock, which made it easy to slurp and consume without feeling guilty about ingesting oils. We got a Shanghainese style noodle (thin) and went very well with this dish.

Needless to say, I had an amazing time – warm food prepared in the upmost traditional methods to provide the Chinese breakfast food I was craving. My stomach was very satisfied and happy, yearning for more after returning to New York. Perhaps my next mission is to find another place like this in Manhattan. Feel free to mention any places you have encountered like this in the city!

A&J Restaurant
4316 Markham St
Annandale, VA 22003
(703) 813-8181

Chinese/ dessert/ nyc/ Taiwanese

Ultimate Summer Dessert: Mango Shaved Ice

I LOVE mango shaved ice. Ever since I tasted the original version in Taiwan, I have yearned for good Taiwanese shaved ice in the city. I have tried several including the ones listed on a recent Serious Eats article, ranking best shaved ice spots around New York City. However, Just Sweet Dessert House is one place hasn’t been reviewed since it just opened. I noticed that this dessert spot has various versions of Asian shaved ice and desserts so it was instantly a MUST-TRY for me.

Naturally I picked the Mango Lover – Shaved ice topped with mango syrup, sliced bananas, mango, and sago. There’s supposed to be whipped cream on it but I guess they must have left it out. The mango slices were sweet and sago was nice and chewy (aka. “QQ). Banana slices are freshly cut so has great flavor. Very tropical and deliciously sweet. Of course it is not the same as Taiwan: no condensed milk, different texture of shaved ice; however I will gladly take a bowl of this any day in the summer.

If anyone wants to try the other shaved ice bowls, let me know!

Just Sweet Dessert House
83 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10003

Chinese/ lunch/ nyc

The Noodle Bar: Cold Noodles, Perfect for a Hot Day

It’s been hot. 90+ degrees hot. That’s why finding a restaurant that provides cooling drinks and refreshing dishes is very important. After wandering around Lower East Side, my friend and I end up making a spontaneous restaurant decision and venture into Noodle Bar.

Even though it wasn’t air-conditioned that particular day, they had both food and drink offerings to chill you out. They have normal drinks, some made from fresh fruit, and also flavored sodas. I stuck to plain ol’ iced water but would be interested in trying out their other beverages in the future.

My mind was only on cold noodles and I ordered their sesame-peanut noodle lunch set. It came with two spring rolls – taro and vegetable – and a side salad. The sesame-peanut noodles were perfectly made; not only was it cooling but also very delicious. The proportion of sauce to noodle was just enough not to overwhelm the entire dish. The sauce also nicely coated the other vegetables (i.e. cucumbers, eggplant) to tie everything together. A tasty plate all for $7.95!

Being an avid noodle eater, I’m just glad that we can enjoy noodles in hot weather. The Noodle Bar is quick, cheap, and worth a trip.

Noodle Bar
172 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002

Chinese/ dinner/ Japanese/ Korean/ nyc/ snack/ Taiwanese/ Uncategorized

Lucky Rice’s Night Market – A Taste of Asian Street Food

On a beautiful comfortable Friday night on April 30th held Lucky Rice’s Night Market, hosted by David Chang. This night market event is based on popular nighttime markets throughout Asia, found in Taipei all the way to Kuala Lumpur. Typically speaking, these night markets feature various cheap street foods, shops, and fun games.

In its first year, Lucky Rice was able to secure 26 different restaurants for the Archway, where the main event was held, and eight alcoholic beverage vendors located in the Loft. Being a passionate Taiwanese foodie, I was very excited to see how this event would come into fruition. The Archway under the Manhattan Bridge provided the perfect awning for all vendors to place their stands and prepare their street foods for the masses. Traditional and non-traditional restaurants highlighted Asian street food in small portions. All the vendors provided free samples and optional foods for purchase ranging from $1 to $3. Some highlights of the night included:

Mantao’s Spicy Pork Sandwich was nicely marinated, and the mantou (aka. Chinese steam bread) with sesame seeds on top offset the saltiness of the meat. It is quintessentially an Asian mini burger. Mantao’s partnership with American Airlines provided discount coupons for flights and a fortune cookie.

I really liked Kuma Inn and Uni Nom’s “Adoba and Atchara” Pork Belly. These days it is pretty easy to find pork belly in a dish, but I found that they did a particularly good job in marinating the meat – soft, oily, and salty. They provided small amounts of fatty goodness, which made it a perfect amount for me to enjoy without feeling too overwhelmed with the oily portions.

The Setai’s (South Beach, Miami) Crisp Fried Pork Belly served with Kimchi and Island Creek Oyster was different than Kuma Inn’s but just as good. It was important to take a bite of the pork belly FIRST and then slurping your oyster afterward. The oyster refreshed my palette from the fattiness of the fried pork belly.

Of course I had to get Baohaus’s Stinky Tofu since stinky tofu is one of Taiwan’s traditional dishes. The constant reaction was, “Oh my gosh, that really smells”. However, in my mind I believe that the smellier the tofu, the better the taste. Even though it was not the best stinky tofu I have had, I was glad that Baohaus was serving it. The stinky tofu certainly brought me back to my memories eating this street food in Taiwanese night markets.

The Malaysian Pavilion, located in a small section right before the Archway, was open to the public and featured 11 restaurants where small samples of food were sold. I didn’t eat anything here though I am sure there were plenty of good eats. Yet, I did explore one particular stand – the free photo booth where you can dress yourself in traditional Asian accessories like a fan or red umbrella. You were provided with a free souvenir picture so my friends and I went twice.

There was definitely too much good food to mention all in one post. Lucky Rice did a great job encompassing what a night market truly is – good street food and drink mist bright lights enjoyed in pleasantly warm weather. The Night Market revealed the beauty of the Archway of the Manhattan Bridge decorated with lantern and night-lights. I am looking forward to next year’s night market, and prepared to eat my heart out.

And more food pictures of the night for your pleasure.

Baohaus – Baohaus Fries with Sesame Paste

Baohaus – Pork Bun

Baohaus Stand

Buddakan – Chilled Udon Noodle with Peanut Sauce

Kum Gang San – Royal Court Rice Cakes

Kum Gang San – Assorted Pancakes

Delicatessen – Foie Gras and Beef Short Rib Dumpling

My Brooklyn Kitchen – Small Cupcake

My Brooklyn Kitchen – Small Cupcake 2

Asiadog – The Ginny

An Choi – Tuan Bui

Tea Magic – Shaved Ice

Kampuchea – Pork Meatball Numpang