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Thread: Chinese food

  1. #16
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    Wth?!

    Oh man....China...

    Beijing hotpot restaurant serves up Barbie doll wrapped in meat that you undress while you eat



    A hotpot restaurant is drawing some heat online, thanks to its new menu item -- a Barbie doll wrapped up in strips of mutton.
    Typically, a hotpot restaurant serves its customers with plates of meat that they cook at their leisure; however, one hotpot restaurant in Beijing provides diners with a beautiful female doll in a red gown.
    Well, upon closer inspection, she's actually wrapped up in strips of mutton (芭比羊肉衣), Shanghai Daily reports. Therefore, if diners want to eat the mutton, they have to peel off each layer of meat, slowly undressing the Barbie, exposing her naked plastic to everyone.



    While the restaurant owner must have thought that this was a brilliant idea to promote his hotpot shop, netizens on Weibo are a bit disgusted by the "sexist" display.
    "Why can't we just eat meats without any kind of stupid tricks like this?" one asked.
    "It's very disgusting. We don't even know whether the staff cleaned the doll or not," another commented.
    "Let's just throw the doll into the hotpot! It's really time consuming to pull away all those strips of meat," one netizen joked.
    Wait, where have we seen that meat dress before? Some netizens immediately thought of the recently possibly banned Lady Gaga, saying that the hotpot restaurant should stop trying to imitate Lady Gaga's style, because apparently it isn't working.



    Apparently, this place didn't get the memo that China is trying to cut its meat consumpion in half.

    By Katie Ngai
    [Images via Weibo]
    Gene Ching
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  2. #17
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    Wth?!

    Oh man....China...

    'They're so yummy!' Stomach-churning footage shows daredevil Chinese man eating LIVE LEECHES as they wriggle around on his chopsticks

    Footage posted online on October 22 shows the man tucking into leeches
    He tried to dip the struggling worms into a plate of oil using chopsticks
    Fat worms can be seen squirming in the plate of dipping sauce
    The man is believed to be dining out with friends at a Chinese restaurant

    By JULIAN LUK FOR MAILONLINE
    PUBLISHED: 08:03 EST, 24 October 2016 | UPDATED: 09:38 EST, 24 October 2016

    Bizarre footage posted online on October 22 shows the moment a man in China tucks into a meal of squirming leeches.
    The man can be seen using chopsticks to dip three leeches into a small plate of oil in a restaurant thought to be in southern China.
    The excited diner can be heard saying 'Wow, they are so yummy!' in Cantonese, a dialect spoken in southern China.
    Unsettling moment shows man eating LIVE leeches in restaurant


    A man can be seen using chopsticks to dip three leeches into a small plate of oil


    It's a real challenge to hold the leeches, still alive and wiggling, using the two sticks. Some leeches was left squirming in the plate of oil
    In the video posted online by Weibo user Lie QI Xiao Dao Dan on October 22, the man can be seen struggling to keep hold of the leeches with his chopsticks.
    The animals are still alive and wiggling as the man tries to keep control using the two sticks.
    A female diner can be heard saying: 'They are good quality. They are still moving!'
    The man, struggles to capture the final leech which fell in the small plate of oil.
    He says: 'Two leeches are not enough. Let me get a third one. It has to be big.'
    The man then picks up a fat worm from a big plate of purple and red coloured leeches.



    The man then turned to big plate of leeches to pick up another fat worm

    The man tries to show off the freshness of his food. He says: 'Let them move a bit first. Otherwise people will say they are dead.'
    The video then cuts to a close up of the man opening wide to eat more of the leeches.
    He then gives a thumbs up before the video ends.



    The video then came with a close up of how the man opened his mouth big to enjoy the fresh food

    The clip, posted on October 22, is believed to be taken in a restaurant in southern China, home to Cantonese cuisine.
    Cantonese cuisine virtually includes all edible food in addition to the common staple of pork, beef and chicken, Xinhua reports.
    Other than leeches, a diverse species of worms and insects are common Cantonese dishes, including ****roaches, water beetles, cicada, according to the report.
    However, most are cooked and processed before eating.
    There's a vid on the other side of the link, but I don't recommend watching it.
    Gene Ching
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  3. #18
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    Mahjong dumplings

    They will bring you good fortune! Food lover makes dumplings that look like mahjong tiles

    One man in China has put a creative spin on a traditional dessert dumplings eaten in winter
    The food is typically enjoyed on the Lantern Festival at the end of Lunar New Year for good luck
    Game lovers joked that people might eat the real mahjong tiles by mistake if they play while eating

    By TIFFANY LO FOR MAILONLINE
    PUBLISHED: 06:29 EST, 10 February 2017 | UPDATED: 06:30 EST, 10 February 2017

    Food plays an important part in Chinese culture and different dishes are dedicated to different festivals.

    A man from east China has put a creative spin on the traditional Chinese dessert dumplings, which are eaten on the last day of Lunar New Year celebrations in hope of good fortune.

    Web users have been amazed by the pictures of his lucky food which are shaped after mahjong tiles, a popular game in China usually played by four people.


    Tasteful game! A man in China has shared pictures of innovative dumplings which look like tiles of a traditional game


    Vivid: The mahjong dumplings (right) look so real that people have joked that game players might mix the two by mistake


    Got a sweet tooth? The dumplings are filled with red bean paste, like the ordinary sweet dumplings found in Chinese stores

    According to People’s Daily Online, the images have attracted great attention on the Chinese social media because the Lantern Festival, the occasion to eat these dumplings, will fall on this Saturday.

    Lantern Festival, also known as Yuan Xiao Jie, is an event characterised by its iconic red Chinese lanterns. The festival marks the first full moon in a Lunar New Year.

    Traditionally, the festival also signals the end of a two-week-long Lunar New Year celebrations.

    Normally, sweet dumplings eaten on the day are shaped like a ball, a reminiscent of the roundness of a full moon. The sweet dumplings are made of glutinous rice flour with various fillings such as sesame paste and red bean paste.

    The food lover's mahjong dumplings, however, are decorated with dots, strokes and Chinese characters, just like the tiles used in the game.


    Quick and easy: Shaped in a mold, the sweet dumplings can be made with glutinous rice flour, jam and red bean paste


    Mahjong lovers commented on social media that these colourful dumplings might bring extra luck to the diners


    Time to make your own! Mahjong dumplings can be made easily at home, with a simple recipe and few equipment

    Mahjong lovers joked that the sweet dumplings will bring them luck. However, some are concerned that people might eat the real mahjong tiles by mistake if they have the food while playing the game.

    Web user 'New Hao' said: 'What if people play pranks on the others and they eat the real tiles?'

    According to China Daily, mahjong dumpling first appeared in China in 2015 at a one hotpot restaurant, called 'BaShu LongMen' in Shanghai. The dumplings come in a portion of four, available in peanut paste and black sesame paste and cost six yuan (70p) per bowl.

    STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE: HOW TO MAKE MAHJONG DUMPLINGS
    Ingredients: Mahjong tiles baking mold, food colouring or jam, glutinous rice flour and red bean paste

    Mix glutinous rice flour and water to make a dough
    Reshape the dough to a long stick and cut them into small pieces
    Take a small piece of dough, flatten it with hands and place the red bean paste in the middle
    Place the mixture into a mahjong tiles baking mold
    Decorate the characters with food colouring or jam using an icing decorating pen
    144 tiles in a set. That's a lot of dumplings if they make them all.
    Gene Ching
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  4. #19
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    American-Chinese food in China

    This is a great culture clash piece. It reminds me of the situation we had with our 10th Anniversary and not decapitating the fish.

    China Doesn't Understand the Concept of American Chinese Food
    JAMIE FULLERTON
    APR 27 2017, 11:00AM


    Photo by Jamie Fullerton

    Meet Fung and Dave, two Americans who opened up a Chinese-American restaurant in Shanghai, where the cooks shake their heads at dishes like crab rangoon and orange chicken and the customers don't understand the point of fortune cookies.

    This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES in May 2014. Fortune Cookie closed in January 2016.

    If you're a Westerner, even if the closest you've got to Asian culture is stumbling across the Great Wall on Google Earth, you know that Chinese people don't crack open fortune cookies after every meal. And as a Brit living in Shanghai since a year ago, I can confirm that rather than sweet and sour chicken, most Chinese people prefer a nice pile of crispy chicken feet.

    In fact, as the wonderfully named former New York Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee pointed out in her 2008 TED Talk, most Chinese people don't even know what chop suey actually is. Since Chinese food first began being served in the USA in the 19th century, it has had generations to evolve and suit US tastes, so much so that it's completely disconnected to traditional dishes served in China, both now and then.


    "In China they like bones, but we had the staff spend hours deboning the chicken," says Fung. "They were saying, 'Why are we doing this?'
    Given that most Chinese people wouldn't recognize a plate of sticky orange chicken if it was splattered in their face, it seems an odd move to open an eatery almost exclusively serving American-style Chinese food in the middle of Shanghai. But that's what New Yorker Fung Lam and California-born Dave Rossi have done in the shape of Fortune Cookie, which opened ten months ago.


    Photo by Jamie Fullerton
    Above, Fung (left) and Dave (right). All photos by the author.

    Having failed in their bid to launch a salad-based venue in Shanghai two years ago, the pair, who had quit white collar jobs and moved to China to try to launch a venue together, were craving American-Chinese comfort food and couldn't find it in China.

    "When somebody feels like they've broken up with their girlfriend, they don't think, I really want a salad,'' says David. "We wanted orange chicken, something fried, and cold beer. We couldn't find it in Shanghai, so we decided to do it ourselves. When we signed the lease we thought, If this bombs, at least we can eat the food we've been missing for six months."

    But it didn't bomb. Fung's family owns 15 Chinese restaurants in the US, the first of which his grandfather set up in Brooklyn in the 60s. Fung flew his dad, who is head chef of all 15 restaurants, over to Shanghai to train up the newly hired Chinese kitchen staff.


    Photo by Jamie Fullerton

    "In China they like bones, but we had the staff spend hours deboning the chicken," says Fung. "They were saying, 'Why are we doing this?' We also got them to fill wontons with cheese. They were thinking, What is going on? Some of them were eating cream cheese for the first time. They were shaking their heads."


    Photo by Jamie Fullerton

    When Fung transferred his family's fantastic recipes (including a rich orange chicken, Kung Pao chicken, General Tso's beef, and tofu chop suey) to China and served them alongside imported US beers, Western expats latched on quickly. But locals needed to be won over, too—a goal that was achieved when the pair started selling themselves as providing "American food" rather than "Chinese food with an American twist."


    Photo by Jamie Fullerton

    That's not to say that things haven't got lost in translation sometimes. "The first response from locals is always about portion size," says Dave. "They think they're huge. We had two petite women come in early on when we opened and order seven dishes. After the second one came out they just started laughing. Also, people hadn't seen the take-out boxes we use anywhere other than on The Big Bang Theory. Our Chinese assistant just said, "'Oh, that's what Sheldon eats.'"

    In her talk, Jennifer 8. Lee showed a video of Chinese people looking bemused as they were shown fortune cookies for the first time. (Fortune cookies actually originated from Japan.) The responses have been similar over here: "A lot of our guests are opening their first fortune cookies," says Dave. "Some of them eat the paper or put it in their purse thinking it's a free gift."


    Photo by Jamie Fullerton

    Fung believes that it is quality rather than novelty that's earned them the respect of both locals and expats, though. "We're not finding recipes on the internet, we're doing this for real," he says. "Every American-Chinese family has their own recipe for orange chicken, and this is something my grandfather passed on. This food tastes like it does in New York and is legit, with 40 years of history."


    Photo by Jamie Fullerton

    As our interview wraps up, Dave hands me a fortune cookie. I break open to reveal a paper slip bearing a message so fitting, I suspect he may have set it up: If you build it, they will come.


    Photo by Jamie Fullerton

    Don't expect to get such poignant messages here in the near future. Fung and Dave say they wrote all the fortunes themselves (initially to replace the first batch they ordered that turned out to be written in Dutch), but have run out of ideas. Now they use suggestions written by customers and left in a collection box by the door. "They're always something ridiculously sexual," says Dave. "Or phone numbers with 'For a good time call…' next to them. And, of course, a huge amount of pictures of *****es."
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  5. #20
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    A somewhat odd story, but not unbelievable:


  6. #21
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    O-Mei

    Jimbo, this is near my 'hood. It created quite a stir in Santa Cruz, given their generally progressive leanings. O-Mei was well thought of when I went to graduate school at UCSC, but I hadn't eaten there in over a quarter century.

    Ironically, I used to be part of the USA Omei Kung Fu Academy under Master Tony Chen. I was going to wear my old school shirt in there someday, just for laughs, but their menu didn't meet my dietary restrictions. Now those shirts will get filed alongside my Shaolin Temple stuff with swastikas.
    Gene Ching
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  7. #22
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    Slightly OT

    Not limited to Chinese food, but related.

    Asian-American Cuisine’s Rise, and Triumph


    The American-Chinese restaurant is, like the diner and the mom-and-pop restaurant, a cornerstone of the American dining vernacular. Here, the interior of White Bear, which opened in 1989 in Flushing, Queens, and is known for its exceptional dumplings.
    Anthony Cotsifas

    By LIGAYA MISHAN
    NOVEMBER 10, 2017

    On the plate, the egg looks like an eye plucked from a baby dragon. The yolk is the green-black of smoked glass, with a gray, nearly calcified halo, trapped in an oval of wobbling amber and emitting the faintest whiff of brimstone.

    So begins the $285, 19-course tasting menu at Benu in San Francisco. The egg is a traditional Chinese snack, often called (poetically, if inaccurately) a 1,000-year-old egg, preserved for a few weeks or months in lye or slaked lime, salt and tea. It’s sold by street vendors, tossed into stir-fries and scattered over congee throughout China, parts of Southeast Asia and the world’s Chinatowns. To more than a billion people, it is an utterly commonplace food.

    But to present it as an amuse-bouche at one of the most acclaimed fine-dining restaurants in the United States, to a predominantly non-Asian clientele, is radical. For despite America’s long, complicated love affair with Asian cooking, it is hard to imagine such a food, so alien to Western culinary ideals in appearance, aroma, flavor and texture, being served in this kind of setting, let alone embraced, a decade ago.

    This, though, is the new American palate. As a nation we were once beholden to the Old World traditions of early settlers; we now crave ingredients from ****her shores. The briny rush of soy; ginger’s low burn; pickled cabbage with that heady funk so close to rot. Vinegar applied to everything. Fish sauce like the underbelly of the sea. Palm sugar, velvet to cane sugar’s silk. Coconut milk slowing the tongue. Smoky black cardamom with its menthol aftermath. Sichuan peppercorns that paralyze the lips and turn speech to a burr, and Thai bird chilies that immolate everything they touch. Fat rice grains that cling, that you can scoop up with your hands. (As a child raised in a Filipino-American household, I was bewildered by commercials for Uncle Ben’s rice that promised grains that were “separate, not sticky,” as if that were a good thing.)

    These are American ingredients now, part of a movement in cooking that often gets filed under the melting-pot, free-for-all category of New American cuisine. But it’s more specific than that: This is food borne of a particular diaspora, made by chefs who are “third culture kids,” heirs to both their parents’ culture and the one they were raised in, and thus forced to create their own.

    Could we call it Asian-American cuisine? The term is problematic, subsuming countries across a vast region with no shared language or single unifying religion. It elides numerous divides: city and countryside, aristocrats and laborers, colonizers and colonized — “fancy Asian” and “jungle Asian,” as the comedian Ali Wong puts it. (She’s speaking specifically of East and Southeast Asians, who followed similar patterns of immigration to the U.S. and who are the primary focus of this piece.) As a yoke of two origins, it can also be read as an impugning of loyalties and as a code for “less than fully American.” When I asked American chefs of Asian heritage whether their cooking could be considered Asian-American cuisine, there was always a pause, and sometimes a sigh.


    The Cantonese dim sum parlor Golden Unicorn, which has been operating for 28 years in New York City’s Chinatown.
    Anthony Cotsifas

    But this is what happens in America: Borders blur. When there aren’t many of you — Americans of Asian descent are only 6 percent of the population, a legacy of decades of immigration quotas and denial of citizenship — you find common cause with your neighbors. The term Asian-American was not imposed on us, like “Yellow Peril” in the late 19th century or “Oriental”; it was coined in the 1960s by Yuji Ichioka, a California-born historian and civil rights activist, to give us a political voice. If we call this kind of cooking just American, something is lost.

    The rise of contemporary Asian-American cuisine began with Korean-American chef David Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar, which opened in New York in 2004 and was followed four years later by fellow Korean-American chef Roy Choi’s Kogi BBQ truck in Los Angeles. Their approach to cooking is typically, reductively, framed as an East-meets-West marriage of big flavors and elevated (i.e., French) technique — as if every Asian cuisine were hellbent on storming the palate (some, like Cantonese, are, in fact, renowned for their subtlety); as if culinary refinement were proprietary to the West.

    But the history of Asian-American cuisine goes further back than that, to the first tearooms and banquet halls set up by Chinese immigrants who came to seek their fortune in Gold Rush California in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, despite Congress’s passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 and attempts to condemn San Francisco’s Chinatown as a threat to the American way of life — “in their quarters all civilization of the white race ceases,” declared a pamphlet published by the Workingmen’s Party of California in 1880 — Cantonese restaurants were all the rage in New York. The food was cheap and fast, swiftly stir-fried in woks, a technique that remained a mystery for decades to most in the West. (One journalist, touring a Chinatown kitchen in 1880, did wonder if “the funny little things we saw at the bottom of a deep earthen jar were rat’s-tails skinned.”)

    When outsiders came flocking in the 1890s, Chinese chefs altered and invented dishes to please them. This was less concession than calculation, capitalizing on opportunity. The work of immigrants — in food as in the arts — has always been dogged by accusations of impurity and inauthenticity, suggesting that there is one standard, preserved in amber, for what a dish should be or what a writer or artist with roots in another country should have to say. It’s a specious argument, as if being born into a culture were insufficient bona fides to speak of it. (Immigrants are always being asked to show their papers, in more ways than one.) The history of food, like the history of man, is a series of adaptations, to environment and circumstance. Recipes aren’t static. Immigrant cooks, often living in poverty, have always made do with what’s on hand, like the Japanese-Americans rounded up and shipped to internment camps during the Second World War, who improvised rice balls with rations of Spam, and the Korean and Filipino-Americans who, having survived on canned goods in the aftermath of war, eked out household budgets by deploying hot dogs in kimbap and banana-ketchup spaghetti.

    Sometimes the nostalgia for this kind of food can be difficult to convey to those who don’t share the same history. At Bad Saint, a Filipino restaurant in Washington, D.C., the chef Tom Cunanan makes adobo with pig tails, a cheap, snubbed part of the animal that was treasured by Depression-era Filipino immigrants working in California labor camps. Diep Tran, the Vietnamese-American chef of Good Girl Dinette in Los Angeles, told me that she wishes she could serve a breakfast of nothing but baguette accompanied by condensed milk diluted with hot water, for dipping. “It’s refugee food,” she said. “Proustian, kind of like Spam. But people get upset; they think they’re being ripped off.”

    Almost every Asian-American chef I spoke to — most of whom are in their late 20s to early 40s — came to the U.S. as children or were born to parents who were immigrants. (In 1952, the last racial barriers to naturalization were lifted, and in 1965, immigration quotas based on national origin — for Asia, 100 visas per country per year — were abolished.) Almost all had stories of neighbors alarmed by the smells from their families’ kitchens or classmates recoiling from their lunchboxes. “I was that kid, with ****y-smelling food,” said Jonathan Wu, the Chinese-American chef at Nom Wah Tu in New York. “I still feel that, if I’m taking the train with garlic chives in my bag.”
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  8. #23
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    Continued from previous post


    Nom Wah Tea Parlor, which claims to be New York City’s first dim sum restaurant, opened on Doyers Street in 1920.
    Anthony Cotsifas

    So these chefs’ cooking, born of shame, rebellion and reconciliation, is not some wistful ode to an imperfectly remembered or never-known, idealized country. It’s a mixture of nostalgia and resilience. It wasn’t taught — certainly not in the way other cuisines have been traditionally taught. Graduates of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., recalled that little time was devoted to Asian cooking; at Le Cordon Bleu in London and in Paris, none. One instructor took offense when Preeti Mistry, whose Indian-inflected restaurants include Juhu Beach Club in Oakland, Calif., likened a French stew to curry. Another told David Chang that pork stock, essential to tonkotsu ramen, was “disgusting.”

    Neither does their cooking have much kinship with the “fusion” cuisine of the early 1990s, when non-Asian chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Gray Kunz began folding Eastern ingredients into otherwise Western dishes. (“Fusion” is another term that sits uneasily with Asian-American chefs. “I wouldn’t call myself ‘fusion,’ ” said Maiko Kyogoku, the owner of the idiosyncratic Bessou in New York. “To describe food that way? It’s an extension of myself.”) In spirit, Asian-American cooking is closer to other American-born cuisines with tangled roots: the Lowcountry cooking of coastal South Carolina, which owes a debt to slaves from West Africa who brought over one-pot stews and ingredients like okra, peanuts and black-eyed peas; and Tex-Mex, which is not a *******ization of Mexican food but a regional variant of it, cultivated by Tejanos, descendants of Hispanics who lived in Texas when it was part of Mexico and, before that, New Spain.

    There’s also no one cultural touchstone or trauma that binds Asian immigrants: no event on a national scale that has brought us together. But part of what distinguishes our experience from that of other immigrants and people of color is the fraught, intimate relationship between our countries of origin and the U.S., which has been foe and protector, oppressor and liberator, feared and adored. In 1899, the British writer Rudyard Kipling urged the U.S. to “take up the White Man’s burden” in the Philippines after the Spanish-American War:

    Go send your sons to exile
    To serve your captives’ need
    [...] Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
    Half devil and half child.

    This begot more than a century of American military intervention in East and Southeast Asia, and a history of conflicting images: Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima; the Vietcong in black pajamas and the American atrocities at My Lai; teeming refugee camps and smiling American G.I.s handing out candy, decade after decade, to throngs of dark-haired, starving children.

    Any immigrant is an outsider at first. But for Asians in America, there is a starker sense of otherness. We don’t fit in to the American binary of white and black. We have been the enemy; the subjugated; the “lesser” peoples whose scramble for a foothold in society was historically seen as a menace to the American order. And yet we’ve also been the “good” immigrants, proving ourselves worthy of American beneficence — polite, humble, grateful, willing to work 20-hour days running a grocery store or a laundry or a restaurant that will never be “authentic” enough, to spend every dime on our children’s test prep so that they get into the best schools, because we believe in the promise of America, that if you work hard, you can become anyone. If you try hard enough, you might even be mistaken for white.
    continued next post
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  9. #24
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    Continued from previous post


    Nom Wah Tea Parlor’s interior has remained virtually the same.
    Anthony Cotsifas

    Among the children of immigrants, Asians in America seem most caught in a state of limbo: no longer beholden to their parents’ countries of origin but still grasping for a role in the American narrative. There is a unique foreignness that persists, despite the presence of Asians on American soil for more than two centuries; none of us, no matter how bald our American accent, has gone through life without being asked, “Where are you from? I mean, originally?” But while this can lead to alienation, it can also have a liberating effect. When you are raised in two cultures at once — when people see in you two heritages at odds, unresolved, in abeyance — you learn to shift at will between them. You may never feel like you quite belong in either, but neither are you fully constrained. The acute awareness of borders (culinary as well as cultural) that both enclose and exclude, allows, paradoxically, a claim to borderlessness, taking freely from both sides to forge something new. For Asian-American chefs, this seesaw between the obligations of inheritance and the thrill of go-it-aloneness, between respecting your ancestors and lighting out for the hills, manifests in dishes that arguably could come only from minds fluent in two ways of life.

    Thus the kaiseki at Niki Nakayama’s n/naka, in Los Angeles, always includes a pasta course. Her slyly voluptuous “carbonara” of abalone livers and egg yolks is a homage to Tokyo-style wafu spaghetti with briny pickled cod roe — only here it’s capped with shaved truffles. At Tao Yuan, in Brunswick, Me., Cara Stadler takes tiles of goat cheese made by a local creamery and sears them, as is done in Yunnan, to approximate rubing, a sturdy farmer’s cheese. But instead of merely sprinkling the cheese with sugar or salt, she counters its meatiness with a bright grace note of mint and watermelon from summer’s height. A Caesar salad might be supplanted by a canoe of romaine, grilled for a hint of smoke and loaded with dainty jako (dried baby sardines) and quail eggs as anchors, as at Bessou in New York. Or, as re-envisioned by Chris Kajioka at Senia, in Honolulu, it might be a mossy cliff of charred cabbage — a wink at an iceberg wedge — dusted with shio kombu (shredded kelp boiled in soy and mirin), soaked through with dashi and ginger, and surrounded by daubs of heady green goddess dressing and buttermilk turned to gel. It’s not so much a salad as a cheeky biography of it by the barbarian at the gates, achieving the quintessence of an American classic through Asian ingredients.

    And while Asian-American cooking may not be expressed in or identified by a single set of flavors, one thing that does unite such disparate traditions is an emphasis on textures. Indeed, if the cuisine can be said to have revolutionized American food, it’s by introducing unfamiliar mouth feels — crackle where one doesn’t expect it, slime in a country that’s always shied away from that sensation — into our culinary vocabulary. Justin Yu, who recently opened Theodore Rex in Houston, rhapsodizes about “the crunch that you can hear in the back of your head”; unrendered, gelatinous animal skin, “a fun burst of fat and softness”; broths barely skimmed, or with a spoonful of fat added “to coat the lips.” The maverick Katsuya Fukushima, of Daikaya in Washington, D.C., once turned natto — a gooey, slippery skein of fermented soybeans, with the perfume of castoff socks — into an earthy caramel over soft-serve. Like Latin-American food, which made Americans crave heat, Asian-American cuisine has made “difficult” textures not only desirable but as integral to food as flavor itself. That certain ingredients still make some Western diners squeamish is part of its provocative fun.

    But the question remains: Does calling this kind of cooking Asian-American cuisine deepen and contextualize our understanding of it, or is it just a label, like speaking of Asian-American art or fiction — a way of simplifying a complex story and making it a marketable cliché? The danger is fetishizing Asian features, a tendency that diminishes: If you are an exotic object or phenomenon, you may never become recognized or acknowledged as more. “White chefs are using these ingredients and saying, ‘Oh, it’s so strange,’ ” Tin Vuong, of Little Sister in Los Angeles, said. “It isn’t.” Instead of a historical matrix of Asian culinary traditions, “young cooks just see a big pantry,” Fukushima said. “Take a little bit of this, a little bit of that — there’s no soul to it.”

    Chang believes that food “has the potential to sort of show that we’re all the same.” But even he isn’t entirely comfortable with the ubiquity of kimchi. “Let’s say you spent no time in Asia, you just found a recipe on YouTube,” he said. “That’s appropriation. It’s not about skin color. You have to have a story, pay respect to what it was and what it means.” At the same time, it seems reductive to expect Asian-American chefs to make food that somehow reflects their personal “story.” On season three of “Top Chef,” Hung Huynh, a Vietnamese-American contestant, was faulted for cooking that was technically dazzling but lacked explicit reference to his roots. “You were born in Vietnam,” Tom Colicchio, the head judge, said. “I don’t see any of that in your food.” (It’s hard not to hear an echo of the trope of the inscrutable Oriental, whose motives can’t be deciphered, and the common criticism of Asian-Americans at school and at work as being overly cerebral and lacking feeling.) The strictures of reality TV do demand a baring of the soul, but not all Asian-American chefs want to work with Asian flavors — and when they do, it’s not always in expected ways.

    Must every Italian chef make lasagna, every French chef coq au vin? Anita Lo, who closed her fine-dining restaurant Annisa in New York earlier this year, cooked there for 17 years without fealty to one region or cultural tradition. This puzzled some diners. “I had someone come in and say, ‘Where’s the big Buddha head?’ ” she said. When publications request recipes and she submits one without Asian ingredients, the response is often, “We were really hoping for something Asian” — or Asian-ish: Anything with soy, apparently, will do. “I send in Japanese, which isn’t even my background, but that works,” she said.

    Corey Lee’s “Benu” cookbook is filled with stories: of his grandmother foraging for acorns; of his mother forcing him to drink a tonic of brewed deer’s antlers; of his father bringing home live lobster for his son’s birthday, and of the joys of eating tomalley (the wet gray-green paste that acts as a lobster’s liver and pancreas) on buttered bread. All suggest that Lee’s dishes, however rarefied, are also deeply autobiographical. But Lee demurs, the way a novelist might, fending off a critic’s attempt to find in his books correlations to actual events, wanting them to stand alone as fully imagined works of art. “There’s great pressure for chefs to have a story,” he said. “Maybe there’s no story beyond, ‘I want to serve this food and it tastes good.’ ”

    It’s the eternal plea of the minority, to ask to be judged not by one’s appearance or the rituals of one’s forbears but for the quality of one’s mind and powers of invention. Certainly our country was predicated on the right to shed one’s past and be reborn, to come from nothing and work your way up; in this, Asians may be among the most American of Americans. But why is the choice always between exotic caricature or rootlessness? The philosopher Slavoj Zizek argues that the embrace of “ethnic” restaurants is merely “tolerance” of a “folklorist Other deprived of its substance”: “The ‘real Other’ is by definition ‘patriarchal,’ ‘violent,’ never the Other of ethereal wisdom and charming customs.” Too often Asian-American chefs are presumed to double as educators or ambassadors, representing an entire race, culture or cuisine.

    In the end, doesn’t it matter — not to others, but to ourselves — where we are from? And no, I don’t mean “originally.” I mean the forces that made us: the immigrants who raised us, with all their burdens and expectations, their exhortations to fit in but never forget who we are; and the country we grew up in, that is our only home, that taught us we are “other” but also seems, in some confused, tentative way, to want to learn something from us.

    For Asian-American chefs, this is the conundrum, and the opportunity. The foods of their childhoods were once mocked and rejected by their non-Asian peers (and by their ashamed or rebellious younger selves); then accepted in dilute, placating form; and now are able to command audiences who clamor for their sensations and aggressive flavors, and who might be unnerved if they knew exactly what they were putting in their mouths. What may be most radical about Asian-American cuisine is the attitude that informs and powers it, reflecting a new cockiness in a population that has historically kept quiet and encouraged to lay low. It’s food that celebrates crunchy cartilage and gelatinous ooze, that openly stinks, that declares: This is what I like to eat. What about you? Do you dare?
    Very intriguing notion.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  10. #25
    Join Date
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    Location
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    vivophagy

    This one is just in time for Thanksgiving.

    There's a vid. Oh yum....

    NOT fine dining! Disturbing footage of restaurant diners eating LIVE seafood - including squirming fish on ice being cut open - reveals grim trend in China
    Horrible videos show large fish still moving as people eat their severed flesh
    An octopus, eels and grubs are also seen being eaten alive or shoved into bowls
    China is not the only country in which this ethically questionable practice occurs
    Live oyster and lobster is eaten in Europe and America, and live fish, octopus, squid and shrimp are eaten in Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Thailand
    By Liz Dunphy For Mailonline
    PUBLISHED: 07:38 EST, 20 November 2017 | UPDATED: 05:07 EST, 21 November 2017

    A shocking video has emerged of people eating live fish as they struggle and squirm in desperation in restaurants in China.

    Horrible videos show large fish still moving despite being partially cut up and laid out on plates while being prodded with chopsticks by diners.

    One fish, who has half its side slashed off with its flesh laid out in strips in front of it, can be seen repeatedly opening its mouth, as if gasping for breath, as someone prods at it.

    A pot of wriggling eels are dumped in a large bowl of sauce on another dining table, and some of them make a dash for freedom, squirming across the table and onto the floor.

    A man picks up a an octopus from a bowl of broth and shovels the wriggling creature, which scientists say feel pain and are intelligent, into his mouth as other diners laugh and joke as he does so.

    The creature's tentacles reach out from his mouth and wrap around his face, grabbing at their assailant before he bites them off.

    In another clip, a fish opens its mouth repeatedly as people pick up pieces of its mutilated flesh with chopsticks and eat it.

    Large grubs wriggle about in a bowl of broth in another video.

    But China is not the only country in which this ethically questionable practice of eating live seafood takes place.

    Oysters are eaten live in many countries, including Britain, and restaurants in Europe and America serve live lobster.

    Wendy Higgins of Humane Society International told MailOnline: ‘This video is truly sickening both in terms of animal cruelty but also in terms of what humans are capable of doing to our fellow creatures.


    Table of nightmares: The fish, which have half their sides slashed off, can be seen repeatedly opening their mouths, as if gasping for breath, while people prod them with chopsticks


    A large pot of wriggling eels are dumped in a large bowl of sauce on another dining table, and some of them make a dash for freedom, squirming across the table and onto the floor

    'These fish and baby squid will have endured the unspeakable horror and pain of being eaten alive, all to satisfy diners' lust for extreme cuisine. Their ordeal is protracted and disgusting.
    'There are no laws to protect animals like this in China, and it is that lack of legal recognition that can in itself encourage an attitude of disrespect.
    'Basic respect for animals as sentient, thinking, feeling creatures is absolutely fundamental to protecting them; without that it becomes so much easier for people to divorce themselves from the pain and suffering that they commit.
    'Some of these hideous scenes in the video are not a million miles away from what we may see in the new series of I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, where the live eating of grubs and bugs is broadcast to huge audiences for our entertainment.
    'So whilst we absolutely should and must abhor the kind of violence we see at this restaurant in China, we should also take a good long look out ourselves.’


    House of horrors: A man picks up a an octopus from a bowl of broth and shovels the wriggling creature, which scientists say feel pain and are known to be intelligent, into his mouth as other diners laugh and joke at the table

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  11. #26
    I really don't like eating raw and squirming fishes.. is this even considered normal? Please enlighten me.

  12. #27
    My mom loves Chinese food, every time she visits us we would always take her to a Chinese restaurant.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    CA, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlypotion View Post
    I really don't like eating raw and squirming fishes.. is this even considered normal? Please enlighten me.
    I don't know about normal, but when I was in Keelung, Taiwan, I once ate a live shrimp. The only reason was because I was among guests being treated by hosts at a seafood restaurant. I didn't want to come across as rude. The live shrimp was grey-colored and tasted like semi-crunchy rubber and seawater. I really didn't see the appeal of it, and I only ate the one live shrimp. I took it as a cultural experience.

    Some cultures don't understand people who eat pork or beef.

  14. #29
    Wow! I love that boobs bun. lol.

  15. #30
    I miss eating Chinese food especially dim sum and roast pecking duck.

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