Posts Tagged “Asian”
Once in a while you come upon a place – or a meal – or a dish – that you put forever into a silver box to open occasionally and recall with warmth and affection. We hit just such a silver box occasion when we walked into to Takashi, Takashi Yagahashi’s contemporary French-American restaurant (with an Asian flair) just a few blocks from our house.
So I stood in the Asian section of Whole Foods, looking for something like what I wanted, hoping that I would find something that worked. I wound up with plain old Japanese white miso shiro paste, which I suspect was no match for the complexity, pungency and heat that could have been provided by ssamiang, gochuiang, or denjang.
Christmas dinner in Chinatown at Lao Bejing. We waited almost a half-hour for anything to be served. We were never served water or the spicy slaw that the restaurant offers all diners at the start of the meal. We had chopsticks and napkins. Soup served after the rest of the meal was tasteless and gelatinous. The kitchen must have been a disaster. Steve threw a fork in frustration. You go, Steve!
Sitting on the table was this long carrot-shaped bunch of vegetables, still with stems and leaves. The body of the vegetable was white and about a foot long, with predominant reddish-purple shoulders and stems. The leaves were dark green with red veining.
“What is this?” we asked, picking up the bunch.
“Oh, that’s a Japanese Hinona Kabu turnip.”
“Huh! What do you do with it?”
“It is usually pickled in Japan.”
In Taiwan, there are as many recipes for Niau Ro Mia, or Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup as there are people who make it. It has become a symbol of Taiwan’s food and every year the city of Taipei holds an annual Beef Noodle Festival, where various chefs compete for the best beef noodle soup in Taiwan. Kind of like a Texas chili cook-off.
The hot pot simmers while the staff brings gigantic platters of large head-on shrimp-in-the-shell (“What do I do with the head?” “You eat it.”), large, juicy mussels, clams, scallops, fish slices, fish balls, squid, tofu, bamboo shoots, watercress, mushrooms, cabbage and buckwheat noodles. Then out came the platters of thinly sliced beef and lamb. Oh, mama!
Several billion people all over Asia eat congee regularly. It’s called congee in China and juk or jok in Thailand and Korea, chao in Vietnam, It is considered a basic breakfast, late supper, baby food, side dish, gentle nourishment for the sick, and a hangover remedy. It’s kind of the Jewish chicken soup of Asia.