Showing posts with label chinese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chinese. Show all posts

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sumiao Brings Hunanese Cuisine to Kendall Square (Cambridge, Boston, MA)

Boston honestly doesn't have too much regional Chinese cuisine, but this is changing with the arrival of Sumiao in Kendall Square. Sumiao brings Hunanese cuisine, which is hard to find in most places, and combines it with a chich decor and solid cocktails.

The regular menu already has a number of authentic Hunanese dishes, but on weekends they add even more authentic recipes as specials. I got to try the Homemade La Rou with Mushrooms ($28)
La rou is like Hunanese bacon - it is pork belly that's been smoked then hang-dried. This is one of the quintessential Hunanese food. In Hunan, they like to smoke their meats, which is then stir fried with some chili and vegetables (because Hunanese also love their chilies!). They also have la rou with a different preparation on their lunch menu for $13, and I encourage you to try it.

Hunan tofu pot, pork belly, green chili, black bean chili sauce, $18)
As I mentioned, Hunanese love their chilies. Chairman Mao hailed from Hunan and reportedly once said "you can't be a revolutionary if you don't eat chilies!" The Hunan tofu pot was one of the spicier dishes. The spice isn't too bad but it does build up (but if you want more, you can ask for "authentic spicy"). This was one of our favorites that day, with the nicely fried tofu and the flavorful pork belly.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Xi'An Hand Pulled Noodles at Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe (Boston, MA)

I've tried a few Chinese restaurants in the Boston area, and I wasn't really wowed by any of them. They're fine and would satisfy cravings, but there wasn't really many shops that specialize in any particular thing. But I kept reading about Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe, and I thought, this would be it. Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe, despite the name, really specializes in Xi'An style hand pulled noodles, also known as biang biang noodles.
Gene's Flatbread
The owner, Gene Wu, hand pulls the noodles every morning. There are a variety of noodle dishes you can try with the hand pulled noodles, but the crowd favorite seems to be the #9, served with cumin lamb. You'd also want to get a side of the cumin lamb skewer for $1.50 each.

The #9 dish consists of a base of chili oil, then hand pulled noodles, thin slices of cumin-seasoned lamb and topped with fresh bean sprouts, carrots, and cilantro.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gourmet Dumpling House (Boston, MA)

When relatives come to visit, I inevitably end up at a Chinese restaurant. At least once. It happened twice this time, and one of the two was at Boston's popular Chinatown joint, Gourmet Dumpling House.

This place was named as having the best XLB aka xiao long bao aka juicy dumplings in Boston.
The dumplings were pretty good. They're on the bigger side and the skin is thicker and not as delicate as Din Tai Fung, but the inside is juicy. It's more of a rustic style, you can say.

During lobster season, you'll also find lobsters for pretty cheap here.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Pavan Liqueur Fueled Lunch at Ming Tsai's Blue Dragon (Boston, MA)

This was the time I got to start my week with a toast of sparkling Pavan cocktails at Blue Dragon. Yep, a boozy lunch on a Monday. Ssh, don't tell. It's summer.
Pavan is a vin de liqueur made in France using muscat grapes accented with orange blossom water. It's a lovely liqueur with a relatively low sugar content, but still naturally sweet from the grapes. It's great to use in cocktails, or just to drink with soda water or sparkling wine!

Blue Dragon is one of Ming Tsai's Boston restaurants and is his more casual restaurant - an Asian gastropub, if you will. The decor is mostly one of gastropub with some Asian touches here and there.
The lunch menu is quite different from dinner. The lunch features many more sandwiches and banh mi options while dinner offers more larger entree items.

We all liked the spicy chicken dumplings ($8). The skin is thin and had a nice texture, the sauce has just enough heat.

Pavan is part of the Suntory portfolio, who also carries Lejay, a creme de cassis, and Mozart, a chocolate liqueur. I tasted these too, so read on!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lunch with Chowzter at Mission Chinese (San Francisco, CA)

In anticipation of the Chowzter Global Awards in London this week, I thought I'd blog about the lunch I had with them in San Francisco (where Langer's #19 won the Tastiest Fast Feast for North America).
Our big group went over to the recently popular Mission Chinese Food - too early, they haven't even opened yet when we arrived. Being bloggers, we just took photos outside and studied the menu until they open. Mission Chinese had taken over the Lung Shan space, where they used to do pop ups, and they left the old sign.

Throw a bunch of out of town bloggers here and we will end up ordering the whole menu x 3, pretty much ... Of course, we had to try the popular Chongqing Chicken Wings ($11)
The crispy chicken wings were buried in peppers! As good as they were, the most surprising and addictive component of the dish was the crunchy tripe slices scattered at the bottom.

You can take a break from all the spiciness and tingly feeling the chicken wings left you with dishes like Tiki Pork Belly (in soy caramel, mandarin, pickled pineapple, shaved coconut, macadamia nuts - $10). And a tiki umbrella, natch.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Xian Wei Dinner Series Elevates Regional Chinese Flavors

Chinese food has long been cornered into the "cheap food" category, but 19 year old Luther Chen tries to fuse his fine dining culinary training with the regional Chinese cuisines that he tasted when he was traveling through China. The Xian Wei (which is the equivalent of "umami" in Chinese) is a dinner series taking place at Luther and partner Kenny's home in San Pedro (they will also soon launch a Chinese food truck called Shaokao). Curated by blogger Clarissa Wei, the underground dinner promises a journey through "5 courses, 5 regions". The next dinner is taking place on Saturday, February 8. The suggested donation is $75 and you can reserve a spot here
Luther Chen

I tasted the menu during a Saturday afternoon. My lunch started strong with an amuse bouche of 30 second microwave sesame cake, one served with sesame salt, the other served with fermented bean curd
The sesame cake is light, sweet and fluffy. Surprisingly the savoriness of the fermented bean curd complemented it quite well. This was inspired by an El Bulli dish which was a black sesame cake with miso.

There is a wine pairing for $35 but we're hoping that Xian Wei will start opening it up to a BYOB or partnering with a local wine store, in the spirit of supper clubs!

The first course is Sichuan pickles (daikon, cucumber, wood ear mushroom, sichuan peppercorn vinaigrette, sesame sand)
Sichuan Pickles
This was a great starter, as well, with the pickled daikon and the spicy vinaigrette getting your palate going.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Spicy Lamb Stew at Cui Hua Lou (Monterey Park, CA)

If you like lamb, Cui Hua Lou is a place for you. This corner place in a strip mall (really, everything's in a strip mall in this town). It's a large menu, but luckily Chinese restaurants tend to number the dishes by what they think is their specialty. So, of course, we got the no. 1, "Stewed Lamb in Casserole" ($21.99).

The lamb stew is large, enough to feed 3-4 people. We tried finishing it with two people but couldn't quite do it, and my friend and I ate a lot! The stew is served in a this electric pot which they plug in after bringing it to your table.

They'll tell you to wait white the stew boils. Such spicy and flavorful broth, tender lamb meat on the bone, tofu, and cabbage. A very satisfying meal for lamb lovers! It may be kind of hot for the summer nights, but at least the restaurant has air conditioning!
If that's not enough lamb for you, they do have spiced lamb skewers and many more dishes. In case you need vegetables to feel less guilty or something. The lamb skewers aren't as good as Feng Mao's but they're cheaper.

食上烤吧 Cui Hua Lou

920 E Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91755
(626) 288-2218
Cui Hua Lou on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

PINGTUNG Eat-In Market: Great Asian Food on Melrose, For Real

When you talk about Chinese food on the westside, West Hollywood, or Hollywood, you're immediately skeptical. Of you might say that "it's pretty good for the westside". Well, PingTung recently opened up on Melrose, serving up dim sum, Chinese rice dishes, beef rolls, and Japanese ramen, and it's good. Not just "it's pretty good for Melrose", but actually good.

Unlike the higher end Bao, PingTung is more casual, with wooden tables and an outdoor night market style seating in the back. There are Asian products displayed on the shelves for purchase. That's the market part. I'm here for the eat-in part.


The owner (Ping) had hired a Chinese chef to make all the dim sum and a Japanese chef to make all the ramen.
She told us that the chefs had protested initially when she told them to cook with no MSG and less oil, but they finally figured out how to do this while maintaining the taste.

Pingtung Flat Bread Beef Roll ($6.95)

I thought the flatbread would be some kind of pizza-like thing but it turns out to be these rolls! They're done well, the skin nicely crisped at the edges.

Chicken Shumai ($5.50)
They also have pork shumai but Ping really wanted me to try the chicken shumai. Have to admit, they're pretty good (that just means the pork would be that much better, right?). They tasted cleaner than SGV dumplings but that's not necessarily bad.

Radish cake with chinese sausage ($4.95)
My default order when I go to dim sum. I like the browned, thinner version here. More crisp to volume ratio!

Crystal Shrimp Dumplings ($5.50)
No dim sum without har gow!
When I eat this, the thing I watch out for is the skin. Sometimes the skin is too thick or too hardened. Not so here, I was pleasantly surprised that the skin and, indeed, the whole dumpling was excellent.

(Spicy) Miso Tonkotsu Ramen $7.95
They don't make the noodles in house but the noodles they use were specifically made for their broths. The company they use had come to taste the broth and figured out the right noodles to use. The tonkotsu is not as fatty as most places but it's still quite good! Healthier while maintaining great flavors, indeed. Ping is also very proud of her chicken ramen, which I will have to try later.

Paiku Pork Chop ($10.95), comes with soup of the day.
This is the only one that I didn't really like, because the meat was a bit tough. When I was there the soup was a hot and sour soup.

They also have beer and sake (and sake cocktails) as well as a good selection of loose leaf teas. Overall I was very pleasantly surprised by PingTung. Yes, the price point is still higher than San Gabriel Valley (and there's no chicken feet on the menu), but what can you expect with a Melrose rent? Either way it may be the only dim sum (or ramen) place to go to in this area, and it's one I would be happy to recommend to others.

7455 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 866-1866
Pingtung on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine Expands Menu with Hokkienese Food and More

When Little London Fish and Chips first converted into Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine, they were only serving a small menu of Kalimantan style Indonesian and Chinese Indonesian food. Now, they've expanded the menu considerably, and I am most excited for the Hokkianese noodles on the first page.

My dad grew up in Medan, where the largest Chinese population are Hokkianese, and they are very proud of their food. Their noodles, especially. When my aunt has a layover in LA coming from Indonesia, she would ask for kwetiauw (large, flat noodles like the ones used in the Thai Pad See Ew). Never mind that she was just in Indonesia, that's still what she wants to eat! I'm partial to Kwetiauw Sirem, where the noodles are topped with a type of gravy, and Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine has it! 

What I had to get: Mi Karet Hokkian
Borneo serves a thick, curly, chewy style of noodles called "Mi Karet' which literally means "rubber noodle."
The only times I've had this style of noodle is at a Hokkianese hole in the wall in Jakarta. Borneo serves this noodle in a few different preparations, but of course I have to get the Hokkian style, topped with char siu, chicken and mushroom, egg, etc. The other preparations include Hakka style mi karet, which has different toppings. 

The noodles are served with a small bowl of chicken broth on the side, which you can add to your noodle to your own taste. The mi karet here was quite good, pretty close to what I had in Jakarta! Many complained that the food here tasted just like Chinese food. Well, don't get the Mi Hokkian, then, because it is Chinese food. But if you don't mind that, this is a great bowl of noodles!

If you want something more Southeast Asian on the new menu, they are also serving Borneo style laksa, a spicy curry noodle soup. We tried the laksa with shrimp:
The broth was spicy and packs a lot of flavor! This style is pretty close to the Singaporean laksa (although the noodle type and what they put in the soup differs) and may be one of the best versions in town.

Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine
19 S Garfield Ave
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 282-4477
Little London Fish & Chips on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 4, 2012

8 Flavors of Xiao Long Bao at Paradise Dynasty (Indonesia)

A restaurant chain in Asia is taking Xiao Long Bao (XLB) to another level with eight different flavors of XLB. At Paradise Dynasty, which has locations in Singapore and Indonesia, you can get XLB with black truffles, foie gras, cheese, ginseng, garlic, crab roe, and szechuan flavor (and of course, there's the original).

The XLBs were about the same price as Din Tai Fung, but if you order the sampler (a basket of all 8 flavors, they can get pretty expensive). If you know what you want to try or have a lot of people to share with, I'd suggest getting a basket of individual flavors.

Paradise XLB

Thursday, April 8, 2010

SF: San Tung Takes on Wings

The end of last year I visited San Francisco to take my aunt from Indonesia around. We were staying my a good friend of my cousin's and on my first night she took us to San Tung, a popular Chinese restaurant in the Inner Sunset district.

She said San Tung is supposed to have really good chicken wings and my aunt likes chicken.
Chinese=cheap. Chicken wings=sound good to me. I hesitated a bit because the friend is actually a vegetarian, so she wouldn't really know if the place was good. It had a good Yelp rating, so I wondered if it would be up to snuff.

A really spicy pickled cabbage that's served at every table.
My aunt and friend both liked it a lot. I didn't try it at all (didn't I just say it was supposedly really spicy?).

Because the friend is vegetarian, we also ordered some eggplant in garlic sauce ($7.50)
Generous portion and it packs a punch of flavor. The eggplants were sweet and tender and the sauce was a little spicy and very flavorful.

What we came for: The Original Dry Fried Chicken Wing ($9)
For my sake, we didn't get the hot ones that night. The wings had a nicely crispy skin, and a sticky sweet sauce. I preferred it to Bonchon/Kyochon in LA since it's not as sweet, the skin is crunchier than Kyochon (tho maybe not Bonchon), but mostly because it is CHEAPER. For $9 we get a whole plate of big chicken wings, not a small basket of tiny wings for $10. The value proposition is much higher.

Noodles in Black Bean Sauce ($8): SKIP.
Seems like a lot of Yelpers liked this dish, but I didn't. I usually really like the Korean-Chinese black bean noodle, jjangmyun, but here the homemade noodles were doughy and mushy, the black bean sauce was bland. The list of beef, shrimp, and calamari on the dish was tempting but I don't think it worked particularly well. It was a big bowl of bland starch to me.

San Tung for the most part serves a solid Chinese meal, but it's really the dry fried wings people come for and it isn't all just hype. The crispy wings were quite good and I'll pay for these over Kyochon any day. But then, would I otherwise drive so far and wait for a table for wings?

San Tung Chinese Restaurant
1031 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 242-0828
San Tung on Urbanspoon
San Tung in San Francisco

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hainan Chicken Rice Hunt

A friend of mine told me that he'd found the best hainan chicken rice place in LA (although he did say the place had also gone downhill :/ ), so for his birthday I told him I would treat him to a meal there - two birds with one stone!

He told me to meet him at Savoy in Alhambra. A place named Savoy in Alhambra? And it's Chinese? That's a new one ... I'm more used to Phoenix-Royal-Ocean-Seafood-Star-Palace type names. But I guess Savoy was kind of a "fusion" place (they serve pizzas - Asian style), although they are apparently still known for the Hainan chicken rice.
Savoy is a small place - they have about 5-6 tables inside, and a few chairs at the counter. Then they also have a few tables along the sidewalk. We put our name down and waited about 10-15 minutes and got a table inside.

We both ordered the Hainan chicken rice of course! this was taken with my phone camera, so the quality is not that good, sorry.
The rice was fragrant, almost the way I remembered it from back home. The chicken was tender and pretty juicy, and not too fatty. So the rice was just a weee bit dry, but if you just dump a lot of ginger on it, it's all good :)

We did both have to ask for extra ginger, but they gave us a big dollop with no hassle.
I haven't had a lot of hainan chicken rice in LA, but the one at Savoy was pretty good! It was as good as I would expect from places back home, and I think I wouldn't really expect much in terms of better ones in LA. I really enjoyed it and remember it fondly. I'll definitely be back often for it!

Savoy Kitchen

138 E Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 308-9535

Savoy Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 15, 2008

Chinese New Year! Hot Pot!

For the first time, I went to a gathering of all the Indonesian students at Caltech! There were more of them than I expected :P
We went to Mon Land Hotpot city in San Gabriel to celebrate Chinese New Year. The place was actually right by the 99 Ranch on Valley, I was surprised I never noticed it before.

We got there about 17 minutes late and they had given our table away to another big party, so they ended up putting us in a private room. Even better!

The reason we picked mon land is that we heard they had a non-spicy option that is more than just regular plain broth or water. As we were ordering they asked if we wanted spicy or non spicy. We asked for both. This is what they brought:As you can see, the pot was half spicy and half not. What makes it special is of course, all the spices you can see floating around in the broth. Chicken broth with lots and lots of garlic, ginger, cardamom, green onions and other things we don't even know what they are. The smell was amazing. We couldn't wait to dump the meat and veggies in it.

The meat and all other stuff had to be ordered a la carte. We didn't really see an option for big portions or group packages. So we got 3 orders of beef, 3 pork, etc etc. Also some veggies, enoki mushrooms, and dumpling.
They also have, if you guys so desire, fish intestines, etc.

I didn't touch the spicy broth, of course (if you know me, you wouldn't expect me to). But the non-spicy broth that I did eat, wow ... yummy. This was the first time I went to hot pot and actually kept drinking the broth and was maybe even more excited about it than the meat.

The meat and such were fairly standard, good quality. (the broth-infused meat was yumm ... hehe)

At the end they gave us a plate of red bean mochi. Free dessert is always good :)

Mon Land Hot Pot City
251 W. Bencamp Street
San Gabriel, CA 91776

Monland Hop Pot City on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Yujean Kang Gourmet Chinese

I've been hearing a lot about Yujean Kang's and since it is in Pasadena after all, I decided to give it a try one day. We went as a group of six to old town Pasadena. The whole old town + atmosphere surprised me, since the place seems rather fancy for good authentic Chinese food. We didn't have reservations and they were busy but they were very nice and after about 10 minutes they accomodated us.

Their polenta appetizer was reviewed by LA Times, so obviously we had to give it a try. Although it wasn't what I would picture as a "polenta dish", it was definitely yummy :)

I really liked the crispy beef, shown here:

The Chinese food here really is a step up from most other Chinese restaurants in quality and the ingredients used. Although one person said the food is still not as high quality as Mr Chow, the price is definitely way waaay better than Mr Chow.

Yujean Kang's
67 N Raymond Ave
Pasadena, CA 91103

Yujean Kang's on Urbanspoon

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