Archive for June, 2007

toc, entry

Event: Taste of Chinatown 
Date: April 21, 2007
Location: Streets of Chinatown, New York

I wasn’t going to attend this event because I thought it wouldn’t really reflect authentic Chinese food.  And at $2 a serving, things were overpriced if you know Chinese prices.  I went anyways because a group of my friends were excited to go, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to check it out.  You know what?  My intial thoughts were right.  It was a disappointment. 

The set up was pretty clever.  Participating restaurants would set up stands in front of their own restaurants and serve whatever they wanted.  However, I noticed that a lot of the restaurants didn’t serve their signature dishes.  Many restaurants opted for what my fellow Chinese and I refer to as “watered down Chinese food.”  There were more stands that offered fried chicken wings than I could count.  I don’t thing Big Wong even had their cha-siew [roast pork] out , but I could be wrong.  They could have sold out of it when I was walking by.  Wonton Garden had some unappetizing looking wontons out.  I think that the two stands that stood out the most for me were the one for the Peking Duck House and Ten Ren tea house.  This is probably because the two knew what they were good at and served only those things, unlike stands that tried to offered an array of dishes.  Mr. Tang’s [foods pictured below] offered typical general tso’s chicken, fried rice, and lo mein.  The lo mein and fried rice portions were smaller and more expensive at $2 than I would have paid at a regular street vendor.  I thought the food was sub-par for Chinese food, but satisfying to the empty stomach.  I managed to snag a couple chicken skewers from one of the restaurants closer to Canal street, and they were very good, but still, not very worth the price.  The chicken was oily, but moist and flavorful- more meaty and better than a lot of the chicken satays at Thai restaurants.

Let’s go to the pictures…

the crowdtents
the hoard of people i had to fight my way through & tented areas for grubbing

what a typical stand/vendor looked like

Mr. Tang’s booty: General Tso’s chicken / fried rice / lo mein

gen tso's chicken 
fried rice 
lo mein 

chicken skewer
The yummerful chicken skewer

ten ren 
Passionfruit green tea with tapioca

Peking Duck House.  They carved the duck [the key to peking duck is the super crispy skin] in front of you and wrap it up with cucumbers in something similar to a flour tortilla and flavored with oyster sauce.  $2 per piece.  This is one thing worth trying, but the line was wayyyy too long. 

peking duck

peking duck

Lastly… say hi to Iron Chef Piggie.  They were being sold at the event.  It’s currently sitting on top of my radiator, by my window sill.  ;D

iron chef piggie

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A little while ago [meaning … March], I was obsessed with drinking Thai iced teas– don’t ask why.  I think it’s because the weather started warming up a bit, and I kept going to Thai restaurants with my friend JJ so I couldn’t stop drinking them!  It came to the point where I would just walk into a Thai restaurant and just order a Thai iced tea to go.  These are just some of the Thai restaurants I went to during the month of March.  My obsession got so bad that McTwinkle had to put his foot down and forbid me to have any more.  But where did I take him for his birthday ?  To a Thai restaurant ;p.

I went to Seain Williamsburg twice… in one week.  The second time, I had my Thai friend go schmooze with the hostess so we got a table with a quickness.  =X  The first night I ordered the massaman curry with chicken, the second night I ordered curry noodle soup with chicken.  I enjoyed the massaman curry as it was mild but flavorful.  The curry soup was a bit disappointing as the flavor was just in the soup, everything inside including the noodles were bland and overcooked and the chicken was overdone.  Their thai iced tea was made overly sweet the second time around so I had to send it back to get them to lessen the sweet factor.  I also got to try a few of their appetizers- I tried both of the spring rolls [crispy basil spring rolls &po-pia sod], which were okay and ordinary.  I enjoyed the crispy ones more b/c it didn’t have mint in it but I did like the summer roll type skin on the po-pia sod.  The Sea chicken wingswere actually really good- I’m not sure what the sauce is – it looks like jerk chicken, but definitely tastes a lot better.  I also had the fried ice cream for dessert.  They pour a whole buttload of rum on the plate and lit it up so you get the cool blue flame effect below.  The rum seriously overpowered the whole dessert, which was a bit disappointing, but the actual fried ice cream was really good.

What I hate about going to Sea is that their service sucks.  I mean the workers there are nice enough- it’s not like I got into a spat with any of them directly.  However, they are always trying to accommodate more people than is politically correct so they are always rushing customers to finsih their meals.  I had a server/bus boy pull my plate from under me just as I was picking up my last spring roll.  Now, that is just plain rude!

thai iced tae

chicken wings

curry noods 

flaming ball of ice cream

McTwinkle, Arthur and I went to Kittichai for lunch one day and got seated in their lounge area b/c their space downstairs wasn’t opened- there was no explanation why.  We sat on plush seats surrounding a black bar in the middle.  The tables were very small, as they normally only hold drinks, so it was a bit difficult trying to balance three people’s lunches on two of those small round tables in the picture underneath. 

kittichai- space

We ordered both thai iced teas and thai iced coffees, which we got to sweeten and milk to our own tastes.  I got the thai salad to start, but I had meant to order the duck salad, but my mind was somewhere else and I ended up ordering the wrong one.  The salad was just a simple medley of lettuce, cucumbers, salmon, and peanuts with a crunchy rice paper look-a-like chip.  There’s nothing in regards to the salad to write home about.  McTwinkle and Arthur shared an order of their beef skewers, which were amazingly juicy and not-beefy tasting.  I don’t know what it was basted with, but I’d definitely eat it again.  I’ve been trying to open up more to meats lately.  The skewers came with a mango salsa, which resulted in the three of us wrestling for the mangoes.  We definitely should’ve ordered more of the skewers. 

thai iced tea


beef satay

I thought their entrees were small but made very well.  I had the massaman chicken curry, which came with mashed potatoes and a side of rice.  It was very innovative that they decided to swap regular o’ potatoes for mash b/c I loveeee mash!  I think massaman may be one of my favorite curries because it’s mild in spice and on the sweeter side.  Sometimes I crave a spicier dish, like a vindaloo, but when I’m craving curry, I’m usually craving it for its sweetness- like the Japanese curry.  Mmm.  McTwinkle ordered a much spicier curry- a red curry with pork and capers that set my mouth on fire, which is exactly how he likes his food.  He drenched his rice with the sauce so all you can taste is the curry.  We have no idea what the pork really tastes like, this dish was definitely concentrated on the curry.  Arthur wasn’t really hungry so he ordered the tuna tartare.  They came looking like mini sandwiches, with the tuna acting as the bread with a slice of tomato and arugala in between and a beet on top.  The tuna had a nice red color in the middle and the pesto sauce complemented the tuna well. 

massaman curry 

spicy pork


While I enjoyed Kittichai, especially the mellow atmosphere and their presentation of both food and drink, I have to say that dishes here are just too expensive and small for the amount we paid for it.  If you’re in the mood for a nice lunch and want to just sit back and chill, this would be the place to go.  No one will bother you and the food is good.  The boys also give a thumbs up to the restaurant’s cute hostess.

I also revisited what is quite possibly my favorite Thai restaurant in NYC, Kai Kai Thai.  There’s something about the close-knit family vibe and the small kitschy dining room combined with a mason jar of thai iced tea and some home-cooked noodles to hit the spot.  We sat in the back of the small dining room, which was made to look like a front porch of a house, looking out onto  Thai movie posters and trinkets of model houses along the walls. 

I had ordered the pad siew again and it was just as good as I remembered it.  Soft broad noodles pan fried with chinese broccoli with chicken, carrots, and egg.  The chicken was a bit on the dry side since it wasn’t marinated- it’s good in small pieces mixed with the sweet [oyster sauce based?] sauce used to fry up the dish.  JJ ordered a heavily chilied dish that had similar ingredient as mine, only spicier.  She ordered in Thai so I have no clue what she asked for. 

 kaikai inside

thai iced tea
mason jar style ;P

pad siew
pad siew

spicy noods
ultra spicy version of my noods

I walked about two weeks ago and realized that the dining area to Kai Kai Thai is now gone!!  They still have their little take out area with a lone two seater table, but now they’re basically a solely take-out business!  The space is now used for doggie treats!  It’s like a 50s style ice cream parlor, but for doggie treats.  *sigh.  There are no words left…

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