Archive for the ‘chinatown’ Category

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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 I took a day off to spend time with my bestest when she came back from Penn for Thanksgiving.  We started the day at this cute tiny shop/eatery in Chinatown called Tic Tac Toe (on Hester between Elizabeth and Mott).  This place was previously a cell phone store / Japanese and Chinese import candy store / internet cafe / eatery.  I used to come here for my favorite Japanese gummy candy fix.  

Space: The whole right wall is lined with brown chalkboard where they’ve written their menu in cutesy font and colorful chalk.  In addtion to food, tic tac toe place sells unique items for the home like candles and cutesy novelty umbrellas and tote bags. 

The Grub:  The food selection is sub-par and if I wasn’t so obsessed with their drink menu, I might never want to sit here for food at all.  They have a big tea selection and many conoctions are made from white tea, which I’m a very big fan of.  White tea is supposed to be really soothing and good for you.  Two varieties I wanted to try were the peach white tea and the lychee white tea.  The guy behind the counter informed me that he was told both are served best cold, but the weather didn’t permit cold drinks.  I thought since white tea is generally very mild, it would taste fine hot or cold, but that wasn’t the suggestion.  I didn’t really want to risk it so I ordered two green tea lattes for me and the bestest.  The green lattes were really good; there was a strong green tea flavor was frothy, which made it thicker than regular green tea.

tic tac toe

tic tac toe inside tic tac toe drink selection
a peak into the kitchen area // a variety of juices, including aloe!

Their food menu is very small and contains mostly paninis, which is what we ordered.  They have this tofu chicken salad I wanted to try but decided against it because they used the iceberg lettuce.  We ended up ordering a turkey panini with swiss, and a ham with american cheese with chili mayo spread, and an order of edamame sui mai.  The chili mayo reminds me of the Japanese spicy mayo- orange with some red chili specks .  I would’ve referred any other green but iceberg lettuce, but the melted cheese and the warm bread made the sandwich really messy to eat but really savory.  The swiss cheese added a sweetness to the turkey panini.  Other than the chili mayo, there was nothing special about the paninis.  They just tasted like sandwiches in panini form. 

 turkey panini ham panini

I’m pretty sure this is not store made edamame sui mai, but rather it’s just reheated and store bought.  I’ve never seen these in the store before, but if anyone sees them around- be sure to give me a heads up!  I wanted to try this because I thought it was really interesting to put a Japanese twist to a Chinese dim sum dish.  The edamame flavor really came out in the sui mai, which surprised me because I half expected something artificial.  Besides the edamame flavor, I could’t make out the other ingredients.   On the inside, there are bits of mashed edamame combined with other veggies.  The skin is a little chewy- it’s the same consistency as a wonton skin.  These bite sized sui mais are good with just about any type of sauce; I tried some with my chili mayo and vinegar (though the vinegar was better).  I’m sure soy sauce works well too.

edamamae siu mai

Overall: I’d come here for the edamame sui mai if I wanted something small to hold me over and for their drinks.  The variety of tea and juices is pretty wide, with both Japanese and Chinese options.  The paninis here are only okay and only cost around $6 for one. 

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I HAD BRUNCH THIS PAST WEEKEND!  Finally!  It’s been forever since I’ve had me some brunch.  Arthur and I have been saying we would go for about 3 weeks now and didn’t make good on our word ’til this Sunday.  We are busy people, so it’s understandable, but it’s also brunch!  My absolutely favoritest meal!  I feel so sad for those out there who haven’t experienced brunch, or whose cities don’t have brunch.  =(

Before I get into the brunch, I had dinner with the fam on Thursday after some studying at the cafe [LSATs- they are the death of me].  We went to my favorite Malaysian place in Chinatown- Nyonya.  Well, they’re only my favorite because they have this really cool Chinese-style black ink mural on the wall and their roti canai rules all. 

situated btwn an italian rest & chinese herb shop

The roti canai is a Malaysian version of the Indian pancake, but made different, and is in some ways… better.  The description of the roti canai at Malaysian restaurants in fact, always uses the words “Indian pancake” as a description- or maybe that’s just the translation.  Either way, I like it from this place especially because Nyonya makes its own.  It comes in layers and is all poofy, crunchy at the corners, and fluffy.  If you stand outside and watch from the window, you can see the chefs making them and rolling them out into big circles, like pizza dough!  The roti canai comes with a curry sauce and usually with a potato or two and a piece of chicken.  I always fight for the potato.  The chicken is usually attached to some bone, so I forfeit that off the bat.   I shared the pancake with Jen and Lydia.

roti canai

best shared with others; it’s more filling than it looks

 For my main course, I decided I didn’t want what I always get- the Chow Kueh Teow [fried noods with shrimp, squid, egg, chili sauce], but today, I decided I didn’t feel like anything spicy, so I got my non-spicy alternative, the fried egg noodles.  They use the same noodles in wonton soup and stir fry them with bean sprouts, eggs, squid, shrimp [but I can’t eat that so it’s out] and snow peas.  This time they added mushrooms to the mix.  I like the dish without the mushrooms, but eh, they weren’t really bothering me.  I can’t really describe the flavor of the dish; I mean it’s stir fry, you know?  You should just go and evaluate for yourself.  =)

egg noods

I didn’t go out on Friday night this week cuz I was busy prepping for the LSATs like a crazed sleep deprived mad woman.  I did have sushi on Saturday night before the drinking, but I’ve already posted pictures from Sushi Lounge. 

Sunday, I went to Casanis again.  This time, it was for brunch.  $11 for a dish, oj, and coffe/tea.  Most of the dishes from the brunch menu were more lunch options [lots of burgers], but I got the eggs benedict with gravlax.  I had no idea what gravlax was, so guess what I did?  I googled it on my treo!  =)  Yes, I’m a dork.  You may stop laughing now.  Gravlax, is actually Swedish in origin, not French like I thought- anyways, it’s raw salmon cured in a salt-sugar-dill mixture.  It kind of reminds me of lox for some reason, *shrugs.  Well, this one was cured in way too much salt and the salt really brought out the salmon flavor- it was too salmony and salty for me.  I’d probably order this again from another restaurant though, just to make a really accurate concensus of whether or not I really don’t like it.  Last time I came here, I thought the chef had a really heavy salt hand too.  This time around though, there were more salty items, so maybe the third time will be the charm?  The potatoes that came with my dish were good; soft and not too saltily spiced.  The salad was okay; vinagrette dressing was a bit bland, but I didn’t mind too much.

eggs benedict
*mmm hollandaise

up close with my eggs & fish on an english muffin

Arthur decided he wanted an Irish breakfast for brunch.  There were the tomatoes [not fried like they’re suppose to be], pork slice, mushroom halves, sunny side up eggs, english muffin, and the non tradtitional baked beans.  Did you know that the Irish tend to frown on baked beans being served with breakfast because it’s seen as a British twist to the Irish breakfast.  [It’s wonderful what you info is on wiki!]  I’m also pretty sure these are canned beans, which don’t really bother me cuz I really liked them.  I kept picking them off Arthur’s bowl.  He seemed to like his breakfast, but it was difficult to combine all the flavors. 

irish breakfast
not so traditional Irish breakfast

…. Miami foodings to come next week.  I’ll be in West Palm Beach and Miami this weekend!

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