“Another human being’s syntax is the soul’s water.” Compiling a list of beautiful food writing. Mostly for myself and personal inspiration but all are free to enjoy:
Enter the Comfort Zone at 606 R&D – Tejal Rao ” A man kisses his partner on the wrist when he arrives to the table and nudges forward a tiny ramekin of radish wedges and soft, salty butter (that’s amuse-bouche for I love you).”
Pok Pok Ny: Bangkok Pop, No Fetishes – Tejal Rao “You’re likely to enjoy most every dish, unless you bring along a killjoy who insists on measuring food’s authenticity by his own pseudoscientific criterion. In which case, my condolences. Nothing ruins dinner like asking to see its papers.”
Flame War – Jonathan Gold “… the fabled stinky bean, which smells like a bad day at the morgue, but tastes like what God probably had in mind when she came up with lima beans.”
Fuchsia Dunlop: London’s Chinatown “Waitstaff across Chinatown would then tell me how Westerners usually made trouble when they were given the kind of dishes Chinese people liked best. They would moan about bones and cartilage, send shell-on prawns back to the kitchen, be shocked by chicken that was a little pink along the bones, and accuse staff of trying to cheat them by serving cheap, fatty pork.”
Will Forage for Food? Chefs at Eva Take Weeding to a New Level – Amy Scattergood “A minute later it’s poured tableside, the lace of the fennel rising as the soup falls, like leaves atop a miniature pond. You lift your spoon. The nasturtium leaves sway in the pass. You feel as if you’re in a garden that hasn’t stopped growing.”
Shameless promo for an upcoming event…but the organizers of LitFest have invited me and Kristie Hang to be on a panel with Jonathan Gold to chat about Chinese food in Los Angeles. I’m completely honored to be a part of this so would love it if everyone came out and supported us.
Who: Me, Kristie Hang and Jonathan Gold
When: Saturday, May 11 / 1:00 pm — 1:45 pm
Where: Pasadena Central Park (1 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105)
What: We’ll be chatting about how the San Gabriel Valley became the capital of Chinese food in LA.
More details here and the venue is just a hop and skip away from the Del Mar Gold Line station if you’re too lazy to drive in from the West side. I know I would be.
And like all good events, there will be food. No, not Chinese food, but if anyone wants to hit up a restaurant afterwards, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m more than happy to chat more over a bowl of noodles.
Here’s a updated list of what I’ve been working on in the past weeks:
10 Best Hainan Chicken Dishes in Los Angeles: 10) Yazmin 9) Tasty Garden 8) Nha Trang 7) Sticky Rice 6) Jitlada 5) Siam Sunset 4) Tasty Choice 3) Dong Nguyen 2) Green Zone 1) Savoy.
I’ve started writing profiles for KCET and my first one is a feature on Jonny Hwang, the man behind the 626 Night Market. “In retrospect, Hwang’s background has groomed him to be the ideal leader of the 626. Born in Taiwan but raised in Monterey Park, he notes that he was hyperaware of the community issues Asians faced in Los Angeles. “I thought this place was the weirdest thing when I first moved here. All the signs were in Chinese,” he says. “I didn’t understand why people here didn’t want to assimilate.”
Dating can be a pain in the San Gabriel Valley but thankfully, after a decade of living here, I’ve figured it out. I compiled a list of romantic night out ideas for local lovebirds. You’re welcome. “OK — we’ll admit it. The San Gabriel Valley doesn’t exactly have the hottest dating scene in Los Angeles. It’s mostly suburbia, there aren’t much nightlife options and Angelenos don’t really make the trek over unless it’s for good Chinese food or a happy hour deal at some swanky Pasadena watering hole. But rest assured, if you’re in the 626 and looking for a way to charm your date, we’ve got the perfect roundup for you.”
I’m also a contributor to the LA Times food blog now. Check out my first feature: Garage Restaurant, a Tianjin-style breakfast restaurant in Monterey Park. “Mung bean is a theme. It’s spread underneath the egg layer of the jianbing, and there’s a dish appropriately titled “crispy mung bean,” or gabacai, in which mung bean is the main highlight. The dish is composed of mung bean flakes drenched in a thick gravy of chili oil, light soy sauce, fermented milk, sesame sauce and parsley. It’s a simple dish, but it boasts more than 300 years of history and was popularized by Qianlong, the sixth emperor of the Qing Dynasty, after he discovered it on an undercover excursion to sample layman food.”
Oh and our dim sum etiquette video came out. Check it out.
These were so tasty, I wish I had gotten more. Filipino-inspired gingerbread men anyone? “The concept is simple: gingerbread men with an Filipino twist. On their current menu: ube, red bean, macapuno (a Philippine variety of coconut that is soft and jelly-like) and green tea pandan.”
A lot of round-ups this week. Here’s a brief guide to the articles I’ve published this week:
For Time Out Los Angeles, I found ten great places in the city to get dumplings for under $10.
Sometimes I’ll stumble into a Chinese restaurant and freak out in glee because the menu items are so unique. Tianjin Bistro on Valley Boulevard was one of those places. And if you don’t know what to order, I’ve written a guide to their top sellers.
“So, what’s good in the San Gabriel Valley?” From now on, I’ll just refer everyone to this list: Where To Impress Your Friends In The San Gabriel Valley.
When I lived in New York, Num Pang was hands down one of my favorite places to hit up. I got to raid the owner’s fridge. Check it out.