My first encounter with Laphet Thote, tea leaf salad, was at the Burmese restaurant Village Mingala in the East Village. There’s something about the sharp zing and pronounced flavor of fermentation that really speaks to me. While the namesake tea leaves were the star of the show, the roasted peanuts, along with a smattering of nuts and seeds stirred into the dish, played a strong supporting role, offering a rounded, nutty contrast to the sharp, pronounced flavor of fermented tea leaves. But before I could return to Village Mingala for a second taste, I was sad to learn that the restaurant had closed down.
Eaten the authentic Burmese way, Laphet Thote challenges the conventional concept of salad. The first thing that comes to mind when you think “salad” is some sort of leafy green. Well, in a Laphet Thote, there are none. The laphet, the Burmese word for these fermented tea leaves, is served in the center of the a dish with other assorted ingredients, which differ according to your preference, encircle the star of the dish.
Hey there, Ramen-loving New Yorkers. Here’s your lucky chance to win 2 FREE tickets to Ramen Fever at Asia Society this Thursday, December 16th from 6:30 – 9:30 pm.
The program will include a discussion with Shigeto Kamada, owner of Minca Ramen Factory and Kambi Ramen House, Jenny Miller, Assistant Food Editor at Grub Street/NYMag.com, Adina Steiman, Food Editor at Men’s Health magazine, and Rickmond Wong, owner of Ramen blog Rameniac, highlighting this exciting new trend. The talk will be followed by a Ramen demonstration and tasting given by Shigeto Kamada.
Big thanks to Kian for a beautiful meal, Jeff for organizing, and Talisa for this recap of the rooftop Hot Pot Ambassador Dinner. Oh boy, I’m getting hungry again.
When Jeff’s email blast arrived in my inbox announcing the next Ambassador Dinner — an evening of traditional Asian hot pot dining with Kian Lam Kho — it took me about fifteen seconds to send in my RSVP.
I love hot pot. It’s something I grew up doing with my family at home (somewhat infrequently, but with zest — usually in conjunction with a slew of sweet and savory fondue nights, the better to make use of the cooking equipment needed for such endeavors).
The concept of Hot Pot is simple: a pot of hot broth sits in the center of the table on a burner which keeps the broth simmering. Everyone at the table partakes in adding a variety of uncooked items (like veggies, meat, seafood, dumplings, and noodles), and fishing them out as they’re ready to eat. Since most of the ingredients aren’t seasoned, additional flavor is added via the broth during cooking, as well as with dipping sauces after cooking. At the end, everyone slurps up the remaining broth, which has been infused with the flavors of everything that’s been cooked in it throughout the night.
Two weeks ago, I was involved in producing an event to showcase Korean Temple Cuisine, a specialized cuisine originating from the culinary practices of Buddhist monks in Korea. There were no barbecued meats to be found. Instead, the tables were lined with plates of steamed lotus roots stuffed with multicolored rice, sprouts wrapped with paper thin sheets of pickled white radish and tied together with strands of chives, and rosy pink pickled vegetables sliced into precise uniform squares, just to name a few of the items in the spread of over 40 dishes.
It’s almost been two years since I first moved to Queens, but I find that there is still so much to see and explore. Since most of my friends either live in Brooklyn or Manhattan, I’m usually biking across the Pulaski Bridge into Brooklyn or hopping on the subway to Manhattan; I really haven’t had much of a chance to explore my own borough. But this all changed when I began to prepare and plan for Asian Feastival. In the past few months, I’ve spent more time in Queens than ever before. As a result, I’ve gotten a chance to know more Queens people and Queens places, and I really love it.
When the idea of doing an Asian Feastival bike tour came up, the first person that came to mind was Youngsun Lee. A Korean chef born in Seoul and raised in Queens, he first began biking to get in shape for the snowboarding season but now he is an equally expert biker. Together with Emily Lew, Asian Feastival graphic designer and correspondent, we discussed our shared passion for biking between bites of teok (Korean rice cakes) at the Asian Feastival press conference. By the time the conference was over it was settled, we were going to take it to the streets and do the bike tour. The fourth biker in our bike brigade was Jeff Orlick. Having lived in Jackson Heights for the past two years, he’s been spreading a good dose of Queens love through food. Organizing Queens-centric food gatherings and events, he’s been exploring the culinary landscape of Queens and bringing people together through a shared love for exploratory eating.
The Javanese Gamelan group Kusuma Laras holds rehearsals at the Indonesian Consulate twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays. Beginning at 5:30, members trickle into the basement of the Consulate, each taking their respective place in front of the majestic bronze instruments, sitting shoe-less and cross-legged while rhythmically beating to the numbered musical notations. An hour and a half later, a cooker of rice and tupperwares filled with aromatic Indonesian home cooking are placed on the table buffet-style, indicating that dinner has commenced.
Braving the summer heat and crossing borough lines for the sake of some home cooked Indonesian food at the Masjid Al Hikmah bazaar, Talisa explores Queens cuisine and recaps our epic Indonesian eating adventure. - Veronica
Being a Greenpointer, I’m only a Pulaski bridge away from Queens: that mythical, magical place of delicious food that has somehow managed to evade my ever-growling stomach since I moved to New York almost five years go. Aside from a few bites here and there and some lovely home-cooked feasts courtesy of the Chan’s themselves in Long Island City, I’ve been without a proper introduction to Queens Cuisine—a source of distress for a grub-lover like myself.
Shanghainese soup dumplings are a culinary phenomenon: a bite of pork and a spoonful of soup all within a neatly pleated wheat wrapper. You’re probably curious: how does the soup get in there? Over the years, I’ve come up with a fair share of outlandish theories – at one point I was convinced the dumplings were injected with a soup-filled syringe. But all my conspiracy theories were finally laid to rest two weeks ago when the high priestess of Nan Xiang Dumpling House, Chef Huang Jian Ping (黃建萍), came over to make soup dumplings from scratch. In anticipation for Asian Feastival, an epic culinary event in Queens on September 6th Labor Day Monday (check out asianfeastival.com for the complete rundown), we decided to put her off-site dumpling-making capabilities to the test and invited some friends over to witness her pork and dough sorcery. Read more
According to the Food Section, Italians are expected to eat 40 million panettone this holiday season. What is panettone? A holiday sweet bread originating from Milan dotted with dried fruit, usually rum raisins and bits of citron.
Example of generic panettone in a red box
When the supermarket has red boxes of pre-packaged panettone stacked to the ceiling, it’s a strong indicator that the Holiday season is in full swing. Having heard tales of dry, stale and dense panettone, I’ve been hesitant to invest in some for myself. Luckily, my friend Gary, who works at Grandaisy Bakery, gifted me a loaf and I’ve been carving away at it like a turkey on Thanksgiving day.