Hot Pot Ambassador Dinner with Kian Lam Kho

hot pot spread

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.
– Veronica

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.

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A Spicy and Tasty Sichuan Lunch

fish cooked with sichuan spices

Back from London and tired from bland British food, Hope had only one request when I asked her where she wanted to go out for lunch.  “I need some SPICE!”, she pleaded.  Somehow I managed to convince Hope and Davis to wake up early on a cold day and venture into the inner depths of Queens for a taste of Sichuan cuisine.

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Look Mom, No Ricecooker!

patient on Flickr” href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldtotable/3902753286/”>homecooked chinese dinner

Hello World (to-Table fans). My name is Kelly, and I’m writing to you from my home away from home, Poughkeepsie, NY. My real home is actually in an apartment with my sister Veronica, creator of this blog. But I currently live with three friends in a house near Vassar College, where I am a student.

That’s enough about me. What about FOOD? Like my sister, I have acquired quite a refined palate, which is a blessing and a curse, as the dining hall that “nourished” me for four semesters is not cutting it anymore. Good-bye meal plan and hello kitchen!

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A Late Spring Chinese Dinner with Red Cook

Last Saturday night Kian of Red Cook invited me and my family to his Late Spring Chinese Dinner at his home in Harlem.  Fellow dinner guests included Kian’s partner Warren, their fellow food enthusiast friend Ed, Shelley Menaged from the James Beard House and Iron Chef judge and food writer Akiko Katayama.

When I asked Kian how he had accumulated such a wealth of knowledge about Chinese cooking and cuisine, he told me, “I do lots of research.  I read Chinese cookbooks, go online… the online forums are very helpful.”

Over the course of four hours, Kian bustled back and forth between the dining table and the kitchen, meticulously prepping and presenting us with course after course.  Meanwhile, we shared stories about gritty pizza joints, trips to outerboroughs, and our passionate love or hate for durian fruit, all between bites of food.

We gathered around Kian as he was finishing prepping his first course, waiting with eager anticipation for the ten-course marathon to begin.

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Congee with a Side of You Tiao in Toronto

Some of the best Southern Chinese food in the Northeast can be found north of the border, in the city of Toronto in Ontario, Canada.  My mom, sister and I took a short trip up to Toronto to visit some relatives.  While we were there, we spent one day downtown to explore the city.  First stop, Chinatown.  As we wandered through the unfamiliar streets, we passed by stalls selling Chinese herbs and vegetables.  Unsure of where to go, we stopped by a shopkeeper to ask for a recommendation on for a place to get breakfast, specifically where we could find a good bowl of congee.  “Just down the street, House of Gourmet has everything,” was his reply.

So we took his suggestion and started off our early morning with a big bowl of preserved egg and pork loin congee with a side of you tiao, a salty Chinese donut, from House of Gourmet.  When he said “they have everything”, he wasn’t lying.  The vast menu at House of Gourmet had a total of 426 menu items, and in the congee section alone there were 45 variations. Of the 45 variations of congee offered at the House of Gourmet, the contents mixed into the congee ranged from seafood, such as crab, abalone, and lobster, to more daring options such as pig’s blood pudding and other delectable offals.


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Bitter Melons and Bok Choy in the Lower East Side, NY

If you’ve ever explored the aisles of an Asian supermarket, you might wonder how you can always find a steady flow of big, juicy fruits and pounds of fresh green vegetables for affordable prices. Here in this unassuming warehouse in the Lower East Side, you can discover the magic behind it all…

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