‘May you live in interesting times.’ - ancient Chinese curse.
“They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history.” - Robert F Kennedy
Not that we’ve been in any danger, and that phrase about interesting times is most likely not a Chinese curse at all, but lately we have been roiled and rolled by life!
Planning for the upcoming IACP Conference in NYC next spring has dominated our days, but it has been interesting, entertaining and stimulating. The collective creative energy of everyone involved is making this one wild and crazy time.
Earlier this week we went on a ‘dry run’ of one of our optional tours that will be offered during Conference. Escorted by the charming Kian Lam Kho of Red Cook, we fearlessly boarded the No. 7 train to Flushing Queens. He took us to three of his favorite restaurants: a Taiwanese, a Shanghai and a northern Chinese restaurant where we had the most amazing cumin crusted rack of lamb ribs. Cumin lamb ribs are Chinese? I would go back to Flushing in a heartbeat to eat these crispy, crunchy cumin-y ribs!
Our last stop was the huge New World mall Food Court and I confess, I barely had any belly room left for tasting the hand pulled noodles that would normally be tops on my “To Slurp” list.
Grace Young, the Stir Fry Guru, was also along on our excursion and kept us entertained with stories and recipes from her family in China. We sampled the sticky, sweet, savory, succulent “3 cup chicken” at the Taiwanese restaurant. This launched a conversation about regional cooking variations that sounded as much like Italy as it did about China. Grace’s uncle’s version of 3 cup chicken included equal parts rice vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. While Kian’s version was equal parts rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil. All I know is Jeff kept jabbing me with a chopstick saying, “You have to make this!!” So I guess I’ll be experimenting with this tasty glaze in the very near future.
Sea intestine just doesn’t sound appetizing, does it? Does it make you any more intrigued if I say it’s actually a sea worm? Or that one description of the live sea worm described it as a phallic filled condom?
Here are two of our cohorts watching a YouTube video of a tank of sea intestine worms. mmm...
But for all that buildup, it’s a mild flavored, toothsome, ingredient that when it is cleaned and cooked, looks a lot like whole wheat ziti and tastes great paired with braised Chinese celery.
One of my surprise favorites was the curdled soymilk soup. Despite it’s off putting look, I could see craving a bowl of this savory soup on a blustery cold day.
I’m late to the party when it comes to soup dumplings. It seems like everyone else has been singing the praises of xian long bow. I thought soup dumpling meant the dumpling was in a bowl of soup, but it’s the other way around: the soup is inside the dumpling! (How do they do that??)
I needed a lesson on the proper way to eat soup dumplings and the beautiful Maya was happy to show me the ropes. Most important: eat them hot, hot! Carefully pry the dumpling out of the steamer with your chopsticks and into your spoon, add some ginger flavored vinegar to the spoon, bite the top off of the dumpling and then slurp up the soup and the dumpling. I believe this causes an instant addiction reaction.
And that, my friends, was just one afternoon of Conference planning! I mean we had to do a ‘dry run’ of one of the tours we are planning, right?
If you want to take this tour you’ll have to join IACP and come along on Kian’s next tour of Chinatown!
Buon appetito indeed.