May 20, 2013
First came the hand-drawn vermicelli, then the soup dumplings, bubble tea, and ramen. Philly's Chinatown has been slowly but surely acquiring a number of Asian street foods that are the stuff of obsession elsewhere. The latest arrivals, popularized by Xi'an Famous Foods in New York, are these Xi'an liang pi noodles at the two-month-old Happy Noodle Bar on Race Street. Yes, the Chinese "burger" might catch more eyes, its zesty minced pork and chiles sandwiched between what looks like a Chinese English muffin.
April 18, 2013 |
I try to buy produce locally and cook it seasonally. But there comes a time in late winter-early spring when I can't bear to roast another Brussels sprout, bake another sweet potato, or massage another leaf of kale into submission. That's when I buy broccoli grown who knows where and transported to my friendly neighborhood Whole Foods Market. Call it a bridge to the days of peas and asparagus. Once I get it home, I usually douse it with curry powder and roast it, or microwave it and finish it under the broiler.
April 4, 2013
OF ALL THE topics that diners tend to fuss over, "authenticity" is the fussiest to understand. Just listen to one of the food scene's more talented over-thinkers run a restaurant through his or her analytical atom smasher and you might agree. The quantitative critiques - service, prices, vibe - are all there, but things get weird once culinary credibility undergoes cross-examination. Is it "authentic" to use this sauce? In that soup, is marjoram an "authentic" garnish? Was the pot used to braise tonight's pork wrapped in indigenous leaves, buried beneath loose earth and gently attended by a pitmaster with Taíno ancestry?
March 7, 2013
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat from March 5: Craig LaBan: What's been making your dinners, drinks, and snacks happy? My new invention to keep the kids from fighting at dinner? Personal nachos! Made these babies to order - chili for some, black beans for others, hold the salsa, heavy on the cheese - all a hit thanks to those addictive, amazing fresh chips from Tortilleria San Roman in the Italian Market. Are they the best chips on earth? ¡Creo que sí!
January 31, 2013 |
These noodles are a fun and approachable dish good for a busy weeknight or to celebrate Chinese New Year. Shrimp and Shiitake Noodle Stir-Fry Makes 4 servings 2 tablespoons sesame oil 1 small sweet onion, sliced 7 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, thinly sliced 1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced 91/2-ounce package thick Asian-style noodles, such as udon ...
January 10, 2013
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat of Tuesday, Jan. 8: Craig LaBan: It's been a few weeks since we last spoke and I hope you all had great family celebrations and wonderful meals. I'd love to hear some of your highlight experiences. One of mine was a visit to the Italian Market, where I feasted on fresh tortillas from the Tortilleria San Roman (my vote for best addition to the Market), and also learned of a potential end of a sausage era, as Sonny D'Angelo announced that his family was considering selling the century-old butcher shop.
December 28, 2012 |
START 2013 RIGHT with food that symbolizes good luck. These easy appetizers are perfect for New Year's Eve or New Year's Day entertaining, too. "Long noodles are associated with long life and good health," said Hiroko Shimbo, author of Hiroko's American Kitchen (Andrews McMeel, $24.99). Here she turns soba noodles into sushi rolls. Pair with your favorite cold dipping sauce. Slice 1 medium mango, half an avocado and 1 peeled Kirby or pickling cucumber into 1/2-by-3 1/2-inch sticks.
November 22, 2012 |
Philly seems to have a new holiday tradition. The giant yellow noodle is back in JFK Plaza - Love Park - with the untarping scheduled for today. If it helps, think of it as a collosal yellow smile that funds the nearby holiday tree, instead of a crass pitch for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. "You know you love it," the noodle says, just as it has in other cities, including Philadelphia late last year. Thanksgiving Day, the 60 shops of the annual Christmas Village will open, offering an array of merchandise, including jewelry, ornaments and other arts and crafts, as well as waffles and gingerbread among its "food, drinks and sweets," organizers say. At 2 p.m. Saturday, the village will mark its official grand opening will a visit by the angel known as Christkind, who's flying in from Nuremberg, Germany.
October 26, 2012
Ramen Boy lasted, oh, about as long as one slurp. Or so it seemed for this sleek Chinatown entry from the owners of Yakitori Boy into the city's suddenly piping hot ramen scene. After a steady thrum of (justified) bad buzz on the "Yokohama-style" bowls, it closed after just five months while the owners regrouped. What a remarkable turnaround they've made in forming a new partnership with the Terakawa ramen restaurants from New York, which brought new recipes and a new chef. The cozy wood counter decor is the same, but the soups, focusing on richer tonkotsu, the cloudy broth steeped from Berkshire pork bones in the Kyushu style, are entirely more satisfying, and definitely worth another visit.
August 31, 2012
The steaming-hot pork-bone broth that serves as the base of Nom Nom Ramen's tonkotsu-style soups might not sound appealing in the midst of 90-plus temperatures, but its cold cousin provides all the flavor and none of the perspiration. Hiyashi chuka - literally "chilled Chinese noodles," as Japan adopted ramen from the People's Republic - features Nom Nom's custom-made noodles flash-chilled and scattered over a savory dressing of soy, vinegar, sesame oil, and katsuobushi, the fermented tuna flakes used to make dashi.