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Bitter melon ... Wow that is rough !

Its absolutely delicious as an accompaniment for rice.

I like it best when its stewed down to brown, savory much with soy sauce and pork and generous amounts of garlic. It packs an umami punch and that astringency just wakes the palate up.

Its a ugly dish, but so homey and comforting.

Jun 27, 2009
fuuchan in Home Cooking

How come we don't salt japanese/korean rice? or do you?

No need for the salt.

Salt and/or butter to good quality steamed rice makes me cry. Don't even bring that soy sauce bottle near. I will slap it out of your hand.

Good rice is sweet and has a fragrance of its own. It needs no other help. It's meant to be filler and a foil for stronger flavored dishes.

I can't bring myself to mess with such simplicity.

Jun 27, 2009
fuuchan in Home Cooking

I have a ton of cucumbers!

Slice into bite size cubes or thin slices. Toss with some salt and let drain in a colander.
Rinse a bit to get some of the salt off and give it a good squeeze.

Toss with sesame oil, a dash of soy sauce and maybe some chilis if you like the heat.
Top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and eat chilled.

It's basically the only way I think cucumbers are edible.

Jun 27, 2009
fuuchan in Home Cooking

Foods You Fight

Peking Duck..."too complicated"?!

It's just like assembling a sandwich. Just because its a "foreign" food doesn't make it any more esoteric than stacking a bunch of fillings between two starch halves (or rolling it up in a crepe a la a burrito) is.

Jun 22, 2009
fuuchan in Features

10 Canned Goods Worth Using

Ugh. Never use canned water chestnuts. They have no flavor. Actually they do, they taste like a tin can.

Fresh are a world apart. if you can get yourself to an Asian market, you can get them very easily. Just wash, peel and slice.

Canned lychees are also no substitute for the real deal. They taste nothing alike. The former tastes like sugar syrup, the texture becomes leathery and strange. The latter tastes like a fresh fruit. And BAH on the hard to peel part. Lychees are far easier than say an apple or an orange to peel.

May 20, 2009
fuuchan in Features

Most Underrated Foods

I'm not offended that the typical American doesn't eat these foods (lots of cultures don't consider things Americans eat as food items, either).

I'm just generally miffed by the stereotype and that the joke can even be made that the local Chinese restaurant is swiping cats off the street and feeding it to unsuspecting customers and that its even a concern to some people.

Nov 19, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Most Underrated Foods

While its not a myth that what Western folks might consider animals absolutely not meant to be eaten are indeed eaten all over the world (and by Chinese folks). Also its a fact that its not wrong to eat these animals.

I do take offense to the sniggering that goes on around the idea that mystery meats are a hazard of eating Chinese cookery. I take offense to the idea that you are more at risk of eating something unsavory at a Chinese restaurant than anywhere else.

Nov 18, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Can't make a good congee

Oil...in congee? Really? o_O

Nov 16, 2008
fuuchan in Home Cooking

Chinese ingredients

With the exception of maybe certain condiments, I can't think of many foods in Chinese restaurants around here that come exclusively from where quality and safety might be of concern.

Vegetables, meats and seafood are all sourced from domestic producers or distributors, even popular condiment brands are produced in the U.S. as well.

I still think the scare over Chinese products exclusively stinks of a bit of xenophobia. Like The Professor said, food safety these days is not just a Chinese issue.

Nov 11, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

What odd or unusual foods to you eat?

Oh no, my Asian-ness is showing! ::zips up::

But yeah, Asian food is pretty alien by local standards. I wouldn't trade my diet for the world, though. I gotta give credit to the very Asian parents for my chowhoundliness.

Oct 29, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Is Sushi too overrated/ubiquitous?

They certainly do have Chawanmushi on the menu and there's is a great one.
There's actually two versions on their menu.
I opt for the slightly more lux version with crab.

Tell me if the restaurant passes your muster!

Oct 28, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

What odd or unusual foods to you eat?

I like the shells of shrimp when they've been salt baked or simply stir fried over very high heat with a sweet soy, ginger and scallion sauce.

The sauces get caramelized and the shells are crisp while trapping all that flavor.

Oct 28, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

What odd or unusual foods to you eat?

Are we talking normal foods in weird combinations?

The only rather uncommon, but really not all that weird combo I can think of is that I loved peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk on toast. I'll still occasionally have a slice, buts it a sugar and fat overload and definitely only a sometime treat.

I also eat cartilage wherever and however I can get it...from pork ribs, from chicken drumsticks,etc. That and shrimp shells (grilled or pan fried only, not steamed or boiled).

Oct 28, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Bacon Cinnamon Rolls??

I think that sounds amazing, but I'd like to have my bacon crisp and probably just crumbled over the top so its a salty, smoky accent to the sweet gooeyness of the cinnamon roll.

Oct 28, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Why can't I get bread in an Asian restaurant?

...this question kinda baffled me.
I assume you're talking about Chinese restaurants as all the food you cited were foods traditionally found at American Chinese restaurants?

Bread simply isn't a big part of the diets of the Chinese whose culture and cuisine influences the Chinese restaurants that are more common in the U.S.

Yes, types of bread (usually flatbreads from what I've seen) are eaten in other parts of China, but those kinds of cuisines are not well known or very popular overseas.

But by far in the Eastern and Southern parts of China which yields familiar fare like wonton noodle soup and kung pao chicken, rice and noodles are the ticket, not bread.

Its not an anomaly at all. <b>Some cultures simply do not eat bread.</b>

As a matter of fact, many times when I've dined in Beijing, Cheng du, etc. Rice was not even given. It had to be asked for. Several times. Other starches like potatoes were far more common. So its possible that starch isn't as prevalent in Chinese cooking as we American folks have become accustomed to in our own diets.

Oct 28, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Is Sushi too overrated/ubiquitous?

Jo Sho Restaurant in Somerset, NJ
120 Cedar Lane Grove

I've been dying for a good Japanese meal but haven't been able to go down there in a while.

Oct 28, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Time to 'fess up: The Chow Booty Call

The infamous Fat Sandwiches of Rutgers University.

Each Fat creation is a beast only intoxicated frat boys could dream up. But late at night, or during exam crunch time, one of these calorie bombs just hits the spot.

My favorite is the chicken Fat Cat...grilled chicken, lettuce, mayo (which I opt out of), ketchup, french fries, all glued together with American cheese (real cheese? HAH!) stuffed into a sub roll, all stuffed into a brown paper bag so you can lurch around frat row with true class and style.

Oct 28, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Is Sushi too overrated/ubiquitous?

North Jersey, about 45mins-hour from NYC.

Yes, there is wonderful Japanese food in the city, but usually extremely pricey and not somewhere I'd go without a very special occasion. I don't necessarily count that as truly accessible. This place I'm talking about is in Central Jersey, near where I went to school. Its very down home, tucked into a corner of a strip mall.

Oct 21, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Is Sushi too overrated/ubiquitous?

The only really accessible authentically Japanese place I have around me is 45 minutes drive away. The place was a revelation. Sushi wasn't even on the menu, even though you could order that a la carte if you really wanted to.

But why would you, when they had not one...but THREE menus of incredible, homey, seasonal and impeccably prepared Japanese fare. One menu was a kind of small plates, cold and warm appetizery things like chawanmushi (their version has chunks of whole king crab, shiitake, green onions, a little dab of fresh, real wasabi on top and a flake of gold leaf. SO. GOOD.) Another had mostly hot kitchen entrees.
You could get a separate menu wit noodles on it.
In addition, they had a huge board with a rotating selection of seasonal specials.

One day it might be a basket of tiny salty crunchy river shrimp, another day it might be screaming fresh aji, alive just seconds before plating.

The owner of the shop was this tiny, sweet obaasan, her staff and cooks all Japanese.

I love the place, but its not practical to go whenever the whim strikes me (it strikes a lot).
It seems they scaled back operations some, lately though. For one they no longer offer this little appetizer of barely grilled squid and uni, and the sheer number of menus has been scaled back. What is left is still incredibly good though.

Oct 20, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Is Sushi too overrated/ubiquitous?

Bad sushi - cold, gluey, congealed rice, not-so-fresh fish that's been ungainly cut into huge chunks or slabs by ungainly hands, soggy nori
Or those monstrous rolls that combine four different kinds of fish, Krab sticks, avocado, Batter the whole darned thing and fry it, and top it with tuna (everybody LOVES tuna, right?) and squiggles of mayo and a BAM of technicolored tobiko.

Yes, that kind of sushi is pretty overrated and ubiquitous.

However, since good sushi is so hard to find yet so eye opening, it is neither overrated or ubiquitous.

Oct 20, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Best way to enjoy Persimmons...

I've always eaten persimmons peeled, ever since I was a kid. I wouldn't have ever thought of eating the peel, just like you're not supposed to eat the rind of an orange! It's just not something you eat!

Oct 17, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Best way to enjoy Persimmons...

I don't like the Hachiya (the soft kind) at all. I try and try again, but even at their ripest, I never enjoyed their slimeyness or that mouth-drying hint of astringency still left.

Fuyus, peeled and halved room temp or lightly chilled are the best!

Oct 16, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Really Crappy Unhealthy Disgusting Toe-curling Junkfood!

I've eaten and enjoyed:
Canned corn niblets straight from the can
Nuclear colored nacho cheese and those little round tortilla chips

A friend of mine occasionally makes this monstrosity of a dip when we get late night munchies. Its seriously a block (or two) of cream cheese, topped with canned refried beans, packaged shredded cheese and microwaved. Serve with chips. Oh so vile and has probably shaved off several years of my life, but its so hard to stop eating it!

Oct 15, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Dim Sum Variety

Some things to look for (some places might not have them):

I like the tripe and blood a lot :O

Congee ladled at the table
Pork ribs with green chilis (pai gu or pai guit depending on whether you're ordering in Mandarin or Canto)
Sesame balls with bean paste(ask if theyre hot, its the only way to eat them)
Sticky rice (studded with salty sweet ham, scallions, little dried shrimp, called no mi or noa mei fan)

For dessert, if its available at all, sometimes they run out early or the restaurant simply doesn't offer it.
Fresh, steaming do fu hua or dao fu hua - silky smooth tofu served with a sugar syrup served hot from big bamboo containers.
Look for hua juan (flower rolls), not the savory kind, but the dessert kind that looks like tiny yellow jelly rolls. Its really a featherlight yellow cake rolled up with an extremely thing layer of custard inside.

Oct 15, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

"gourmet" foods you liked as a kid

Hi. ::raises hand:: I grew up Chinese. Stereotypes aside, I did grew up eating animals, animal parts, half rotted things, weird fungal things, all things pungent and preserved etc.

I loved and still love pig offal (pig intestine, kidneys in particular), pig ear, chicken gizzards, pig blood, duck blood, chicken or duck intestines if they can be found, fish gizzards, fish sperm, "snow frog" (described as the fatty lining of a female frog's reproductive organs), cordyceps (that fungus that invades the bodies of caterpillers and eats them from the inside out).

I'm a big fan of crab fat and roe, shrimp heads, snails, primordial sea critters, fermented shrimp paste, fried whole fish roe sacs were a treat to be fought over at the table. Chinese style blood and liver sausage, duck tongues, the feet of any and all animals, the frogs they sell in buckets in Chinatown, salted and preserved eggs

I rarely eat these things in front of friends, since they're mostly eaten with Chinese family, but there is a Korean restaurant my friends and I often go to, and because we usually have a big party, the restaurant will usually send over some free food, usually some really perfect, fresh grilled fish. Most of my friends don't know what to do with it and I feel kinda awkward snaffling the whole plate down myself and picking under the gills with my chopsticks for the sweet cheek morsels, but stuff like that cannot be wasted! A fun (okay, maybe only to me...) party talent: I can stuff a whole (small) fish into my mouth and spit it out a little while later with the meat stripped from the bones.

Oct 15, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Gack! Mooncakes!

Im laughing at the mental image XD

Sep 22, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Gack! Mooncakes!

Mooncakes are too for eating! Just not three boxes worth. I suggest gifting some to other people.

I prefer the simpler, more traditional ones, lotus paste and a salted yolk. The yolk tempers the uber dense, super-sweet texture of the filling. I warm em up for a few seconds, cut them into tiny slivers (so you're not overwhelmed by their inherent vulcanized rubber density) and have them with a steaming cup of green tea to cut the rich sweetness. I think I will have one later!

Sep 22, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Candy you eat only during Halloween?

Reeses and bottle caps, Twix. I don't eat candy at all really during the year, except for some dark chocolate now and then, but Halloween's the only time I'll indulge. It's just THERE in the house when it normally isn't something I'd buy at all.

Sep 20, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

Ramen Noodles - Favorite Additions

1 egg - it must be soft poached with the yolk still runny. The ramen we usually have in this house (eaten sparingly and in the event there is nothing else to eat) is usually too assertively and complexly flavored to add anything else to it. No nuclear neon yellow broths here.

The egg is probably the only consistent addition, for less complex soups, like instant udon, I may add shrimp, scallions and Chinese cabbage, or fish balls, squid balls, beef balls, etc.

Sep 13, 2008
fuuchan in General Topics

WSJ: "Why Chinese Food Isn't Hip"

It is kinda odd how there aren't any upscale full-service Chinese restaurants in the U.S.

It's not that Chinese food isn't hip or upscale. It definitely isn't the food's fault. But it's true, I've never been to a Chinese restaurant in the U.S. with the kind of service that many Westerners find requisite for a "nice" dining experience.

Chinese restaurant service in the U.S. can be blunt, rushed, sloppy at its worst, informal and back slapping at its best. Its not bad, once you get yourself out of the mindset of the Western style of dining out.

Yes, most people DON'T think that Chinese food can be all that glamorous because it only evokes images of take out sludge.

However, real Chinese food is absolutely delicious for those with open palates and open minds, just no one really influential seems to have teased it into a cute little tower yet and presented it on a big shiny white plate in a posh interior. (Even Ming Tsai seems to have gone the Japanese-fusion route, turning his back on his Chinese roots :( )

That said, I'd kill for some of my favorite restaurants in Beijing to somehow pop out an American branch. Full tableside service, lotus garden views, the works.

Sep 07, 2008
fuuchan in Food Media & News