The day after Trump’s inauguration, I was in Tokyo doing some food ‘research’ on route back from my pop up dinner in Niseko. An American friend of mine Elizabeth, who had moved there a couple years back, invited me to join her and some others on a march at Hibiya Park, one of the 676 sister marches planned around the globe in alliance with the Women’s March on Washington. About 650 of us, mostly expats, traversed the city in a respectful, quiet and distinctly Japanese fashion, in a neat double file to the side of traffic on the road. Later that night, I returned to my Airbnb in Shibuya and watched as Gloria Steinem declared that “God may…
I walked down Kuanzhai Lane in Chengdu, looking for number 43. The area is highly stylized, as China’s “heritage sites” tend to be, but somehow devoid of any trace of soul. Wading one’s way through German breweries, Starbucks, and new age tea houses, its hard not to get distracted by the gimmicks along the way or the attractive hostesses at the doorways.
But I was on a quest. The most holiest of culinary grails awaited me, and it had been a long journey. I approached two large wooden doors, calligraphy flanking each side, informing visitors they have arrived at Yu’s Family Kitchen. Understated and humble from the facade, it was a good indication of what was inside. Only six tables are available for just one seating per night, and despite tremendous success over the years, the restaurant has never expanded.
I was met by Chef Yu Bo and his wife. The duo have operated Yu’s Family Kitchen since 2006, back when they were the first restaurant on the…
I squeezed in a Shanghai weekend on my most recent trip to Beijing, and lived out the 36 Hour Food Marathon that I preached in an earlier post. Joining me in the shenanigans was my friend Tracey, who was happy to oblige when I asked her to come along for FREE. You see, I entered a contest a while back on CNNGo, asking readers to submit an overlooked restaurant in their Best Eats rankings in different cities. My entry for Gogawon for Shanghai, and the prize was a two night stay at the HoJo Plaza by the nice folks over at CNNGo. Of course, the stay wouldn’t have been complete without another visit to Goga to celebrate, so that’s what we planned. A weekend of leisure and repose, mixed in with some good food and wine.
What ended up transpiring was something I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest, most excessive dreams.
We did it big. Everything was over the top. Largess was the word, and we stopped short of nothing. There was free flow champagne and cigarettes. …
Recipe for Mapo Tofu (vegetarian edition)
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of collaborating with recipe developer and fellow food blogger Yasmin at lesauce.com to develop our own spin on mapo tofu. Yasmin being a vegetarian, we got creative finding an alternate to the minced pork/beef commonly found in the dish. Mushrooms, king or shiitake, are the perfect replacement. Minced finely and deep fried in a soy sauce, vinegar and salt marinade, the pieces turn out beautifully crisp and with all the umami to pack as good a punch as any pork.
Here is the recipe.
150 g king or shiitake mushrooms
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp Chinese red vinegar
1/4 c peanut, vegetable or canola oil, plus 1/4 c
1.5 lb (700 g) regular tofu, drained and cut into 3/4″ cubes (Small cubes are optimal for sauce coverage)
3 tbs chili paste
1 tbs soy bean paste
5 dried red chilies
1 tablespoon fermented black beans
2 tsp peeled and minced garlic
2 tsp peeled and minced ginger