Archive for the 'Chinese' Category

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Chinese Wood Ear Mushroom Salad

Mu'er Maodou Shala (Wood Ear Mushroom Salad with Edamame)

The Astronomer and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary this past weekend. As is tradition around here, festivities included reliving our wedding banquet at Five Star Seafood Restaurant in San Gabriel (the food was as delicious as ever) and cooking up a little something inspired by old school anniversary gifts. Thus far in our marriage, The Astronomer has been gifted Paper, Cotton, Leather, and Fruit.

Since it is customary to bestow wood upon one’s beloved in recognition of the fifth anniversary, I prepared a Chinese wood ear mushroom salad with edamame (mu’er maodou shala) using a recipe from Issue #140 of Saveur magazine.

This vibrant salad brightens snappy wood ear mushrooms with chilies and vinegar. It works great as a cold appetizer or as a side dish, depending on what your spread calls for. Really though, it’s impossible to go wrong, because nothing says “I love you” like prepared reconstituted fungus. Trust me.

  • 1 ounce dried mushrooms, preferably wood ear
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen edamame
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

Mu'er Maodou Shala (Wood Ear Mushroom Salad with Edamame)

Place mushrooms in a bowl and pour over 8 cups boiling water; let sit until soft, about 45 minutes.

Mu'er Maodou Shala (Wood Ear Mushroom Salad with Edamame)

Drain mushrooms; tear into large bite-size pieces. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with edamame; set aside.

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Happy Tasty – San Gabriel

Happy Tasty - San Gabriel

Do you remember those Hair Club for Men commercials from the 80s? The ones that end with: “I’m not just the president of Hair Club for Men, I’m also a client.” Well, I’m not just a Scout for the Los Angeles Times, I’m also a Scout Report reader. A powerful testimonial and roaring endorsement all at once, right?

Happy Tasty - San Gabriel

After reading Louise’s Scout Report for Happy Tasty, I immediately made a date with The Astronomer and Mike, our friend and constant Chinese food companion, to check it out.

Wuhan cuisine, which is influenced by the spicy traditions of neighboring Sichuan and Hunan, is a region we’ve yet to experience on our San Gabriel Valley explorations.

Happy Tasty - San Gabriel

I was most excited to try the quintessential Wuhan-style dry hot pot. Happy Tasty refers to it as a “Spicy Hot Pot” on their menu. Every pot includes potatoes, cauliflower, celery, tiger lily buds, black fungus, and lotus root ($8.99) and a choice of two proteins. We selected lamb ($7.99) and beef tripe ($7.99).

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Kang Kang Food Court – Alhambra

Kang Kang Food Court - Alhambra

Lucky Peach recently launched an online edition, and I’ve been following along as the merry band of writers explores essential topics in food, like dumplings, pizza, and obsession. It’s good reading, all of it.

A charming piece by Chef David Chang (See: Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Momofuku Milk Bar) led me to Alhambra’s Kang Kang Food Court. An expertly curated one stop shop for China’s greatest culinary hits? Yes, please.

Kang Kang Food Court - Alhambra

While neighboring Chinese restaurants specialize in region-specific cooking, the thrill of Kang Kang lies in the diversity of its offerings. In addition to breakfast staples like soy milk and deep-fried crullers, the expansive menu includes “Taiwanese Food,” “Food in Northern China,” “Food in Eastern China,” and “Food in Southern China, Hong Kong & Asia.”

Per Mr. Chang’s recommendations, my lunch date and I stuck to Taiwanese and Shanghainese dishes on this visit.

Kang Kang Food Court - Alhambra

After placing our orders at the front counter, we grabbed a seat in the large dining room. Soon enough, food began to hit the table…

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Boston Lobster – San Gabriel

Boston Lobster - San Gabriel

If imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery, than the folks at Newport Tan Cang Seafood must be absolutely tickled about the opening of Boston Lobster.

While the restaurant’s name might lead one to expect lobster rolls served on split top buns and towers of gloriously fresh oysters, the focus here is seafood prepared with a Vietnamese-Chinese bent. From what I hear through the grapevine, a former cook from Newport opened the restaurant, hence the similar bill of fare.

Boston Lobster - San Gabriel

The Astronomer and I, along with the Astronomer’s fabulous sister Rosalind, dropped in for dinner on a recent Friday night. While the wait at nearby Newport would’ve been painfully long, we were seated straightaway at the peak of dinner hour. Score one for Boston Lobster.

Boston Lobster - San Gabriel

To compare apples to apples, we selected a slew of dishes that we would normally order at Newport. The clams with Thai basil ($11.95) were just as good as their Newport counterparts, brilliantly briny and fragrant from plenty of fresh herbs and garlic.

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