Dried noodles have mostly replaced homemade udon or soba in the Japanese home kitchen, but the fresh soba tradition is alive and well in Seattle at Miyabi 45th, where chef Mutsuko Soma rolls out noodles daily to make sure they are smooth enough to slurp, strong enough to dip, and subtle enough in presentation to let the quiet flavors of buckwheat whisper in each diner's mouth.
'behind the scenes' on Serious Eats
Beecher's Cheese in Seattle and New York makes their signature Flagship, a Cheddar-Alpine hybrid, in full view of customers in their stores. Here's how it's done.
Most of our favorite cheeses have one thing in the common: They tend to have some age. While some cheeses are best eaten the day they're made, others take time. And mold. And the right temperature and humidity. And a bat cave to linger in until they're ready to emerge fully formed. Here's what happens in those caves when the humans aren't watching.
Brown, unrefined sugar is eaten all around the world—Africa and Asia have their jaggery, Mexico has piloncillo, we have our fancy coffee shops with moist muscovado—but nobody consumes it the way Colombians do. Despite having the highest brown sugar consumption per capita in the world and a production of almost a million and a half tons per year, sugar production is still done almost 100% manually in mills like this one. For now, that is.
Imagine if tuna salad had a silky texture and a delicately smoky and oily flavor. That's whitefish salad. Acme Smoked Fish, a standard-bearer of the form and certainly the largest producer in New York City, makes over 5,000 pounds of whitefish salad every day. Wolphram Alpha tells me that's the equivalent of 1.3 small cars or 40% of an elephant. Of fish-mayo salad. Every. Day.
"It's like a yeasted fruitcake with all of the good stuff and none of the bad," says baker Zachary Golper of his best-in-class stollen. It's a dense, buttery loaf perfumed with citrus zest, orange blossom, and rum. The crumb is stuffed with a delicate almond cream, and the whole thing is "baptized" after baking in a bath of clarified butter, then finished with powdered sugar as fluffy as the season's first snowfall.
The dining room of Staten Island's New Asha is all styrofoam and steam tables. But when you step into the back kitchen, it's a wholly different world. Bamboo steamers gurgle over pots of boiling water and jars of homemade spice blends line the walls. A hand-powered drill and a machete are on hand to transform hirsute whole coconuts into snowy white mounds of freshly ground flesh.
New York is one great noodle town, but my new favorite bowl comes from a forward-thinking restaurant hugging the eastern border of Chinatown, where some excellent noodles take inspiration from an unlikely source: linguine with clam sauce.
It's one thing to drink a beer brewed with Cascade hops, but to grab a Cascade cone straight from the bine, rub it between your palms, and breathe in the fresh aromas is something else entirely.
I'm having tea with Helen You in her palatial new restaurant, where we're about to cook my favorite dumplings in the world. There may be other kitchens on earth making fat boiled dumplings stuffed with lamb and summer squash, but none make them like Helen's.
We've been closely—nay, obsessively—following the state of the bagel in New York these days, and we'll just come out and say it: Fred's cafe at Barney's makes bagels that are just as good, if not better, than any of the city's other contenders for Top Bagel. Here's how they're made.
Cheez whiz: it's many things to many people. Aerosol nostalgia, gooey-cheezey in that processed-awesome way, and really fun to say (whizzz!). It's one of the best ingredients to come out of a spray can. But it's also the perfect candidate for recreating from scratch, except this time, with real cheese.
Brooklyn's SCRATCHbread isn't like any other bakery in the city. Time after time, its ovens have produced many of New York's most original loaves—breads with utterly original flavors layered with serious technique. Here's how they do it.
When Hasan Diab arrived in the U.S. more than a decade ago, it wasn't hard to find familiar street foods from back home: falafel, pita and even shawarma. But the fresh, spice-rich Palestinian home cooking he took for granted growing up in the Galilee was a rare treat here, usually available only in the homes of friends and family.
On this small island in the eastern Mediterranean, cooking moves outside in the warm weather to wood-fired clay ovens and charcoal grills. We stepped into Zenon Taverna, one of New York's few Cypriot restaurants, to see how it all happens.
New York's Katz's Deli is nothing less than a keeper of the Jewish culinary flame, thanks in no small part to their homemade pastrami. Ever wonder just how they do it? So have we, which is why we set out to find out.
In Chandler, AZ, where it's over 100 degrees in the summer, paletas are a great way to satisfy a sugar craving and cool down at the same time. We went behind the scenes at Paletas Betty—the best shop in town—to see how their Amanacer (pineapple and raspberry) paleta is made.
When outsiders try to learn about tea, they're usually stymied by the industry's mindboggling complexity, and a marketplace rife with misinformation and counterfeit product doesn't do much to help. That's why I've made the journey to one of China's tea capitals: to learn how and why this little leaf from a plain-looking shrub drives a whole economy wild.
Chefs travel all over the world to cook for us, far from the comfort of their own kitchens. So with food festival season coming at us full speed, we check in with a slew of pros to find out how they do it, and how we can be better attendees.
Food from Laos is a rare find in the U.S., which is one of the reasons chef Jeannie Ongkeo secret Lao dinner menu, the only example of homestyle Lao cuisine in New York, is so popular with Southeast Asian food fans. We spent a night cooking with her; here's the cuisine through her eyes.