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Slurped: The Penang-Style Fried Cubes at Sanur

We all agreed that the restaurant being in a basement was not off-putting. This could not be said of the steep and grimy stairs which lead to 18B Doyers, the restaurant portion of Sanur. Still, I would happily take those stairs again for another serving of the ineptly named "fried-cubes," certainly the most cubically shaped noodles I have ever eaten. More

Slurped: A Broth to Treasure at Mister Hotpot

The are two broths at Mister Hotpot: a spicy one with lots of chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, what have you, and a not-spicy one. You can order one broth for your meal or split the pot and get both. While the spicy broth is perfectly fine, it's that non-spicy "special broth," made with pork bones and various spices—cinnamon, star anise, and a more esoteric Chinese spice called cai guo, that will outperform most. It is the most important thing about Mister Hotpot, this broth of theirs. More

Another Way to Eat Pork: Salt-Fried Pork

Salt-fried pork is like the lazy, gets-away-with-anything-because-he's-so-darn-loveable sibling to twice-cooked pork. Twice-cooked pork is delicate and tender with crisp edges. Salt-fried pork, on the other hand? Chewy-crisp skin with a layer of subcutaneous fat intact enough that each morsel bursts with porky juice. (And did I mention that it comes together in half the time as twice-cooked pork?) More

Slurped: Tangra Asian Fusion Has Me Rethinking Lo Mein

Last month I was invited to a supper club meeting at Tangra Asian Fusion, an Indian-Chinese restaurant with locations in Elmhurst and Sunnyside. My friend who belonged to the supper club described the cuisine as mainly Chinese food infused with Indian character—"super junky and fun!" was what she wrote. Well, I make it a point in my life never to turn down anything super junky and fun. More

Slurped: Of Far-Out Korean Rice Cakes

This week I thought I would share with you a story of two very different Korean rice cake dishes, at two very different restaurants. I don't know what the moral of the story is, only that the dishes could not have been more different: one makes Korean rice cakes the subject of culinary art; the other smothers them in melted cheese. More

Slurped: E-fu Noodles at Great NY Noodletown

Last week I set out to fill in one of the gaps in my noodle education, and paid a visit to Great NY Noodletown in Chinatown. I was there ostensibly to do a bit of research on e-fu noodles (also called yi mein, yee-fu, or yi noodles). They are egg noodles made with carbonated water, which have been fried, dried, then hydrated for use in cooking. More

The Nasty Bits: Momofuku-Style Bo Ssam, But With More Hocks and Trotters

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in Momofuku with friends eating a whole pork shoulder, slow roasted so the skin turns out crispy and the flesh very tender, and served with rice, kimchi, and scallion oil. I was enjoying myself immensely except for one tiny problem: there wasn't enough skin to go around the table. That's where the hocks and trotters come in. More

Taste Test: Asian Chocolate-filled Cookie Snacks

Now Robyn gave me snack packs of Hello Panda and Koala March to try last night after our noodle extravaganza, and so try them I did. I tried them once after dinner, and then polished off the rest for a healthy and protein-packed breakfast….or, not.

Impressions:

First of all, I would like a clearer defense from my compatriots who prefer Koala March to Hello Panda. Um, why? The biscuit itself was dry and tasteless, qualities which in and of themselves would not be so offensive were it not for the filling:

I forced myself to ingest the dreadful substance, at one point fumbling it around inside my mouth at the tip of my tongue, so that no one area of my palate need be exposed to the filling for more seconds than was necessary, and felt its waxiness melt and slide like sludge, or tar, down my throat. I tried to search for the right words to describes its taste, but none came to mind, because there was almost NO TASTE. You could call it sweet, or vaguely chocolate-ly, but such descriptors would be an affront to that which is genuinely sweet or tastes like chocolate. Bad texture, bad taste…what is there left to like?

For those who disagree, please rebut with reasons rather than unfounded opinions boiling down to “I just like it,” because I am not disputing the epistemological possibility that you would have different taste preferences than I; I am simply curious as to whether or not you have your reasons for those preferences.

Moving on.

Hello Panda: Oh yes, oh yes. More, please! These were…..surprisingly tasty! A crumbly and rich shell; a fudge-like chocolate-ly filling.

Unlike some folks – and this I recognize is a minor point in the grand scheme of things – I do not think it needs more filling. More would ruin the balance between cookie and filling, veering it dangerously into the category of candy rather than cookie. Imagine if the filling were even 20% more: then the entire inner surface area of the cookie would be coated. It would be terribly sweet.

For the same reason that I object to double-filled oreos, I simply cannot tolerate more than a certain level of sweetness in my cookie. And notice what it says on the packaging: Hello Panda’s intent is to offer us “Biscuits with Choco Cream” rather than, say, “Chocolate-filled Biscuits.” The emphasis is on the cookie, rather than the chocolate.

As well it should be. The cookie is pretty damn good – crumbly so it collapses in on itself, like a smashed pumpkin, with enough satisfying crunch in each bite.

Finally, I love the way the soft fudgy filling coats the interior of each Hello Panda biscuit, like a veneer of light brown, ending in a soft chocolate-y dollop.

What I have I learned from this short impromptu taste test? First, that maybe I should funnel the considerable energies of my strong opinions in ways which would better the world, rather than my own stomach. Though, if even one person walks away from this and buys Hello Panda instead of Koala March, then I suppose that would be adding to the overall pleasure experienced in the world, rather than taking away from it. Also, that taste is a subjective, wondrous thing, is it not? It’s what keeps us talking and arguing with such passion and why we do these tastes test in the first place.

The Nasty Bits: Chicharrones Guisados (Stewed Fried Pork Rinds)

Lorenzo, point taken, but ......have you tried sopes? Can you blame me for plugging something so delicious? :)

Slurped: Noodle Bliss from Kuaytiaw Khua Kai at Pok Pok Phat Thai

Mwinston - I didn't think the flavors were boring, though I see where you're coming from. I tasted a lot of browning action, and lard, and the sweetness of the rice noodles. I think that a more aggressive flavor profile might have overwhelmed those subtleties.

Slurped: Tangra Asian Fusion Has Me Rethinking Lo Mein

Fixed. Thanks folks!

Slurped: Of Far-Out Korean Rice Cakes

Kaye Y, as it happens, I do not like bacon in my chocolate, and a compost cookie would not be my go-to dessert.

My question about “who would like this dish” was meant to be rhetorical. I understand that there are people who like it, if only because the restaurant would not devote a large portion of its menu to cheese and rice cakes if, in fact, the combination was not appealing to anyone. So this was a musing on my part, my wondering about why certain flavors work for some people and not others.

One thing I wish I had been clearer about is that everyone has different conceptions of what is normal, or delicious, or not delicious. For instance, maybe some people might think, who would ever want anchovies on pizza, or pineapple, but those both happen to be popular pizza toppings. To each his own, right?

That’s the message I wanted to leave readers with, not that no one should ever try a cheese dukboki. And, as Max pointed out, another writer here on SE does in fact like the dish.

Slurped: E-fu Noodles at Great NY Noodletown

Wumami,I think Robyn can vouch for me when I assure you that I was not sad, just in deep noodle thought :)

The Nasty Bits: Bowl Steamed Pork Belly

Hi Guys, your comments are noted - here's my take on it, and I'd welcome any further thoughts.

To my taste, this dish belongs in this column because of its transformation of pork fat and skin into something quite different from what we usually think of.

And I think Lorenzo spot-on here, in his comment that the purpose of this column is to highlight some part of the animal, either internal or external, in a way that has not gotten as "press" as we think it deserves.

I'd say, lard and skin are pretty "nasty" to some, even if it appears in a much loved cut such as pork belly.

The purpose of this column was never to gross anyone out, nor do I think that anyone is assuming that. I just mean to say that some weeks, we'll do something that's probably "gross" or strange to a majority of readers, and some weeks, it'll be something more "mainstream," such as pork fat.

How to Throw a Dumpling Party

Ah yes, well, maybe that would explain why the butcher didn't understand my gesticulations...

The Nasty Bits: Momofuku-Style Bo Ssam, But With More Hocks and Trotters

surc - yes, I think there's a difference but it's slight. Stewed meat (or even braised) is always going to have a certain moistness to it, while roasted meat has more an unctuous-tender thing going on. Skin will get crispy regardless, so it's really the texture of the meat that's noticeably different.

crapk - no, it's not a hassle at all - really fun, if you're the sort of person who would consider roasting a trotter to begin with. That being said, it is sort unseemly. Gelatinous pork residue everywhere.

Trotters and Hocks Bo Ssam

Ken G - yes, that's exactly right. I fixed it, thanks!

ag - Very, very....very crunchy. Some parts are almost too much, and you'll have to cut them down to bite-sized pieces, and maybe add them to soup later on. Most of it is just roasted porchetta, regular crunchy.

ryanprice 6 - no, no need, because the pork exudes a little liquid by virtue of refrigeration, and that basically takes off any semblance of dry crusty salt residue.

Hi NWCajun! I feel old when you talk to me online :) (Yeah, you're older with two kids. Still. We've been talking about offal for a while now.)

Chichi's Chinese: Chicken in Black Bean Sauce

smokeat - I don't know, it's pretty darn good with chicken. Besides, don't you just want to eat chicken sometimes if only to give yourself a chance to miss portk?

Updated Rice Cakes, Inspired by Mission Chinese Food

Katie Potato, that's happened to me too, but only when I leave them in my fridge for too long. Did you try them? If the rice cakes are sour, don't eat them. Unfortunately, they seem to sour pretty quickly. What I do when I buy a big bag of fresh rice cakes is freeze half - their texture doesn't change after defrosting, and you avoid the risk. Of course if they're sour to being with, toss 'em.

The Nasty Bits: Pig Parts Sugo

Mr. Nick and monicalups, I do mean sugo all'amatriciana - thanks for the correction!

As to the double ears controversy, I'm gonna leave it as is....until I am otherwise convinced. My feeling about the matter, and of course I welcome a discussion, is that until a non-English term becomes so familiar as to be part of our vernacular, or at least very commonly understood, I will continue to use the noun form of the English word if I think it adds rather than takes away from the general reader's understanding.

So for instance, I would write "lo mein noodles" even though mein means noodle in Chinese.

The Nasty Bits: Beef Trim Sukiyaki

bostonkate, good point! one thing I didn't mention in the post is that in addition to going to the butcher's, you can save your own trim every time you have steaks.

shermanhelms: I...don't know about that. It's not like it's liver or anything :(

Slurped: Thick Knife Peel Noodles at Uncle Zhou in Elmhurst

Well, those Chinese characters didn't compute.

The point is that the same character denotes both knife-cut as well as knife-peel, which are used interchangeably. Whether or not they should be interchangeable is another issue, but if you look on most Chinese menus, the same character will sometimes be translated as "peel," and sometimes as "cut."

Slurped: Thick Knife Peel Noodles at Uncle Zhou in Elmhurst

Thesteveroller: You are right. In the interest of not confusing noodle seekers, I should have used "knife-cut." I do want to clarify though, that both knife-peel and knife-cut noodles are generally represented by 削 on Chinese menus. The 削 in 刀削面, or dao(knife) xiao (peel or cut ) mian (noodles).

Chichi's Chinese: Fermented Bean Curd

bauwau2u, I don't have a favorite brand, but yes, it keeps for a long, long time. (6 months plus)

The Nasty Bits: Trotters Tom Yum

teachertalk, i have to say, it was difficult smelling it at first but then it sort of grew on me. Still recovering :) Thanks for the support.

Slurped: Of Noodles at Arirang and Rodent Home Invasions

That's okay, Adam! Just joshing you. But yes, I am truly grossed out.

Slurped: Of Noodles at Arirang and Rodent Home Invasions

Adam. Adam, Adam, Adam. Have you not even the tiniest bit of sympathy for my plight? It's not as though I can really help what I find disgusting and what I find acceptable. It's like falling in love, or looking at piece of artwork. You just feel what you feel, and that's that.

Afternoon Snack: Tianjin Pancake from Tianjin Xianbing at the Golden Shopping Mall

Max, I'm really glad you covered this. This is one of my favorite bites of food in Flushing.

Slurped: Are the Noodles at Dumpling Shops Any Good?

harrisg, thanks for the recommendation. I need to eat more noodles in Elmhurst.

Kenji, didn't you tell me, before we started this column, that I wasn't allowed to hate everything? :)

Slurped: Of Rice Cakes, and Comfort Lost and Found

Hi folks, thanks for all of your kind comments. Though I'm sure my pugulist-loving noodle date has moved onto green pastures.

I have had the rice cakes at Shanghai Asian Cuisine, and Max is right - I do find them a little too soft.

If anyone knows of a restaurant serving a very thick and chewy rice cake dish, I'd be much obliged.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Kenji, much worse. Skin was okay, but broth was oily and meat taste really....off. Sour and gristly.

Chichi's Chinese: On Steamed Eggplant

jester99 - what a great idea - i may have to do a separate post on uses for salted duck egg

erin - uh, yes, so did I, in the moment, once I got over my own puritanical sensibilities.

Nutritional Yeast- How do you use it?

I often read recipes calling for nutritional yeast. Most often they are vegetarian or vegan recipes that look interesting to me but I have not tried them because I know little about the ingredient. I know a good number of... More

Waffleizer: A Blog of Waffle Iron Recipes

[Photograph: Waffleizer] In case the name Waffleizer isn't self-explanatory, the site's FAQ states: "Waffleizer's goal is to answer the question 'Will it waffle?'—thereby expanding the frontiers of waffling." The man behind the waffle, Dan, only started the blog a last week, but he's already done bread pudding, burgers, and hash browns. Judging from Dan's tweet earlier today, much more waffleizing is coming soon. Related Video: Norwegian Cooking Show Makes Waffles the Hard Way Sunday Brunch: The Greatest Waffle Recipe Ever Video: How to Make Brownies in a Waffle Iron How to Make Moffles, Mochi + Waffles... More

Snapshots from Italy: Persimmon Perfection

Gina is back in Italy for an overdue vacanza, so for the next few weeks, Seriously Italian is morphing back into Snapshots from Italy as she shares with you some of her favorite food outings. [Photographs: Gina DePalma] Autumn, or l'autunno, is my absolute favorite food season in Rome. At no other time of year will I find all of my favorites converging upon the market, at their peak, simultaneously. Puntarella and broccoli romanesco, porcini and ovoli, zucca and chestnuts, pears, apples and clementines-each one is enough to make me swoon with happiness. But then persimmons come along in the midst of all the bounty and put me right over the top. If you've never sunk a spoon into a... More

The Nasty Bits: Southern Fried Gizzards

"You can never be surrounded by too many gizzards." More commonly sold than duck gizzards, chicken gizzards are dirt-cheap and wholly delicious. I was first introduced to the glory of Southern fried chicken gizzards at Roscoe's, a chain of chicken-and-waffle... More

Seriously Asian: In a Pickle

Clockwise from top: Napa Cabbage, Daikon, and Carrots; Cucumber; Daikon and Carrot. I don't know why I chose late July of all times to start a biscuit-baking, cannelés-experimenting week, but I did. The temperature in my non air-conditioned apartment must... More