Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Berry Chinatown Birfday

To mark my entrance into my early mid-twenties, I decided this year that I wanted a proper celebration, complete with an authentic Chinese banquet dinner and all. Fittingly, I dragged some of my nearest and dearest to 8th Ave. Seafood Restaurant, in one of Brooklyn's Chinatowns (at 4418 8th Avenue). This is a restaurant that my mom's friend Ding Ding owns - very authentic, and very Cantonese. I knew it was the perfect choice when we walked in because every single head in that restaurant turned around to unabashedly stare (staring is a proud Chinese national sport), looking like they'd never seen WHITE PEOPLE before. Who knows, maybe they hadn't. Me and 14 whiteys - god what a sight!

Ding Ding was really nice to have accommodated my request for a mix of "stuff we like and stuff that's not too weird that Americans would like. Oh and also some vegan dishes for those geniuses among us who decided that was the best way to live life." Here is what he came up with:

The starter plate:

Cold Jelly Fish (one of my favorite appetizers - crispy and squishy all at once) with squid and fried pork chops. We had some trouble with the less adventurous eaters with this one. They didn't know what they were missing.

Ally is thinking "Would a Russian eat this? Probably." God knows what Darius is thinking. He's probably been just reminded of some horror in Shihezi.

Fish and Chinese Vegetables

You can see the really yummy starter soups in the background.

Prawns with Broccoli and Walnuts in a creamy sweet sauce

A very Cantonese dish, this was a big hit.

Pickled Turnips and Carrots with something I can't remember. Was it is eel or fish?

More Fish, but sauteed with vegetables - tender like a baby's butt.

Lobster with Garlic and Scallion (in Shell)

Sauteed Chinese Vegetable

"Pork Chop with Champan Style"

Fried Tofu

Fried Noodles (all vegan!!)

The freshly made noodles are a must have for Chinese birthdays. The long noodles represent longevity, and you're not supposed to break them otherwise you will not live a long life. Long like the noodles.

Rack of Veal with Black Bean Sauce

Fried Rice

Even with so much other food, I always have room for some good fried rice.

Sebastian and Nils - all the way from Germany!

Even with 15 of us we didn't do a very good job at finishing our plates. If my mom had been there no one would have been allowed to leave until every last morsel was gone. "Just one more bite!" I tried to play that role, but it didn't work out so well.

Chinese Birthday Buns (with lotus)

I made Darius study the bill since, you know, he was the only one of us who could read Chinese. *Sigh.

Pure Overeaten Joy

I couldn't have imagined a better way to turn 24. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Lessons on Living Life¨in 2007

Tonight as I tried to squeeze my newly large ass into what were once (aka before the trip) annoyingly stretched out jeans but are now absurdly and comically tight, I realized something: too-tight jeans are a sign of a great vacation had. It shows I really lived life on this trip. I mean what the hell is the point of going on vacation and coming back skinnier? It can only say one of two things: 1. The food freaking sucked, or 2. I had diahrrea the whole time. And who wants their body to say either of those foul things? I am really grateful that my body is deciding to say "I had one of the best vacations of my life, the food was out of this world, and I f-ing vivĂ­a la vida en 2007, goddamnit. So F all ya´ll and your skinny asses."

Needless to say, I am excited to share my food adventures with everyone. Just not yet.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Holiday Eating Wrap-Up

SO it's 8 o'clock right now, and I'm still at work trying to get shit done. Actually, I'm sitting at my desk thinking about how I still need to pack for my trip to Argentina, which I leave for tonight at 3:00 a.m., and I suddenly realize that I haven't shared my holiday eating adventure with everyone. What shame! Here are some highlights:

CHRISTMAS DAY: Chinatown meandering with Mom and Hans

We had some Shanghainese dim sum at the place next to the gigantic Cantonese dim sum place in Chinatown (there was a private party)

Taro cake

Hans enjoys some delicious Oil Sticks - Chinese churros, really

Some real Chinatown kids, unlike us fake suburban Chinese!

Egg tarts from "Egg Tart King"

You know, Christmas used to be such a novelty, funny cause no one in my whole extended family was Christian (though my grandfather was Muslim, and so is my uncle). Now all the sudden there's at least 3 - 4 of them! Someone explain that one to me.

Aunt # 4, #5, and #1 (L-R)

Simmering whole fish in garlic. Mouthwatering.

Beef sauteed with dried tofu, peppers, and scallions

A Taiwanese dish - tofu skin wrapped around taro and chicken liver. People in Taiwan used to make this dish out of leftovers when guests came over unannounced. Trick them into thinking it's fresh!

Pig's feet. Yes, pig's feet.


Some kind of fresh special shrimp that melted in your mouth. This was my favorite of the night.

Crab with Sticky Rice.

Tofu with Crab meat.

Red Bean yum yum cake

Tiramisu Cake

Uncle #5 made Chinese soy dessert. It's kind of like silky sweet tofu-pudding.


Cyrena's vegan ginger cookies.

There were a ton more dishes...

Thanks Aunt #4!!