Category Archives: Stories

Chinese Recipe Deal Breakers?

Last Wednesday The New York Times published an article by Kim Severson about “Recipe Deal Breakers.” In it she asked if there is an ingredient or a technique that would stop you from using a recipe. The article was humorous and light-hearted, which I enjoyed immensely. However, that didn’t stop a firestorm of reactions from spreading all over the culinary blogosphere. Michael Ruhlman joined in the fray with his blog post the next day. Kate Hopkins at Accidental Hedonist continued the discussion with a poll. Now it’s my turn to ask a similar question. What is a deal breaker for creating authentic Chinese food in an American Kitchen?

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When is a Sauce Not Really a Sauce?

Asian Sauces Panel Discussion

This question came up during an Asian food panel discussion I attended at the Asia Society in New York on Monday. The discussion was titled “From Soy to Satay: Asian Sauces Going Mainstream.” A panelist put forward the idea that there is a difference in the definition of a sauce in Asian versus Western, or […]

Also posted in Pantry | Tagged | 4 Responses

Top Ten Red Cook Pictures

Assorted Cold Appetizers

Diana at Appetite for China tagged me to post my top 10 food pictures a few days ago. Diana has been a great supporter of Red Cook since the beginning. She has also become a comrade, through comments and email, in my quest for authentic and regional Chinese cooking. I was really excited and felt […]

Posted in Stories | Tagged | 5 Responses

Spring in Harlem, Asia Society, SH and Facebook


Gosh, what a jumbled title. Yes, I will tell you about all of them.

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Jennifer 8. Lee – The Interview

Jenny 8. Lee

Several days ago I conducted an email interview with Jennifer 8. Lee. Having recently read her new book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, I had lots of questions I wanted to ask her. Yesterday, I shared with you how Jenny’s book resonates with me as I explore my own food roots. Today I’d like you to see Jenny’s complete interview.

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In Search of “Food Roots” with Jennifer 8. Lee

Blue and White China

First a disclosure. I am a fan of Jennifer 8. Lee’s writing so everything I am about to write is terribly biased. This is not a review of Jenny’s book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, but an expression of how it resonates in my life as I discover my Chinese roots through food. Everyone in America is to some extent an immigrant. The closer you are to being a first generation immigrant like me, the more you think about what part of you is “American” and what part of you is not. Jennifer 8. Lee, in her book writes about her food-centered journey of self-discovery just as I continually do.

Also posted in Book Reviews | Tagged | 4 Responses

Bittman and the Fermented Black Beans

Stir-fried Bitter Melon and Shrimp with Fermented Black Beans

In this Wednesday’s New York Times Food and Wine section Mark Bittman presented a stir-fry dish using fermented black beans (or douchi 豆豉). What a refreshing surprise it was to see such an esoteric ingredient presented in the mainstream media. I applaud Bittman for introducing this ingredient to his readers. It gives me an opportunity […]

Also posted in Pantry | Tagged | 5 Responses

Dinner and a Shattered Platter

Chinese Dinner Party

I’m sure you’re very familiar with the hanging chickens and ducks in many Chinatown “charcuterie,” where you can get various kinds of roast meat and sausages. You are also probably familiar with how the shopkeeper hacks the chicken or duck with monstrous cleaver into bite-size pieces, unlike the common practice of cutting poultry at the […]

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Pretending to be Garlic, Not

Garlic Shoots at Window

Garlic Shoots at Window

I have a wooden bowl I use to hold potatoes, onions and garlic. It sits at the end of my kitchen counter and normally does a very good job of keeping the root vegetables dry and firm. Perhaps because of the warm weather of late some of the garlic bulbs started sending out green shoots. I decided to put the bulbs in a small shallow bowl with water, and placed it in front of a very sunny window in the living room. I am in fact very proud of how the shoots are beginning to grow into beautiful greens.

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The Four Erroneous Schools Of Chinese Cooking

I came across an article in called “The Four Schools of Chinese Cooking.” It is one of the most blatantly misinformed articles about Chinese cooking styles.

Posted in Stories | Tagged | 8 Responses