Quick-fire Q&A: Carson Yiu of Outer Borough

Carson Yiu, founder of Outer Borough, joined us in the studio for Episode 32 to talk about stinky tofu. We caught up with the entrepreneur to find out where he eats and drinks in the city!

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Neighborhood of residence:
Bayside, Queens

Favorite restaurant in your hood:
Mama Lee

Favorite spot to grab a drink:
Angel's Share. When it's cold out, you can sit by the window and watch the cars go by, very New York City/romantic.

Most recent/recommended dining out experience:
Congee. It's rare to find good congee outside of HK/Taiwan. I love the comfort it brings, the art of cooking it with a stock, and the time it takes to break down the rice.

What Asian food staple/trend do you want to see more of?
Taiwanese breakfast. In Taiwan, everyone wakes up for Taiwanese breakfast even if you're hungover. I would love to share that experience with Westerners.  

What would be your last meal on earth?
Sausage, egg, and cheese on a roll. Eggs were the first dish I learned how to cook. Everyone can cook an egg but very few can cook it well. I think I make a pretty good egg sandwich, and the classic sausage, egg and cheese on a roll reminds me of growing up in NYC.

Other than stinky tofu, what other funky foods do you get down with?
1000 year old eggs, blood cake and pig intestines, chicken feet, and beef tongue.

Episode 36: MáLà Project + Sichuan Dry Pot

Photo credit: MáLà Project

We all know what hot pot is, but what is Sichuan dry pot? Founder of MáLà Project, Amelie Kang, and co-owner, Meng Ai, joined Lynda in the studio to help us learn more about this super flavorful and aromatic communal dish, and chat about the supportive restaurant network in their community.

Lynda starts the show by sharing the best food she ate this week—a burger at Strange Flavor Burger Shack. Amelie enjoyed Shanghainese stir-fried noodles at Little Alley, while Meng tried a new hot pot concept in Chinatown.

Amelie and Meng tell us about the small city they grew up in outside of Beijing, how they ended up in the States, and how they came to open MáLà Project together. They opened a dry pot concept, not only because it's a fairly easy operation, but also to satisfy their own cravings and the flavors they missed from home.

"Má means numbing, pretty much talking about the numbing sensation from Sichuan peppercorn [...]. And Là means spicy, in Mandarin. So, málà together is a signature flavor in Sichuan cuisine, which is a signature cuisine in Chinese cuisine." - Amelie Kang explains the málà flavor.

Compared to the long history of Chinese cuisine, dry pot is actually a fairly new concept. Amelie explains that it's a hot pot riff with a shorter cooking time which started becoming popularized in the 1990's. She also walks us through the MáLà Project experience, for those who have never tried Sichuan dry pot. The girls then list their favorite dry pot ingredients. They also discuss the infamous "Rooster's XXX", which you'll find on the menu. You'll have to listen to the episode to find out what this secret ingredient is...and yes, it is x-rated indeed!

Amelie then tells us what the most important part of Sichuan dry pot is: the sauces. The dry pot sauce, in particular, is not hot but there are 24 different spices that go into it and give the dry pot its essence—an addictive aroma without the use of MSG.

Lynda then asks Amelie and Meng about the budding specialty Chinese restaurant community in their particular area of the East Village. They discuss the growing number of these restaurants that value both great food and dining experience, and how it's great to have other restaurateurs in the community who are going through similar experiences. Finally, the girls tell us about their hopes for MáLà Project and the Chinese food scene in America.

If you have any feedback for us or suggestions for future episodes, please do reach out. We love hearing from you! Just hit us up on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or email us at feastmeetswest@heritageradio.org.

Episode 35: Kopitiam + Malaysian Breakfast

Photo credit: Nooklyn

Lynda and Iris sat down with Kyo Pang, owner and chef at Kopitiam for another Asian Breakfast episode! Kyo Pang enlightened us on what breakfast looks like in Malaysia, why she followed in her family's footsteps to open her own cafe, and what is Baba-Nyonya food.

First, we reflect on the best things we ate in the past week: Lynda made a bangin' cheese plate and Iris finally understands why Pret is so popular. Sometimes it's about the simple things in life.

We then turn the discussion toward Malaysia and introduce our guest, Kyo Pang. She tells us a bit about her Baba-Nyonya heritage and how the cuisine came about from Chinese, Portuguese, and local Malay influences. She tells us about her family's coffee shop in Malaysia which has been around for three generations. Despite her lack of enthusiasm to be involved in her father's business when she was younger, she ended up continuing the family legacy by opening Kopitiam in New York when she was 29.

She then talks about Malaysian breakfast and how Malaysians don't shy away from strong flavors nor snacking first thing in the morning. She talks about how pandan is an important ingredient, and of course, the labor-intensive but delicious kaya which is served on toast. Kyo also talks about white coffee—an iconic beverage—as well as how Malaysian tea is prepared. We then discuss the savory and sweet snacks she serves at Kopitiam; and her family's purist attitude toward making things from scratch and and making the gorgeous colorful items served at her coffee shop without artificial food coloring.

Lynda asks why are there only a handful of Malaysian restaurants in New York City, and Kyo offers her the theory that the food is so labor intensive that Malaysians would rather prepare it for their family at home than run a food business.

27:14 "I feel that this is a responsibility that I love." - Kyo Pang on cooking Malaysian food.

Sadly, Kopitiam won't be able to stay in the same location due to rent increases, but don't worry, Kyo Pang is working hard to expand the business. But do go visit before their lease ends in December!

Jeff Keasberry's Gado Gado Recipe

If you listened to this week's interview with Jeff Keasberry, you'll know about the LA-based cookbook author's new book, Indo Dutch Kitchen Secrets: Stories and Favorite Family Recipes. Jeff has shared his gado gado recipe from the book with Feast Meets Wes listeners, so you can try make this classic Indonesian dish at home!

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By Jeff Keasberry

This cooked vegetable salad is one of my family’s favorites. It is how it was always served at the restaurant, and is still made this way at home. It is suitable as a main course, a vegetarian option for lunch or dinner, and can also be served as a side dish. In Eastern Java it is prepared a little sweeter than in Western Java.

 

Gado Gado (Vegetable Salad with Peanut Dressing)

For the dressing:
4 shallots OR 1 medium onion
4 cloves of garlic OR 2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons oil
1 1⁄2 teaspoons sambal oelek
2 teaspoons fresh terasi (fermented shrimp paste) diluted with 4 tablespoons hot water
4 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt
1 tablespoon sugar, or 1 ounce gula jawa (palm sugar)

Vegetables:
1⁄2 head cabbage, shredded
7 ounces green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
7 ounces fresh spinach
7 ounces taugé (bean sprouts), trimmed (tails removed)

Garnish:
2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced into wedges 4 slices of tofu, fried and cubed
1⁄2 cucumber, unpeeled, sliced
1 large potato, unpeeled, boiled, sliced
4 tablespoons fried onions
1 package krupuk udang (ready-to-eat is most convenient)

Prepare the dressing: Heat the oil, and fry the shallots and garlic until translucent. Add the sambal and diluted terasi, and while stirring, add the peanut butter and lemon juice. Simmer over low heat, and continue stirring to prevent burning. Water can be added if the sauce gets too thick -- it should not be too thick nor too thin. Add sugar and salt to taste; the sauce should be a little on the sweet side.

Prepare the vegetables: Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the vegetables separately, 3 minutes each; do not overcook, they should remain bright and crisp. Remove from the pan with a spider (perforated ladle), drain in a colander, and set aside. Bring the water to a boil before adding each new vegetable. Blanch the taugé for 30 seconds in hot water.

Serving and garnish: Place the vegetables in the center of a serving platter. Arrange the wedges of hard-cooked egg, tofu, cucumber and potato over the vegetables. Lastly, pour the peanut sauce over the vegetables. Garnish with fried onions and a piece of crumbled krupuk.

TIP: Serve with white rice or lontong (glutinous rice). Chill the rice, then cut into 1 inch slices. Vegan? Omit the eggs, and replace the terasi with 1⁄2 cube mushroom or no-beef stock, and the krupuk udang with emping (plant-based krupuk made from melinjo nuts).

Episode 34: Jeff Keasberry + The Rijsttafel of Indo Dutch Cuisine

Photo credit: Daniel Gundlach for portraits. Jeff Keasberry for food.

On episode 34, we talk to Los Angeles-based food blogger and cookbook author, Jeff Keasberry, about the “rijsttafel”— how it’s integral to the Indo Dutch cuisine, one the world’s oldest fusion cuisines, and why you need to know about it.

We start off by reviewing the best things we ate in the past week. Lynda gives us a sneak peek into next week's episode with her meal at Koptiam while Iris had "soy sauce western" for the first time at Tai Ping Koon.

Iris then gives a quick history of the Indo Dutch connection, explaining how Indonesia was a Dutch colony for almost 150 years, leading to the creation of Indo Dutch cuisine—one of the world's oldest fusion cuisines. 

Lynda then introduces our guest Jeff Keasberry, a Los Angeles-based food blogger and cookbook author whose mission is to get Indo Dutch food the accolades it deserves. His new cookbook is called Indo Dutch Kitchen Secrets, and is the first English language heritage cookbook on this cuisine. Fun fact from Jeff: did you know that the Van Halens are Indo Dutch? 

Jeff tells us about his heritage, why it's important for him to write this book, and how he's continuing his grandmother's legacy. Jeff then elaborates on what is Indo Dutch cuisine, and what makes it slightly different to Indonesian cuisine.  

We focus on one particular aspect of Indo Dutch food—the rijsttafel. Translating to "rice table", this is an elaborate Indonesian meal adapted by the Dutch consisting of an abundance of side dishes served with rice. Jeff explains the history behind the rijstaffel, what sort of dishes you can find at this meal, some of his favorites, and how it's served. Traditionally, affluent Dutch people would serve it at their home to impress their guests, but you can find the experience at Indonesian restaurants worldwide. 

Lynda and Jeff then take a step back and talk about Indonesian cuisine in general and present their theories on why it might not have quite caught on in the US yet. They also talk about the Netherlands/Indonesia/Manhattan connection, thanks to the nutmeg trade. 

We hope you enjoyed this episode and learned as much history as we did. If you want to learn more about Indo Dutch food, make sure to get a copy of Jeff's book. Jeff also spends his time spreading the joy of Indo-Dutch cuisine by giving workshops on both the East and West Coast, so head over to his website and give him a shout! Also, come back to feastmeetswest.com later this week for a special recipe from the book that Jeff has so generously shared with us!

Episode 33: Tomoko Omori + Japanese Curry

Photo credit: Go Go Curry America Group LLC

Ever wonder how curry became one of Japan’s most popular dishes? Tomoko Omori, President and CEO of Go Go Curry USA, joined us in the studio to discuss what makes Japanese curry different, why it’s so well-loved, and why the Go Go Curry franchise has been so internationally successful.

As usual, we ask each other about the best things we ate this week. Lynda enjoyed a celebratory dinner at Zenkichi with its seasonal omakase menu and beautiful oyster tempura, while Iris enjoyed some cheesy tofu skewers at a cheap and dirty local spot she loves. We can't even link to it because it has zero web presence!

We then introduce the star of this show: Japanese curry. Iris gives listeners a brief history of the dish, explaining how South Asian curry found its way to Japan via the British during the Meiji period. Lynda then introduces our special guest, Tomoko Omori, as well as the international restaurant chain, Go Go Curry.

Tomoko tells us how she ended up at Go Go Curry as her fourth career after acting, working at a magazine, being a sports broadcaster, and a 3-month stint as a full-time housewife. She talks about her personal experience with curry growing up in Japan, just how frequently it's eaten there, and how curry was adapted for Japanese tastes after it was introduced by the British.

15:10 "We always have a great memory of it. That's why when we start talking about curry, the memories come back to us." - Tomoko on the nostalgic comfort of curry to Japanese people.

Next, Tomoko tells us a little more about Go Go Curry. You'll find out why 5 is the magic number and how Japanese curry is better after some maturation (like pizza the next morning!) She also talks a bit about what's next for the company and her favorite things about the Go Go Curry family.

If you’ve been enjoying Feast Meets West, we would really appreciate it if you could head over to iTunes or Stitcher and leave a rating and review for Feast Meets West by Heritage Radio Network so more people can find the show!

Quick-fire Q&A: Rick Smith of Sakaya

Rick Smith, owner of premium sake shop Sakaya, helped us better understand the fundamentals of sake on Episode 31. Find out where this sake lover is eating and drinking when he's not at the shop!

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Neighborhood of residence:
Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

Favorite restaurant in your hood:
Toss up between Ugly Baby and Lucali

Favorite spot to grab a drink:
Other Half Taproom

Most recent/recommended dining out experience:
Fiaschetteria Pistoia. Give it a try if you have a chance! 

Favorite dish to cook:
Baby artichokes sautéed in olive oil with garlic, chiles, and parsley.

What Asian food staple/trend do you want to see more of?
Anything Danny Bowien cooks.

What would be your last meal on Earth?
Platter of Culatello, Prosciutto di San Daniele, Mortadella, and Parmesano Reggiano.

Episode 32: Carson Yiu + Stinky Tofu

Photo credit for Carson Yiu portrait: Craig Nisperos

This week we switched gears to talk about an Asian dish that gets almost no love in the West--stinky tofu! Carson Yiu, founder of Outer Borough, joined us in the studio to talk about this Taiwanese and Hong Kong street food, what makes it stinky and delicious, and how it’s breaking into the NYC food scene. You’ll also hear from Jowett Yu, chef of Ho Lee Fook in Hong Kong.

We kick off the show with the best things we ate in the past week. Lynda had a chance to go to DC and eat at Lao restaurant Thip Khao, run by Chef Seng whom we interviewed on Episode 24. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, Iris continues her banh mi obsession and is loving Co Thanh's take on the sandwich.

We then introduce the dish, stinky tofu, and share our personal stories with the food. Iris explains what this street snack is, its accidental invention, and the various ways people have described the smell (garbage, farts, rotting cheese--so sexy!) 

Iris also had a chance to interview Jowett Yu, the Taiwanese-born chef at the contemporary Chinese restaurant Ho Lee Fook in Hong Kong. In this clip, he talks about his personal love of this street food and the different ways it can be served in Taiwan. He also tells us that it's been falling out of fashion in Asia due to the bad rap it's gotten from the lack of transparency when it comes to mass-produced stinky tofu.

Lynda then introduces Carson Yiu. He’s the founder of Outer Borough, a pop-up that reps Queens and serves Taiwanese-inspired street food. His mom runs a stinky tofu operation that supplies restaurants in Flushing, as well as Win Son in Brooklyn, who we interviewed on Episode 4.

First, Carson talks about his upbringing and how that led him into the food industry. He then tells us the story about how his mother obtained a "fermentation bucket" of fermented vegetables, fried shrimps, and milk--miraculously transported from Taiwan. This brine has not changed in 20 years and she uses it to continue making small batch tofu with her perfectionist touch.

Lynda then asks Carson how to appreciate stinky tofu. He tells us that when you grow up in the West, you're just not used to the smell, but how smelly it is can also be a good indication of its quality. Aside from the smell, you should also look for a crispy yet crumbly texture if fried, and the balance of the accompanying sauces and pickled cabbage.

Carson has felt that he's really only been able to serve stinky tofu in very Taiwanese-centric events or restaurants in the past, but that may change. He believes that if Americans have come to embrace other pungent foods like raclette it's only a matter of time for stinky tofu. The rest of Taiwanese cuisine, however, is not just on the up and up--it's always been here and appreciated.

32:30 "I don't think we need someone to tell us, 'that's the next big thing'. We have so much joy and happiness already in our community, trying to promote Taiwanese food, that the next big thing is not going to change Taiwanese food." - Carson on the popularity of Taiwanese food in the West.

Finally, Carson tells us how his food career is going to take him back home to Queens. He's planning to open a healthy fast-casual spot in Flushing--a place he believes has some of the best food, yet right now, the healthiest thing you can probably find there is a McDonald's salad! We're super excited for Carson's mom's stinky tofu to end up on more menus and to see what is next for this food entrepreneur.

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Episode 31: Sakaya + All About Sake

Rick Smith, owner of NYC’s first and only premium sake shop Sakaya, joined us on the show to unpack the fundamentals of this Japanese beverage. Plus, a special interview clip from Hong Kong with sake sommelier, Ayuchi Momose!

As always, we talk about the best food we had in the past week. Lynda enjoyed some classic pork and chive dumplings, while Iris was inspired by last week's episode and has been on an Indian food kick. (The word that escaped Iris' mind was dosa, by the way...it was delicious.)

As this episode is all about sake, Iris recorded an interview clip she did with the amazing Ayuchi Momose, a certified sake sommelier who runs Sake Bar Ginn in Hong Kong. Ayuchi tells us about the difference between the Hong Kong and the New York sake consumer, and the surprising health benefits you may not know about the beverage.

We then talk to Rick Smith. He talks about how Sakaya is not just a store, but a learning center and a bridge to Japanese culture for New Yorkers, helping us understand what goes into the glass. Lynda then asks Rick what exactly sake is--if it's not wine or "rice wine", as many people call it. Rick talks a little a bit about how multiple parallel fermentation makes it a completely unique alcoholic drink. Sake is brewed all over Japan, and is now even brewed in different countries!

Rick then breaks down the main classifications of sake. He talks about the different grades of premium sake depending on whether alcohol is added or not and the rice milling rates. He also clears up the misconception about nigori, which is often incorrectly referred to as "unfiltered". He also gives us some words to help us describe sake and talks about how balance is what makes good sake.

24:16 "You don't want any one element or elements of the sake to overwhelm another. You want all these things to be in harmony. It's like life, right?" - Rick Smith on the importance of balance in sake.

Lynda then asks about etiquette and Rick gives us a pro-tip on how to drink sake with your buddies. He also gives us some good rules of thumb when it comes to what temperature you should drink sake.

Finally, we discuss recent trends in sake, the documentary The Birth of Sake, how Rick feels about sake cocktails, and how he is in no hurry for what's next, but really treasures what he and his wife, Hiroko, get to do for the sake community every day.

If you’re digging Feast Meets West, please show us some love on iTunes by leaving us a rating or review, and share this episode with someone who you think will enjoy it.

Quick-fire Q&A: Shunan Teng of Tea Drunk

The extremely knowledgeable founder/CEO of Tea Drunk, Shunan Teng,  joined us on Episode 29 to teach us the fundamentals of Chinese tea. It was an amazing interview where co-hosts Lynda and Iris, life-long drinkers of Chinese tea, learned so much about the beverage and how to better enjoy it. We reached out to Shunan after the show to see where this tea connoisseur is eating and drinking when she's not at Tea Drunk.

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Neighborhood of residence:
East Village

Favorite restaurant in your hood:
Cagen

Favorite spot to grab a drink:
Jimmys no. 43

Most recent/recommended dining out experience:
Ladybird on 7th Street

Favorite dish to cook:
Noodles!

What Asian food staple/trend do you want to see more of?
Only a fragmented part of China’s eight cuisines are seen here and even less of regional home cooking.  So all of them!

What would be your last meal on Earth?
A complete meal? I won’t leave without that! Dumplings to start, grilled lamb shoulder with salt, hot paprika, cumin and cilantro as main, soft tofu soup as a side and finish with ice cream topped warm brownie.

Episode 30: Old Monk + Butter Chicken

Photo credit: Old Monk + Protech

In this episode, we discuss the iconic Indian dish, butter chicken, with the help of Navjot Arora and Sushil Malhotra of contemporary Indian Soul Food restaurant, Old Monk. Learn the origins of this dish, why it represents Indian soul food, and what makes it so delicious.

First things first, we reflect on the best things we ate in the past week. We both had unconventional answers: Lynda made a healthy, umami Asian-inspired dressing, while Iris had a home-cooked lasagna, which is rare in Hong Kong--a city that is obsessed with eating out.

Iris then starts explaining what butter chicken is and how it's usually made. She also unpacks the history of the dish, its Punjabi roots, and how the partition of British India led the creators of this dish to move to Delhi, where they invented butter chicken.

Lynda then introduces our guests Navjot Arora and Sushil Malhotra. Navjot is the Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Old Monk, while Sushil is the CEO & Co-Founder of Café Spice Restaurant Group, and Old Monk is part of that acclaimed family of restaurants. The two men then tell us about their backgrounds and how they came to work in the industry in New York and open Old Monk.

Navjot tells us about the differences you might find between butter chicken in India versus butter chicken in the west. Americans tend to prefer boneless white chicken meat, whereas traditionally, bone-in thigh meat is used. Old Monk serves the best of both worlds, with boneless thigh meat. He also talks about how, in India, butter chicken is more popular in the north. This is not only because it is where the dish was created, but also because of the historic abundance of dairy in the north and the fact that many other parts of the country are vegetarian. 

Navjot and Sushil then talk about how the flavor profile in butter chicken hits all the marks, which is probably why it is so popular, and how butter chicken outsells all their other dishes at Old Monk.

23:42 "I think there is still a fair amount of the population who still feel Indian food equates to spicy and curry. That's been one of our missions--to break down that barrier." - Navjot on American perceptions of Indian cuisine.

Finally, Navjot and Sushil talk about trends they are seeing in Indian cuisine and share their favorite moments at Old Monk thus far. Also, listen to the end to find out the funny story behind the restaurant name Old Monk!

If you’ve been enjoying Feast Meets West, help a sister out! We would really appreciate it if you could head over to the iTunes store and leave a rating and review for "Feast Meets West by Heritage Radio Network" so more people can discover the show.

Episode 29: Tea Drunk + Chinese Tea for the Modern Day

From left to right: Shunan Teng, Wai Yu Lam, Tea Drunk Interior, Tea Drunk Exterior. Photo credit for photos 3 & 4: Yuxi Liu

We’ve talked about tea on the show before, specifically matcha and Taiwanese bubble tea (which NY Times Business Section somehow just discovered last month). But for this episode, we go back to where it all began: Chinese tea. The very knowledgeable founder and CEO of Tea Drunk, Shunan Teng, talks to us about what we need to understand about Chinese tea in the modern day. Plus, a bonus interview clip from Hong Kong-based organic tea company, Yisheng Organic!

Our usual segment on what's the best thing we ate in the past week is back. Lynda enjoyed some poke and pineapple soft serve at the new location of Chikarashi, while Iris indulged in her love of lowbrow snacks with Thailand's larb and tom yum goong-flavored Pretz.

Iris then introduces a concept we're bringing back on FMW -- interviews with the F&B professionals of Hong Kong! For our first Hong Kong audio clip of the season, we hear from Wai Yu Lam, Operations Manager of Yisheng Organic. She talks about why the company got into organic and fair trade tea and what you need to think about when tasting tea.

Lynda then introduces Shunan Teng. Not only is she the founder and CEO of Tea Drunk, a NYC-based tea house that has become a destination for those seeking exceptional tea and tea knowledge, she is also an avid educator on the subject and travels to historic tea mountains in China every year. Check out Shunan's work with TedEd in this awesome video of the history of tea.

Shunan tells us about the concept and mission of Tea Drunk, and the meaningful reasons by the name. Lynda asks Shunan where one should even start to unpack a topic like this, and Shunan reassures us that in China, there is very structured knowledge of tea. She starts with the main categories of Chinese tea: green, yellow, white, oolong, red, and black -- though Chinese black tea is not the same as black tea in the West. What's the next step after you understand these categories? Mindful tasting.

Shunan then explains the seasonality of tea, for both growing and enjoying it. We were surprised to learn that tea plants can live over a hundred years, even several hundred years!

31:03 "In China, we always say that through drinking tea, the goal is to find your true self. And the true self is supposed to be a relaxed self. So drinking tea is trying to find that pure child-like innocence in you."

Next Shunan tells us about some of the etiquette surrounding tea. Don't try so hard when doing the two-finger tap, guys. Play it cool. Lynda then asks about the challenges of selling Chinese tea because it can be seen as so culture-specific and can be intimidating to people outside of Chinese culture. Shunan talks about some of the misconceptions and stereotypes of tea, and why tea can be for anyone. She then differentiates the famous, historic teas of China from the teas that have been around for a long time but haven't enjoyed fame outside of its region until recently, like pu'er. 

We could have continued talking to Shunan for just about forever, but we already went over time! Make sure to stop by Tea Drunk in the East Village and hopefully she'll be back in the studio with us soon.

Just a reminder that Heritage Radio Network has so many amazing shows, including some brand new ones this Fall. You can also help support this show by becoming a HRN member today!

Quick-fire Q&A: Josh Grinker of Kings County Imperial

Josh Grinker, Co-Owner and Executive Chef of Kings County Imperial was one of our very first in-studio guests. Lynda sat down with him for Episode 2: Josh Grinker of Kings County Imperial + Soy Sauce on Tap at the beginning of 2017. We finally got a chance to catch up with Josh for a quick Q&A!

Photo credit: Levi Miller

Photo credit: Levi Miller

Neighborhood of residence:
Red Hook, Brooklyn

Favorite restaurant in your hood:
Peaches Hot House

Favorite place to eat Chinese food in NYC:
East Harbor Seafood Palace in Sunset Park

What Asian food staple/trend do you want to see more of: 
Steaming! It’s really underrated for the home cook and it’s a great way to bring Chinese cooking to the home kitchen.

Episode 28: Jordan Andino + Filipino Breakfast

Photo credit: Katie Burton

Jordan Andino is the Chef/Owner of Filipino Tacqueria, Flip Sigi (formerly known as 2nd City). He joined us on the first episode of our Fall Season to explain what Filipino breakfast looks like (mmm…longanisa). We also discussed his new restaurant opening, and Cooking Channel show “Late Nite Eats”.

We're back after a month of summer break! Lynda and Iris catch up with each other and talk about what they were up to this summer. Lynda had an epic month full of travel including hiking in Banff National Park in Canada, and catching the total eclipse of the sun in Tennessee. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Iris enjoyed some serious chill time at home, thanks to a hurricane and a typhoon in the same week, and geeked out over the last season of Twin Peaks.

We've covered Philippine cuisine before on Episode 8 with Leah Cohen, but today we focus specifically on what Filipino breakfast looks like. We introduce our guest, Jordan Andino, chef/owner of Flip SigiJordan tells us about his upbringing and how he really started working in the kitchen at the young age of 9 years old, thanks to his father. Here's an amazing photo of Jordan modeling on a cookbook cover as a kid!

Jordan tells us about what he grew up eating for breakfast. Some of his favorite dishes are typical Filipino breakfast dishes like spam, eggs, and, rice; longanisa, eggs, and rice; and a more Southern Filipino breakfast which is a vinegar fish dish. 

Lynda and Jordan talk more about Filipino breakfast, including on how Filipino breakfast tends to be heavier than the average yogurt and granola that is popular in the west, and what exactly the sausage longanisa is.

We then talk about the breakfast-meets-late-night-eats food he serves at his restaurants, as well as the beauty of eating after a night of drinking to cure your hangover in advance. Jordan then tells us about the dream job he has somehow landed--his new Food Network show, "Late Nite Eats"--where he gets to travel North America, get drunk, and eat delicious, late night grub.

27:38 "Western culture is like, "I've had American, I've had Spanish tapas, I've had Chinese." Now what happens if you put all of those in a melting pot and press go? It exists. And that's Filipino cuisine." - Jordan on Filipino cuisine and why North America is starting to embrace it.

Finally, we talk about what's next for Filipino cuisine in North America. As Filipino food is an amalgamation of many already popular cuisines, and a culmination of great flavors, Jordan believes that it only makes sense that this is going to be the next big thing.

We hope you enjoyed another #FMWAsianBreakfast episode. Make sure to check out Jordan's new show. Also, never miss an episode of Feast Meets West by subscribing to us on iTunes or Stitcher!

A Love Letter to Pocky

pocky flavors.jpg

By Iris Van Kerckhove

Growing up in Asia, Pocky was a staple of my childhood. I lost interest in it after moving to the United States when I was 17, where only chocolate and strawberry Pocky was available. Instead, I opted for the heavier, fat and sugar-laden snacks of America. I mean, how can a skinny biscuit stick with barely-there coating compete with decadent chocolate bars, Ben & Jerry's, and Sandies Rainbow cookies? But ever since I moved back to Hong Kong in 2013, I've become fascinated with Pocky again. There is something elegant about how light Pocky is--it feels like a guilt-free indulgence.

Pocky first came into existence in 1966, thanks to Japanese food company, Ezaki Glico. Originally, there was only chocolate flavored Pocky. In the 1970s, the almond and strawberry coatings were introduced. These days, there's everything from matcha to dark chocolate to "Men's Pocky", whatever that means. Ezaki Glico has been on a roll with all kinds of interesting limited edition flavors, including Midi, Dream, and most recently, Colorful Shower, which is apparently lemon-flavored with sprinkles of colorful candy in the coating (pictured above). Not every new flavor makes sense, but I appreciate the hustle. 

Pocky is very popular in Japan, of course, as well as most of Asia. In Australia and North America, it is very common in Asian markets, although thanks to the diversity of New York City, my friends have spotted Pocky in their local bodegas. An interesting fact that I learned recently is that, in Europe, Pocky is produced under license by Mondelēz International and is sold under the name "Mikado". A friend who knows of my Pocky addiction copped a pack of Mikado for me, and as much as I would like to hate on it for being a French knock-off, it could be argued that it is actually a superior product! The subtlety of Japanese snacks probably wouldn't do well in the European market, so Mikado has more coating, with a richer, creamier, chocolate taste. There's also a similar Korean product called Pepero, produced by Lotte. Though widely regarded as a copycat product, Lotte denies that it was inspired by Pocky.

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But despite the more satisfying Mikado, or Pepero's delicious cookie and cream flavor, Pocky still has a special place in my heart. It is the OG, after all. And even if not every new edition is a winner, and sometimes the concepts get a little wacky, I will keep collecting every crazy flavor I can get my hands on.

Quick-fire Q&A: Eric Sze of The Tang

In Episode 26: The Tang + Zha Jiang Mian, we sat down with Eric Sze of noodle joint, The Tang, to talk about the iconic Beijing noodle dish Zha Jiang Mian. We caught up with Eric last week to learn a little more about him!

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Neighborhood of residence:
Long Island City, Queens

Favorite restaurant in your hood:
LIC Market

Favorite spot to grab a drink:
Kenka or The Nomad Bar

Most recent/Recommended dining out experience:
Golden Palace in Flushing.

 

How did you come up with the name "The Tang"?
"Tang" means a lot of things in Chinese. We picked it because it also means “place“, so it's kind of like "the noodle place". 

Why is zha jiang mian a popular noodle dish in Korea?
ZJM originated in the Shandong area of China which is very close to Korea. So, when Chinese people immigrated to Korea back in the 18th century, they brought the dish over and it became what it is today! 

What Asian food staple/trend do you want to see more of?
I feel like Chinese breakfast should be a thing.

What would be your last meal on Earth?
A bowl of beef noodle soup.

Quick-fire Q&A: Chef Seng Luangrath

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We finally got a chance to catch up with James Beard Award Semifinalist, Chef Seng Luangrath! Read on to learn a bit more about Chef Seng, and make sure to listen to our interview with her on sticky rice and Lao cuisine.

  • Neighborhood of residence: Alexandria, VA
  • Favorite restaurant in your hood: IndAroma (Indian Restaurant)
  • Favorite spot to grab a drink: Room 11
  • Most recent/Recommended dining out experienceThe Dabney
  • What's your favorite dish to cook: Mieng Muang Luang and Tum Muk Houng
  • What Asian food staple/trend do you want to see more of: Japanese Cheesecake, or Japanese Soufflé Pancakes! I've been craving them for a while now!

Quick-fire Q&A: Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau of Shuko

Photo credit: Evan Sung

Photo credit: Evan Sung

Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau of Shuko, joined us on Episode 25 to talk about all things sushi and omakase. Find out which spots these two co-chefs and co-owners recommend on the Upper West Wide and in Queens, and their favorite dishes to cook!

Nick Kim

  • Neighborhood of residence: Upper West Side
  • Favorite restaurant in your hood: Sun Chan Izakaya
  • Favorite spot to grab a drink: Via Carota for an old fashioned or a negroni
  • Most recent/Recommended dining out experience: The Office. Great design, food, and drinks.
  • What's your favorite dish to cook: Anything breakfast-y. I love eggs.
  • What Asian food staple/trend do you want to see more: Miso with its long and rich history. A lot of Asian countries have their own type of miso.
  • What would be your last meal on Earth: Peter Luger

Jimmy Lau

  • Neighborhood of residence: Jackson Heights, Queens
  • Favorite restaurant in your hood: Spicy Shallot
  • Favorite spot to grab a drink: Pata Paplean
  • Most recent/Recommended dining out experience: Loring Place. The food and the drinks were great. My children got the non-alcoholic cocktails and loved them. The energy, the great service, and the food all come together to bring a certain warmth inside.
  • What's your favorite dish to cook: I like to cook steamed fish for my family--they love it
  • What Asian food staple/trend do you want to see more: Fermentation
  • What would be your last meal on Earth: Anything made by my mom

Episode 27: Okonomi + Japanese Breakfast

Photo credit: Okonomi

JT Vuong and George Padilla of YUJI Ramen are back by popular demand! But this time, Lynda and Iris talk to JT and George about Japanese breakfast and the Okonomi side of what they do, in another installment of our #FMWAsianBreakfast Series. 

The episode starts with our reflections on how fast time flies, as well as the delicious things we ate and drank over the last week. Can you believe that it's already the last episode of our summer season?!

We then introduce our guests JT Vuong and George Padilla of Okonomi/YUJI Ramen in Williamsburg. They previously joined us on Episode 9 to talk about the YUJI Ramen side of what they do, but as the restaurant serves traditional Japanese ichiju-sansai set meals for breakfast and lunch by day, they were the perfect folks to talk about breakfast in Japan. 

First, Iris asks George and JT about what they ate for breakfast growing up. As George is first generation Filipino American and JT is Taiwanese American, they talk about the rice, protein, and veggies they ate, but with a lot of sugary cereals thrown in the mix too, of course.

JT shares some typical breakfast foods that are eaten in Japan. George explains what a ichiju-sansai set meal is, and what Okonomi usually serves, as well as the background story of Okonomi/YUJI Ramen and how that led to this format for breakfast and lunch. They also talk about their personal favorite iterations of these set meals, and why local bluefish is great.

Lynda asks what Okonomi means and JT explains how the original concept for the restaurant changed and why the name is a little ironic. George then talks about some useful Japanese terms to know when it comes to Japanese breakfast, though he feels it's not necessary to understand the language at all to appreciate Japanese food.

We then discuss the major difference between Asian and Western breakfast, and why maybe the difference in palates is why Asian breakfast in underrepresented in the US.

Finally, the guys tell us what's next for Okonomi and YUJI Ramen, but more importantly, take a moment to just appreciate the present.

"The epitome of a good dining situation is that, on all sides, people care about or appreciate what the other side is doing for them. Which is nice." - JT Vuong on the beauty of the restaurant business.

And that's a wrap for Feast Meets West's second season on Heritage Radio Network! We can’t wait to do it all again in the fall. We’ll be taking a short break, so you won’t see any new episodes for a few weeks, but you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or sign up for our mailing list for more content and updates!

Quick-fire Q&A: Jonathan Wu of Fung Tu

If you haven't heard Jonathan Wu's beautiful story of his grandmother's Chinese mahogany tree and his discovery of the seasonal edible leaves it produced, make sure to check out Episode 23. We couldn't agree more with the answer of the last question!

  • Neighborhood of residence: Clinton Hill
  • Favorite restaurant in your hood: The Finch, Otway, Mekelburg's
  • Favorite spot to grab a drink: Grassroots Tavern, Decibel 
  • Most recent/Recommended dining out experience: Little Tong
  • What's your favorite dish to cook: Nothing springs to mind -- I just love to cook.
  • What Asian food staple/trend do you want to see more of: Talented Asian-Americans expressing themselves in food.