Posts tagged chinese

Kimchi Fried Rice?

I made Kimchi Fried Rice by mixing Kimchi and Fried Rice. How-to video coming soon!


Tio Wally Eats America: Family Buffet in Junction City

I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Junction City, Kansas.

Greetings from Junction City, Kansas
N 39° 01.270’ W 096° 49.125’ Elev. 1052 ft.

Just as people associate Maine with lobster, I associate Junction City, Kansas with …Egg Foo Yung. What?

The SS Me So Hungry pulls into this port irregularly, delivering “mechanically separated (turkey) meat” and then sailing away with various turkey-based luncheon meats, and delivering them to … wherever.

While there is another much better place to eat in Junction City — Napoli’s, an Italian place that I’ll review soon — none is more convenient land yacht-wise than Family Buffet. Wedged between a truck stop and a Merchant of Death (Wal•Mart), there’s parking galore. And it’s got a bit of the funky.

Parking the land yacht nearby can be really important sometimes. On one visit here the thermometer on the bridge read 114°. It was a blessing that the humidity that day was almost Arizona-esque, and the slog to the restaurant short enough to be bearable; an hour later the temperature had dropped to a balmy 94°.

Being as the Chinese community in Junction City — heck, all of Kansas — is somewhat small, I’m guessing Family Buffet is a family business.

There is an old man there, usually during the day, who I’m guessing is the family patriarch. He sits in a chair behind a wait station and just watches. Not with an authoritarian glare, in a keep-the-staff-in-line way, but rather, just hangin’. Every time I’ve passed him he’s spoken to me, a big smile on his face. I have no idea what he’s saying as I don’t speak Mandarin and he doesn’t speak Cantonese, which is okay because I don’t speak Cantonese either. So I just smile back and say “Hi” or whatever and he smiles and answers back in Chinese.

As you may have guessed my favorite thing here is the Egg Foo Yung. They simply have the best. It’s the fluffiest, tastiest I’ve ever had, made with peas, carrots, green onion, etc. It may be the best I’ve ever had. And the sauce is perfect, too; not too sweet, not too salty.

One day they ran out after I’d only had two. I kept getting up, checking the tray and, damn it, none had arrived. I even moved across the table to better spot the fresh stuff’s arrival. Seeing my obvious distress when I checked the tray thrice again, the old man sprang to his feet and, I guess, asked me what the problem was. I told him, in the nearest language I commanded to Mandarin Chinese (read: English), that there was no Egg Foo Yung. He then told me, I guess, that he was all over it, the smile never leaving his face.

He then disappeared through the kitchen doors and it sounded like all hell broke loose. (Of course, normal discourse in Chinese always sounds like all hell has broken loose to my ear.) Long story short, he appeared with a fresh tray of Egg Foo Yung a few minutes later, beckoning me over for first grabs. Score.

They have scores of items on the buffet from Chinese to vegetable sushi to pizza and a full salad bar. Most of the Chinese fare, however, is very chicken-centric, which bums me out; it makes it hard for me to realize my dream of an all-pork diet. They must have 25 different chicken based dishes. Geesh. I want my pork. Nevertheless, the chicken stuff is very varied and, well, it’s all pretty good.

They also always have fried butterfly shrimp and, at night anyway, peel-and-eat shrimp as well. I don’t usually have the peel-and-eat though; that peeling crap is too much work and it interferes with my reading.

I also really enjoy their hot-and-sour soup. It’s not corn-starched out, i.e. thickened to complete coagulation. I usually throw in a couple of wontons from the wonton soup kettle for good measure.

And a real treat is that they’ve got eight-or-so different flavors of self-dipped hard ice cream!

They’re really nice folks at Family Buffet. Every time I’ve been there the service has been great, the food is decent enough and, hell, I can park the land yacht within a stone’s throw.

And so we roll.

Family Buffet, 801 E. Chestnut St., Junction City, Kansas

Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.

Flaming Cherry Tomato Candy

This week, I’ll be posting things I’ve found in my bedroom while cleaning up…

This is the last of the interesting candy I found –Flaming Cherry Tomato Candy. Or what I think is Cherry Tomato and I guess the flames mean it’s spicy. It’s some kind of dried fruit. It tasted kind of like a sweet date. I don’t know. It’s hard to judge this stuff when it’s four years old in the couch cushions of your basement/bedroom.

Muk Eun Ji & Son Ja Jang Restaurant

I didn’t realize this place was two restaurants in one when I ate there. Muk Eun Ji Korean Restaurant and Son Ja Jang Chinese Handpulled Noodles. I picked this place because it wasn’t packed like the other places in K-town. I needed my kimchi.

I wanted another one of those Soju bottles with the hot chick on it, but the waitress suggested I get the Bek Se Ju Korean Ginseng Wine. The waitress said if I drink it, the bottle says I’ll live to 100 years old. I don’t know if that’s what I need, but the wine was pretty tasty with that Ginseng flavor.

I got the Handpulled Noodles with Spicy Seafood Soup lunch special $8.99. Big bowl. I was taking photos of it and the waitress came over to show me how to take a photo …taking my chopsticks and pulling out a giant glob of the noodles from the bowl. Even after four years of food blogging, I still have things to learn.

I liked the broth. The noodles may not have been too impressive, although this long video of how they pull the noodles is. It puts me in a trance like watching my hard drive defragment.

I also got complimentary Kimchi, Onion and Pickled Radish that I dipped into Korean Bean Paste. I couldn’t believe how good the raw onion tasted with that bean paste.

The walls of the restaurant were big advertisements for Jinan Maisan aged kimchi. The restaurant also posted this video on Youtube…

1:08 –Me So Hungry!

They gave me a little Yogurt drink at the end. I think this meal left me with some good stomach bacteria for my probiotic diet.

Muk Eun Ji & Son Ja Jang Restaurant – 34 W 32nd St (btwn 5th Ave & Broadway) New York, NY 10001

New Malaysia Restaurant

I met up with friends for pre-partying dinner on New Years Eve at New Malaysian Restaurant (where I’ve had Ducks Blood) in the Chinatown Arcade on Bowery. Yes, start off with Roti Canai. I like it! …pancake roti bread with lovely curry chicken sauce.

I also ordered the Ipoh Rojak appetizer, which I was thinking was this Malaysian Popiah. Turned out totally different, but really good. It was cucumbers and butternut squash with peanut and some kind of sauce that made it taste a little sweet.

Marcellus ordered the Indian Mee Goreng. He asked the waitress if there was meat in it. She said no. When he got it, there was shrimp all in it. He asked the waitress again. “I thought this had no meat?” She said, “Yeah, no meat. Just seafood.” That’s funny. That reminds me how some restaurants you order Vegetable Fried Rice or Lo Mein and there is no vegetable in it. They just call it that because there is no meat.

I liked my Curry Hainanese Chicken Noodle Soup. Great creamy broth. Took a long time to get. I think they forgot.

The prices are good if you stick with the Noodle Soups, Fried Noodles and Lunch menu (which you can still order at night).

New Malaysia Restaurant – 48 Bowery (btwn Bayard & Canal St in the Chinatown Arcade) New York, NY 10013

After dinner, we made our way to separate parties. Some of us headed to my friends Dave and Janet’s party. That was a lot of fun. I saw a black and white movie on the TV and I asked if it was “My So Called Life,” when you know I meant “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

After the party, we went downstairs to the bar where I came across the Williamsburg Empanada guy. I couldn’t believe he was out on doing his thing on New Years Eve. I guess it’s a good night for business, but I hope he got some partying in himself. I got a beef empanada with hot sauce ($2). It did good.

On my way home, I passed by a couple of groups where there was one drunk asshole who seemed to try to harass me for either being a hipster or Chinese. That’s weird. Don’t they know they’re partying in Williamsburg, Brooklyn?

When I got home, I looked in the mirror and noticed I was wearing a stupid glow necklace that whole time. Shit. I would’ve harassed me too.

Another thing happened when I was walking home that night. I don’t know if it’s appropriate to talk about on a food blog, but it’s been in running through my head the last couple of days and you guys know this website is pretty much my Livejournal. Here goes…

As I passed by this garage, I heard someone talking, like whispering. Then I saw a guy on all fours, back turned to me, in a corner next to a car. I thought that was weird. So I walked back and this time, the guy turned around to look at me. I had to walk back again to get home and he was still looking at me.

I thought that was just weird. Then I heard some more talking. I knew in my gut something wasn’t right. Like maybe there was a girl under him? It took a few seconds to get the nerve to walk back again, but it felt like minutes.

This time, the guy and a girl were standing up. Okay, there was a girl there. I asked, “Everything all cool?” The guy said, “Yeah, it’s all cool.” I wanted the girl to respond, but she said to the guy what sounded like, “Can’t I just get a hug?” …as if they were having an argument and she just wanted it to be over. From that point, I assumed they knew each other and left.

It still bothered me that night and the next day when I told Rusty. Then he went out to the bodega and called to tell me that there is crime tape and police guarding that very spot in the garage. I went to talk to the cops and detective. I don’t know the whole story, but it seems like the girl is telling a story that doesn’t quite fit with mine. Actually, they don’t know who the guys is, which is weird to me because I thought they knew each other, like they were a couple.

So it still bothers me that there was an incident and I don’t know if I could have done more or what. The cops and detective seemed to be very thankful that I came forward. I know my friends think I did a lot more than what a lot of people would do in that situation. I get that. But it still bothers me.

[Update: The TV News said the guy had a gun.]

Flushing Golden Mall

The last place I took my family was the Golden Mall in Flushing. We pretty much ate all the same great food I had with Brian and Jimmy. Beef Tripe with Hot Pepper Sauce and the best Dumplings in Chili Sauce from the Cheng Du Tian Fu stall, Lamb Burger and Qi Noodles from Xian Famous Foods and a bowl of Hand-pulled noodles from the Lan Zhou stall.

I think this was a winner with my family, even though I don’t think we were supposed to feed my parents so much spicy food.

Oh and we took one of those Chinatown to Chinatown busses. Only $2.75 per person. The trip was around 20-30mins from Manhattan Chinatown to Flushing. Sure beats the long ass train.

Golden Mall – 41-28 Main St. Flushing, NY 11355

East Market Restaurant Dim Sum

I took my family to the place where I take my friends almost every Chinese New Year. At that day, most places are super packed. But not so much here underneath the Manhattan Bridge at East Broadway and Market Street. I think it’s because there’s no real English sign marking it as a dim sum place.

So this place will be good. I get to show off this place that mostly only Chinese people know about and we won’t have to wait long for a table like at Jing Fong. We got there at 10am. I was absolutely correct …no line. Actually no customers at all. It was empty as fuck.

They were serving and we did get food rather quick. However, it was really weird eating in a huge empty banquet hall. I don’t recommend it.

When we left, my dad told me that that place was really bad. Then I blew up. I already felt like shit for picking the previous two places that I felt like they didn’t totally enjoy. I said to him, “Shit. If we went to the good restaurant, you’d complain that there was too many white people.” And that’s a point I realized –I don’t think there really are any hidden authentic gems left in this city that white folk don’t know about. And when I say white, I include myself in that group.

All the good authentic places have already been discovered. People know them about through such things as Anthony Bourdain, Yelp and food blogs (which a lot seem to be Asian bloggers). Foodies and non-foodies want to eat at these places too. Again, myself included. So I don’t think you can say that too many white people eating at an ethnic restaurant is bad. It probably means it’s the place to eat.

Hey, I can’t totally blame my dad. I’m just as guilty for skipping the food trucks that have super long lines, because I don’t think of them as being the real deal –like they are too hipster …and I’m the fucking hipster. But I’m wrong. They have long lines probably because the food is good …or people just like to stand in lines.

As a side note: I do notice that real Chinese-Chinese people still go to places like Big Wong and Great NY Noodletown. They just don’t often stay there to eat. They get the BBQ to-go.

What does it matter who is the one eating the food anyway? In 50 years, everyone’s going to speak English and there will be only one race …Chinese people.

East Market Restaurant –  75 East Broadway (next to the playground, underneath the Manhattan Bridge on the Market St. side), New York 10002

Great NY Noodletown

2nd night of hanging out with my family in NYC. We end up going to Great NY Noodletown. My older sister had a hankering for Soy Sauce Chicken. I remember that they have really good Baby Pig, so let’s try here.

Shit. All the customers are white. What will my family think of my choice? Well, whatever. We’re seated …and I know about the Baby Pig.

We’re not sure if my sister really wanted the Soy Sauce Chicken or the Poached Chicken in Ginger Scallion Sauce. So we ordered both. I think we were all looking for the Ginger Scallion sauce. But the way they had it here, the Soy Sauce Chicken had the real Ginger Scallion dipping sauce and the the Poached Chicken in Ginger Scallion sauce had some weird gravy …the opposite of what it should be. Or maybe they cooked it this way because they thought we seemed white.

Soy Sauce Chicken was awesome because the Ginger Scallion dipping sauce rules. I don’t understand why they made the Poached Chicken in Ginger Scallion sauce/gravy that way …what up?

Baby Pig was crispy on the outside. Fatty and juicy on the inside.

My other sister looked up what the NY Times recommended at this place –Noodles with Ginger Scallion sauce. It ended up being the least favorite dish. Noodles with Oyster Sauce drizzled over it.

On a separate thought: I’m not sure if it’s because I write about food, people like to tell me what food sucks. I guess people also go out of their way to tell me what rules. I guess I rather hear about what rules …mmm Baby Pig.

Great NY Noodletown – 28 Bowery (@ Bayard) New York, NY 10013