Global Cuisine

A Tale Of a Changed Mind. And a Burnt Tongue.

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by Matt Armendariz

sam-gye-tang-opener.jpgStuffed and sated without the ability to eat even one more bite – or so I thought – we headed to Hwang Hu Sam Gye Tang restaurant to experience Samgyetang, a hot bowl of bubbling chicken soup made with one very important ingredient: ginseng.

Ushered upstairs to the second floor of this elegant and glistening airy restaurant, we were seated next to a vast window overlooking a rainy busy side street below. We passed walls that were lined with photographs of celebrity and everyday patrons, leaving the menu to appear even that much more sparse. Hwang Hu Sam Gye Tang doesn’t offer too many things other than chicken and ginseng soup, a fact I’d later forget about once the scorching hot liquid touched my tongue.

The chef and host suggested that they bring our food to the table before cooking purely for photographic purposes. “Please, do not go through any trouble” I said to our guide, watching my translated words make their way to the chef. The chef wouldn’t have it any other way, his face said everything I needed to know. Once a boiling hot soup is brought to our table I would see none of the ingredients; steam and bubbles would make sure of that. I acquiesced and like a good guest I let them set out bowls of food to photograph.

Sweet & Spicy Shrimp

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by Joseph Erdos

sweetsourshrimp.jpg Spicy and tropical flavors always transport my imagination to lush jungles or azure beaches belonging to more temperate climates. Mexican food in particular has that effect on me. At home whenever I want to add a south-of-the-border touch to recipes I reach for dried chiles.

Ancho chile powder, made of ground dried poblano peppers, lends a smoky and earthy flavor to recipes (think of the many famous mole sauces). Combine it with lime juice and oil and you have the perfect Mex-like marinade for meat or fish. In this case it's shrimp, briefly marinated and then grilled. Paired with a fresh salsa, it's a summery dish that serves well as a quick appetizer when friends stop by.

The grilled shrimp is spicy and savory whereas the mango salsa is sweet and tangy. It may sound a bit unusual to have fruit in a salsa, but it's not uncommon in Mexico and the Caribbean. Fruits indigenous to these areas are utilized in many different ways in recipe preparations.

Chaparang!

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by Maia Harari

black_cod4.jpgBefore I tell you this story, I have to tell you how I met Bobby in the first place. I was in Century City with a friend of mine and we ran into this group of Persian guys. It was all very high school and they were all very hung over. I wasn’t really paying much attention until one of them, within two minutes of having been introduced to me, starting feeling up my arm. I mean, really, feeling up my arm—you know, the underneath part of the upper arm that so many women (and some men) are sensitive about? Yea. To make matters worse, every time I tried to pull away he’d respond by saying, “Give me that filet.” “Excuse me?!?” “You ate a lot of hoomoos as a kid, didn’t you?” “Are you saying I’m fat?!” “Don’t insult the filet this way.”

I didn’t see Bobby again for a few months and had pretty much forgotten about the whole exchange when I was at a birthday party at the new-ish Trader Vic’s and all of a sudden, from across the pool, I hear, “Filet . . . Can it be you?” Needless to say, Bobby and I became fast friends, although he does still try to feel up my arm occasionally.

Tiffin Wallah

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by Anna Harari

indianfood.jpg I first fell in love with Indian food while working at a company in West Hollywood and my boss, who was a true asshole with excellent taste in food, always ordered lunches from Anarkali.  I would drive to pick up the large order for practically everyone in the office, and savored the few minutes I spent inside there while waiting for the food. Anarkali's low ceilings and uber-decorative booths offered a sweet escape from my days at work.  And they always gave me free beer, which I would give to the head of the company because I was still 18 and not quite ready to drink on the job. 

The array of foods on the table in the center of the office would bring everyone together and I slipped in and out of taste bud sensations.  I had never liked Indian food, until Anarkali. Then I started eating it all the time.  It worked perfectly for my family because now they didn't have to wait until I wasn't home for dinner before ordering Indian.  I still remember the styrofoam platters (a rare allowance for my mother) lined up across the kitchen counter as everyone served themselves buffet style.

When Neon was King

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by Scott Shulman

sandiegoskyline.jpgMy love affair with food began in the dim dark ages of the glorious 1990’s, when neon was king and it was cool to rock a mullet while listening to Marky Mark and his Funky Bunch.  Born in San Diego and being brought up by a Hawaiian family from beautiful Kaneohe, greatly impacted my palate, and brought me to the culinary forefront well before my time.

The Hawaiian family unit is a large extended conglomeration made up of relatives and friends of the family, which basically makes dinnertime feel like riding ‘It’s a Small World’ at Disneyland, where everyone I’m not related to is either an ‘aunt,’ ‘uncle,’ or a ‘cousin.’ So in other words, it made finding a prom date that wasn’t a cousin, quite difficult. (That’s my excuse)

Noodles, Noodles, Noodles

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by Amy Sherman

I'm so crazy about noodles I could eat them every day and never get bored. Even the family I lived with in Italy was amazed at my capacity for eating pasta. And I love all kinds of pasta--Asian varieties along with Italian, being top of the list. Happily there are two books out at the moment that make a variety of Asian noodle recipes easily accessible to the home cook. Both have great photos and recipes that will send you scurrying into the kitchen.

takashisnoodles-1.jpgFirst up is Takashi's Noodles. They say if you get just one great recipe from a cookbook, it is worth the price. In that case, let me tell you about Spicy Eggplant Ja-Ja-Men Udon. Chef Yakashi Takashi, owner of Takashi's in Chicago describes this dish as a Japanese version of spaghetti and bolognese sauce. It's basically a spicy eggplant and ground pork sauce over noodles with peppers, spicy notes and a creamy sauce that is enriched with sesame paste. The recipe has 18 ingredients but I skipped a few altogether and used substitutions for a couple more and can't imagine it made any discernible difference. I didn't bother with the 1/2 cup dashi, 1/3 cup canned bamboo shoots, teaspoon of cornstarch or 3 Tablespoons of sake. I used Chinese chili garlic paste instead of a Japanese variety and Chinese sesame paste instead of tahini. I had to buy exactly 2 ingredients to make the dish, green peppers and ground pork. I could eat this dish every week.!

Habaneros Are Hot

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by Susan Russo

ImageIn August 1997, and Jeff and I were at the Raleigh Farmers' Market in North Carolina. A farmer was selling a wide variety of chilies, including habaneros. I was instantly drawn to their shiny, reddish-orange skin and almost heart-like shape.

"What do habaneros taste like? I asked.

"They got kick in 'em," he said, as he chewed on a toothpick.

"Can they be eaten raw, or should I cook them?" I asked.

"You can eat 'em any way you like," he said, now twirling the toothpick between his thumb and forefinger.

"How 'bout the seeds? Should I take them out first?" I asked.

"If you want to," he said.

Realizing I was just going to have to find out for myself, I quickly selected four or five brilliant habaneros, paid for them, and proudly announced to Jeff that I would make burritos with habanero salsa for dinner.

Our Favorite Cinco De Mayo Recipes

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by The Editors
cincodemayoart.jpg  

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds – Great with beer

Classic Margarita – Blending is not allowed.

Lila’s Guacamole – The best way to eat green.

Huevos alla Amy – A breakfast treat.

Tortilla Soup - In case it's still cold in your neck of the woods.

Topopo Salad – A salad of volcanic proportions.

Ceviche – Cool and refreshing.

Enchiladas Suizas – Simply delicious.

Mexican Chicken – Spicing it up.

Goat Cheese and Poblano Quesadillas with Pineapple-Habanero Salsa - For those who like it HOT!

Grilled Steak Tacos with Watermelon-Mango-Jicama Salsa - It's not a celebration without tacos & salsa.

 

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