Meb Byrne

Archive for the ‘chinese’ Category

Peking Duck Nachos

In chinese, dinner, fusion food, lunch, nyc, om nom nom on May 13, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Midtown Manhattan is not the first place I’d go for adventurous cuisine, unless the adventure is titled Things I Could Eat Back Home For Half The Price. Similarly, a Chinese restaurant is not my go-to for nachos. (If I had a go-to for nachos. Which I don’t.) Ruby Foo’s in Times Square, that palatial fortress of vermillion drapes and betassled chandeliers, has set out to disprove both preconceptions heartily.

Introducing Peking Duck nachos. Four oversized wonton wrappers are fried to a bubble-pocked golden crisp and piled high with pico de gallo, pulled duck breast and zigzags of wasabi creme fraiche. At first bite, the delicate, flaky wonton shatters in your mouth, causing a mini-avalanche of toppings everywhere. An impressive array of textures, from the impossibly brittle wrapper to the firm crunch of cubed tomato and the oily mouthfeel of the duck sauce, keep your palate guessing. The taste is intriguing yet inoffensive: the fatty, savory sweet duck meat is more mild than the spicy beef of traditional nachos, and jalapenos and wasabi add a subtle zing without burning your mouth.

You’ll want several napkins and several good friends to attack this ungainly appetizer. Forgo your dignity and dig in.

Ruby Foo’s is located at 1626 Broadway at 49th Street, just north of Times Square.

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Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival

In chinatown, chinese, event, festival, food, jewish, lower east side, nyc, religion on June 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm

This is Eldridge Street, a tiny block tucked away in the nebulous intersection of Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Two very different neighborhoods, housing two very different populations, came together to celebrate this shared space at the 10th Annual Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival, hosted by the Museum at Eldridge Street.

Certain parts of the festival were dedicated to either Chinese or Jewish cultural heritage. Music demonstrations, like this Chinese group and a Klezmer ensemble, played throughout the afternoon.

The Eldridge Street Synagogue (built in 1887 and recently restored) was open to the public, with cooking demonstrations in the basement and  tours given regularly.

But of course, everyone came for the food! (What better to bring people together?)

Egg creams, made while you waited, were  popular.

The best parts of the festival, though, were those in which the Chinese and Jewish worlds blended, making it difficult to tell where one ended and the other began. Children could decorate their own yarmulkes, and kids of all origins got in on the fun.

Chinese grandparents and great-grandparents tossed and stacked and rearranged clicking tiles in mah jongg with impressive dexterity…

…but still made time to show newcomers how it’s done.

This fair was tiny, only a block long, but the air was joyous, the turnout impressive and the day beautiful. Tiny celebrations like this give me hope for cultural relations the world over, and make me proud to call myself a New Yorker.