Anyone who knows me knows that I was at one point absolutely obsessed with El Rey, a small cafe in LES that used to make my favorite bowl of kale salad in the city. I also loved their baked goods and would order the sweet potato bread any chance I could get. Even the small selection at dinner service was quite impressive. Gerardo Gonzalez was the mastermind chef behind all this, and it was clear that his talent would soon outgrow the tiny coffeeshop. It wasn’t surprising to see that he left to pursue those ambitions, and I also noticed that the quality of the kale salad and sweet potato bread at El Rey dropped after his departure.Read More
Ever wonder where some of the best chefs in the world like to eat during their time off? It must be really good if it meets the standards of the most discriminating palates. Some of the answers may surprise you, though. For instance, in NYC, chefs like Andrew Carmellini and David Chang highly recommend Great NY Noodletown, a modest, no-frills restaurant in Chinatown. The service is brusque and the surroundings are dinghy, but it’s hard to argue with super cheap, filling food and a no corkage fee.Read More
There are few restaurants that I would stay up so late for. A 9 pm seating is my limit, and after that, I’ll move on and revisit once the hype has died down. But like the desperate girl who can’t play it cool when she’s finally invited to a party, I caved to the pressure and made an exception for a 10:30 reservation at Le Coucou. There was a little thought behind this, though. First of all, Ruoxi’s birthday was at midnight, so we would need to do some sort of big, late night blowout celebration anyway. Also, my friend Eugenia from Hong Kong was in town, and she was already going to be jet lagged, so why not shake it off by staying up as late as possible? All good reasons for me to bite the bullet on a super late dinner reservation.Read More
You know a food culture is a good one when their bento boxes are a thing. Taiwan’s food scene is already pretty famous, so it’s not surprising that their bento box culture is held in the same high regard. The bentos were brought over from Japan, and similarly you can buy these tasty, high quality lunch boxes at train stations and at convenience stores like 7-Eleven. If only we had that option at our 7-Elevens…instead of those sketchy taquitos and hot dogs.
The Taiwanese bento box hasn’t quite caught on in NYC, but now you can get your fix at Taiwan Bear House in Chinatown. The foundation of each bento is the same–a bed of rice with a little minced pork, a marinated boiled egg and some cooked veggies on top. This by itself is sufficient for a satisfying meal, but it’s hard to say no to the crispy night market fried chicken, an option you’ll be glad you didn’t resist. Bonus points if you get a side of bubble tea to be really Asian.
Taiwan Bear House
11 Pell St (between Bowery and Doyers St)
New York, NY 10013
Poke bowls are having a moment in New York City, and now with summer officially underway, this beachy raw fish dish’s star is only shining brighter. Poke originated from Hawaii and usually consists of raw tuna marinated in soy and sesame and mixed with nori. It’s not a fancy dish by any means, and you can buy it almost anywhere in Hawaii, even at the local Safeway. In New York there are currently several places that are serving poke. There’s Pokeworks in Midtown West, Wisefish Poke in Chelsea, Noreetuh in East Village has it on the menu, as does Seamore’s.Read More