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
The best thing about having Asian relatives over is that a meal of dim sum will likely take place in the near future. Which is what happened over Thanksgiving weekend, we all went to my favorite dim sum restaurant in the city, Dim Sum Go Go. A lot of purists look down on this place, saying that it’s Americanized, but I don’t care, I love how civil the experience is and I prefer the cleaner flavor profile. There are no pushcarts roaming about, you tick off the items you want to order, and the food arrives as it’s ready. Dim Sum Go Go was especially on point during that visit, all my favorites were fresh and at their best–the shrimp rice roll, the shumai, the shrimp balls, and the seafood fried rice. Maybe it’s not the way your grandma made it, but the ABC way is the way I like it.
And the best part about dim sum is that you’re never so full that you don’t have room for a little more. Like some ice cream from The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. All the Asian flavors you could ever dream of are served here, and nothing gets more Asian than an ice cream cone with a pink Pocky stick in it. With some sweet scoops of taro and black sesame, now your meal is really complete.
Dim Sum Go Go 5 E Broadway (between Chatham Sq and Catherine St)
New York, NY 10038 (212) 732-0797
The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory 65 Bayard St (between Pell and Bayard St)
New York, NY 10013 (212) 608-4170
Jing Fong has been around for a long time. It was around back when I was in grade school in the late 90s, and it’s still very much around in 2015. I visited a few weekends ago and was surprised by how packed the place was. I felt like I was in the middle of a trading floor, surrounded by frantic customers waving around their tickets to buy! buy! as soon as their numbers were called. I didn’t totally love this experience, but luckily the tables turned around pretty quickly, and I eventually found relief from the crowd and ascended the escalator to the humongous banquet-style dining hall. Word to the wise–come early, as in 10:30 am or earlier, or have a good friend who will take one for the team and do most of the waiting for you.
If you want the whole chaotic old-school cart-pushing dim sum experience, then this is a great place to do it. The variety is astounding, although quantity doesn’t mean quality. Some dishes were very good, like the congee, of which I ate two bowls, while the soup dumplings were tough and disappointing. But there are a lot of options–chicken feet, tripe, vegetables, shrimp balls, you name it, you got it–and everyone gets what they want and leaves happy. The craziness may not be for everyone, there are more civilized places like Dim Sum Go Go that cater to those who want a more laid back meal, but if you want your dim sum to be an occasion, as in wow I feel like I’m back in Hong Kong, then Jing Fong delivers.
20 Elizabeth Street (between Canal and Bayard St)
New York, NY 10013