Canned sardines turn many Americans off to fresh sardines, which is a shame. In Tin House‘s 2009 Appetites Issue, Jeff Koehler shares the little fish’s pleasures, describing how eating canned sardines in his vagabond youth led him to savoring fresh sardines as an adult, which culminated in years of culinary experimentation in his adopted home of Barcelona. […]
As a ramen maniakku or enthusiast myself, I reread Lucky Peach‘s debut Ramen Issue once a year. The issue has an essay by chef Ivan Orkin, where he tells what it was like operating a ramen restaurant in Japan, as a gaijin, or outsider. Lucky Peach is a food quarterly started by chef David Chang and writer Peter Meehan in 2011. The […]
There are only so many ways to describe food. You become hyper-aware of your own clichés. If you’ve gotten tired of reading “lovely,” “tinged,” and “delightful” in my reviews over the past seven years, all I can say is that you should have seen the first drafts.
Monterey Park became the first suburb that Chinese people would drive for hours to visit and eat in, for the same reasons earlier generations of immigrants had sought out the nearest urban Chinatown. And the changing population and the wealth they brought with them created new opportunities for all sorts of business people, especially aspiring restaurateurs. The typical Chinese American restaurant made saucy, ostentatiously deep-fried concessions to mainstream appetites, leading to the ever-present rumor that most establishments had “secret menus” meant for more discerning eaters. It might be more accurate to say that most chefs at Chinese restaurants are more versatile than they initially let on—either that or families like mine possess Jedi-level powers of off-the-menu persuasion. But in a place like Monterey Park, the pressure to appeal to non-Chinese appetites disappeared. The concept of “mainstream” no longer held; neck bones and chicken feet and pork bellies and various gelatinous things could pay the bills and then some.