Archive for the ‘Chinese’ Category

Titus Chan hosts benefit dinner parties at Won Kee

April 9th, 2013

titusNadine Kam photos
Titus Chan leads a Chinatown Cultural Center tour prior to the start of his benefit dinner for Kapiolani Community College.

Titus Chan, among the TV chef pioneer of the 1960s and early ’70s, is sharing his expertise during "Dinner With Master Chef Titus Chan," a program blending cuisine and culture, at Won Kee restaurant.

The program involves a brief guided tour of the Chinatown Cultural Plaza, followed by a 10-course Chinese dinner hosted by the effervescent chef, who still has the personality and sense of humor that made him one of the original celebrity chefs, before Food TV and The Cooking Channel existed.

Chan rose to fame in 1972, when "Cooking the Chan-ese Way" debuted on KHET, followed by a national PBS release in 1973, introducing the art of Chinese cooking across the United States.

During the dinners, which can accommodate six people and up, each table will include a bottle of "Mui Kwai Lu" Chinese white wine, which, at 96 proof, acts more like vodka. Guests may also bring their own libations, with no corkage fee.

The cost is $194.40 per person, including tax and tip, and Chan is able to work accommodate large parties and groups. A portion of the fee will be donated to Kapiolani Community College’s Culinary Institute of the Pacific to help provide scholarships for culinary students.

Below, Chan hosted a preview dinner to show off his menu.

For information or reservations, call 983-1327.

Won Kee Seafood Restaurant is at Chinatown Cultural Plaza, 100 N. Beretania St. Call 524-6877.

tsunI've walked or driven by the Sun Yat-Sen monument many times, but never stopped to read it. The words highlight the ideas he stood for, including "loyalty," "filial piety," "peace," "pacify the world" and "study the nature of things."

tsashimiThe dinner started with an appetizers of sashimi, and below, deep-fried shrimp toast.


tsoupTofu and scallop soup was the next course.

tiduckCrisp, thin Peking duck skin and buns were served next. When one of the guests asked about the whereabouts of the duck meat, I knew he wasn't Chinese. We all live in such close proximity here, but food traditions are so ingrained into our respective cultures that unless diners make an effort to go exploring, the most basic aspects of a culinary tradition will remain a mystery. Some of my Japanese friends can't fathom the attraction of a salted duck egg.

tfishTwo spotted sea basses are hidden beneath a pile of ginger, green onion and cilantro. Titus said he searched for these fish for four days and had to fight off two other men early in the morning to get these one-and-a-half pounders with their perfect tender meat. Larger fish tend to be tougher, he said.

ttofuThough served at a time when people were getting full, shrimp-stuffed tofu proved so popular that most enjoyed seconds.

tlobsterThe toasted garlic-and-sweet coconut topped Hong Kong Harbor-style lobster was one of the meal's highlights. Garlic prepared this way can be bitter when browned, but it was perfect here.

To Grandma's Home we go

May 1st, 2012

grandmataroNadine Kam photos
While waiting for other dinner guests to arrive at Grandma's Home in Shanghai, we started dinner with refreshing taro shave ice. If you go, there's also a fantastic Taiwanese restaurant, Bellagio, that offers shave ice that's unbelievably light. If you travel there this summer, try the black sesame and peanut butter combo.

During my stay in Shanghai, I attended a sumptuous dinner at Grandma's Home restaurant, hosted by my new friend, Priscilla Wu of Xinmin Evening News.

The name of the restaurant is based on the longtime tradition of returning to the family home on Sundays after a long week of work, and it's a popular restaurant that serves up a mix of dishes from several regions of China.

Most of the dishes ordered at the dinner were Shanghainese or Szechuan.

The restaurant is at 818 NanJing Xi Road, Plaza 818, 7th floor.

grandmaSzechuan-style pork.

grandmanoodlesI loved the noodles served throughout the city.

grandmamapoThis is the Shanghai version of mapo tofu, with whole slabs rather than Hawaii-style crumbled tofu.

grandmagreensDuring the course of my stay, I encountered many unfamiliar greens, and my hosts did not know the English names for them. When I came home and found New Zealand spinach at the Kailua Farmer's Market, I thought it looked similar, but when I bought some home and tried to cook it, the warrigal greens were rubbery, whereas these greens were light and crisp. I loved the Shanghai greens and wish I knew what they were.

grandmabeanThese deep-fried bean curd rolls were unbelievably light and airy. I haven't found anything equivalent in our Chinese restaurants.

grandmafishThis whole fried fish was fantastic, as were the accompanying peppered noodles. (more…)