Tag Archives: Asian

A Take On Takeout: Sichuan Noodles

If there’s anything you’ve heard me griping about, it’s that my children are so weird with their food choices. They are keen to eat junk all day (if I’d let them) but I’d say about half the time I make a meal at home, I can barely get them to eat half of it. But NOT when we make anything from some other continent. Spaghetti? Pizza? They gobble it up. Asian food? They pretty much inhale it and then lick the plates (not really but they really really like Asian food. And Indian food.) Weird?

So I’ve been trying to add to my repertoire, if you will. Mr. foodie has already bought a wok and tried his hand at General Tso’s chicken (amazing), Lo Mein (also delish) and in our regular rotation is the Korean Beef Bowl from How Sweet Eats. I can’t describe the goodness of this bowl…impossibly delicious!

So a loooooong time ago, I saw Maggie Zhu’s recipe of Omnivore’s Cookbook for Sichuan Chicken aka “Saliva Chicken” and it included her Red Oil Sauce. You’ve seen similar sauces at Asian restaurants and maybe at the store. But homemade is best, obvs.

And I have yet to make that recipe…but I have all the ingredients. But I am still going to, honest. It’s not even a difficult recipe…I have no excuse really.

Then I saw Tieghan Gerard’s “easy” Szechuan noodles recipe on Half Baked Harvest and I decided to use HER noodle recipe and marry Maggie and Tieghan’s chili oil recipe to make a little Mag-Tiegh chili oil baby. 😀

It also helped that I had some ground chicken I needed to use up. 🙂

I jooshed up both recipes to incorporate what I had on hand and what I know my kids like, but I’m so glad to have these ladies for inspo. Like I say, you get inspiration from all over…just keep your eyes and mind open. Note: Maggie’s tip says you can use bay leaf and star anise in your aromatics. After playing, I love the combo of flavors below.  You can make the oil in advance and use it on all kinds of things later. The noodles themselves come together in less than 20 minutes (if you count cooking the noodles).

Oh, and in case you were wondering….yes indeedy, this dish was a hit and gobbled right up by all the humans. Go figure.

Sichuan Noodles with Red Chili Oil
(Prep: 5 min, Cook: 30 min.)
Serves 4 (you should make double, for real)

Chili Oil (adapted from Omnivore’s Cookbook & Half Baked Harvest)
1/3 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
4-6 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
2 tsp. Sichuan chili flakes (these are what I used), regular is fine too
1 tsp. Chinese Five Spice powder
1 tsp, ground Sichuan peppercorns (optional + I left mine whole and it was fine)
1 inch knob fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 TBS. sesame seeds

In a large skillet, heat oil. Add garlic and cook 3-5 minutes until it sweats down a bit. Add all the remaining ingredients except sesame seeds and simmer for another 3 minutes. The oil will  turn a beautiful amber red color. Add the sesame oil and the sesame seeds and simmer for another minute. The oil will be probably be sizzling but don’t let it go hard or it will make your chili flakes and sesame seeds taste bitter. Carefully transfer to a heat proof glass jar or bowl.

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Sichuan Noodles (adapted from Half Baked Harvest)
(Prep: 5 min, Cook: -20 min)

16 oz wide Chinese egg noodle (if you can’t find, pappardelli is fine)
1 lb ground chicken (ground pork is also fine) or leave out if vegetarian
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbs. honey or brown sugar
2 tbs. garlic chili sauce
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (or more to taste)
2-4 green onions, chopped
2-4 stalks of bok choy, chopped

1. Cook the noodles
2. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic chili paste + 1/3 cup water in a bowl.
3. Place the same skillet  over medium high heat. Add the chicken.  Season with salt and pepper, crumbling as you go and cook for 5 minutes.   Add the onions and bok choy, and cook until slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Pour in the soy sauce mixture.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the chicken is coated with the sauce, about 5-8 minutes.
4. Once noodles are cooked, drain and add to the chicken mixture. Add 2 TBS. chili oil and toss well.

Remove from heat, serve immediately and top with more chili oil, green onions and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Note: You can add more or less seasonings to taste. You can also add mushrooms if you love them and omit the meat if you prefer.

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Review: Full Kee Chinese Restaurant

Hi, Foodies! This post has been updated to let you know we had a few tickets open up for our Chef’s Table at Full Kee, which was rescheduled to April 29 at 7:00.  Get tickets here. 

Honestly, the reason the event got moved up is that Full Kee may be going through an onwership change…they wanted to honor the commitment to our dinner. This could be a swan song for Full Kee, which will make me very sad. The link for tickets explains it all.

You probably know by now (if you’ve been opening your email and clicking on the blog) that I’m am HERE for Full Kee Chinese Restaurant, a local eatery that calls itself “gourmet Chinese.”  We went back for a taste because I wanted to “research” it for a possible future Chef’s Table. And it did not disappoint. So here’s the review when I brought Sister Foodie with me on our foodie exploration.

You can read the full article for YES! Weekly here.

Full Kee has been located at 3793 Samet Drive since 2005.  It was owned and operated by George Yu, who had a very popular restaurant in Washington D.C. before he and his family moved to the Triad. What started as a takeout restaurant, Full Kee expanded into a cozy restaurant with beautiful Chinese art, dim lighting, and a full bar.  In May of last year, George retired and moved to Florida.  Sue Chen had been a partner with George in the early days but had since moved on. Now there was a very brief period of time between George selling and Sue buying the space that the restaurant was not itself.  For one, the restaurant was operated by someone else. Full Kee’s Chef, Carlos Lopez, who had worked under George’s tutelage for nearly a decade, had left to pursue another opportunity while that owner was in charge. The restaurant experienced some not so great reviews for a few weeks. Sue ultimately purchased the restaurant in November and the space its in and brought Carlos back. And now Full Kee has risen to its former glory. Some say it’s better than ever. Update: Carlos has moved on and Sue has a new chef in the kitchen, but all the recipes are the same. 

Back before my food writing days, Full Kee became a favorite. You can read that initial view here. I found it so interesting that there was actually a Chinese restaurant that claimed to be “gourmet”.  It just wasn’t the norm. Chinese was and is almost entirely takeout and often quite low-key (no pun intended). Full Kee invites your casually dressed self into an ambiance that feels like fine dining, but is very comfortable and inviting. The dim lighting is soft and elegant. And what was more thrilling, amazing, astonishing, is that my children ate their food. At a restaurant. It was then and there that my children discovered they love Asian food, specifically dumplings, stir fry rice and “sweet chicken” (as my son calls it). To this day, General chicken is is favorite food (besides brownies). They’re actually going to the Chef’s Table. They will not be denied. 

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We were fortunate enough to step back into Full Kee after the ownership change to see what’s new and enjoyed our visit with Sue while we sampled some plates.

Egg Drop Soup: If you’re an egg drop soup fan, you’ll love this light broth with the ribbon of yolks. It doesn’t have that off-putting corn starch-like consistency. My sister, who was dining with me the evening we visited, it’s the best egg drop soup she’s ever had and that she ever feels a cold coming on, she knows where she’s headed.

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Lettuce Wraps: A perennial favorite with romaine lettuce and finely minced chicken with  vegetables. They are always a crowed pleaser for the table. The chicken was mild and seasoned wonderfully and the cool, crisp lettuce acts in contrast to the tiny hint of heat.

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Dumplings: Carlos makes all the dumpling wrappers from scratch. The result is a delicate dumpling exterior, tender on top, crispy on the bottom, while it lets the filling shine through. It comes with the typical sweet and savory dipping sauce. It is the perfect appetizer. 

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Spring Rolls: You just can’t not get some spring rolls when you eat Asian food amirite? They were super hot, super crispy, came with two dipping sauces and fab.

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General Tao Chicken: According to Sue, it is one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes (as it is in just about any Chinese restaurant). Full Kee’s General chicken, with its secret ingredient in the sauce, is light and crispy and not full of breading like you might find with ordinary takeout. “We wanted it ti be a bigger piece of chicken, but not heavy with flour and not cooked too long. It’s crispy outside and tender inside,” Sue told me.  It’s wonderful. And what often comes off as an afterthought, the broccoli is al dente and actually flavorful. Sue says, “It used to be just very plain, but I asked Carlos to add more seasoning.” The result is broccoli with a hint of garlic and it’s perfectly cooked.

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Walnut Shrimp: These firm, juicy jumbo shrimp are lightly crisped in the same manner as the General Tao’s, but the sauce is a bit more robust and amber in color with crunchy walnuts in the mixture.  I highly recommend this dish as well as the Philomela Shrimp, which has a creamier sauce. Or you can get the Full Kee Shrimp, which is a combo of the two. Both come with the same tasty garlic.

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Mongolian Beef: Customers will notice a change to this dish as the protein portion has been increased and the onions have decreased. It’s very savory and peppery and hearty.

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In addition to improving on some of their popular dishes, Sue says she’s lowered the prices while increasing portion sizes. The menu includes a wide variety of traditional Chinese noodle and rice dishes, including Stir-Fry Rice, Stir Fry Sea Bass, Boneless Duck and Curry. Sue has also recruited a wine connoisseur to help patrons with the perfect wine selection.  We agree with Sue that everyone in your dining party should order something different from one another.  “We want everyone to be able to try a little bit of everything.  It’s the best way to enjoy Chinese.”

Full Kee has retained its loyal following of customers, some of whom have a place at the table every Friday night. Andrew Priddy, who lives outside Winston-Salem, says they’ve been loyal since 2010. “We travel a lot. And this by far is our favorite restaurant. Great food, great service. They’re like family. We just love it.”

Sue say that after the slow-go of it, Sue says she loves getting feedback from her customers. “My customers make me feel like we have potential. Every time I see a great review or hear one, it’s just so encouraging and gives me a lot of hope.”

Full Kee will be the featured restaurant with A Chef’s Table on Wednesday, June 19th. Tickets can be reserved at https://chefstablefullkee.eventbrite.com

foodie b’eat: Xia Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar via CHOW in YES! Weekly

A year ago or so, we took a lunch break from our office in WS to Xia to check out their sushi. It was pretty good, but we really didn’t get back there (even though it’s next door) because we discovered that Wen Hwa (a few blocks over) was the microfoodies’ favorite place to eat in the history of kidkind.

So we went to Wen Hwa. A lot. And that was our Asian Fusion fix for a good 6 months. Until the unspeakable happened. Wen Hwa was damaged in a fire a mere 2 hours after we had just eaten  lunch there. We waited and waited for months, but it just didn’t open. And then recently they announced they would not reopen.

Anyway, we went back to Xia because guess what??? They also have Pho. Pho! Something that’s been absent in this town. We have had no Pho in #WSNC. But Xia has it. And you should check it out. And all the other stuff they have too. Heck, try the sushi too. Read all about it here.

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This is the Honey Sesame Chicken. Ours order it with no sesame. Very similar to General Tso. It will look like this, but be spicy.

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Fried Spring Roll

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Jasmine Tea

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Pho Beef Combo (with rare beef and meatball)

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foodie b’eat: The Best of Asian in the Triad via CHOW in YES! Weekly

This might be more of a refresher for some of you who are more regular readers of the blog. Here’s a checklist of some of our fave Asian spots across the Triad.  It’s all in my latest CHOW article in YES! Weekly.

By the way, since we went to press, we found another that we really love. nOma Food is a new fast casual restaurant on Battleground Avenue. They officially open Monday, August 24. You must check them out. They are fab. Especially love their curry and the beef rice bowl! Enjoy, foodies! PS…if you don’t see a fave, let me know what I’m missing.

Sushi Republic

triadfoodies “Hit List”–a good one!

I’ve been kind of getting a stockpile of places that I’ve tried and loved and been kind of busy to post them all individually so I’m going to take some time here to share some great places that you must try. A few new ones, some old faves that I’ve not mentioned on this here blog and pics and accolades to go along with them. Links and addresses are included.

Outwest Steakhouse, 1185 Highway 66, Kernersville

I must start with a restaurant in the town in which I live. A place that it’s been so long  that I had eaten there that I didn’t even want to go. It’s kind of packed on Saturday and my parents, sister…all of us and our kids got together for birthdays. I must admit, I wasn’t keen on visiting Outwest. But I was pleasantly surprised by great steaks, hot food, and all that you’d expect from a steakhouse. Believe it or not, I decided to NOT order steak because I’d heard the Tuna was delicious and I’ll have to agree. So, if you need an “in-between” the cities meeting spot that’s casual and you get there early enough, you won’t be waiting in all the revelry that seems to arrive around 7:30. It does get busy Outwest.

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98 Asian Bistro, 1800 North Main St., High Point

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This place is gorgeous. So dimly lit to completely prepare you for your Asian fare. The food is really great too. Our table had fresh Spring Rolls, Fried Spring Rolls, Pad Thai, Chicken Stir Fry, Black  Pepper Beef…and you know Mr. foodie got Curry. Each and every dish was fresh and tasty. It’s located in a little center that used to be a car dealership. Check them out when you’ve got a craving for Thai cuisine. You won’t be disappointed.

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Sushi Republic, 329 Tate Street, Greensboro

Arguably THE BEST sushi in Greensboro. There’s no other place that offers such interesting and innovative sushi with its fusion inspired rolls. And whatever you do, you MUST get the Garlic Edamame. It is incredible. The Vegetable Tempura is also very pleasing but what I do miss at Sushi Republic is the slight sweetness that typically comes with the dipping sauce that goes with tempura. It’s still really good and the sushi…I’ve never been disappointed. My favorite is still the Black Tiger Roll.

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Hops Burger Bar, 2419 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro

It’s been a long time coming…eating here. Every time I’ve tried there’s been a line out the door. So we arrived on Sunday at 4:30 because the other place we wanted to try had a line out the door. And we didn’t feel like waiting (which is weird because it was only 4:30) so we told ourselves, “Hops might not have a wait!” But they did. It wasn’t out the door…we were 2nd in line but we did have to wait. So that tells you they might be worth it. So after about 20 minutes or so we were seated. I don’t have many pics here but we all got burgers (except the kidlets, who shared chicken fingers). Mr. foodie ordered a burger with Chevre and Pepper Jelly…YUM! I ordered the French Onion with caramelized onions, gruyere cheese, garlic and thyme aioli. It came with its own jus/gravy…I didn’t think it needed it and only dipped a couple of times. I highly recommend the Garlic Rosemary Fries. Presentation is awesome and service is great. Burgers best served with any of a plethora of NC Craft Beers.

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Kabobs on Fourth, 214 West 4th Street, Winston-Salem

You get your naan to ORDER. I mean, I could stop right there! But the soups are delicious, the meats are perfectly cooked. There are a few folks who say it’s pricy for kabobs but the quality of the beef and lamb are the reason you’ll pay a tiny bit more. And I promise, you won’t leave hungry. We don’t all need enormous plates of food. Fresh and healthy and made to order naan are where it’s at here.
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West End Cafe, 926 West 4th Street, Winston-Salem

I really don’t even have to put them in here. The loyal customers that flock here on a daily basis know that one of the best places in WS to get a great value for lunch is at West End Cafe. It’s been years since we visited so on a dreary afternoon we headed there for lunch. By far, my favorite item at WEC is the Potato Pancakes. They’re served with sour cream and applesauce and they are just total yummiliciousness. I could just eat them only. But you must try the Reuben if you are there and any number of special soups for the day. Sandwiches are great and salads are hearty. There’s a reason why they always have good crowds.

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DiLisio’s, 301 Brookstown Avenue, Winston-Salem
Ahh…DiLisio’s. Awesome Italian, great prices, comfortable atmosphere…and Tony and Maria. You kind of get it all here. Check them out often
because they have specials that change nightly. They have traditional entrees like Chicken Parm and Veal Marsala…kind of famous for their Lasagna. The Shrimp Fra Diavlo will make your eyes water and your tongue tingle…but just enough to make you appreciate it’s devilish heat. Also, you must check them out when they have monthly Sunday Wine Dinners. I hear folks who’ve attended rave about them. And Mary Haglund of Mary’s Gourmet Diner said his clam soup almost made her cry. Which tells me I definitely need to try it. And so do you!  Also, please enjoy some Fried Ravioli. Yes….

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Irie Rhythms, 3252 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem
Well, well….if you need a little kick in your lunch or dinner, look no further. I am a FAN. One of WSNC’s newest additions and it’s Jamaican fare has been well received. The Jerk Chicken is SPICY…so delicious and tender that the meat falls right off the bone. I highly recommend the rice and peas and make sure you get the cooked cabbage as a side—it is crazy good. The collards are delicious too. And the fried plantains. I need to go back. I’m getting a craving already. A little bird told me to get the Mango Cheesecake (after I’d already left—not like I had room to eat dessert though). Check them out. They are great for lunch because they have specials, which include a drink. There might be a bit of a wait…it seems longer than it actually is because it smells so good in there. But it’s so worth it.

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So that’s a good size list for now. Now, foodies…you’ve got some eatin’ to do! Let me know what you think. And as always, if you know of a place that we must check out, don’t hesitate to tell us.

Until next time, skip the lines at the chains and eat local!