Biángbiáng noodles

The only thing I wanted to eat when I was in NYC was Chinese food that I can’t get in Berlin. I succeeded.

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This was exactly what I wanted.

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In addition to a lunch stop at Congee Village, I ended up having what is my new all time favourite Chinese dish, Biángbiáng noodles, from the Shaanxi province, brought to New York by Xi’an Famous Foods in 2005. I have since learned, from this great post on Lady and Pups, that “Xi’an famous foods” is a known phrase in Chinese referring to a collection of dishes from Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province. The chain has been so successful and influential that is even has its own Wikipedia entry.

Upon my return – actually, no, it was when I was still at Newark waiting for the plane home – I looked up how to get these amazingly sloppy, slippery wide noodles in Berlin. And the only way was to make them myself. Using the Lady and Pups recipes as my guide, I made a vegetarian version using a trio of mushrooms instead of lamb.

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Banh mi at home

Recently, Kristin and Sebastian gave me an all-things-banh-mi cookbook titled The Banh Mi Handbook. For me, it turned out to be the perfect sort of gift; something you never knew you wanted, but turn out to love.

Flipping through, it was clear how all the individual components were perfectly manageable, and most could be made ahead. Plus (yay!) it included a recipe for the soft, steamed variation of buns, which I think are the perfect size for experimenting with topping combinations.

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Toronto-style chicken

Step one: Buy a half of a rotisserie chicken from the local döner hut, also known as a “half chicken”. For only 40 cents extra, it comes with an actually tasty salad, so get that too.

Halbes Hänchen und Salat
Halbes Hänchen und Salat

Step two: Reach for your jar of imported St Lawrence Market Churrasco Chicken Sauce. This might be hard to source. Your best options is to hire a sauce mule.

Imported churrasco chicken sauce
Beribboned jar of churrasco chicken sauce

Step three: Cover half of the half chicken with sauce (because a whole half a chicken is too much for one person)

Rotisserie chicken bathed in Toronto-style churrasco sauce
That looks like a lot of sauce, but there’s tons left in the jar

Step four: Enjoy your chicken by candlelight.

Romantic chicken dinner for one
Romantic chicken dinner, direct from the styrofoam clam