Results tagged Asian from David Lebovitz

Cole Slaw with Wasabi Dressing

cole slaw with wasabi dressing

One of the great things about France is that people spend a lot of time talking to each other. True, it’s not so great when you’re behind someone in line and they’re carrying on a conversation with the sales clerk at the bakery as if they have all the time on the planet, when you’re hopping up and down behind them (and there are people doing the same thing behind you) because you just want to get your baguette for dinner. But if you take the time, it’s nice the enjoy the jovial nature of the French and slow down for a bit. As someone who is normally hyperactive, it’s a lesson in patience that I’ve had to learn, which I practice on a daily basis.

cole slaw with wasabi dressing cabbage

Many visitors forget that and don’t always have great experiences because they’re in a hurry to do so much on their trip, or try to tick off the restaurants written up in the travel section of newspapers or magazines from back home. I always tell people to take a day off, and stroll a market or just sit in cafés for a while. Or find a restaurant off-the-beaten path for dinner, taking the métro into one of the outer neighborhoods.

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Cold Noodles with Peanut Sauce

cooking noodles

Contrary to popular belief, people who work in restaurants preparing food rarely have time to eat. And even though the line cooks could sit down after they were done feeding everyone their first and main courses, that was the the most hectic time for us pastry folks since all the dessert orders would come tumbling in.

Bakers are known for eating things like butter sandwiches just because bread and butter are readily available and you don’t need to sit down to eat it or ask the line cooks if they had time to made you something more nutritious. When I left the restaurant business, I made one promise to myself: I would never again eat standing up or just mindlessly jam food in my craw. So when people ask why so many pastry chefs and professional bakers aren’t enormous—well, that’s why.

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Kyochon

kyochon chicken1

Of course, I never heard of Kyochon. But when I was walking by it with my pal Matt, he said, “Oh…Kyochon!”

To me, it looked like another fast-food restaurant. And normally, I’m not a fan of fast-food, but Asian fast-food? Sign me up! So much of their food lends itself to quick service: noodles, fried chicken, sushi, and croquettes.

kyochon menu mattarmendarizatkyochon

Fast-food, or course, has taken on a somewhat different meaning. But ‘fast’ doesn’t have to mean ‘bad’, it just means that it’s food that can be prepared and served quickly. And many ethnic meals, from French crêpes, Mexican tacos, Hawaiian plate lunch, to Japanese bento, are good examples of fast, and healthy, fare.

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The Hottest Restaurant in Paris

deux fois plus de piment

A lot of us étrangers (and there are some pretty étrange étrangers here..) bemoan the lack of heat and spiciness in the ethnic fare served up, because a good number of the locals have a hard time dealing with the heavily-spiced dishes that our all-American constitutions have no trouble handling. We, The People, have cast-iron stomachs and have become a nation of full-tilt eaters, relishing and exalting things that we can take to the extreme.

One thing I miss sérieusement is la cuisine mexicain, which is so foreign that it isn’t even in my dictionnaire Française. I know, I know. I live in Paris, and can understand perfectly why Mexican cuisine isn’t well-represented here*. (Hint: For the same reason North African cuisine isn’t quite so available back in the states.)

But I met my match at Deux Fois Plus de Piment (Two Times More Pepper). We were walking by recently, looking for a place for dinner, when I noticed this joint that just looked right.

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Jook

blogjook

French supermarkets are funny places. In my book, I touched upon that touchy subject, as well as a few others. But let’s not get into that here; let’s just say that they’re not the best places to buy fresh produce. Which may explain the mystery of the liberal use of canned corn around here.

When I came back from a recent trip, on a late weekend afternoon, I had no choice but to go to my local supermarket to feed myself. I didn’t want to buy much, preferring to wait until I could go to my market the next day, but it was necessary to go and get a few provisions. In the produce aisle, I bypassed the sad bunches of wilted cilantro, I didn’t stop to pick up any yellowed, spring onions shipped from another hemisphere where it’s definitely not spring, nor was I particularly interested in Chinese apples.

But eventually I found what I wanted and headed to the checkout.

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How to Make Perfect Asian Rice

fried rice

A few years ago at a culinary conference in the states, I met some eager-beaver folks from the International Rice Board, or something like that, who were there to promote rice consumption. I told them, point blank: “If you really, truly want to increase the consumption of rice, just send everyone a rice cooker.”

I loved mine, but unfortunately in Paris my kitchen is so small that I don’t have room for one. I guess I could get rid of my espresso maker, but really, that’s just not a possibility. (And every time I pass the panini grills at Darty I sigh in admiration…and keep walking.) So I’ve learned to make Asian-style rice in a regular saucepan, which is entirely possible.

egg fried rice

Some of the information I gleaned from posts at My Korean Kitchen and this rice is perfect not just on its own, but to use for making fried rice. If you’ve ever tried fried rice and were confronted with a sticky disaster, the secrets is to always use day-old rice and separate the grains thoroughly with your fingers before frying it up.

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Les Pates Vivantes

noodles

A few weeks ago, I went to hear Alec Lobrano speak and read from his terrific book, Hungry for Paris, and someone asked if there were ethnic restaurants listed in the book. He replied that he didn’t include them, because most visitors coming to Paris probably are looking for French food, so that’s what he concentrated on.

He’s right, of course. Lots of visitors do come here specifically to dine on classic French fare, but I also know that there are a certain number of visitors that eventually tire of so much meat and rich food, and are willing to explore some of the more unusual and diverse food available in a multi-cultural city like Paris. I also think that Americans (at least this one) are hard-wired to eat ethnic foods, namely anything Asian. Living in California, sushi, Korean bbq, and bun bo are pretty much a part of my normal dietary fare.

Since I arrived in Paris, I’ve noticed a strong uptick in the quality of Asian restaurants here. And I’ve also noticed there’s much more of an appreciation of them, too.

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Kimchi Recipe

Kimchi

If it seems to you like I’ve been dividing my time between chocolate shops of Paris and visiting Korean épiceries, stocking up on gochujang, cochutgaru, and gokchu garu, you’re right. The odd thing is that the Koreans understand me better than the French. They’re always surprised when I speak a few words of Korean and last week, I met some wonderful Korean gals that were pretty surprised to see me filling my shopping basket with chile peppers, fermented shrimp, and garlic-chili paste.

kimchi cabbage

Since the state of recipes—like my French—are always in a state of flux, after my first batch of cabbage kimchi (which came out pretty darn good), I kept thinking of ways to improve it. That, coupled with a newfound addiction to fried rice and French-style omelets with kimchi, meant I was going through it at an alarming rate.

So I headed over to Ace Mart on the rue Saint-Anne, loaded up my shopping bag again, and armed with The World’s Most Expensive Scallions (3.8€, or $5.50 a bunch), I set out to make the penultimate batch of kimchi.

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