#foodbeast Cravings Fast Food Features Food Festivals FOODBEAST What's New

This Thick Cut Pork Belly Is Wrapped In Noodles And Fried So Of Course You Want It


View this post on Instagram


HOT NOOD PIG ON A STICK 🤪🤯 @tenbistro is giving SLABS of pork belly a @NoodsNoodsNoods twist! • • 👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇 If you want to enjoy this beautiful dish from @tenbistro & more, make sure you tune in to @Foodbeast’s LIVE Kitchen League (@thejoshelkin v @jstjr) on @Twitch, where we’re giving away free tickets to @noodsnoodsnoods every 15 minutes to people in the chat! • • Slow-braised pork belly is wrapped in Chinese-style noodles before the entire thing heads into the deep fryer! It’s dipped in a Nashville Hot butter and topped with parmesan, garlic aioli, and micro cilantro for a sweet, spicy fusion! 🔥 • • Catch this WILD creation at Nood Beach on September 1st! Tickets available at! 🎫🏝

A post shared by foodbeast (@foodbeast) on

In the history of things eaten on a stick, we can all be confident that they’ve for the most part been equally creative and delicious. Think about it: corn dogs, popsicles, kebabs, lollipops. The list can go on and on. Adding on to that illustrious lineup is an unheard of noodle-wrapped pork belly from Ten Asian Bistro in Newport Beach, California.

Considered by locals as the go-to spot for innovative fusion fare, Ten Asian Bistro lives up to that rep by coming up with a slow-braised pork belly that’s wrapped in Chinese-style egg noodles. The dynamic duo is then deep-fried until crispy, dipped in Nashville hot butter, and topped off with a blessing of parmesan cheese and garlic aioli. Yes. Please.

The catch to nabbing yourself one of these meat stick wonders is that they’re only going to be served at upcoming Foodbeast’s noodle festival, Nood Beach, going down on September 1, 2019. Info and tickets can be found at

Other creative, one-of-a-kind, and of course delicious Pan Asian-influenced dishes will also be on deck at Nood Beach, so if you’re a fan of all that (who isn’t?), then mark your calendars.

Culture Opinion Packaged Food Restaurants Science

If You’ve Ever Hated MSG, You Might Be Guilty Of Racism

When it comes to the ingredients despised in the foods we eat, I’m disappointed that MSG is still on that list. Its safety and science have been debunked more times than Obama’s birther scandal, and yet, people still have a fear and hatred of it. So much so, in fact, that the term “Chinese restaurant syndrome,” a boy-cried-wolf moniker that’s used to often falsely accuse these businesses of spiking their foods with MSG and making people sick, is still prevalent in society.

If you’ve ever despised an Asian restaurant for using MSG, alleged or otherwise, you’ve been guilty of these racist thoughts. It may not be necessarily your fault, though, as this resentment towards a group of cultures for using this ingredient is one that’s been embedded deeply in the roots of today’s status quo.

The negative and racist thoughts towards Asian restaurants come despite the fact that MSG is the key component of umami, a term to describe savory and rich flavors. Folks LOVE modern restaurants that advertise umami, yet mentioning the compound that causes that taste sensation elicits nothing but negativity.

Laotian chef Saengthong Duoangdara, a personal chef, Laotian cuisine authority, and advocate for MSG, claims that uncertainty behind utilizing MSG still exists, despite all of the scientific data suggesting otherwise. “Most of my non-Lao clients prefer their food without MSG,” says Duoangdara, who has recently talked extensively on Laotian food on Foodbeast’s The Katchup podcast. He also notes that a lot of Lao restaurants today avoid using it in their food to “cater to Westerners,” but “when it comes to my cooking classes or personal chef clients, I’ll usually give them a brief history of MSG and let them know that it is safe to eat in moderation.”

Why is this the case? Partially because MSG has become deeply embedded in our culture as something to fear and shy away from while the linkage between it and umami has yet to be fully connected by society. However, MSG is predominantly used to target Asian restaurants and Asian foods and denigrate them. By understanding the controversial history of MSG, however, we all can hopefully make it a part of today’s food conversation and culture to embrace the ingredient for what it provides to our palates.

One of the key parts of that history to understand is that prior to its negative association with Asian restaurants, Americans were infatuated with MSG. After scientist Kikunae Ikeda isolated the compound from sea kelp in 1908, the company Ajinomoto was founded to commercialize and market the compound. Japan’s consumers took to it almost immediately, and by the 1930s, it had spread to China, Taiwan, and the United States. Even countries like Laos caught on to the hype, with Douangdara noting that several Laotian dishes today still rely on MSG, like gaeng nor mai bamboo stew and sai oua Laotian sausage.

According to Thomas Germain, author of A Racist Little Hat: The MSG Debate and American Culture, it was Chinese immigrants that were chiefly responsible for MSG’s move to the States. Initially, US consumers loved MSG and Chinese restaurants, and were particularly supportive of them during World War II following Japan’s invasion of China. By 1947, MSG had hit the mainstream and was actually a product called Ac’cent that you could find in grocery stores.

So what changed in American society that turned MSG into culinary public enemy #1? Mainly, it was the US’s feelings toward China, especially after Mao Zedong came to power and the nation was labeled as Communist. However, a confluence of events continued to build the association between China and MSG, eventually leading to its demonization.

The first nail in the coffin inadvertently came from Chinese immigrant Dr. Robert Ho Man Kwok and his 1963 letter to the editors published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Kwok complained of symptoms suffered while eating at American Chinese restaurants that he never experienced at home. These symptoms included palpitations, a numbness of the neck, and general weakness. One of the potential culprits he named in the letter was MSG, and although there was never an official linkage, that’s where the speculation began.

What made matters worse was the title the NEJM ran Dr. Kwok’s letter under: “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.” Suddenly, a linkage now existed between Chinese restaurants and something that made people sick. That combined with the growing anti-Chinese sentiment that resulted from its Communist regime made it easy to start pinning the blame on a single ethnic group.

Following Dr. Kwok’s letter, several more instances occurred complaining of similar symptoms, and studies began to appear that linked MSG to Chinese Restaurant Syndrome. These further increased public animosity to Chinese and Asian restaurants despite the fact that the rest of the food industry used it en masse as well. Following the initial hype of MSG, its umami component became favored by food processors, including Frito-Lay, who added it to their seasoning for Doritos. You can also still find MSG in many fast food items today.

What made this fear and racist connotation mainstream, however, was a piece published by the New York Times in 1969. While it focused on the consumption of dog and snake meat in Hong Kong, its final section consisted of quotes from chefs on the island talking about their usage of MSG. And thus, a connection was made between dog meat, MSG, and the possibility of unknowingly eating either in a Chinese restaurant.

“The Times didn’t make this explicit,” wrote Germain, “but the implication is clear: in the same way the sneaky Chinese might trick you into eating dog, they were just as likely to hide MSG into your food.”

The thing is, most people hating on these restaurants for their usage of an umami bomb are being hypocritical. “When someone approaches me with a negative perception about using MSG,” says Douangdara, “I tell people that MSG is naturally found in many ingredients like tomatoes, mushrooms, and cheese. It is even found in non-Asian manufactured foods like stock cubes, chips, condiments, and snacks.”

MSG is still widely used in the food industry today despite public perception, as it’s the key ingredient to enhance the flavors of many of our favorite foods. Doritos, ranch dressing flavored Pringles, KFC fried chicken… the list goes on and on. We snatch these up and eat them by the handful, and yet, we get skittish around Asian restaurants that use it.

In fact, MSG is naturally in almost every single food we eat. At its most basic form, MSG is the fusion of sodium (which typically comes from salt) and glutamic acid (an amino acid, the building block of protein, which all living things have). When they combine, usually under heat, they form the key compound we associate with savory and umami flavors. When added into seasonings and sauces at an appropriate level, the delicious results can be mind-boggling.

“Personally, I think it is important to add MSG but with balance and not over using it,” says Douangdara. “It’s all about balance just like how we use salt and sugar.”

It’s not just a commonplace additive, however. Because of the natural prevalence of sodium and glutamic acid, MSG can be formed in virtually every food we eat. This includes some of the foods Doungdara previously mentioned, like steak, mushrooms, tomatoes, and cheese. And yet, because of the racial undertones embedded in America’s understanding of MSG, it’s still used to target and damage restaurants of specific cultures to this day.

It should be noted that in today’s age, many Asian cuisines and cultures are starting to gain more widespread acceptance. Filipino and Laotian foods are just a couple that are growing in popularity, but the obstacle of MSG is still a potential hindrance. “It is important to shift the dialogue about Asian food and MSG,” says Douangdara, “because it gives this particular cuisine a negative perception.”

There are celebrity chefs, though, that are trying to get folks to make the connection they’re missing. David Chang regularly preaches about the pluses of MSG on his Instagram, including in a recent post where he talks about his usage of it in popcorn. He’s not alone in this crusade, as he’s been joined by the likes of Roy Choi and Andrew Zimmern in his support.

“MSG is safe and I use it everyday, and have for years,” he wrote. “No one ever complains about headaches or dizziness from the thousands of foods Americans eat all the time that are loaded with it.”

Zimmern brings up an interesting point here. According to the NYT’s piece on Hong Kong and MSG back in 1969, the city of New York actually imposed sharp regulations for MSG usage, but only for Chinese restaurants. MSG is still a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) substance, though, meaning that food processors can use it however they like, as long as it is “adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use,” according to federal regulations.

So while Asian restaurant owners have been curbing their usage because of public perception, food processors and American restaurant groups have been free to add it as they wish. All of this is proving that it’s long been time to stop using MSG as a cover to avoid or attack restaurants of another culture. By eliminating a key ingredient from their culinary arsenals, these cuisines are limited in terms of the flavor and deliciousness they can provide to our palates. “I do see some Lao and Thai restaurants that explicitly say “no MSG” in their food and I avoid those places,” says Douangdara, noting the huge difference in taste that can result. “If you don’t add MSG to your food, then you are missing out on a whole other flavor!”

Of course, there may be some that are allergic to MSG, as allergies span across dozens more compounds than the eight major ones recognized in the United States. Unless you know for sure that is the case, though, there’s no reason to not give MSG a chance, especially when there are so many cuisines and cultures that have incorporated it into their recipes.

To curb the racist sentiment surrounding MSG, however, we have to be willing to do more than just try MSG for ourselves. By challenging that inherent bias society has built towards the compound through increasing dialogue, we can change the conversation to highlight how factors beyond our control have demonized one of Japan’s greatest culinary contributions. When we’re able to alter how we think and talk about MSG, we can truly begin to celebrate how important and delicious an ingredient it really is.

Culture Hit-Or-Miss Video

‘Velveting’ May Be The Secret To Cooking Great Chinese Food At Home

If you’ve ever tried to recapture the magic of Chinese food at home, but fell just a tad short from the perfect dish, there might just be a reason for that.

According to GrubStreet, there’s actually a technique most people don’t know about that’s supposed to bring out the best possible flavor in Chinese cooking. No, it’s not MSG.

Called velveting, the technique is said to make the meat in Chinese food soft and tender.

To try this, you’ll need some egg white, cornstarch, and rice wine. Just marinate your meat in the mixture and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes. Then, blanche the meat in boiling water or hot oil for about thirty seconds. Finally, remove from the heat and start cooking your proteins in the way you would before that extra step.

It makes us wonder what other ancient cooking secrets of the world are out there. Our carne asada tacos have been missing that extra ‘umph’ of flavor. And don’t get us started on our sub-par tonkotsu broth.

I’m gonna have to try this velveting technique out over the weekend. For science. Chinese take out really adds up, y’know.

Fast Food Restaurants What's New

Panda Express Combined Forks With Chopsticks And It Looks Ridiculous


Panda Express is reportedly making an intriguing choice of cutlery which may soon revolutionize how Chinese food is eaten in the U.S.


In a recent tweet by Nation’s Restaurant News West Coast bureau chief Lisa Jennings, Panda Express is revealed to be adopting a plastic chopsticks/fork hybrid utensil called the “chork”.

The chork is a disposable plastic tool that has fork prongs on one end and two chopstick ends on the other. While it is designed in a way that the adjoining sticks can be pinched together to grasp food without needing to be separated, one simply needs to snap the sticks apart for the full chopstick experience. The brilliant yet weird looking tool will finally be making its mainstream debut if the popular restaurant chooses to adopt it.

Introduced in 2012, the chork was deemed by many as the future of eating but somehow failed to catch on. Creator Jordan Brown had the inspiration for nifty plastic utensil when, during a sushi dinner, he found himself grabbing a fork while eating with chopsticks.

Brown immediately began working on a prototype through his company Brown Innovation Group Incorporated (B.I.G.) in Salt Lake City, where he is a partner at the concept development and marketing. The resulting product was a promising new piece of innovation that many found very useful.

Testimonials on the Chork website showered it with some praises.

“That’s great, now my husband can use chopsticks with me and still be able to poke at the hard to pickup scraps,” said one happy user.  Another said: “Yay! I don’t have to fumble with chopsticks or ask for a fork!”

Written by Ryan General || NextShark


Hong Kong’s First Hooters Is Already Causing Controversy


American restaurant chain Hooters, known for its skimpily dressed female servers is about to open its first restaurant in Hong Kong. A month before its launch, however, the sports bar that bills itself as “delightfully tacky yet unrefined” is already attracting controversy.

Set to occupy a prime location in Hong Kong’s Central district along Wyndham Street, Hooters Hong Kong will be just one of the 30 branches that Bangkok-based Destinations Resorts will be bringing to Asia on behalf of Hooters Asia.

While preparations are all well under way for the Hong Kong opening, Hooters Asia general manager Mike Warde is also fending off criticisms about the company’s image and hiring processes.

We’re a sports bar, a family-oriented, fun-loving, entertainment outlet. We have standards for our service and food,” Warde told South China Morning Post in an interview.

For Warde, the Hooters girls who he calls the chain’s “brand ambassadors” are not dressed provocatively but are simply wearing sportswear. He also denied that breast size is a factor in the company’s recruitment.

That’s a myth. That was 30 years ago,” he said while showing a photograph of Thai Hooters girls with small breasts. “The reason they don’t look flat chested is because they are wearing Wonderbras.”


A friend of one Hong Kong applicant, however is refuting his claim. Scarlet (not her real name), an applicant herself, said her friend who applied didn’t pass because of her breast size.

Her boobs are smaller, so of course they won’t hire her,” she said.

The recruitment process has been going on for months and so far 12 Hong Kong women, one Japanese woman and two European women are being considered for the job.

Aside from normal food-serving tasks, Hooter girls are also expected to perform two-minute dance numbers at certain intervals.

They stop whatever they are doing, wherever they are, and dance every 45 minutes,” says Warde. “In Thailand guests pay them to do hula hoop and the money goes to charity. We have pom-poms and we take them to the rugby pitch to support teams.”

To stay in shape, they are also required to attend three kickboxing classes per week.

We teach the girls to be a lot more respectful of themselves, have more confidence in themselves. They have a fit body and fit mind and we bring out their characters because we put them all over social media,” he added.


They said, ‘This is the largest size’ – I think that was true. But it’s crazy that the largest size is extra small. My boobs were exploding and my ass was half showing out,” the 24-year-old said.

When I went for the uniform fitting they said I’m the only girl with boobs. They want to hire locals, but most local girls are really skinny.”

Scarlet also found the salary disappointing and realized she could earn more as a beauty therapist. The HK$15,000 ($1,932) per month offered for a five-and-a-half-day week is barely above standard.

They said I would get good tips, but in Hong Kong I don’t think the guys would pay a lot. There isn’t the tipping culture here,” Scarlet said.

Back in the U.S., the company has closed about a dozen stores in recent years, with observers saying the concept of “breastaurants” is outdated.

Warde believes that it will be a different story in Asia. “In Asia we are a new brand. And in America they’ve been closing the ones that haven’t been performing and reopening others. Over the last four years it’s growing, they are on the up again,” he said.


In the next five years, the aggressive expansion plan of Hooters Asia will also see restaurants opening in Indonesia, Thailand, Macau, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Written by Ryan General || NextShark

Packaged Food

Bush’s Releases ASIAN BBQ Baked Beans, Just For A While Though


Baked bean lovers, prepare to take a journey to the east. Bush’s Baked Beans is releasing a limited-time Asian BBQ flavor.

Instead of the staple maple, brown sugar and bacon notes that Bush’s is known for, the new flavor will boast a taste of Asian-inspired spices. One of the main things you’ll apparently notice is the “umami” flavor of the beans. Also, a little ginger.

Pretty stoked to try this. Could go great as a chili or some kind of asian-inspired hot dog.

The cans are already shipping out to select grocery retailers. You can find them for about $1.94 for a 22-oz can. Prices may vary depending on location.


The Good, The Bad And The Downright TERRIFYING Things About ‘Asian Glow’


As an Asian dude, my face has been known to glow red after a beer or two. The phenomenon known as “Asian Glow,” leaves me blushing, my heart beating, my stomach queasy and my head throbbing.

While my non-Asian friends friends poke fun, the glow is actually a condition many Asians face.

Officially titled Alcohol flush reaction, the redness is caused by the body not being able to metabolize alcohol as effectively as others might. Because the syndrome is most common among folks of Asian descent, Asian flush syndrome or Asian Glow is a common nickname.

Your body can’t break down the alcohol

Two enzymes determine how the body breaks down or metabolizes the alcohol consumed. These enzymes are Alcohol dehydrogenase and Acetaldehyde dehydrogenase.

Alcohol dehydrogenase converts alcohol to acetaldehyde (a chemical compound from alcohol) where Acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) breaks down acetaldehyde so that it doesn’t harm the body.

Folks with flush syndrome aren’t able to properly break down the acetaldehyde so it builds up in the body and causes the flushing reaction.

The downright scary thing about ‘Asian Glow’

Because acetaldehyde is a toxic, cancer-causing agent, it can trigger inflammation in the upper gastrointestinal tract, says Dr. Victor Lee Tswen Wen, Senior Consultant from the Department of Hepato-pancreato-biliary and Transplant Surgery. It can also cause damage to DNA and increase risk for gastrointestinal diseases. This includes esophageal and stomach cancers and peptic ulcers.

According to HealthXchange, those with flush syndrome who regularly drink two beers a day increase their chances of esophageal cancers up to 10 times more than a person who has a normal ALDH2.

The good news is, however, that those with the condition are less likely to become alcoholics. With all the discomfort that comes with alcohol flush, you’re probably not going to drink all the time.

How we currently deal with it

With no current cure for Asian flush syndrome, people use short-term hacks that help keep their faces clear and their heart still when out drinking.

Popping Peptol Bismal about a half hour before drinking has been known to prevent redness in the face. Though consistently ingesting Pepto Bismol, AKA bismuth subsalicylate, can cause toxicity in the body.   However, if medicine isn’t your thing we’ve also tried the all-natural Before Elixir that’s filled with antioxidants works pretty well against the Asian glow.


Pro-tips for a night out drinking

Drinking moderately may be asking a lot for some, but if you’re a heavy drinker with flush syndrome make sure you:

Pick drinks with lower alcohol content. This leaves less acetaldehyde for your body to have to break down.

Eat plenty of food. Don’t drink on an empty stomach and try to eat while you’re drinking.

Drink plenty of water. Before you jump headfirst into a few brews, down a glass or two of water. While drinking, alternate between your booze and water/non-alcoholic drinks.

These tips will definitely help your body process alcohol better when you’ve got the Asian Glow.

Fast Food

Sonic ‘Tosses’ and ‘Sauces’ Three Boneless Wings


Sonic Drive-In has taken steps to cater to wing fanatics out there by adding three Boneless Wings options to their menu. Sure, they’re more or less chicken nuggets covered in sauce, but baby steps. You’re eating in your car, after all. The three wing flavors are Buffalo, Asian Sweet Chili and Barbecue.

Using crispy chicken breast pieces made bite-sized, the wings are tossed in the sauces. The Buffalo sauce is made with cayenne, red chili peppers and just a bit of chipotle. The Asian Sweet Chili mixes soy sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes and lemon grass. The Barbecue takes Sonic’s original sauce and adds some brown sugar.

Sonic’s Boneless Wings are available to order in batches of either six, 12 or 24 pieces. Any order of 12 or more gives customers the option to combine two different flavors. The wings will be available at all participating Sonic locations for a limited time through November.

Hopefully they’re a tad bigger than the popcorn chicken Sonic already serves.

H/T Brand Eating