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This Spice Company Sells the Rarest Sichuan Chili Peppers Directly From China

I love spicy foods. When I cook, friends often tell me to tone it down. Instead, I just make it spicier and amusingly await their reaction. There is something addictive about the combination of pleasure and the sharp tingle of spice on your tongue. Even the recent heatwave we had in Los Angeles didn’t stop me from eating spicy foods. In my appreciation for spice, I’m happy to report that LA-based sauce brand Fly By Jing is offering fans of Sichuan cuisine a chance to get their hands on actual peppers from the motherland.

For those unfamiliar with these special peppers, they originate from the Sichuan province in southwestern China. Not particularly spicy on their own, they create an all at once numbing and tingling feeling on the tongue when consumed. Then when combined with chili peppers it creates the “numb-spicy” sensation that we’ve come to associate with Sichuan cuisine.

In celebration of Sichuan culinary culture, Fly By Jing wants to bring the authentic Eastern experience to your doorstep. August was the annual pepper harvest and each year they almost sell out immediately. Thankfully, Fly By Jing snagged a few for you pepper-philes. The first pepper is called the Harvest Tribute Pepper, which is an ancient Chinese spice that has been cultivated in the Sichuan province for thousands of years. It’s known for that electric sensation I previously mentioned. The second pepper is called the Harvest Erjingtiao Chili. It is the most popular variety of chili in Sichuan and has a mild kick accompanied by an intense aroma. Both are now available online.

For those who lean more towards the “ready-made” side of options, Fly By Jing offers two different sauces. Each are all natural, MSG-free, gluten free and vegan friendly. The Sichuan Chili Crisp is their flagship sauce, made with erjingtao chiles, harvest peppers, and cold-pressed rapeseed oil. It’s not overly spicy and has an intense flavor that’s apparently so good it can even be paired with ice cream. Their next sauce is the Zhong Dumpling Sauce, slow-brewed with fragrant chili-oil, aromatic “fu zhi” soy sauce, brown sugar, mushrooms, garlic, and other spices. This sauce has a variety of uses as well, particularly for noodles, grilled fish and of course, dumplings. So If you’re looking to spice up your life with some traditional Sichuan flavors, Fly By Jing got the sauce.

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Culture Fast Food Opinion

‘Problematic’ Lucky Lee’s Concept Fails To Realize One Key Aspect Of Chinese Food

The recent controversy from white-owned Lucky Lee’s, which claims to be a “clean” American Chinese restaurant, has spread like wildfire across the internet. Owner and nutritionist Arielle Haspel described American Chinese food as leaving you feeling “bloated and icky,” and trashing the cuisine as “oily,” “salty,” and full of MSG, which she claimed people have reactions to despite a lack of evidence.

Folks have called her messaging and marketing everything from “cultural appropriation” to “exploitative,” and many have taken offense to the entire backstory of this NYC restaurant. Even the food hasn’t been the most enjoyable, with popular New York-based foodie Instagram user @foodbabyny saying that “casual racism aside, the food just isn’t that good.”

 

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The other day we received some negative comments on an Instagram post. Some of your reactions made it clear to us that there are cultural sensitivities related to our Lucky Lee’s concept. We promise you to always listen and reflect accordingly. A number of comments have stated that by saying our Chinese food is made with ‘clean’ cooking techniques and it makes you feel great that we are commenting negatively on all Chinese food. When we talk about our food, we are not talking about other restaurants, we are only talking about Lucky Lee’s. Chinese cuisine is incredibly diverse and comes in many different flavors (usually delicious in our opinion) and health benefits. Every restaurant has the right to tout the positives of its food. We plan to continue communicating that our food is made with high quality ingredients and techniques that are intended to make you feel great. Chef/owner, Arielle’s husband’s name is Lee and his life-long love of Chinese food was inspiration for the restaurant. The name Lucky Lee’s reflects the story of how the recipes were conceived. We also received negative comments related to being owners of a Chinese restaurant but not being Chinese. Owners Arielle and Lee are both Jewish-American New Yorkers, born and raised. Similar to many other Jewish New Yorkers’ diets, bagels, pastrami sandwiches and yes, American Chinese food, were big and very happy parts of their childhoods. New York is the ultimate melting pot and Lucky Lee’s is another example of two cultures coming together. To us, this is a good thing. We love American Chinese food and at Lucky Lee’s it is our intention to celebrate it everyday and serve great food. #luckyleesnyc

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While all of the above claims are valid, the heart of the problem at Lucky Lee’s stems from American Chinese cuisine itself. One way to describe the establishment would be redundant, because to claim something like westernized Chinese food to be “clean” is simply impossible. That’s because American palates have historically forced chefs from other cultures to adapt to a more greasy, sugary taste preferences, and that included Chinese food.

In the United States, the evolution of processed foods over time has led us to crave three taste sensations: salty, sugary, and unctuous. At its core, Chinese food is a far cry from any of these. Several regions of China, from Sichuan to Guangdong, prefer fragrant, spicy, savory, and refreshing meals. From the soothing aromas of ginger-infused congee to the numbing, hot flavors of mapo tofu, the tastes of China rely more on aromatics and natural ingredients than they do oil, salt, and sugar.

However, what the Chinese described as aromatic, Americans found to be “strange.” As they began to immigrate into the country, the flavors of their cooking were used to depict the culture as “undesirable” and “repulsive.” Terms like these turned off locals from trying the food, and while Chinese restaurants flourished early on in local enclaves, that changed as immigrants began to spread across the United States.

With the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 came a suppression of Chinese cuisine’s ability to spread. To attract non-Chinese customers, their cooking had to change based on both ingredient availability and palate preference. This comes as no surprise, as it has occurred multiple times with every cuisine throughout history. Instead of getting something equally healthy and clean, like Peruvian Chifa cuisine, Chinese-American went the way of the greasy spoon diner.

Around the early 1900s was when Chinese-American cuisine began to explode in popularity. It’s also the time period when products like Coca-Cola, Jell-O, and other refrigerated and processed foods hit the market. With the economy booming, meat was also widely popular. All of this led to Chinese restaurants needing to capitalize on Americans’ craving for sugary foods and meat while advertising themselves as a place that capitalized on flavor. The marketing strategy worked, but it also drastically changed the food being served in these restaurants.

It was this fusion of obtuse Western palates and Chinese cuisine that led to dishes like General Tso’s Chicken. A staple of Chinese American food, it was invented in New York around 1973. While it was beloved in the Big Apple, mainland Chinese diners found it too sweet when the inventor tried to open a restaurant there. His shop closed in just months, proof that American tastes changed the cuisine to a point that its originators found it to be unappetizing.

Meanwhile, foods like General Tso’s Chicken exploded in popularity across the US. Fried rice, orange chicken, honey walnut shrimp, and many others became the staples of American Chinese cooking. As mainstream diets started to prefer health, though, the cuisine’s reputation began to change, becoming known for its fat, salt, and heaviness that had been forced upon it through Americanization.

Many who had a racial bias against the Chinatown “slum” neighborhoods, as they would call it, also proliferated the myth of MSG and the “fried rice syndrome.” MSG was actually once hailed for its flavor-boosting properties in the United States, even being sold as a product called Ac’cent. However, a mixture of anti-Communist feelings towards China, a New York Times editorial that connected eating dog and snake meat in Hong Kong to MSG, and letters in medical journals claiming that MSG from Chinese food were causing various symptoms changed all of that. That Aristotlean confluence of events didn’t just stir up hate for MSG — it inherently connected the compound to Chinese and Asian cuisines and built up racism against these communities as well.

It was this exact reputation that made it hard for traditional Chinese cooking to gain national attention. Today, that is finally beginning to change, as segments of Chinese cuisine such as Sichuan food, night market street food and dim sum are becoming more accepted across the U.S. Yes, some use pork belly and other fatty ingredients, but for the most part, all of this cooking is healthy and fresh.

The United States has always been a melting pot of cultures, and while each has gotten its share of whitewashing, the country is finally letting the authenticity of other cultures shine.Thus, ideally the real “clean” American Chinese is not attempting to make allergen-free or low sugar versions of orange chicken and lo mein geared towards wellness. It’s the hot pot, hand-pulled noodles, steamed fish, and other healthy foods folks are finally able to bring over from the mainland and get us to try in their restaurants. That cuisine has long been suppressed by culinary racism and the western palate, but now has the chance to show itself off. As folks who love orange chicken and chop suey learn more about the health benefits and delicious flavors true Chinese cooking has to offer, they’ll hopefully also be open enough to pay the respect and dues this cuisine has long deserved.

Featured Image courtesy of @foodbabyny on Instagram.

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Culture Restaurants

Why Chinese Restaurants Are Everywhere In The US

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Chinese cuisine has undoubtedly become one of the staples of modern American dining due to the number of Chinese restaurants that have sprouted across the country over the last century.

Serving customers their favorite dishes day in and day out, these diners can be found in almost every town in every state in America. But what is the cause of such proliferation?

While many would be quick to claim that this is because the food is actually delicious, convenient and cheap, MIT Historian and Scholar Heather Lee pointed out in an interview with Asian American Life that the reason these restaurants easily spread is far more complex.

Apparently, a certain loophole from the very law that was created to control (minimize) Chinese immigration to the U.S. may have opened the doors and allowed the number of Chinese restaurants to grow.

According to Lee, a law in the 1880’s called the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed to appease a growing anti-Chinese sentiment brought about by a time of depression in the country. Chinese laborers, which included restaurant owners, were subsequently banned from entering the country. Immigration was only allowed for non-laborers, which included merchants, teachers, students, and tourists.

However, a New York court case ruling in 1915 would later uphold that a Chinese restaurant could be classified as a merchant, thus immediately giving the Chinese a new way to enter the country.

“They formed restaurants as partnerships and they would take different duties,” said Lee. One would be the accountant, cook, manager. Family and friends would make up the rest. That would allow each person each year to go back home.”

America’s then rising economy during the ’20s and ’30s also contributed to the industry’s growth as citizens were willing to spend more when eating out.

The Chinese restaurant business started its boom at a challenging time in history and it has never looked back since.

Written by Ryan General | NextShark

Categories
Fast Food

How To Combine McDonald’s And Chinese Takeout In The Most Beautiful Way Ever

More times than we’d like to admit, we’ve been given the choice between grabbing some McDonald’s or some Chinese takeout. When you’re hungry, sometimes picking between the two is harder than it seems. Looks like the Brothers Green Eats have also struggled with this delicious decision and decided to do something about it.

In the nearly 10-minute video, the two brothers take iconic McDonald’s menu items and combines them with popular dishes from the world of Chinese takeout cuisine. This include Beef and Broccoli Big Mac, McGeneral Tso’s Nuggets, Orange Sesame Chicken Sandwich and French Fry Egg Rolls.

Yep, that’ll satiate our cravings from both places.

Check out the video if you’re interested in making some of these at home yourselves. You may also know the brothers as the guys who figured out how to recreate Taco Bell and Wendy’s menus at home.

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Video

This Street Food Vendor Has A Hypnotizing Sales Technique [WATCH]

Some of the best foods you’ll every try can sometimes come from vendors on the street. A recent video shows a young Chinese street food maker showing off some flashy moves by tossing what appears to be buns into the air in crazy geometric patterns.

It seems what he’s doing is actually removing the excess flour from the buns. However, the way he does it adds a ridiculous amount of flair to his sales.

Kind of almost looks like CGI. Almost.

Check out the video.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Chinese Factory Worker Kills and Eats ‘Wild’ Corgi, Learns It Was His Boss’s Pet The Next Day

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Chinese factory worker was fired from his job after he mistook his boss’s dog for a stray, beat it to death, then cooked and ate it.

On Feb. 13, a factory worker named Zhang in eastern China found a Pembroke Welsh Corgi wandering around the bathroom at work. He presumed it was a stray and decided that the dog would make a great meal, so he beat the animal to death with a wooden stick.

He took the dog’s body back to his staff quarters where he and his roommates shaved, skinned and cooked the dog that night. They ate the dog the next day.

More NextShark Stories: How a Struggling Actor Built a Multi-Million Dollar Fitness Empire

When Zhang and his roommates returned to work, they discovered “missing dog” flyers posted all around — it turns out the Corgi belonged to his boss who offered over $1,200 as a reward for information.

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An anonymous person who witnessed Zhang beat the dog to death called the boss, named Wang,  to let him know the bad news. Zhang’s boss then visited his staff quarters to find his dog’s fur covering the floor as well as a knife.

Zhang reportedly claimed:

“I thought it was a wild dog, I had no clue it was so precious.”

He and his roommates offered compensation for the dog but Wang instead chose to fire them and take them to the police where they were charged with theft.

Zhang has since been released on bail.

Wang had allegedly bought the Corgi puppy, worth an estimated $1,800, last May for his daughter.

Source: SCMP

Written by Jacob Wagner, NextShark

Categories
Fast Food

Pizza Hut Lobster Is Real And Here’s What We Know

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If you’re hanging out near Shanghai and you can’t decide between slumming it with some Pizza Hut or indulging your seafood cravings, worry not. Brand Eating reports that Pizza Hut China is offering a pie topped with half a lobster.

Besides the more common toppings of bacon, red bell peppers, mushrooms and asparagus, the pizza is topped with a drizzle of shrimp and lobster sauce to accompany that fat stack of lobster thrown on top.

The pizza offering seems to be a promotion for next week’s Chinese New Year and will be available for a limited time. Patrons can get their hands on one for 98 yuan ($14.91 US). You can also request the half lobster on top of pasta if you’re not feeling quite as adventurous.

Pizza Hut has all the fun in China.

Photo: Pizza Hut China

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Man Buys Meat From Farmers’ Market in China — Discovers That It Glows In The Dark

meat

One man’s shocking pork discovery will not be helping the poor reputation of meat from China.

A man, surnamed Jian, from Leshan, China, found that pork he had purchased at a farmers’ market glowed blue while in the dark, reports the People’s Daily Online (via Daily Mail).

He had purchased 92 pounds of pork for around 600 yuan ($91) to make sausages.

After cutting up the meat and adding kimchi salt to it, Jian placed it in a bucket to marinate overnight on Jan. 4.

meatbucket

When he woke up the next morning at 5 a.m. to get a cup of water, however, he found that there was a blue glow emanating from the bucket.

“In darkness, the bucket of pork looked like fireflies,” he said.

Related:WTF: Ranchers Claim To Have Found A Pig With Glowing Blue Insides

Food and drug administration officials who tested the meat said the the blue light may have been caused by high levels of phosphorus in the pigs’ diet. According to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, although phosphorus is a “vital nutrient for pig growth,” they do “ not always digest it well.”

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This isn’t the first time meat purchased by a Chinese consumer made unusual headlines. In June of last year, a woman from Shandong Province found the raw steak she had purchased twitching after she brought it home from the butcher.

Written by NextShark