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TOPICS INCLUDE: Crossing the Bridge noodles; Restaurant reminder; Recipe correction: Kudos for color; McDonald's in China; Dongan Duck

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Letters to the Editor

Summer Volume: 2006 Issue: 13(2) page(s): 6, 9, and 35


CROSSING THE BRIDGE NOODLES: With more copy than space, the last minute saw us scurrying to decide which two pages to delete. With no easy way to include a recipe or information about where we recently tasted a great one (at one of the Shin Yeh restaurants in Taipei), we eliminated their restaurant even though it supplied the picture, we even spelled their name incorrectly. Without a recipe for it, we foolishly let folk salivate. For that and more, we need to have our tongues tied as we surely did hear your justifiable barks this Dog Year. We apologize.

The logo of the place follows as does their great rendition of the recipe. Its picture was on the cover of the last issue. There is much to discuss about this and other fine Taiwanese restaurants. We promise, in the next and future issues, to write about Shin Yeh and other Taiwanese places serving fabulous food. In the meantime, read about one great Taipei restaurant Fu Yuan. It is in this issue as is a pet peeve about the Crossing Bridge recipe.

During the reign of Emperor Guangxu, who lived from 1875 to 1909 CE, the Crossing the Bridge Noodles recipe was originally created. One story about it, published in Beijing in a volume about one hundred famous recipes, shares its story and a recipe for it. It says that in Mengzi County in the south of the Yunnan Province, a scholar is preparing for the Imperial Examinations. He does so away from distractions on an island in the middle of a lake only reached by traversing a very long bridge. Taking food to him means it is cold upon arrival.

One day trucking over the bridge, his wife faints and that particular potful made with rice noodles and chicken remains hot until she recovers and delivers it. Why, because it has a layer of oil on the surface. Her husband is delighted, so from then on she continues to make it that way. As word spreads about the hot dish and the pleased husband, a local restaurant in Limatian in Jianshui County improves upon the recipe. They make it famous. The recipe we provide below these Letters to the Editor is from a restaurant at Locking-dragon Bridge.

From MARTIN via e-mail:
Your article about Suzhou in the Winter 2005 issue reminded me of a restaurant called Petit Soochow on East Broadway at Chatham Square in New York City’s Chinatown. Among its delights was the crab roe dish you mentioned. Alas, it closed ten years ago. Does anyone know another Suzhou restaurant in New York City?
MARTIN: We went on'Chinese Food Finder: New York City book. You may recall, it was reviewed in Volume 12(1) on pages 26 and 27. Only one person remembered that eatery, our associate editor, Harley Spiller. Said he may even have a menu in his collection from there, but at present knows not in which box or bag. Anyone else know of an existing restaurant from the beautiful city of Suzhou?

From NAOMI on LONG ISLAND:
Was enticed by the recipe in Volume12(4) on page 30. However, it left me and others in the lurch. How can a recipe for Stir-fried Fresh Mango with White Meat Chicken have no mango as an ingredient and chicken that never gets cooked? What happened?
NAOMI and OTHERS: This embarrassing goof requires penance. At the last moment, I rearranged the book reviews including each recipe that immediately follows the review. Doing so was the cause of my wok spilling over with shame. Apologies to all and to Joseph Poon, whose recipe this is. A corrected recipe is below as is another using mango. That penance is requested by several readers who said one non-working one requires several that do.

From SHERRY in FAIRFIELD PA:
A kudo and a question and a check for another year of wonderful publications. The color pictures are a real treat making me look forward more than ever to the arrival of your magazine. It would be nice to see more articles about Chinese lifestyles, customs, and culture. We Eurasians have a tendency to lose touch with our heritage. One more thing: Have you considered selling the books mentioned? SHERRY: Kudos to you and others for your appreciation. Mail such as yours feeds our pro bono fires. We try to please everyone interested in reading about and preparing Chinese food. We delight in and accept your check and other renewals, donations, and appreciations. As to being booksellers, our plate is already overflowing. Try the web or get to individual titles via www.google.com and there, query them for individual books. Also try asking the folks at China Books and Periodicals. They are on the web, too.

ASSORTED KUDOS:
I am an avid reader of your magazine and just want to say how much I enjoy your publication.
From RM of NEW YORK CITY NY
Sure you saw the article in the Times September 21st about hyphenated Chinese food. I want to congratulate you on beating them by months discussing Chinese-Indian foods.
From BN in MEDFORD MA
Received the latest issue in color and love it. Keep up the great work.
From GA in KINGSTON NY
Congratulations---lots of pages, color, even interesting ads. Am really enjoying it! AA in Houston TX
From MASSERIMC via e-mail:Your publication is the best around. None can compare.
From CHEF MARTIN YAN in CA:
Flavor and Fortune has become better and better...the content and quality continually improves.
To KUDOS WRITERS, printed or not:
Many thanks. We aim to please, and aim even higher with these and other kind compliments.

From BENJAMIN via e-mail:
Any idea how many McDonald’s are in China; and how popular they are?
BENJAMIN: Last information we had, near the end of 2005, said McDonald’s has more than six hundred in China, Kentucky Fried Chicken was the first American fast food eatery to open there; there are now more than sixty KFC’s; and that Burger King has a couple of places to date. As to popularity, numbers and the fact that Micky D plans to add a hundred more within a year says it all. Also Benjamin, do you know how many Chinese restaurant are in the United States? Smart Business Systems in Fremont CA, the folks who award the Top 100 Chinese Restaurants (last year and this), in July 2005 said there are 40,889 on their database/mailing list.

From MIKE via e-mail, then snail mail from MA:
Falls Church Virginia has a very good Chinese restaurant. Had a superb walnut chicken, a snow crab bonanza, a dish of garlic sprouts, and one with shiitake mushrooms and Chinese cabbage.
MIKE and ALL: Thank you for this addition of where to eat in the Washington D.C. area. Do you and others know their garlic sprouts are a major production at that restaurant's own farm?

From NETPHSH via e-mail:
Have you heard of a recipe for Dongan Duck. My neighbor says she had it growing up in China. I would love to make it for her birthday next month. Can you provide a recipe for me to bring as a gift?
NETPHSH We located a related recipe in Secrets of the Master Chefs of China for Dongan Chicken. The book says it is named after Dongan County in Hunan. With a few variations, here is our rendition using duck. You may want to make additional adjustments based upon what your neighbor said about this recipe. Do wish her a Happy Birthday, from us.
Crossing the Bridge Noodles Locking Dragon Bridge
Ingredients:
6 ounces chicken breast meat, sliced
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/3 teaspoon salt
dash of ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 Tablespoons sherry
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced shallot
4 snow peas, strings removed
1 stalk celery, cut in four then in thin long strips
1/4 yellow squash, cut in thin strips
1/4 zucchini, cut in thin strips
4 strips mango (about a half)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed with two tablespoons cold water
1 additional teaspoon sesame oil
Preparation:
1. Marinate chicken pieces in chicken broth, salt, pepper, cornstarch powder, baking powder, and sesame oil for ten minutes. Then blanch the meat and all the vegetables for one minute in boiling water, and drain them.
2. Heat vegetable oil and stir-fry the minced garlic, ginger, shallots, and sherry for one minute. Add the vegetables and the mango and stir for one minute. Then add cornstarch and water mixture, reduce the heat, and stir for one minute. Add in the second teaspoon of sesame oil and serve.
Poon's Fresh Mango with White Meat Chicken
Ingredients:
6 ounces chicken breast meat, sliced
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/3 teaspoon salt
dash of ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 Tablespoons sherry
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced shallot
4 snow peas, strings removed
1 stalk celery, cut in four then in thin long strips
1/4 yellow squash, cut in thin strips
1/4 zucchini, cut in thin strips
4 strips mango, about a half
1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed with two tablespoons cold water
1 additional teaspoon sesame oil
Preparation:
1. Marinate chicken pieces in chicken broth, salt, pepper, cornstarch powder, baking powder, and sesame oil for ten minutes. Then blanch the meat and all the vegetables for one minute in boiling water, and drain them.
2. Heat vegetable oil and stir-fry the minced garlic, ginger, shallots, and sherry for one minute. Add the vegetables and the mango and stir for one minute. Then add cornstarch and water mixture, reduce the heat, and stir for one minute. Add in the second teaspoon of sesame oil and serve.
Fish in Mango Sauce
Ingredients:
4 Tablespoons coarsely minced celery
1/2 small carrot, peeled
1/2 green apple, peeled and cored and sliced into thin strips
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 pound boneless and skinless fish fillets, sole recommended
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 whole egg, beaten
1/2 to 1 cup sesame seeds
2 mangoes, diced and without skin when removing from the pit
1/2 can lemon soda
2 Tablespoons lemon marmalade or bottled Chinese lemon sauce
1 to 2 slices fresh or canned pineapple
1 cup vegetable oil
Preparation:
1. Remove strings from celery and cut into long strips. Cut carrot into same-size long strips. Blanch both for one minute in boiling water, and drain.
2. Mix apple pieces with lemon juice.
3. Cut fish into eight pieces and dip one side into the egg cornstarch mixture, then place carrot and celery strips crosswise on each of them. Drain apple pieces reserving liquid, and put these strips on the vegetables, then roll the fish tightly. Roll into the remaining cornstarch egg mixture and then into the sesame seeds, and allow to rest for ten minutes.
4. Set aside one quarter of the diced mango and put the rest of the diced mango into a blender. Add remaining lemon juice, lemon soda, marmalade, and pineapple and blend until just liquified.
5. Deep fry the fish rolls until a light golden color, do not over-fry them. Drain and set out in a circle on a serving plate. Top with reserved diced mango, and pour half of the sauce over the fish, the rest in the center where no fish is, then serve.
Dongan Duck
Ingredients:
1 five-pound whole duck, quartered
2 Tablespoons corn or other vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppers, lightly smashed with side of a cleaver
2 dried chili peppers, seeds removed, then minced
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup each, sweet red and green peppers, cut in one-inch diamonds
2 scallions, minced
1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed with one tablespoon cold water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Preparation:
1. In a large heavy pot, place duck quarters. Cover with cold water, and bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer half hour. Remove duck, reserving the liquid, and let cool somewhat, then remove meat from the bones.
2. Return bones to the liquid and boil until liquid is reduced to half cup. Reserve it after discarding the bones.
3. Heat wok, add the oil, then stir-fry the ginger, Sichuan and chili peppers for half minute. Then add wine, vinegar, salt, and the duck meat, and stir-fry two minutes before adding the reserved liquid from cooking the duck and then the bones. Add the red and green peppers and the cornstarch mixture and continue to stir-fry until the sauce thickens, then serve.

                                                                                                                                                       
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