2008年12月24日 星期三

Bread of Life

Bread of Life, Baked in Rhode Island

Jodi Hilton for The New York Times

The Cavanagh Company of Greenville, R.I., says it bakes nearly one billion communion wafers each year.

Published: December 24, 2008

GREENVILLE, R.I. — To the Cavanagh family, the product they make at a nondescript plant here is just bread and water. But to millions at churches around the world, it is a sacred offering.

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Jodi Hilton for The New York Times

Some customers say the Cavanaghs have such a big market share because their product is about as close to perfect as earthly possible.

Jodi Hilton for The New York Times

Kim Jaeger, who married into the Cavanagh family, packed boxes. The company has been family-owned for four generations.

From a purely economic point of view, it is something that is almost just as rare: a seemingly recession-proof business.

With the exception of a decline during recent Catholic Church priest scandals, the Cavanagh Company’s business of making communion bread has been growing steadily for the last 65 years.

The bread is used as a sacramental offering that, for Catholics and some other Christians, represents the breaking of the bread at the Last Supper and the body of Christ.

The family-owned company makes about 80 percent of the communion bread used by the Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran and Southern Baptist churches in the United States. It has a similar market share in Australia, Canada and Britain, and is now looking to expand to West Africa.

“We feel as though we’re a bakery, and all we’re making is bread,” said Andy Cavanagh, the company’s general manager, and part of the fourth generation of Cavanaghs to work here. “It’s not that we don’t have respect for what happens to it, but that transformation is out of our hands and takes place in a church. The best thing we can do is make sure the bread is perfect in every way possible.”

Some customers say the Cavanaghs have such a big market share because their product is about as close to perfect as earthly possible.

“It doesn’t crumb, and I don’t like fragments of our Lord scattering all over the floor,” said the Rev. Bob Dietel, an Episcopal priest.

Mr. Dietel uses Cavanagh altar bread at his parish, St. Aidan’s, in Camano Island, Wash. He likes that the large wafer, which he holds up and breaks during Mass, cracks cleanly.

A few years ago, the congregation switched to the wheat wafer the Cavanaghs make from the white.

“There’s a nice clean bread flavor, as opposed to the paste flavor you have with some other breads,” Mr. Dietel said.

His congregation buys about 6,000 wafers a year from a Seattle religious goods store. Traditionally, nuns, priests or members of a congregation baked altar bread. (In the Catholic tradition it is unleavened and contains only flour and water; other denominations, including Southern Baptists, allow the use of additional ingredients.)

In 1943, Andy’s great-grandfather, John Cavanagh Sr., an inventor, and grandfather, John Jr., were asked to help local Catholic nuns renovate their antiquated baking equipment. The men created new ovens and mixers for the nuns; then three years later, John Jr. and his brother Paul started making bread themselves.

They distributed all of it to Catholic churches and monasteries.

The Cavanaghs are Catholic and John Sr. let his sons run the business so he could concentrate on his first love, liturgical art. Crosses and paintings are showcased in a room in the Rhode Island offices.

For about 20 years, the Cavanagh bread was small, white and nearly transparent, intended to melt on the tongue. After the changes initiated in the church at the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, Catholic churches wanted the wafers to be thicker and chewable, like real bread.

The Cavanaghs started producing the wafers of today — usually whole wheat and sealed on the outside to prevent crumbs.

In 1970, Paul’s sons Brian and Peter joined the business and started expanding the company’s reach beyond New England and the Catholic Church, where fewer and fewer nuns were making bread.

The company will not disclose sales numbers, but says it makes about 850 million wafers each year, and that each wafer sells for less than a penny. Most of the company’s bread is sold wholesale to religious supply stores and Southern Baptist bookstores. In the Catholic Church the company sells to monasteries; the nuns then sell the bread to churches.

“It’s a source of income for us, but at the same time it’s a service to the parishes in the diocese,” said Sister Marilyn McGillan of the Sisters of the Precious Blood in Watertown, N.Y. Her monastery sells to about 100 churches in the Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg, N.Y. “We’re like a clearinghouse for altar breads for our dioceses.”

There are plenty of varieties. The company sells both white and wheat flour wafers, in sizes ranging from one and one-eighth inches wide to nine inches wide. Some are double-thick, and all except the large ones can be embossed with designs including a cross or a lamb.

‘They’re the classic symbols of Christianity,” Andy Cavanagh said.

Brian and Peter Cavanagh still run the company, and expect Andy, 30, Peter’s son; and his two brothers, Dan, 31 and Luke, 28, to buy them out one day.

The family members pride themselves on having never had an argument over business. They eat lunch together daily, and business talk almost always turns into discussions about New England sports teams.

“When you emphasize family, the business falls into place,” Brian said.

Each brother has his own niche. Andy deals with the finances, Luke the Web site and Dan the machines.

Dan Cavanagh feels most at home in the large baking area.

In huge tubs, about 90 pounds of cake flour is mixed with about 13 gallons of water. The batter is then sent through a tube, where it is piped onto a large metal plate. Another plate clamps on top, and it goes through the oven. Each plate is like a “very large, 500-pound waffle iron,” Dan Cavanagh said.

After coming out of the oven, the wafers spend about 15 minutes in what amounts to a humidifier, so they do not become brittle. When sufficiently moist they roll down a tube and into a spinning cylinder that resembles the ones in bingo halls.

The wafers are then shot to a machine that either puts them in sleeves of 100 or counts them for bags of 250. Then they are boxed.

The bread for Southern Baptist churches is baked on the other side of the room. The mixing process is similar, except the dough contains oil. Since the bread rises, it is baked in a large rotating oven and comes out as small squares.

The wafers and bread are made in both white and whole wheat, but most congregations prefer the whole wheat variety because it has more flavor, the Cavanaghs said.

Business dropped about 10 percent after the clergy sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in 2002, according to the Cavanaghs. But it has picked up recently — perhaps because of the growing worldly concerns that come with a bad economy.

The company now sells church supplies including altars and pews in England and Australia, and is keeping an eye on the growing Catholic communities in Africa and South America.

But no matter where they do business, they say, the company will remain in Rhode Island, and in the family.

“It’s so gratifying to have it be a successful family business,” Brian Cavanagh said.

2008年12月14日 星期日

Sweet and Sour Cabbage With Tofu and Grains

Sweet and Sour Cabbage With Tofu and Grains

Published: December 12, 2008

You can use regular green cabbage for this slightly spicy, sweet-and-sour stir-fry, or you can use Napa Cabbage. I like to serve the dish with bulgur, but you could also serve it with rice, noodles or any other grain.

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Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Recipes for Health

This series offers recipes with an eye towards empowering you to cook healthy meals every day. Produce, seasonal and locally grown when possible, and a well-stocked pantry are the linchpins of a good diet, and accordingly, each week’s recipes will revolve around a particular type of produce or a pantry item. This is food that is vibrant and light, full of nutrients but by no means ascetic, fun to cook and a pleasure to eat.

See previous recipes »

3/4 pound firm tofu, cut in 1/4- x 1/2 – x 1 1/2 inch slabs

2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce (more to taste)

1 small onion, sliced

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white and dark green parts separated

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

Pinch of cayenne

1 medium cabbage, quartered, cored, and sliced crosswise

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or sherry vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (or 1 tablespoon if the vinegar is already seasoned)

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Cooked bulgur, rice, noodles or other grains for serving

1. Blot the tofu dry with paper towels. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet or a wok over medium-high heat and when it is rippling, add the tofu. Cook, tossing in the pan or turning over with tongs, for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly colored. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce, toss together for about 30 seconds, and remove from the heat. Set aside in a bowl.

2. Heat the remaining oil in the pan over medium-high heat and add the onion. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes, until crisp-tender, and add the white part of the scallions, the garlic, and ginger. Stir together for about 30 seconds, until fragrant but not colored. Add the cayenne, stir in the cabbage and stir-fry until the cabbage begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, and sugar and continue to cook, stirring, until the cabbage is crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Return the tofu to the pan and stir together. Add more soy sauce to taste and stir together. Sprinkle on the scallion greens and sesame seeds and remove from the heat. Serve over grains or noodles.

Yield: Serves 4 generously

Advance preparation: This is a last minute dish, but you can cook the grains several hours ahead and reheat, and you can have everything prepped and ready to go.

Nutritional Information per Serving (not including grains): calories: 188; calories from fat: 56; total fat: 6.2g; saturated fat: 1.2g; cholesterol: 0mg; sodium: 276mg; total carbohydrates: 24.4g; dietary fiber: 7.3g; sugars: 13.3g; protein: 11.9g; vitamin A 11 percent recommended daily allowance (RDA) based on a 2,000 calorie diet; vitamin C 125 percent RDA; calcium 29 percent RDA; iron 18 percent RDA. (Nutritional information provided by calorie-count.com)

2008年12月12日 星期五


林國卿  (20081211)









 這本書並無複雜哲理,所以原本是容易讀的書,但因為名詞專有,卻成了一本難以捉摸的書。民國以來,註解這書的人不多,也許是挑戰太大。有名的開先鋒是一 九五○年代出版的「鄧之誠注本」。後來日本人入矢義高接走了這工程,成立研究班,花了三十五年,於一九八三年出版譯注本。但是兩種譯本都不夠周延,對專有 名詞也避而不論。


 我在書店第一次翻它時,驚羨作者怎有如此耐力?他為了弄清楚每一街道每一美食,從宋代的書找到明清兩代的書,逐一比對,用去了一千兩百多種書,他真的想 把整個汴京城一寸一寸的掀開來看。孟元老寫「飲食果子」一節,是一項一項列舉,伊永文則是一樣一樣的解釋,居然解釋了119條。前一位註解者鄧之誠坦承 「斷句以伎藝、飲食為最難。」伊永文顯然是從難處下手。



2008年12月4日 星期四

one-pot meals

Whetting desires for winter one-pot meals


On my recent business trip to Fukuoka, the lady manager of a local restaurant told me, "When you prepare hakusai napa cabbage for nabe stew, you should cut the leaves lengthwise." Indeed, if the leaves are cut vertically into long strips, the white fleshy part remains crisp and flavorful. I readily agreed this was the way to savor this vegetable at its seasonal best.

At home, I am feared by my family as the bossy nabe chef. But to confess, I never knew I was chopping the cabbage the wrong way--that is, horizontally. In my own defense, however, it's not such a terrible thing to let the cabbage cook through and flavor the broth, which will be used to make zosui (rice porridge) at the end of the meal. Actually, some people prefer their cabbage thoroughly cooked and soggy, while others are horrified by the very thought. To each his own, and ultimately it's the chef's call.

Around this season, the morning frost adds sweetness to napa cabbages. The other day, I visited Yachiyo, Ibaraki Prefecture, one of the foremost hakusai farming regions in the country. Trainee farmers from China, the home of this leafy delicacy, were busy harvesting the vegetable. Wielding special blades, they sheared the heads off, each big enough to be an armful, and lined them up in two layers.

After the outer leaves are peeled off, the snowy white heads were exposed, looking like they had just been washed clean. Maybe it was their pure whiteness or perhaps their "buxom" roundness, that made me think they looked almost erotic. Though these were being boxed in the fields, I recalled a haiku by Kenkichi Kusumoto: "Washed clean/ The hakusai bask in the sun/ Like a row of white buttocks."

A nabe dinner, consisting of common ingredients and stewed on a portable tabletop stove, is just right for these economically lean times.

According to Dentsu Communication Institute, which published a list of popular consumer items last week, uchi-gomori (staying at home) is the buzzword that defines people's interest in saving money and enjoying quality time at home.

It's already December. In this day and age, the future is uncertain, no matter how you look at it. Perhaps this is the time to focus on today and enjoy it to the max. And I always welcome a nabe dinner at home, with its delicious aromas of seafood, vegetables and other items tickling the nose, and everyone smiling happily as steam rises from bubbling broth.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 1(IHT/Asahi: December 2,2008)

2008年11月21日 星期五



2008年11月18日 星期二

Versatile Potatoes of the Sweet Variety

Recipes for Health

Versatile Potatoes of the Sweet Variety

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Published: November 17, 2008

Most of us begin thinking about sweet potatoes around Thanksgiving and stop buying them soon afterwards. But this nutritious vegetable is quite versatile and makes a great puree, soup or soufflé; “croutons” made with it are wonderful in salads, providing a lovely contrast to savory lettuces, salty cheeses and pungent dressings. When baked ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator, sweet potatoes become sweeter by the day and make a great lunch, hot or cold, and a great snack for children.

Skip to next paragraph

Recipes for Health

This series offers recipes with an eye towards empowering you to cook healthy meals every day. Produce, seasonal and locally grown when possible, and a well-stocked pantry are the linchpins of a good diet, and accordingly, each week’s recipes will revolve around a particular type of produce or a pantry item. This is food that is vibrant and light, full of nutrients but by no means ascetic, fun to cook and a pleasure to eat.

See previous recipes »

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Of the deep orange sweet potatoes, my favorites are garnets, which have dark red skin with orange flesh, and jewels, with orange skin with deep orange flesh. Both of these types have moist, sweet flesh that oozes syrup as they bake. Yet sweet as they are, sweet potatoes are a relatively low-calorie food, with approximately 105 calories in a 3 1/2 ounce serving. They’re high in fiber and an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. They’re also high in vitamin C and manganese, and a good source of copper, vitamin B6, potassium, and iron.

Baked Sweet Potatoes

These make a great lunch or snack. Bake some up and cut thick slices to go with cottage cheese, goat cheese, or feta for a quick lunch. Don’t try to save time and use a microwave for this recipe: the sweet potatoes won’t be nearly as sweet. They need time in the hot oven for their enzymes to convert starch into maltose, which is the sugar that makes sweet potatoes sweet.

4 medium sweet potatoes

1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Scrub sweet potatoes and pierce in several places with a sharp knife. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the potatoes on top. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the potatoes, until thoroughly soft and beginning to ooze. Remove from the heat.

2. Place on a plate or in a dish and allow to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (they will continue to ooze and sweeten). Serve cold (cut in thick slices and remove the skin) or room temperature, or reheat for 20 to 30 minutes in a 325ºF oven, or in the microwave.

Variation: Baked Sweet Potatoes with Lime

Make the recipe through Step 1. Transfer to a baking dish that will hold the potatoes snugly. Allow to cool completely (they will continue to ooze and sweeten). Slit the potatoes lengthwise and douse with the juice of 1 to 2 limes, to taste. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve at room temperature or reheat for 20 to 30 minutes in a 325ºF oven or in the microwave.

Yield: Serves 4

Advance preparation: Baked sweet potatoes will hold in the refrigerator for about 5 days.

2008年11月17日 星期一

OS 機内食


  同社のビジネスクラスの機内食は、8月に発表されたスカイトラックスの年間ランキングにおいて2年連続で「長距離ビジネスクラス機内食の1位」を獲得。プ ロの資格をもつシェフが、機内で盛り付けや最終的な仕上げをする「フライング・シェフサービス」や、10種類のコーヒーを楽しめる「ウィーン風カフェサー ビス」など、ユニークなサービスが特長だ。日本・韓国地区総支配人のハンネス・シュタインアカー氏は「効率やコストではなく、クオリティが第一」と話し、 今後も機内食に力を入れていく考えを示した。

 メニューはおよそ2ヶ月ごとに変わり、洋食2種類はヨーロッパで高級レストランを展開する DO&CO(ドゥ&コー)がプロデュース。和食2種類は日本発便ではANAケータリングサービス、ウィーン発便ではレストラン雲海の日本人料理長 が担当している。また、機内食事前予約サービス(AIMS)では、AIMS限定メニューも提供。東京発のOS052便が対象で、24時間前まで受け付け る。


  なお、11月1日から2009年3月31日までの期間、ビジネスクラスキャンペーンを展開。成田発ビジネスクラス(CまたはDクラス)の往復利用客が対象 で、「リムジンハイヤーサービス(片道)」「無料宅配サービス(往復)」「成田ホテル前泊またはインターコンチネンタルホテル・ウィーン1泊」「JCBギ フト券1万円分」のいずれかのサービスを利用可能とする。さらにメール会員に登録した人には、抽選で「ウィーン金貨ハーモニー」をプレゼントするダブル チャンスキャペーンを実施している。


オーストリア航空(OS)は2007年、2008年の2年連続でスカイトラックスの「長距 離ビジネスクラス機内食第1位」を獲得。機内食に特に力を入れており、プロのシェフが機内の厨房で盛りつけや最終的な仕上げをする「フライング・シェフ サービス」や10種類のコーヒーを提供する「ウィーン風カフェサービス」などを展開している。ビジネスクラスの洋食2種は、ヨーロッパで高級レストランを 展開するDO&CO(ドゥ&コー)がプロデュース。和食2種は日本発便ではANAケータリングサービス、ウィーン発便ではレストラン雲海の日本人料理長が 担当する。今回は10月31日から東京発ウィーン線のビジネスクラスで提供している最新メニューの一部を、写真で紹介しよう。
アミューズ・ギョール マグロのスモークのポプリ ウィーン風クリーミーポテトスープ ラム肉のロースト 海老のグリル
チーズ&フルーツ アッサムティームース 和風アミューズ 和食の前菜 そーめん
牛肉のしゃぶしゃぶ 金目鯛ちり鍋風 鰻の蒲焼 スパイシーチキン ビーフブロシェット
パン ミールメニュー カフェメニュー 調理部長の吉倉氏 和食調理長の柏氏

2008年11月15日 星期六



黃瑞玲  (20081104)





2008年11月5日 星期三

太平洋SOGO百貨販售壽司 竟藏貝殼碎片

侯小姐抱怨,她兩次買到的魩仔魚壽司(大圖),都吃到貝殼碎片(小圖)。 圖片: 1 / 1

2008年11月3日 星期一

Shin Yeh(欣葉)台菜 menus







中華レストラン「Shin Yeh(欣葉)」のメニューより、チキンにもち米を詰めて2度蒸し上げた「Double-boiled Chicken with Glutinous Rice」

 台北を拠点とする中華レストラン「Shin Yeh(欣葉)」(177 River Valley Road, #02-19 Liang Court Shopping Centre、TEL 6338-7337)が10月4日、シンガポール1号店をリャンコート・ショッピングセンターにオープンした。

 シンガポールリバーを一望できる店内は、モダン・オリエンタルをコンセプトに内装を黒で統一。店舗面積は9,000平方フィートで、席数は個室8室を含 め300席。主なメニューは、鶏肉をバジルの葉とニンニクで煮込んだ「Braised Chicken with Garlic and Basil in Claypot」(20シンガポールドル)、焼いたカキを卵で包んだ「Pan-fried Fresh Oysters with Scrambled Eggs and Greens」(14ドル)、3人のシェフが交代で練り上げるモチモチとした食感の杏仁豆腐「Sweetened Almond Jelly with Peach in Syrup」(6ドル)など。

 同店は1984年に台北で開業し、銀座や北京など世界4カ国に計15店舗を展開。創業当時に日本の鍋料理を紹介して大きなヒットにつながったことから、 1998年にはビュッフェ形式の日本食レストランを台湾にオープン。ほかにも中華航空と提携して台湾料理の機内食を提供するなどの取り組みも行っている。 シンガポール進出にあたっては、海鮮料理店「Tung Lok Seafood」(30 East Coast Road, #01-01/02 Paramount Hotel & Shopping Centre、TEL 6440-3233)、中華料理店「My Humble House」(8 Raffles Avenue, #02-27/29 Esplanade Mall、TEL 6423-1881)などを経営する当地の大手飲食店グループ「トゥンロク・グループ」と提携した。

 オープンに合わせて台湾から来星したShin Yeh本店のリー・フンチュンGMは、提携先として同グループを選んだ理由について「飲食業界での確かな経験と実績があり、シンガポールの消費者心理を しっかりと把握している。将来的にさらなる事業展開も期待できる」と説明する。

Shin Yeh
Tung Lok Group

2008年11月2日 星期日

The joy of pork

Book details

Everything But the Squeal: Eating the Whole Hog in Northern Spain
By John Barlow

Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 320 pages; $25. To be published in Britain by Summersdale in May

Buy it at

The joy of pork

The whole hog

Oct 30th 2008
From The Economist print edition

JOHN BARLOW, a British expatriate in Galicia, the rain-swept region of the Spanish north-west that gave birth to Franco, has an odd ambition: to eat every bit of a pig, from its tail to its snout. The ambition persists despite marriage to the long-suffering Susana, perhaps the only Galician vegetarian, despite the menace of cholesterol from all those fat-laden pork sausages and despite the threat (kindly pointed out by Susana) that eating pig brain will lead to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

What follows is a quixotic quest for the recipes that give good countryfolk—and doubtless Mr Barlow—ample waistlines and cheerful characters. The cocido (pork stew) from the politically conservative town of Lalín is nothing short of heroic in its mix of ingredients; there are kind words for Doña Aurora’s trotter stew; and an enthusiasm for blood sausages whatever the gruesome process of making them.

All this may be great fun for foodies, but the attraction of Mr Barlow’s book is that he goes well beyond the business of eating. He gives us a fascinating journal of his Galician wanderings, from village carnivals in the pouring rain to a hippy commune in the back of beyond via the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. What comes through is a deep affection not just for Galicia’s pigs—Mr Barlow singles out the long-backed Galician Celtic, hips swaying like Jayne Mansfield’s, for special mention—but also for Galicia’s people and culture.

No answer is ever a straightforward yes or no. No bureaucratic process is ever simple. No bit of history is without its compelling trivia (how many others would know, for example, that in Santiago de Compostela’s 12th-century church of Santa María Salomé there is a statue of an angel wearing glasses?). Mr Barlow pokes his nose in everywhere, and almost without exception people are kind and hospitable.

He meets all sorts, from Fidel Castro’s favourite cousin to Mañuel Fraga, minister under Franco, co-author of Spain’s democratic constitution and still Galicia’s political godfather. The charm is that Mr Barlow is so self-deprecating: his interview with Don Mañuel is a classic encounter between clueless journalist and superior, but patient, politician; his account of teaching phonetics at La Coruña’s university will make many a teacher blush with self-recognition; his Yorkshireman’s contempt for the posh British expatriate with barely a word of Spanish will amuse anyone with a knowledge of Britain’s class system.

None of this yet puts Mr Barlow in the Eric Newby category of travel writer, but he comes close enough in this, his third book. As for Susana and baby Nico, they are sometimes there, and sometimes not. But Susana, it seems, never complains, even though Mr Barlow’s ambition is clearly to indoctrinate Nico into the pleasures of pork.

2008年10月26日 星期日

potato tomato, Jersey Tomato


英国诺里奇(Norwich)的约翰·英尼斯中心(John Innes Centre)从金鱼草(snapdragon)抽取基因,注入西红柿植物中,培育出紫色的西红柿。











约翰·英尼斯中心将关于紫色西红柿的研究发表在最新一期的《自然生物科技》杂志(Nature Biotechnology)中。

Small cherry tomatoes in Korea
Small cherry tomatoes in Korea

wiki English


, pl. -toes.
    1. A widely cultivated South American plant (Lycopersicon esculentum) having edible, fleshy, usually red fruit.
    2. The fruit of this plant.
  1. Slang. A woman regarded as attractive.

[Alteration of Spanish tomate, from Nahuatl tomatl.]

tomatoey to·ma'to·ey (-tō-ē) adj.

WORD HISTORY Among the greatest contributions to world civilization made by the early inhabitants of the Americas are plant foods such as the potato and squash.

The tomato, whose name comes ultimately from the Nahuatl language spoken by the Aztecs and other groups in Mexico and Central America, was another important contribution. When the Spanish conquered this area, they brought the tomato back to Spain and, borrowing the Nahuatl word tomatl for it, named it tomate, a form shared in French, Portuguese, and early Modern English.

Tomate, first recorded in 1604, gave way to tomato, a form created in English either because it was assumed to be Spanish or under the influence of the word potato. As is well known, people at first resisted eating this New World food because its membership in the nightshade family made it seem potentially poisonous, but it is now is an important element of many world cuisines.

tomato ketchup noun [U]
a sweet red tomato sauce, eaten cold and usually poured from a bottle

beef tomato UK noun [C] (US beefsteak tomato)
a type of very large tomato


[tuh-MAY-toh; tuh-MAH-toh] Like the potato and eggplant, the tomato is a member of the nightshade family. It's the fruit of a vine native to South America. By the time European explorers arrived in the New World, the tomato had made its way up into Central America and Mexico. The Spanish carried plants back home from Mexico, but it took some time for tomatoes to be accepted in Spain because it was thought that-like various other members of the nightshade family-they were poisonous. Some tomato advocates, however, claimed the fruit had aphrodisiac powers and, in fact, the French called them pommes d'amour, "love apples." It wasn't until the 1900s that the tomato gained some measure of popularity in the United States. Today this fruit is one of America's favorite "vegetables," a classification the government gave the tomato for trade purposes in 1893. Dozens of tomato varieties are available today-ranging widely in size, shape and color. Among the most commonly marketed is the beefsteak tomato, which is delicious both raw and cooked. It's large, bright red and slightly elliptical in shape.

Globe tomatoes are medium-size, firm and juicy. Like the beefsteak, they're good both raw and cooked. Another variety is the plum tomato (also called Italian plum and Roma), a flavorful egg-shaped tomato that comes in red and yellow versions. Grape tomatoes are baby romas. The medium-size green tomato has a piquant flavor, which makes it excellent for frying, broiling and adding to relishes.

The small cherry tomato is about 1 inch in diameter and can be red or yellow-gold in color. It's very popular-both for eating and as a garnish-because of its bright color and excellent flavor. The yellow cherry tomato is slightly less acidic than the red and therefore somewhat blander in flavor. Though it's long been popular raw in salads, the cherry tomato is gaining favor as a cooked side dish, quickly sautéed with herbs.

The Return of a Lost Jersey Tomato

Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times

GETTING REDDER John Ebert holds a Ramapo tomato; he has three acres of them on his Cherry Hill, N.J., farm.

Published: July 23, 2008

WHEN heirloom tomatoes became popular in the 1990s, Jack Rabin became acutely uncomfortable.

Skip to next paragraph
Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

A tomato-bread salad.

“Everyone was going gaga over them. My farmers were trying to grow them, and we’d walk out in the field and just see horticultural garbage,” said Mr. Rabin, a longtime agricultural extension agent with Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. who works with about 800 growers around the state. “Every time it rained, they would crack open or turn into water bags. They burned in the sun or developed fungus you could taste,” he said. “It was painful to watch, and the yields were a nightmare.”

Since 2001, Mr. Rabin has been the head of the Rutgers tomato project, responsible for identifying tomatoes that farmers can grow successfully and consistently. It is an awesome charge in a state where “Jersey tomato” is as prideful a phrase as “Jersey girl.” It is even more so this year, as Mr. Rabin helps to bring back to market a lost variety that was once virtually the definition of the Jersey tomato.

But what’s so special about the Jersey tomato?

“It can’t be the soil, because we’ve got sandy soil in the south of the state, and more clay and loam in the north,” said Pete Nitzsche, a Rutgers agent in Morris County. “What we’ve got here is a memory of how tomatoes used to taste.”

That memory is so powerful that when the seeds of a favorite tomato, the Ramapo, became unavailable in the late 1980s, the state’s gardeners began a letter-writing campaign, demanding that Rutgers bring it back.

“The 1990s is when we began to hear a swelling of dissatisfaction with the flavor of tomatoes in New Jersey,” Mr. Rabin said. “Something had to give.”

The Ramapo was popular when it was released by Rutgers in 1968, but was eventually judged too soft for shipping, Mr. Rabin said. This spring, after a multiyear project that involved retrieving fragile seeds from a retired plant geneticist and sending them to Israel for germination, Rutgers finally brought back the Ramapo.

John Ebert, whose family runs the last working farm in Cherry Hill, N.J., has three acres of Ramapos just turning red this week.

“Ramapo was literally the only tomato we grew for most of my childhood,” he said. “It was, and maybe still is, the perfect Jersey tomato.”

The classic Jersey tomato is not an heirloom, loosely defined as a tomato your great-grandfather might have grown in the backyard. Classic Jerseys are hybrid tomatoes, bred by seed companies or in laboratories like Mr. Rabin’s, to have certain qualities such as resistance to disease or high yields. The famous Rutgers hybrid tomato, released by the university in 1934, has a particular sweet tanginess that was prized by the Campbell Soup company, based in Camden, N.J.

An heirloom can be any type of tomato, such as a plum, a cherry or a beefsteak. Since their breeding is uncontrolled, heirlooms tend to have intriguing genetic variations like green streaks, blushing blossom ends and mahogany shoulders.

“The Jersey tomato is a nondescript red, round tomato,” said Mr. Rabin. “And I use nondescript as a term of respect.”

Is there nothing unique about the legendary Jersey tomato? Ask seven New Jersey farmers and you get the same answer: a perfect balance of sweet and acid. But everything from lemonade to lollipops can be described that way.

Although many praise the Ramapo’s tangy, mouth-filling flavor, growers especially appreciated its vigor. Unlike some heirlooms, this hybrid variety was prolific and easy to grow. Linda Muccio, a retired teacher who grew up near Paterson, said that her Italian-born grandparents — all four of them — used home-grown Ramapos all summer and for sauce in September when she was a child, choosing them over Italian plum tomatoes because the yields were so much greater. “More tomatoes on the vine means more sauce for the winter,” she said. “Simple as that.”

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration announced that tomatoes were not linked to the current salmonella outbreak.

New Jersey tomatoes and homegrown varieties have been considered safe for weeks.

“I have two large Ramapos ripening in a pot on my patio,” said Sandra McLaughlin, who participates in the state’s Master Gardener program in Monmouth County, and has never tasted a Ramapo. “I can’t wait to see what all the fuss is about.”

Such excitement about a round red tomato is now rare. American cooks and gardeners have embraced striped Green Zebras, maroon Brandywines and Russian Blacks. In some circles, the plain old red, round, medium-size beefsteak is now branded with the dreaded phrase “supermarket tomato.”

Except, that is, in New Jersey, where the state’s agricultural reputation was built on consistently sweet, juicy tomatoes that were ingested by the nearby Campbell and Heinz plants and transformed into soup, ketchup and juice, generating vast fortunes and mighty brands in the process.

“The Ramapo is the heirloom tomato of New Jersey,” said Mr. Nitzsche.

Many factors, from rainfall to genetics, contribute to a tomato’s flavor. But perhaps the most important is ripeness, an advantage that Jersey tomatoes had whenever they were eaten in or near New Jersey.

“Someone will probably have my head for saying this,” said Gary Ibsen, an organic tomato farmer in central California. “But to my mind, what the Jersey tomato has going for it is the legend, and the loyalty, and the rest of it is just the pronounced flavor of any tomato that’s picked ripe and not shipped around the continent.”

Flavor versus function has been a fundamental choice for American farmers, since the Interstate highway system was established in the 1950s.

“Once tomatoes were being bred for shipment, everything changed,” Mr. Ibsen said. Farmers benefited most by selecting varieties with thick skins and tough walls. “But now that shipping is so expensive, I think everything is going to change again,” he predicted. “You’re going to see a lot more local tomatoes everywhere.”

Is spending $10,000 to send a truckload of Jersey tomatoes from California to New Jersey like sending coals to Newcastle? On his 300-acre organic farm, Mr. Ibsen grows both heirlooms and hybrids, including the Rutgers.

“The hybrids that were developed for taste, not for shipping, can hold up to any heirloom out there,” Mr. Rabin said.

“When I hear these young chefs gushing about heirlooms, I wonder: haven’t they ever tasted a Big Boy, or an Early Girl?”

Tops for Taste

Since 2001, the Rutgers Agricultural Extension Service has invited the public to evaluate about 150 tomato varieties. (Details and information on Ramapo tomatoes are at njfarmfresh.rutgers.edu/JerseyTomato.html.) Following are the highest rated.

LARGE TOMATOES Cherokee Purple, Mortgage Lifter (also known as Radiator Charlie’s), Hawaiian Pineapple, Pruden’s Purple.

MEDIUM-SIZE TOMATOES Eva Purple Ball, Arkansas Traveler, Box Car Willie, Lemon Boy, Costoluto Genovese, Ramapo, Brandywine Red, Green Zebra.

SMALL TOMATOES Snow White, Isis Candy, Yellow Pear.

2008年9月21日 星期日

Why Chinese Food Isn't Hip


Why Chinese Food Isn't Hip

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Why did I wander out to Long Island on a steamy day, traveling some 14 miles from the center of the American restaurant scene to a dumpy place at the end of a New York City subway line? It seemed crazy to go all that way to visit Golden Szechuan. That is, until I plunged my chopsticks into a dish of ma po dou fu, that tongue-numbing classic of China's famed regional cuisine.

I hadn't tasted anything like it in this country since the late 1970s -- the bland white chunks of tofu set off by unashamed amounts of brown Sichuan peppercorns, red-bean paste and chiles, along with a scattering of ground beef and Chinese leek.

But why did I have to make a pilgrimage to the center of Chinese immigration here in the Flushing neighborhood of New York's Queens? Why couldn't this authentic example of China's unchallenged place at the pinnacle of world cuisines, an eminence shared only by France, have been available in a grander setting in Manhattan? Why, in a period when fusion cooking has mainstreamed Japanese and even minor Asian cuisines like Korean, has Chinese food been largely ignored by young U.S. chefs hungry for new grist for their food-transforming imaginations?

Anyone worried about the rise of China on the world stage, as made clear by last month's lavish Olympics display, can take a kind of cold comfort from the almost total failure of the world's biggest culture to break into the foodie world. Yes, there are tens of thousands of places to buy second-rate pork buns and wontons in any town you might happen to be in, from Lima, Peru, to Lima, Ohio. There are also deeply rooted Chinese expat cuisines in Malaysia and the Philippines. And even these peripheral adaptations of Mother China's food can be found in modern restaurants in Manhattan outside Chinatown.

But tell me where I can find a quality, high-end Chinese restaurant anywhere in a U.S. urban center aimed at nonethnic diners and I will beat a path there. So would other gastronomes indoctrinated into the mysteries of tongue-burning Sichuan and elegant Beijing dishes during the golden era of authentic Chinese food in America, which followed Richard Nixon home from his historic visit to Mao Zedong in 1972. We remember when the arrival of a chef from the mainland to a midtown Manhattan location was headline news. Now when we want to recapture the excitement and taste of those times, we trek to Flushing, or to Rosemead outside Los Angeles.

There are a few exceptions to the decline of Chinese food in U.S. urban centers. In New York, Wu Liang Ye in the shade of Rockefeller Center and Shun Lee West near Manhattan's Lincoln Center continue to wave the flag of Sichuan. We read recently about a reputedly excellent new place in the city's Garment District, but on closer inspection, Szechuan Gourmet turned out to be a sloppy, indifferent rendition of the great, hearty food of the earthquake-plagued province, whose dishes Fuchsia Dunlop gathered there as a student chef for her book 'Land of Plenty' (2003).

The ma po dou fu at Szechuan Gourmet was muddy in flavor, beef-starved, with barely a shred of green. We are also eager to try Yujean Kang's in Pasadena, Calif., and Sang Kee Peking Duck House in Philadelphia. And we'll be glad as always to hear from readers about their own picks.

Perhaps we can blame the poor quality of virtually all Chinese restaurants outside Chinese enclaves on their patrons -- descendants of the same non-Chinese who enabled self-taught immigrant Chinese chefs to invent chop suey. But that was generations ago.

Today, a greater cross-cultural shame is the paucity of Chinese fusion dishes on the same menus that ambitious, home-grown chefs fill with Japanese and other non-Chinese Asian hybrids. Think of Manhattan's Nobu and the Sushi Samba chain, with their South American takes on sushi. Recall all the eclectic menus that don't bother to explain the Japanese ingredients ponzu, nori and uni. Or, if you eat at one of the three hip Manhattan spots of Korean-American chef David Chang, ask yourself why his splashy fusion dishes can feature Korean kimchee and the Thai hot sauce sriracha without more than a nod to the master food culture that underlies Mr. Chang's melting wok?

Maybe the reason is that Chinese cuisine is just too massive an edifice for a superchef to assault. No less a kitchen titan than Jean-Georges Vongerichten closed his idiosyncratic and widely panned 66, a pseudo-Chinese place in Manhattan's Tribeca, and handed it over to a Japanese team. Or is it that investors in glitzy restaurants think their clientele will dismiss real Chinese food as uncool?

We recently tried the Peking duck at New York's only elegant midtown Chinese restaurant, Tse Yang, an offshoot of a similar place in Paris that puts a display of wine bottles and smoked salmon on the home page of its Web site. We'd call Tse Yang's Peking duck, that great procession of crisp duck skin and duck parts, an inept homage. Like its Sichuan dishes it's neither authentic nor a fusion of edible worlds, Gallic or otherwise. Michael Chow's international Mr. Chow chain, meantime, smothers a basically Beijing menu with cosmopolitan settings and service.

In downtown Manhattan, we love to order a true French-Chinese fusion dish at Annisa, where the Chinese-American chef Anita Lo has long featured Shanghai soup dumplings empowered with foie gras. But her diverse menu is no more weighted to China than to the rest of Asia, France and her own imagination.

In California, Wolfgang Puck has been trying his hand at Chinese fusion with Chinois on Main in Santa Monica since 1983. On its surface, this ought to be what I'm seeking -- a Chinese restaurant with a name partly French, and located outside Chinatown by its Austrian creator. In fact, only about half the entrees on a current Chinois menu look to China for their inspiration. And I am including in my tally some marginal items. Ditto at Boston's much-admired fusion outpost Blue Ginger, where China plays a distant second fiddle to Japan and southeast Asia.

To improve on this, at least superficially, you have to head for the hills, the L.A. suburb of Agoura Hills, where Mandarin Express Chinese Fusion Restaurant has been playing with tofu in 36 varieties since 1988 -- from strawberry-peach to Cajun style. It also offers a vast array of 'mock' meat dishes evidently based on Chinese Buddhist vegetarian recipes. Some of Mandarin Express's entrees are for carnivores, but I don't have high hopes for many of chef-owner Dan Chang's 'signature creations': orange chicken/beef named after actor Kelsey Grammer and raspberry Captain Morgan rum chicken.

Still, I will definitely be reserving a table at Mandarin Express -- to see if there is a serious confrontation with Chinese tradition behind the fruit and flimflam -- on my way to China, where, Ms. Dunlop reports, Chinese food is evolving in new directions of its own, while pioneering European restaurants are offering possibly unintentional versions of Euro-fusion to Chinese diners.

Until then, I will be commuting to Flushing, for dan dan noodles at Spicy & Tasty or the hot pot favored by hip young Chinese diners at Golden Szechuan.

Raymond Sokolov


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為 什麼要冒著炎炎烈日﹐從美式餐廳雲集的紐約市中心前往長島﹐奔波14英里﹐來到地鐵線最末端一個不起眼的小地方﹖跑這麼遠的路﹐就為了去一個名叫 “Golden Szechuan”(金四川)的中餐館吃飯﹐這簡直太瘋狂了。然而﹐當我把筷子伸進一盤“麻婆豆腐”﹐品嘗這道中國名菜留在舌尖的麻辣滋味時﹐立刻感覺這 一切都是值得的。


但 我為什麼要長途跋涉去紐約皇後區法拉盛(Flushing)的中國城品嘗中國美食﹖為什麼這道足以代表中國屹立在世界烹飪金字塔頂端(只有法國可以與之並 肩而立)的名菜不能在曼哈頓更高檔的餐廳出現﹖為什麼在混合式烹飪(fusion cooking)盛行的時期﹐只有日本料理、甚至影響力更小的韓國料理在美國大行其道﹐而中國菜卻往往被那些渴望從其他民族烹飪手法中吸取創新元素的年輕 美國廚師所忽視﹖

Rebecca McAlpin for The Wall Street Journal
順時針依次為﹕皇后區法拉盛的餐館﹐其中右邊的是Spicy & Tasty
2008 年8月的北京奧運會以其華麗的開閉幕式讓世界目睹了崛起的中國﹐但任何對中國崛起持懮慮態度的人﹐至少可以在飲食方面松上一口氣﹐因為中國菜在進軍世界美 食高端市場時﹐幾乎遭到全線潰敗。誠然﹐在世界任何一個地方﹐從秘魯首都利馬市到美國俄亥俄州的利馬市﹐你都可以找到中國餐館﹐買到豬肉包子和餛飩這樣的 便宜小吃﹔馬來西亞和菲律賓的烹飪受到中國菜系根深蒂固的影響﹔甚至在唐人街外曼哈頓的現代餐廳里﹐也能品嘗到經過改良以適應當地人口味的中國菜。

不 過﹐你能告訴我﹐在美國哪個城市的市中心能找到一家高品質、面向各類顧客的高檔中式餐廳嗎﹖如果能說出來﹐我馬上就會沖過去。和我一樣的還有當年那些沉醉 於神奇麻辣的川菜和高貴典雅的北京菜的美食家們。1972年尼克松總統(Richard Nixon)訪華歸來後﹐美國興起一股正宗中國菜的熱潮。我記得當時有個中國大陸的廚師來到曼哈頓市區﹐各大報紙紛紛刊登頭條新聞。如今﹐要是我們想再次 感受中國菜給人帶來的興奮和回味﹐只能去法拉盛的中國城﹐或洛杉磯郊外的羅斯密德(Rosemead)。

中國餐館在美國市中心的日漸衰落 也有幾個例外。紐約洛克菲勒中心附近的“五糧液”餐廳(Wu Liang Ye)以及曼哈頓林肯中心附近的Shun Lee West餐廳仍然高舉著川菜的大旗。最近我們聽說紐約製衣區開了一家不錯的中餐館﹐但去那兒一看﹐這家名叫朵頤食府(Szechuan Gourmet)的餐廳並沒有讓人耳目一新的感覺。四川前不久剛剛遭受地震災害﹐但那裡的美食卻讓人讚不絕口。扶霞(Fuchsia Dunlop)曾以廚藝學徒的身份在四川為其《天府之國》(Land of Plenty)一書(2003年出版)搜集了多種菜式。

朵頤 食府的麻婆豆腐口味不佳﹐沒有牛肉絲﹐青蔥也很少。我們很想找機會品嘗一下加州Pasadena市的“Yujean Kang”中國餐館以及費城“生記北京烤鴨館”(Sang Kee Peking Duck House)的菜餚﹐也很希望讀者能踴躍來信﹐談談你們自己中意的中國餐館。


今 天﹐在跨文化飲食方面一個更為令人遺憾的現象是﹐在很多雄心勃勃的美國本土廚師的菜單上﹐有日本和亞洲其他國家的菜餚﹐美式中國菜卻寥寥無幾。想想曼哈頓 的Nobu餐廳和森巴壽司連鎖店(Sushi Samba)﹐那裡帶有南美風味的壽司卷﹔想想所有那些異國情調餐廳的菜單﹐上面對一些日本食材根本不必多加解釋﹐比如ponzu、nori和uni。或 者﹐如果你去韓裔美籍廚師David Chang在曼哈頓開的三家熱門餐館中的任何一家吃飯﹐不妨問問自己﹐為什麼這位廚師在用韓國泡菜和泰國拉差辣醬做出融合式料理時﹐可以完全不用理會作為 其烹飪之本的中國菜文化呢﹖

忽視中國菜的一個可能原因是﹐中國菜對外國大廚來說像是一座難以逾越的大山。舉例而言﹐國際著名廚師Jean -Georges Vongerichten關掉了風格獨特、備受矚目的“66”餐廳﹐一家位於曼哈頓Tribeca區的中式風格餐館﹐轉而交給一個日本團隊經營。或者還有 另一個原因﹐高檔餐廳的投資人覺得提供原汁原味的中國菜會讓食客們難以接受﹖

最近﹐我們去紐約市區唯一一家比較上檔次的中餐館Tse Yang吃北京烤鴨。這是巴黎一家類似餐廳的紐約分店﹐其網站宣傳圖片展示的是很多支紅酒和煙熏三文魚。北京烤鴨應該皮脆肉嫩﹐但Tse Yang的烤鴨只能說是差強人意﹔那裡的四川菜不中不洋﹐也不好吃。與此同時﹐國際華人餐飲業巨子周英華(Michael Chow)開的Mr.Chow中餐連鎖店﹐雖然提供的大多是北京菜﹐但用餐環境和服務方式基本上都西化了。

在曼哈頓商業區﹐我們很喜歡去Annisa餐廳點一道真正意義上的法式中國菜﹐由美籍華人主廚Anita Lo烹制的鵝肝餡上海湯餛飩。不過﹐這家餐廳菜單上的中國菜並不比亞洲其他國家菜餚、法式料理和自創菜的比重大。

在 加州﹐主廚沃爾夫岡•帕克 (Wolfgang Puck)自1983年以來﹐就在聖塔摩尼卡(Santa Monica)的Chinois on Main餐廳嘗試中式風格的菜餚。從表面來看﹐這家餐廳正是我在尋找的那種─一家名字帶有法語的中餐館﹐不在唐人街附近﹐老闆是奧地利人。但事實上﹐菜單 的頭盤只有約一半帶有中式料理風格﹐而且其中幾道算成中國菜實在有些勉強。在波士頓熱門的異國情調餐廳Blue Ginger﹐中式菜餚屈居在日式料理和東南亞菜餚之後。

要想品嘗更多的中國菜(至少表面看來是中國菜)﹐你得前往洛杉磯郊區的亞哥拉山 (Agoura Hills)﹐那裡的“Mandarin Express Chinese Fusion Restaurant”從1988年起就有36道豆腐做的菜--從豆腐做的草莓和桃子﹐到阿卡迪亞風格的豆腐等﹐此外還有不少根據中國佛教素食菜譜烹制的 “素”肉菜餚。有好幾道頭盤是給愛吃肉的食客準備的﹐但我對老闆兼主廚Dan Chang的這些“自創招牌菜”大多不抱太高期望﹕比如以男演員凱爾塞.格拉莫(Kelsey Grammer)命名的橘汁雞肉/牛肉﹐以及樹莓“摩根船長”(Captain Morgan)郎姆酒雞肉等。


在出現更好的中餐館之前﹐我還是會長途跋涉去法拉盛的中國城﹐在Spicy & Tasty川菜館點上一碗擔擔面﹐或者去年輕人愛去的“金四川”餐館點一個熱辣辣的火鍋大快朵頤。

Raymond Sokolov

2008年9月20日 星期六

Culinary Asia

Culinary Asia

Basil Childers for The New York Times, top and bottom left; Charles Pertwee for The New York Times, top right; Christie Johnston for The New York Times, bottom right

Clockwise from top left, a street snack in Seoul; Peking duck with pan-fried foie gras from Singapore; hot pot in Taipei; salmon tartar with wasabi tobiko in Hanoi.

Published: September 21, 2008

From crispy wasabi prawn in Singapore to sea urchin pâté in Taipei, get a special culinary tour of Asia from The New York Times Travel archives.

Then view a slide show of some mouth-watering highlights and browse our food-and-wine guide.


Beijing: The Fusion on the Menu Is Art and Food

Artists-turned-restaurateurs are introducing cuisine from their ancestral provinces.

In Hong Kong, Home Kitchens With Open Doors

Some of the best places to dine on the island are the intimate eating places that have sprung up in people's homes.

Shanghai: a Far East Feast

Local river prawns, slow-cooked pork rump, hairy crabs and soup dumplings are all served in classic form.


Exquisite Dining In Traditional Kyoto

The city’s cuisine is the legacy of court and temple — aristocratic and understated.


The Weird, Wild and, Ultimately, Sublime in Seoul

A foodie’s quest starts with barbecue and takes off from there with raw octopus tentacles.

Take Many Peoples and Ingredients, Mix, Enjoy

Take Many Peoples and Ingredients, Mix, Enjoy

A melting-pot nation mixes all its traditions in its kitchens.


A Repressed City-State? Not in Its Kitchens

The country has gastronomic attractions aplenty, from street food to restaurants with inventive cuisine.


Feasting at the Table of the Other China

The little democratic island offers an array of culinary influences.


Restaurateurs Push Hanoi Into the Future

Sophisticated food is showing up in this ancient city that has something for every palate.

Savoring the Bounty of Vietnam

One couple plans a do-it-yourself culinary odyssey through Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.