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Spices Along the Silk Road

December Junzi Chef's Table

 

For Chef’s Table this month, we partner with MOFAD Chef John Hutt and Burlap & Barrel co-founder Ethan Frisch, on a journey through the Silk Road from China to Venice, tracing how Chinese foodways evolved on the journey from Chang’an into Xinjiang, the oasis cities of Central Asia, the Middle East, and finally Europe. Where silk was the transport, food was the connection that opened up the doors of cultural translation.

Our third course featured three types of dumplings, inspired by spices and flavors along the silk road.

Our third course featured three types of dumplings, inspired by spices and flavors along the silk road.

 

- Menu, December 2018 -

SICHUAN PEPPERCORN
chilled dan dan noodles, sesame, ginger, scallion

AFGHAN CUMIN, SAFFRON
lamb kebob, cilantro, parsley, yogurt

DUMPLINGS, SPICES
mongolian buuz, uzbek manti, afghan mantu, vareniki, khinkali

TURMERIC, BAY, CORIANDER
fish curry, coriander bao, plov

LONG PEPPER, CARDAMOM
rose water ice cream

 
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Sweet & Sour

October Junzi Chef's Table

 

The recipes we’re cooking from this month are very, very old.

For Chef’s Table in October, we partnered with vinegar expert Michael Harlan Turkell and vinegar purveyor Gotham Grove to explore the role of vinegar in Chinese cooking and how Chinese cuisine influenced the use of vinegar in cultures beyond.
Over 6 courses, we’ll examined how a slight twist in just the component of vinegar in traditional Chinese dishes can transform and transport flavor profiles into novel directions.

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- Menu, October 2018 -

CUCUMBER
3 year plum vinegar, lemon, perilla, sichuan peppercorns

WONTON EGG DROP SOUP
5-year ginkgo ‘hyo’ vinegar, chicken wonton, chinese celery

WEST LAKE COD
8-year snail black vinegar, long beans, olives

SWEET & SOUR PORK
3-year winter melon vinegar, hawthorne, hazelnuts

BRAISED CABBAGE
black rice vinegar, superior broth, ham

MILLET RICE
3-year mugwort vinegar, koshihikari

APPLE MILK
sakamoto apple amber rice vinegar, milk

PINEAPPLE BUNS
aged plantain vinegar, pineapple custard

 
plating the 3rd course: west lake cod, leeks, snail black vinegar, potato

plating the 3rd course: west lake cod, leeks, snail black vinegar, potato

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Turkell talking vinegar

Turkell talking vinegar

First course: smashed cucumber, lemon, perilla, plum vinegar

First course: smashed cucumber, lemon, perilla, plum vinegar


The classic pineapple custard bun (港式菠蘿包) a Hong Kong bakery staple, was our last course in this meal.

The classic pineapple custard bun (港式菠蘿包) a Hong Kong bakery staple, was our last course in this meal.

2nd course: wonton egg drop soup with 5-year ginkgo ‘hyo’ vinegar, chicken wonton, chinese celery

2nd course: wonton egg drop soup with 5-year ginkgo ‘hyo’ vinegar, chicken wonton, chinese celery


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From Rome to Canal St

August Junzi Chef's Table

 

In the beginning, more than 2,000 years ago, Romans built aqueducts and snacked on bread, vegetables, olives, and fish sauce.

Meanwhile, Chinese courtsmen were inventing paper, cultivating fruits, eating domesticated birds and making soy sauce. The two empires sat on opposite edges of the earth, but philosophers and eunuchs alike had already begun to sing the songs of food as medicine, food as decadence, food as civilization.

Since the two cultures came in contact, sometime around 97 AD, Italian and Chinese cuisines have evolved in wildly, often disparate but sometimes overlapping manners. This August, over 5-7 courses, we take a look at the lattice of those intersecting cuisines and how they complement each other, beginning with the Romans and ending in the literal intersection of Little Italy and Chinatown, here in Manhattan.

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- Menu, August 2018 -

antipasti
LOTUS, MISTRANSLATED
lotus root, red dates, moretum, barley

primi
MARCO POLO & THE MYTH OF THE NOODLE
semolina noodles, minced duck, peppercorns, chinese ham

secondi
SACRED SPACES, IN DIALOGUE
white fish, farro, olives, black sesame

insalata
WESTERN RED PERSIMMON
pat chun tomato, apricot kernel, almond custard

dolce
WHERE CHINATOWN MET LITTLE ITALY
zabaione, wafer, tapioca cake

 
WHERE CHINATOWN MET LITTLE ITALY  zabaione, wafer, tapioca cake

WHERE CHINATOWN MET LITTLE ITALY
zabaione, wafer, tapioca cake

MARCO POLO & THE MYTH OF THE NOODLE  semolina noodles, minced duck, peppercorns, chinese ham

MARCO POLO & THE MYTH OF THE NOODLE
semolina noodles, minced duck, peppercorns, chinese ham

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Strange Delicacies of Combined Flavors

April Junzi Chef's Table

 

The recipes we’re cooking from this month are very, very old.

Most of them are from around 1330, when Mongols ruled over China and the imperial pharmacist Hu Sihui wrote the very first book on Chinese medicine and Chinese cuisine, 饮膳正要 or “Important Principles of Food and Drink.”

As a culinary encyclopaedia, this book catalogued regional recipes that eventually permeated into the national cuisine of the whole of China. Today, many of the most iconic Chinese dishes had roots in recipes from this book, which we’ve taken the liberty to serve them to you tonight.

Each menu is designed and printed in-house by our creative team, inspired by the theme of the month.

Each menu is designed and printed in-house by our creative team, inspired by the theme of the month.

 

- Menu, April 2018 -

FAT CHICKEN DUMPLINGS, or DEBONED CHICKEN MORSELS
with sprouting ginger, vermicelli, sichuan peppercorn

PEKING DUCK, or ROAST DUCK FROM THE 14TH CENTURY
roasted with sheep’s stomach, onions, and finely ground coriander

POPPY SEED BAO

NOODLE SOUP, or HANGING NOODLES
in duck and mutton broth with sweet melon and vinegar

CHINESE SWEET PUDDING, or EARTH IMMORTAL CONCENTRATE
candied Chinese yams, apricot kernel, goat’s milk custard

 
Chicken dumplings with sprouting ginger, vermicelli, sichuan peppercorn

Chicken dumplings with sprouting ginger, vermicelli, sichuan peppercorn

Family-style 2nd course: Roasted duck and fluffy poppy seed bao with lamb gravy, to soak up all that flavor.

Family-style 2nd course: Roasted duck and fluffy poppy seed bao with lamb gravy, to soak up all that flavor.

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Chef Lucas describing Hu Sihui's "A Soup for the Qan" the book that inspired April's Chef's Table recipes and ingredients.

Chef Lucas describing Hu Sihui's "A Soup for the Qan" the book that inspired April's Chef's Table recipes and ingredients.

For April, we got our spring flowers from Fox Fodder Farm and a porcelain soy sauce bottle-turned vase from our friends at Wing on Wo.

For April, we got our spring flowers from Fox Fodder Farm and a porcelain soy sauce bottle-turned vase from our friends at Wing on Wo.

The 4th course: hanging noodles in duck and mutton broth with sweet melon, plus a touch of red vinegar

The 4th course: hanging noodles in duck and mutton broth with sweet melon, plus a touch of red vinegar

The 5th and final course: Chinese sweet pudding with, candied Chinese yams, apricot kernel, goat’s milk custard

The 5th and final course: Chinese sweet pudding with, candied Chinese yams, apricot kernel, goat’s milk custard


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A Red New Year

February Junzi Chef's Table

 

For our February Chef's Table, we explored the Chinese history of the color red, a color that is more apparent in Chinese cuisine than anywhere else.

 
Red Soaked: Lotus root soaked in a medicinal braising liquid in two stages until tender

Red Soaked: Lotus root soaked in a medicinal braising liquid in two stages until tender

- Menu, February 2018 -

RED OIL: WONTONS
pork & leek, blood orange, "modified" sauce

RED-SOAKED: LOTUS ROOT
green sichuan peppercorns, brooklyn tofu, sesame

RED FURU: OYSTER MUSHROOM
sichuan bacon, pickled woodear, pomelo

RED-COOKED: PORK BELLY
eight treasure rice, napa cabbage, flowers

RED SYRUP: DUMPLINGS
osmanthus, roasted soy bean flour

Originally a southern condiment, Red Furu is fermented with yeast rice, rose wine, and caramel for color

Originally a southern condiment, Red Furu is fermented with yeast rice, rose wine, and caramel for color

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You can't mention the color red in sichuan cooking without Red Oil dumplings: The assumption is that () refers to the top sheen of oil, but the equally interesting bottom layer is () which refers to the fortified soy sauce  Our soy sauce is cooked down with black sugar, Chinese licorice, ginger, galangal, chilis, etc. Finally the pork and celery wontons are served with a squeeze of blood orange and chervil.

You can't mention the color red in sichuan cooking without Red Oil dumplings:
The assumption is that () refers to the top sheen of oil, but the equally interesting bottom layer is () which refers to the fortified soy sauce

Our soy sauce is cooked down with black sugar, Chinese licorice, ginger, galangal, chilis, etc.
Finally the pork and celery wontons are served with a squeeze of blood orange and chervil.

 
Red Cooked: A common technique, likely invented in Jiangsu, but now as popular in imperial kitchens as in home kitchens. it's usually a braise of spices, soy sauce, and sugar.

Red Cooked: A common technique, likely invented in Jiangsu, but now as popular in imperial kitchens as in home kitchens. it's usually a braise of spices, soy sauce, and sugar.

There's no soy sauce, the red color comes from a caramel. in the absence of soy sauce, the other spices have a bit more room to shine., producing a pork belly that's wonderfully succulent and nuanced.

There's no soy sauce, the red color comes from a caramel. in the absence of soy sauce, the other spices have a bit more room to shine., producing a pork belly that's wonderfully succulent and nuanced.

Our pork dish is served with celebratory 8 treasures rice

Our pork dish is served with celebratory 8 treasures rice

 

We hope to see you at the next Junzi Chef's Table. Get your spot before it sells out, your tastebuds will thank you.

 

Junzi Chef's Table is a monthly dinner series that extends Junzi flavors beyond our everyday menu, and explores the narrative of Chinese cuisine as it intersects with areas of food, drink, and culture. Chef and Culinary Director Lucas Sin curates a five-course tasting menu with a different theme every month. All you need to bring is your curious appetite.


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