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For Christine Zhang, Chinese New Year celebrations are not complete without dumplings, whole fish, chicken, pork, long noodles and sticky rice balls stuffed with sweet black sesame paste. Zhang and her colleagues at the LA Times have compiled their favorite Lunar New Year recipes in a nifty interactive post. If you'd rather go the vegetarian route, food writer Fuchsia Dunlop offers up ideas and techniques for how to prepare tofu, plus a recipe for Nanjing New Year's salad from her new cookbook, Land of Fish and Rice.
Music: "Flicker" by Porter Robinson and "Hwyl Fawr I Pawb" by Gorky's Zygotic Mynci
Chinese cuisine has a long and complicated history in the United States. In the 19th century, food helped Chinese immigrants find their footing on America's unfamiliar and discriminatory soil. Culinary historian Anne Mendelson surveys this journey in her new book, Chow Chop Suey.
Not up to cooking the Lunar New Year feast at home? LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold has got you covered. From long chewy Lanzhou-style hand-pulled noodles to fried lobster the size of a Spaniel floating in aromatics and chiles, here are Jonathan's suggestions for restaurants where you can usher in the Year of the Rooster. Find out more of what he'll be eating on the LA Times website.
Newport Seafood: 518 West Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel, CA 91776 | (626) 289-5998; 18441 Colima Road, Rowland Heights, CA 91748 | (626) 839-1239; 50 North La Cienega Boulevard, No. 130, Beverly Hills, CA 90211 | (310) 855-0088
China Tasty: 1308 East Valley Boulevard, Alhambra, CA 91801 | (626) 457-8483
Din Tai Fung: 400 South Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91007 | (626) 446-8588; 1108 South Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91007 | (626) 574-7068; 177 Caruso Avenue, Glendale, CA 91210 | (818) 551-5561
Duck House: 501 South Atlantic Boulevard, Monterey Park, CA 91754 | (626) 284-3227
Hai Di Lao: 400 South Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91007 | (626) 445-7232
Hunan Mao: 8728 Valley Boulevard, No. 101, Rosemead, CA 91770 | (626) 280-0588
J Zhou Oriental Cuisine: 2601 Park Avenue, Tustin, CA 92782 | (714) 258-8833
Photo of lobster with ginger and green onions courtesy of Newport Seafood.
Music: "Crack a Bottle" by Eminem (featuring Dr. Dre) and "Cumbia Do Donde" by Calexico
Persimmons are often given as good luck gifts this time of year. When raw and unripe, they practically beg you not to eat them, making your mouth feel like it's covered in a cashmere sweater. When ripe, persimmons are a mushy mess. Yet Sáša Woodruff reports that there is a way to turn the persimmon from dire to sublime. Learn more on the Good Food blog. Woodruff's piece comes to us thanks to KCRW's Independent Producer Project.
Music: "Días y Flores" by Silvio Rodríguez
Because they're easy to cultivate, dry well and are simple to transport, the affordable chile pepper and its profuse varieties have been what Judith Finlayson refers to as "gastronomic democratizers" since the days of Columbus. Finlayson is the author of The Chile Pepper Bible.
Music: "Punta Baja" by The Eliminators and "Theme: Deep Forest" by Earl Hines
At the Santa Monica Farmers Market this week, Laura Avery hears how to sprout an almond from Fat Uncle Farms vendor John Carpenter, and learns the difference between a pistachio and almond tree from the farm's Amanda Bergman. Sprouting almonds, Carpenter says, simulates nature. "Anytime you sprout an almond, you release a phytic acid in a seed. And that's kind of the way nature provides all the animals food, by sprouting and growing it into something in the next season."
Music: "Swing 39" by Django Reinhardt and "Blue Peanut" by The Mar-Keys