what makes a clasiscally trained chef turned bbq master want to throw a chinese new year party?
As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved Chinese food. Growing up with a Jewish mother and Grandparents, it was definitely our “go to” cuisine. When I lived in Rhode Island as a kid, we’d go to this (in retrospect) super 80’s Chinese restaurant, “Mai Tai”. Not your typical take out place, but a full dining room, dimly lit with classic Chinese tschotchkes. It was classic Chinese-American food. Wonton soup, egg rolls, general tso’s chicken and where I fell in love with all this awesome food. It’s where I learned how to use chopsticks, drank Shirley Temples from Tiki cups, and discovered that duck sauce does not, in fact, contain duck.
It’s where I discovered my favorite dish, the pu pu platter for two. Not only did this awesome carved wooden bowl house crispy fried shrimp, egg rolls, roasted pork, chicken wings, spare ribs, but it had an actual fire in the middle for you to heat up your food surrounded by skewers of exotic fruit. (child safety in the 80’s? Psssht) THIS WAS AWESOME. Fortunately I was a portly lad in my younger days and that only prepped me for eating this 2 person meal for the rest of my life. I still order it to this day.
One time my brother got a bloody nose, right in the middle of dinner and as my mom was getting us ready to leave and get him fixed up, the server, who’s family owned the place, had him lay back and took greens from my wonton soup and packed them in his nose! (yes this actually happened, again it was the 80’s) The bleeding stopped and we finished dinner.
That story has been told a million times over the past 35 years or so, but it shows that Chinese food is more than just a meal. It’s an experience. It’s sharing and trying new things and getting the best fortune out of the fortune cookies.