Showing posts from July, 2012

Seeking Xiao Long Bao

One of my favorite foods is Xiao Long Bao or steamed dumplings.  It's a Shanghainese food and consists of a thin wrapping around pork and broth that is then steamed in bamboo baskets.  A few variations, of crab meat or vegetables exist, but my favorite tends to be the simple pork-based version.

Xiao Long Bao fans like myself consider a few things to be important when searching for a great xiao long bao.  1) the skin should be delicate and thin.  This isn't a thicker dumpling for frying 2) there should be plentiful soup or broth.  3) the quality of the pork, not too fatty, not too dry, is important.
In China, especially Shanghai, there are a multitude of top-notch restaurants serving this regional specialty with fans adamant about which they find the greatest.  Across the world, Din Tai Fung, started in Taiwan but whose founder was from China, is widely considered to be the best.  With outposts in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Unit…

Farewell, Foie Gras

On July 1st, 2012, California became the only state in the United States to ban the consumption of foie gras.  Foie gras, a French delicacy consisting of fatty duck or goose liver, is an extremely common dish used by high-end chefs and has fans across the country.

Although Chicago temporarily had a ban from 2006 to 2008, their ban was repealed after the City Council voted to overwhelmingly overturn it following comments made by their then Mayor Daley.  California's ban will be the only one in the United States and was actually passed in 2004, with 8 years for local producers to comply with the ban.

The controversy over foie gras largely is due to the production methods.  Ducks and geese are force-fed a rich diet such that their livers enlarge beyond normal size.  These fatty livers are then collected.

Animal rights activists have felt that force-feeding birds is an inhumane practice whereas foie gras producers and many chefs consider current methods to reflect a humane treatment o…