AFOODIE

Page 1

March 2098

Volume 138

The authentic Asian taste you’re looking for.

The cheapest Michelin-starred Meal in the world

3 Things You Must Do in Mid-Autumn Festival

• 壹食客 •

Black Pepper Crab on Henry Golding’s Table




SEPTEMBER 2025

TABLE

05 抬頭

STARTERS Top of Must Have Dim Sum Shrimp Dumpling

Special Spice

Satay Chicken in Laut

11 盛饌

MAIN Ramen 1o1

The history of ramen

目 錄

Celebrity’s Table

Henry Golding, f rom Crazy Rich Asian, talks about Black Pepper Crab

17 添花

SWEETS A Handmade Cutie on Earth Crispy Wheel Cake

It’s a Mystery in Asian Culture

01 EDITOR’S LETTER 04 BEHIND THE TABLE

Fortune cookie couldn’t be found in China.

23 共慶

CULTURE How to Order Bubble Tea

Little Tricks You’d Hardly Know

28 特輯

FEATURES 3 Things You Must Do in Mid-Autumn Festival A Festival of Gathering

The cheapest Michelin-starred meal in the world Liao Fan Hawker Chan



THE FEAST

餮 EDITOR’S

LETTER

“ There’re so many unexpected and amazing Asian food that everyone would fall in love with. The magazine will lead you to a food fairy tale.”

T

aste is always subjective. One man’s spicy is another man’s uncontrollable, red faced pain. One woman’s sweet is another woman’s diabetic nightmare. As foodie travellers, there is one thing we can promise – We have eaten a lot. In doing so, we’ve drawn a bunch of comparisons in order to complete this list more precisely. It’s been one hell of a journey, one which still continues. We’ve eaten fantastically well and we’ve discovered foods we’d never even dreamed of.There are a lot of great dishes that did not make the list. So, in no particular order, these are the best of the best foods in Asia and I’m going to tell you why. With Americans increased demand for healthier foods there is a spiked interest in Asian flavors and cooking techniques. The wide variety and sheer amount of Asian spices and spice blends provide both intense flavors and well balanced meals that are hard to match in many other worldwide cuisines.

Ecepet China, we’ve also been to Korea and other Asian countries. South Korea is the most expensive country we visited for food over the last year. Although it is possible to get a meal for under $5 you’ll be stuck with some pretty basic chow. This journey was so impressive that our team believe that the magazine would be successful in transporting culture. The “A” in “AFOODIE” not only stands for “Asian”, it also means we would only present authentic and grade A food to you. Hope you enjoy reading.

by

Editor Claire Zhuang





JESSICA HUANG EXECUTIVE EDITOR

@ j_huang87 A mom who knows what best dishes should be. She has handdled all odds caused by the differences between Asian culture and American culture in her family.

BEHIND THE TABLE

KAREN YEUNG

@ karen_yeungstyle

The coolest girl in our team! She’s good at digging out insights from ideas. Other than being a foodie, she’s also a fashion blogger. She could alway keep balance between eating and being fit.

CHEF YO

@ jenreyessss

A chef who runs two restaurants. In Thailand, the country he grown up, it’s not counted as a full meal if there’s no rice! He thinks that’s the key ingredient, even in the morning they need to eat rice.”


CLAIRE ZHUANG

EDITOR

@ mint_clayz

Born and raised in China. Went to College in the United States. She believes authentic Asian food would be loved by everyone in the world. She’s also enthusiastic about sharing what she loves about Asian food.

BIN CHEN @ bbobachen

Co-founder of Boba Guys. Bin has put all his passion into making better boba. Our expert on looking for authentic Asian sweets.

JENSINE REYES

@ jenreyessss

Jensine has her own vision on how lifestyle has been changing nowadays. She’s proud of her heritage. She hopes everybody get the chance to enjoy finer food in life.



抬頭

STARTERS Appetizers Snacks in

FINE AUTHENTIC ASIAN FOOD 06

Shrimp Dumpling

08

Fried Dumpline

10

Satay Chicken in Laut NYC

SEPTEMBER 2025


STARTERS | SHRIMP DUMPLING

蝦餃

TOP OF MUST-HAVE DIM SUM “ Cantonese favorite SHRIMP DUMPLINGS just melted in the mouth. A must-try dish! ” BY SAMMY NG

S

hrimp dumplings are transparent and smooth. The prawn dumplings first appeared in Guangzhou outskirts near the creek bazaar Deli. This dish is said to be the one that the skill of a dim sum chef is judged on. Traditionally, ha gow should have at least seven and preferably ten or more pleats imprinted on its wrapper. The skin must be thin and translucent, yet be sturdy enough not to break when picked up with chopsticks. It must not stick to the paper, container or the other ha gow in the basket. The shrimp must be cooked well, but not overcooked. The amount of meat should be generous, yet not so much that it cannot be eaten in one bite.





STARTERS | SATAY CHICKEN

沙爹雞

SPECIAL SPICE We are recommanding SATAY CHICKEN in Laut, a restaurant in New York City. B Y J U L I A K WA N & ANNA TAN

e

uce: S at t Sa

ay uc e

Th

e

e cr

Sa

S

S

atay (SAH-tay), or sate in Indonesian spelling, is a dish of seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce. It is a dish of Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Satay may consist of diced or sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef, pork, fish, other meats, or tofu; the more authentic version uses skewers from the midrib of the coconut palm frond, although bamboo skewers are often used. These are grilled or barbecued over a wood or charcoal fire, then served with various spicy seasonings. Satay can be served in various sauces, however most often they are served in a combination of soy and peanut sauce. Hence, peanut sauce is often called satay sauce. Satay originated on the Indonesian island of Java. It is available almost anywhere in Indonesia, where it has become a national dish. It is also popular in many other Southeast Asian countries including Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. Due to the widespread popularity of Thai cuisine, the Thai version of satay is the most well known outside of Southeast Asia and is the version that is most commonly found in restaurants in the West. A key feature of Thai satay is the inclusion of pork as a meat option, Thai-style peanut sauce and toasted bread being served as an accompaniment. Meanwhile, Indonesian satay is often served with kecap manis - a sweet soy sauce, and is often accompanied with lontong, a type of rice cake. In Sri Lanka, it has become a staple of the local diet as a result of the influences from the local Malay community.



STARTERS | SATAY CHICKEN

Laut NYC

Signature Dish

The restaurant Laut is conveniently located at Union Square, Laut was one of the first Malaysian restaurants to receive a Michelin Star in NY. Laut focus on bringing the best recipes, dishes and flavors from South East Asia for you. The resaurant’s goal is to preserve the flavor profiles of each dish, while maintaining the integrity of each cuisine. The only way to achieve that is to recreate them from scratch with regionally authentic spices and the freshest ingredients. Laut, in Bahasa Melayu, translates to Sea. These straits or seas of these coastal cities played a crucial role in the region’s history. At Laut, they’ll navigate your palates through an adventurous journey of flavors through the cuisine. Their menu ranges from local favorites, street foods, different curries, spicy, satays, noodles, bread, and rice dishes.

Satay chicken is a popular delicacy in Indonesia. In Indonesia, satay is a popular street food, it can be obtained from a street-side restaurant, in an upper-class restaurant, or at traditional celebration feasts. Although both Thailand and Malaysia claim it as their own, its Southeast Asian origin was in Java, Indonesia. There satay was developed from the Indian kebab brought by the Muslim traders. Even India cannot claim its origin, for there it was a legacy of Middle Eastern influence. Laut’s long menu winds through pad thai and teriyaki bento boxes and grilled salmon; chef Tommy Lai, who has been running the kitchen for more than two years now, was born and raised in Malaysia, and is of Chinese/Malaysian descent, clearly likes to experiment with other Asian cuisines. But your order should primarily involve the Malaysian dishes.

Location and Hours 15 East 17th Street (Between Broadway & Fifth Avenue) New York, NY 10003 LUNCH: Monday - Friday: 11:30am – 3:15pm DINNER: Monday - Thursday: 5pm – 9:45pm Friday: 5pm – 10:15pm Saturday: 1pm – 10:15pm Sunday: 1pm – 9:45pm




盛饌

12

Ramen 101

14

Celebrity’s Table

Entrées in

MAIN

FINE AUTHENTIC ASIAN FOOD

Henry Golding Black Peper Crab

16

Pad Thai in Bangkok2


MAIN | RAMEN

拉面

RAMEN 101 Origin Ramen is a Japanese adaptation of Chinese wheat noodles. Ramen was first introduced to Japan by Chinese immigrants in the late 19thor early 20th century. According to the record of the new Yokohama Ramen Museum, ramen originated in China and made its way over to Japan in 1859.Early versions were wheat noodles in broth topped with Chinese-style roast pork.

Initial Appearance By 1900, restaurants serving Chinese cuisine from Canton and Shanghai offered a simple ramen dish of noodles (cut rather than hand-pulled), a few toppings, and a broth flavored with salt and pork bones. Many Chinese living in Japan also pulled portable food stalls, selling ramen and gyōza dumplings to workers. By the mid-1900s, these stalls used a type of a musical horn called a charumera (チャルメラ, from the Portuguese charamela) to advertise their presence, a practice some vendors still retain via a loudspeaker and a looped recording. By the early Shōwa period, ramen had become a popular dish when eating out. According to ramen expert Hiroshi Osaki, the first specialized ramen shop opened in Yokohama in 1910.

“ The ideal occasion for this ramen would be, I’m running from the rain and I need a shelter, oh wait is this a ramen place or an exhibition?” Let’s talk about the histort of Ramen first. BY YUMA ICHIKO

Soup There are also different flavors for soup. Customers may pick various toppings to add to their ramen.

Ramen soup is generally made from stock based on chicken or pork, combined with a variety of ingredients such as kombu (kelp), katsuobushi (skipjack tuna flakes), niboshi (dried baby sardines), beef bones, pork bones, shiitake, and onions. Some modern Ramen broths can also be vegetable based. Tonkotsu ( 豚骨, “pork bone”; not to be confused with tonkatsu) soup usually has a cloudy white colored broth. It is similar to the Chinese baitang (白湯) and has a thick broth made from boiling pork bones, fat, and collagen over high heat for many hours, which suffuses the broth with a hearty pork flavor and a creamy consitency that rivals milk, melted butter or gravy (depending on the shop). The resulting combination is generally divided into four categories. (although new and original variations often make this categorisation less clear-cut) Described from old ones.



MAIN | HENRY GOLDING

黑胡椒蟹

CELEBRITY’S TABLE Henry Golding

Recently, Crazy Rich Aisans, a new hollywood movie, hits the big screens. It’s remarkable in Hollywood history because this is first film by a major Hollywood studio to feature a majority Asian American cast in a modern setting since The Joy Luck Club in 1993. The protagonist, Nick Young, is from the richest Young family in Singapore. BLACK PEPPER CRAB is one of the most classic Singaporean dishes. B Y B RY A N L I M



MAIN | HENRY GOLDING

B

lack pepper crab is one of the two most popular[citation needed] ways that crab is served in Singaporean cuisine. It is made with hard-shell crabs, and fried with black pepper. Unlike the other popular chilli crab dish, it is not cooked in a sauce and therefore has a dry consistency. It is becoming very popular to mix the pepper crab with a fresh jackfruit sauce. The creation of Singapore’s black pepper crab is attributed to Long Beach Seafood Restaurant in 1959.

Henry Golding by the Table Interview with this hot guy.

HG: What is it about Singapore that you love? “ It’s the most wonderful city and the jumping-off point for the rest of Asia. The society itself is super safe and there’s constantly something new to see and experience.”

What’s the first place you visit when you return from a trip abroad? HG: “ To be honest with you, I’m much more of a homebody. But I do live very close to the river and there’s a great community where I’m based, so I usually like to go to a little café or brunch spot, watch the world go by and then walk around the city in the evening when it’s cooler. In the day time it can get very sweaty so it’s a good idea to leave the walking to later on.” HG: Which’s your favourite area in Singapore? “ There are a few little spots that I love, one called Haji Lane or the Arab area. It’s very cultured and has a really great arts scene. It’s a prime spot for shopping as there as so many boutique and independent shops. At night, I’d say the majority of Singaporeans head straight for the river - the nightlife along Robertson Quay shouldn’t be missed.” HG: Where can you find the most delicious

street food?

“ Oh that’s a hard one and a real point of contention for people living in Singapore! They’re very protective over it, and everyone has their own view over “who does what best”. But the Hawker markets - you really can’t go wrong. We filmed in Newton Circus, which is fairly touristy but is the most accessible. Otherwise, I’d say Golden Mile food court. The great thing is you can sit at a table and have endless dishes made fresh to order.” HG: What’s the best way to experience the

city besides taking in the view?

Henry Golding and Constance Wu in Crazy Rich Asians

“ The evening is the best time to experience the city and really enjoy it. I’d say there’s a nice hour-long window from about 5:30pm onwards before the sun sets. The thing I would always recommend would be the Night



MAIN | HENRY GOLDING

Safari, which sounds very touristy but it’s one of the most phenomenal, immersive experiences and beats most of the safari tours on offer around the world.’ HG: What’s the one Singaporean dish

every visitor should try?

“ Besides black pepper crab, I would recommand either cha kway teow which is a fried noodle dish, or bak kut teh - a pork bone soup. A good old satay is always unbeatable, though!” HG: What does a perfect day consist of in

Singapore?

“ I think I’d start with a morning hike around Bukit Timah Nature Reserve or MacRitchie Reservoir Park ending at Common Man coffee shop which is in Robertson Quay. Dinner would have to be at Burnt Ends. It’s one of the most classic restaurants in Singapore and has just won a Michelin Star. The food is my go-to, it’s first thing I yearn for when I’m away! I took Jon M Chu (director of Crazy Rich Asians) while we were there for the premiere and he absolutely loved it.”

" T HE NIGHT SAFARI SOUNDS VERY TOURISTY BUT IT’S ONE OF THE MOST PHENOMENAL EXPERIENCES!”

HG: The best-kept secret in the city is… “ F lying kites on top of Marina Barrage. There’s the water barrage which acts as a dam between the river and the ocean, and the roof is covered in grass. You can buy little kites and fly them in the evening as the sun is going down. It’s free and such an amazing experience.” HG: If you could give one top tip to people

visiting Singapore - what would it be?

“ Go with an open mind, and don’t be afraid to hop out of Singapore and visit other islands and cities. We’re so well located and very close to Bali and Phuket. Singapore has one of the greatest airports in the world, and you can easily take a few days out of your trip to travel to Bali for under $100.”




添花 Desserts Drinks Others in

FINE AUTHENTIC ASIAN FOOD

18

Fortune Cookie

20

Wheel Cake

SWEETS


SWEETS | WHEEL CAKE

幸运饼干 車輪餅

FORTUNE COOKIE

A HANDMADE CUTIE ON EARTH B Y S H UCH EN H UA N G

“ The WHEEL CAKE itself is so cripsy and soft at the same time. Combined together the thick cakes are so mind-blowing delicious!!”

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W



SWEETS | FORTUNE COOKIE

幸运餅干

IT’S A MYSTERY IN ASIAN CULTURE “

We are thrilled with the FORTUNE COOKIES!!! They are even better than we had hoped. ” B Y JESSICA HUANG

A

fortune cookie is a crisp and sugary cookie usually made from flour, sugar, vanilla, and sesame seed oil with a piece of paper inside, a “fortune”, on which is an aphorism, or a vague prophecy. The message inside may also include a Chinese phrase with translation and/or a list of lucky numbers used by some as lottery numbers; since relatively few distinct messages are printed, in the recorded case where winning numbers happened to be printed, the lottery had an unexpectedly high number of winners sharing a prize. Fortune cookies are often served as a dessert in Chinese restaurants in the United States and other Western countries, but are not a tradition in China. The exact origin of fortune cookies is unclear, though various immigrant groups in California claim to have popularized them in the early 20th century. They most likely originated from cookies made by Japanese immigrants to the United States in the late 19th or early 20th century. The Japanese version did not have the Chinese lucky numbers and was eaten with Japanese tea.




SEPTEMBER 2025

共慶 CULTURE Trivia and Traditional Festivals in

FINE AUTHENTIC ASIAN FOOD

26

How to Order Bubble Tea

28

Dear Our People We’d love to hear from you and reply to you!


CULTURE | BUBBLE TEA

點茶

HOW TO ORDER BUBBLE TEA Little tricks you’d hardly know. Let us save you! B Y C L A I RE ZH U A N G & J E N S I NE REY ES

B

ubble tea, or boba, is a Taiwanese drink that has taken the United States by storm. It can be found anywhere from kiosks at the mall, to stand alone restaurants. It is known for its extra thick straw and black tapioca balls (bubbles) at the bottom of the cup. Most importantly, bubble tea is known for being a build-your-own drink. You get to choose the flavor, whether the drink is hot or cold and often times the type of tapioca at the bottom of the cup. Depending on what you choose, bubble tea will be a sweet milky drink or a fruity and flavor-packed treat. A brief process of ordering a bubble tea: Firstly, people get into a tea parlor, they would be able to choose a tea base, such as oolong tea, green tea and black tea. Some parlors would give choices of milk such as regular diary milk, oat milk, almond milk and soy milk. Next, you may be able to decide sweetness and how much ice you want. There’s exceptions. For example, in Boba Guys, you wouldn’t be able to adjust sweetness for all special drinks. In the end, you could pick toppings such as bubble, grass jelly, etc. Finally, you just need to wait for your fresh drink be done.



CULTURE | BUBBLE TEA

You select what you want.

STEP 3

STEP 1

STEP 2

TEA BASE

MILK

TOPPINGS

black tea green tea oolong tea tie guan yin thai tea matcha earl grey ...

regular milk almond milk soy milk oat milk condensed milk powdered milk milk alternatives ...

bubble grass jelly pudding almond jelly coconut jelly red bean chia seed ...

STEP 4

STEP 5

ICE LEVERL

SWEETNESS

100% 50% 25% 0%

100% 75% 50% 25% 0%



CULTURE | BUBBLE TEA

STEP 1: TEA BASE

Oolong Tea

Green Tea

Black Tea

The Chinese tea goes through a unique process where it withers under strong sunlight. Its taste is strong

It can improve brain function and promote weight loss. Its taste is different that the other two tea bases.

A recommended tea base for milk tea beginners. It has a relatively strong flavor and helps reduce plaque.



CULTURE | BUBBLE TEA

STEP 2: MILK

čŒś

Our milk tea taster, Jensine Reyes, selected regular milk for her matcha latte. If you are allergic to diary products, almond milk would be a good substitute. For your information, a tea latte has nothing to do with coffee. It is supposed to be just tea with milk.



CULTURE | BUBBLE TEA

STEP 3: TOPPINGS

Mostly, we would recommend boba for beginners. It’s chewy and sweet, but some people hate it because it’s chewy. Fun fact about it: Boba, bubble, pearl are all its names. Grass jelly is also a nice choice. Egg pudding is a sweet version of grass jelly.



CULTURE | BUBBLE TEA

STEP 4: ICE LEVEL Usually, ice level would affect the taste of a bubble tea because when it melt, the tea flavor would be very light which is not a good news. It would also affect proportion of tea and toppings you get. Personally, I would get rid of all ice, but for matcha and thai tea, I would rather have 25% ice as the taste of the two teas are thicker than other teas.

STEP 5: SWEETNESS

For sweetness, you could adjust the sweetness as you like. However, if you are getting a special drink, like Jensine Reyes does, the sweetness is fixed. Just to keep in mind. Here, Jensine Reyes has got a strawberry matcha latte. It’s one of Boba Guys’ signatures.



3 Things Y ou MUST Do in

A D I M UTUMN FESTIVA L FE AT UR E


M id-Autum

n Fes tival theme of r t ra d e un i o n ition a s fo nd t m oon sym han cus bolizes k s on g u nity. ivin common t the g, a Her ra d i t i o e ar ns fo s the e3 r the the full fest ival m BY SALLY G o . AO st


Story behind Mid-Autumn Festival F

a lling on the 15th day of the 8th month according to the Chinese lunar calendar, the Mid-Autumn Festival is the second grandest festival in China after the Chinese New Year. It takes its name from the fact that it is always celebrated in the middle of the autumn season. The day is also known as the Moon Festival, as at that time of the year the moon is at its roundest and brightest. Originally a harvest ritual, the Mid-Autumn Festival has been celebrated since the early Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC). In the past, Chinese families would make offerings of wine and mooncakes to the heavens, expressing gratitude for the year’s harvest. The festival is associated with the full moon, which appears larger and rounder during this time of year due to its orbit around the Earth. This custom could be traced back to the Zhou Dynasty (1046 - 256 BC) and was more practiced by the royal class on the Autumnal Equinox. At that time, the custom had no festival background at all. Later in the Sui (581 - 618 AD) and Tang (618 - 907 AD) dynasties, social prosperity inspired the custom of appreciating the moon on the moon sacrifice ceremony day among common people and the two merged. The people expressed their faith more liberally than the royal class and so they did not strictly hold their activities on the Autumnal Equinox. So the 15th of the 8th lunar month, the closest full moon day to the Autumnal Equinox, turned out to be a better choice and was set as a fixed festival. This happened in the Tang Dynasty. By the time of the Northern Song Dynasty (960 - 1127 AD), Mid-Autumn Festival had already become

a widely celebrated folk festival. Over time, other elements of the festival as we know it today were added, including the gifting and eating of mooncakes, the burning of incense, the lighting of lanterns and the performance of dragon dances. The Mid-Autumn Festival also commemorates the story of the Chinese moon deity, the goddess Chang’e, as the movement of the moon was observed to be closely related to seasonal harvests in ancient times. According to legend, Chang’e was once a mortal woman who swallowed an elixir of immortality which caused her to fly up to the moon. She is also said to be accompanied by a jade rabbit, whose silhouette can be spotted on the surface of the moon. One popular version of the tale goes like this: In ancient China, there were ten suns in the sky instead of just one, and the scorching heat caused crops to shrivel and die. An archer named Hou Yi was able to shoot down nine of the ten suns, ending the drought. In return, the Emperor gave him a magic pill that granted immortality when swallowed. But instead of taking the pill, Hou Yi chose to stay by the side of his wife, Chang’e.One day, one of Hou Yi’s students broke into the house to try to steal the pill, but was was confronted by Chang’e. In order to stop the intruder from taking the pill, Chang’e swallowed the pill herself and floated up to the moon. The heartbroken Hou Yi burned incense and left food offerings for his beloved wife in her favorite fruit garden. It is believed that, during the Festival, the couple are briefly reunited. It is also said that Chang’e is accompanied by a jade rabbit, whose silhouette is visible on the moon’s surface to keen-eyed observers.



Eat Mooncake The Moon Cake is the special food of Mid-Autumn Festival. On that day, people sacrifice moon cakes to the moon as an offering and eat them for celebration. Moon cakes come in various flavors according to the region. The moon cakes are round, symbolizing the reunion of a family, so it is easy to understand how the eating of moon cakes under the round moon can evoke longing for distant relatives and friends. Nowadays, people present moon cakes to relatives and friends to demonstrate that they wish them a long and happy life. Made of lotus seed paste and salted duck egg yolk, this traditional pastry is sold and eaten by the bushel during the Mid-Autumn Festival. As the festival approaches you’ll be bound to see them in every shop and bakery around town, as well as in hotel kitchens and restaurant tea specials. Local bakeries like Kee Wah, Taipan, Wing Wah and more are all good bets. Maxim’s, one of the biggest mooncake manufacturers, is holding a mooncake pop-up store in celebration of the brand’s 60th anniversary. Open from August 13th to September 16th at Fashion Walk in Causeway Bay, it features mooncake giveaways, a DIY mooncake soap workshop and classic Hong Kong snacks like curry puffs and chicken pot pie pastries. However, the mooncake’s heavy flavor and high calorie count isn’t for everyone. In recent years, shops have been competing with each other to come up with new twists and variations on the traditional recipe. In particular, Häagen-Dazs’ ice cream mooncakes are immensely popular with locals, so be sure to stop by!


Fillings Many types of fillings can be found in traditional mooncakes according to the region’s culture. Lotus seed paste: Considered by some to be the original and most luxurious mooncake filling, lotus paste filling is found in all types of mooncakes. White lotus paste commands an even higher premium. Due to the high price of lotus paste, white kidney bean paste is sometimes used as a filler. Sweet bean paste: A number of pastes are common fillings found in Chinese desserts. Although red bean paste, made from azuki beans, is the most common worldwide, there are regional and original preferences for bean paste made from mung beans, as well as black beans, known throughout history.[citation needed] Jujube paste: A sweet paste is made from the ripe fruits of the jujube (date) plant. The paste is dark red in color, a little fruity/smoky in flavor, and slightly sour in taste. Depending on the quality of the paste, jujube paste may be confused with red bean paste, which is sometimes used as a filler. Five kernels or mixed nuts: A filling consisting of 5 types of nuts and seeds, coarsely chopped, is held together with maltose syrup. Recipes differ from region to region, but commonly used nuts and seeds include: walnuts, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, peanuts, sesame seeds, or almonds. In addition, the mixture will usually contain candied winter melon, jinhua ham, or pieces of rock sugar as additional flavoring.

Contemporary styles Over time, both the crusts and the composition of the fillings of mooncakes have diversified, in particular due to a commercial need to drive up sales in the face of intense competition between producers and from other food types. Part of these trends are also to cater to changing taste preferences, and because people are more health-conscious. Most of these contemporary styles were therefore especially prominent amongst the cosmopolitan and younger Chinese and amongst the overseas Chinese community, although traditional mooncakes are often sold alongside contemporary ones to cater to individual preferences. Some of the earliest forms of diversification were by changing the fillings with ingredients considered unusual then. Taro paste, pineapple and durian were amongst the first to be introduced, especially amongst the overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. The crust itself also evolved, particularly with the introduction of “snow skin mooncake”. Miniature mooncakes also appeared, in part to allow for easier

individual consumption without the need to cut the large cakes. To adapt to today’s health-conscious lifestyle, fat-free mooncakes also appeared. Some are made of yogurt, jelly, and fat-free ice-cream. Even high-fiber low-sugar mooncakes have made their appearance. Customers pick and choose the size and filling of mooncakes that suits their taste and diet. For added hygiene, each cake is often wrapped in airtight plastic, accompanied by a tiny food preserver packet. Contemporary-style mooncakes, while increasingly popular, have their detractors. Pricey ingredients have pushed up prices, causing worry of a “mooncake bubble” forming in China. Food critics sometimes point out that “chocolate mooncakes” are in reality just chocolate shaped into mooncakes, and not mooncakes made of chocolate, while others complain that food chains appear intent on coming up with exotic flavours to take advantage of the market, without much thought for how well the tastes fuse together.



F am i ly G ather i n g Attending a grand family dinner is not a part of daily life for most Chinese. During the festival, family members, no matter how far from home, will try their best to go back home and get together with their parents and extended family. This is much like Thanksgiving in the United States. And the traditional way to enjoy this time is by sharing a fantastic meal together. Pumpkins, chestnuts, taro, persimmons, sweet potato, walnuts, and mushrooms usually feature in the festival feast, emphasizing the bounty of the fall harvest, along with traditional celebratory foods like crab, pork, and duck. Besides, round foods like moon cakes also feature in the festival dishes.


Lant er n s F es t iv al Expect traditional snack stalls, live Cantonese opera, martial arts displays, folk music, dances and more. Last year’s festival incorporated neon signboards that evoked Old Hong Kong, with 50s movie screenings, a herbal tea house, performances from the Shanghai Arts Troupe, as well as a vibrant Cantopop concert and hip-hop performance. Celebrations on the 16th, dubbed ‘Youth Night’, will feature performances by youngsters, such as junior orchestras and dance groups. What’s more, an exhibition on lantern craftsmanship will be held from the 14th through to the 18th. Be sure not to miss the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance as it roars through the park. Lastly, for those who live far away, two other festivals will be held in the New Territories. One takes place at Tin Shui Wai Park & Ginza Square on September 16th and 17th, and the other is at Tai Po Waterfront Park on September 17th and 18th.

One of the interesting Mid-Autumn Festival customs is hanging up lanterns, made from bamboo strips shaped like fruit and birds. Children are particularly fond of making their own traditional lanterns. When darkness falls, locals place candles inside the lanterns and hang them outside. It is said that the higher the lanterns are hung, the luckier the family will be. Every year, lantern carnivals and exhibitions are held in parks and other public places, during which lanterns of various colors, patterns and styles are on display. The annual Urban Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival in Victoria Park draws huge crowds for its stunning performances (both traditional and modern), crafts workshops, delicious food stalls and brilliant, colorful lanterns. September 15th is designated as Carnival Night.




THE WORLD’S CHEAPEST

SOY SAUCE CHICKEN

FEATURE

油雞飯

Liao Fan Hawker Chan is the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred meal comes from a humble hawker center in Singapore; chefowner Chan Hong Meng tells us about how he believed in food quality and the latest project he’s working on.

B Y M E RE DI T H B E T H U N E


SOY SAUCE CHICKEN IS FROM HONG KONG.

is a traditional Cantonese cuisine dish made of chicken cooked with soy sauce. It is considered as a siu mei dish in Hong Kong. The strong flavour of soy sauce usually covers up the taste of chicken. Another Cantonese dish white cut chicken, often served with soy sauce dip, is more savoured for the taste of the meat, where the freshness of the chicken is noticeable. Soy Sauce Chicken or “See Yao Gai” is a quintessential Cantonese favorite, found hanging under heat lamps in many Chinatown restaurant windows. You’ll find it near the poached chickens, roast ducks, and roast pork. All have their merits, but a Soy Sauce Chicken done right is tough to beat. The Cantonese often go ga-ga over Hainanese chicken, a dish prepared by boiling a whole chicken in pork and chicken stock. It originated on the island of Hainan, became a national dish of Singapore, and is enjoyed anywhere on the globe where the Cantonese dine no matter western or eastern. Singapore’s Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle, the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world, specializes in this dish and offers it for the equivalent of $2 USD. A staple chicken dish commonly could be found at Chinatown BBQ joints here in the United States and around the world—dark and glossy whole chicken dunked in a soy sauce mix with meat so tender, silky, and juicy that they are one of the must-have’s for Cantonese-style BBQ rice plates. If you have been to a typiaacal Cantonese BBQ restaurant, I am sure you have had soy sauce chicken. I can hardly resist the tempting looking chicken with the perfect sheen, hanging at the display window calling my name! Soy sauce chicken is utterly delicious, especially when you dip it with the ginger and scallion condiment. The thought of it just sets my mouth watering.




BEFORE MICHELIN, MY BUSINESS WAS ALREADY

FLOURISHING,” HE SAID IN MANDARIN, HIS NATIVE TONGUE. Hawker Chan came from humble beginnings, with Chef Chan Hong Meng opening his first hawker stall at Singapore’s Chinatown Complex in 2009. It’s a nofuss-no-muss eatery, but people flocked to then-called Hong Kong Sauce Soya Chicken for, what else, the chicken—freshly roasted and served by Chef Chan and his wife. With the snaking long lines at their compact place, especially after receiving a Michelin star in 2016, Chef Chan knew he had to open a bigger, sit-down restaurant. And Liao Fan Hawker Chan was born. Chan Hon Meng didn’t even complete his school. He quit studies when he was 15 to help his parents in farming。 He was born in Malaysia, he makes Hongkong style Soya sauce Chicken noodles & named his restaurant so because he learnt cooking from a Hongkong chef. He hopes that every chef will put as much effort in food as if a Michelin inspector is going to inspect his/her food. “The highest honour that you can attain is to be in Michelin guide ” is what some chefs told him when he started & today his dreams have been fulfilled. Chan considers it as an honour as if he has finally graduated from the University. We all know it’s much much bigger.


DREAM OF EXPENDING IT’S STILL CHEAP Despite Singapore being the world’s most expensive city, you can still eat relatively cheaply: Since earning one Michelin star in Singapore’s inaugural 2016 guide, Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle, a hawker stall inside the Chinatown Complex Food Centre, still hasn’t raised its prices. That means a plate of the famously tender chicken rice (never “chicken and rice,” for the novices out there) remains only SGD $2. The stall looks ordinary next to all the others at the hawker center—the only notable difference is a broad placard proclaiming the honor bestowed by Michelin. Chickens hanging on hooks still glisten under bright lights, while an overhead sign still features photos of menu items like char siu with noodles, pork ribs and rice, and, of course, the sliced soya sauce chicken served with rice or hor fun.

DREAM OF EXPENDING Since gaining a star for that stall, called Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle, Chan’s footprint has grown considerably. He has got some bussiness partner. Along with a business partner, he has opened seven new outlets, even venturing out of his home market to Thailand and Taiwan. By the end of this year, he will also have a restaurant in Melbourne, Australia.Chan dreams of becoming Asia’s answer to fast food giant KFC, he said. That’s why he still works hard. Chan has accomplished the rapid expansion with the help of Hersing Culinary, a Singapore-based company that also owns the rights to Hong Kong’s Michelinstarred dimsum eatery, Tim Ho Wan. Chan said Hersing invested S$1 million ($700,000) for the first air-conditioned Chinatown outlet, which is just a stone’s throw away from his original stall. Prices in the new restaurant are slightly higher than at the original outlet, with the famous soy sauce chicken rice costing S$3.80 He told CNBC that he has a 50% stake in the first Chinatown outlet, and a 10% stake in each subsequent new outlet. Chan also said he was enjoying picking up new business skills, as he now has to manage workers and teach staff the roasting and braising techniques. Everything is in progress steadily. While he said he feels “some pressure” in managing the expansion of the business, he also has to worry about ensuring that the standard of the food remains of Michelin standard. He managed to successfully defend the Michelin star for a second time this year.


THE COUPLE WORK TOGETHER Chan now spends most of his time at the restaurant, while his wife Irene and a longtime apprentice hold down the fort at the hawker stall. Every two hours, Chan makes the walk from the restaurant to ensure the food is still up to his standards. He has no plans to raise any of the prices there, for now, and says his main goal is to cook a quality product that is still affordable. “When I see a customer eat and finish a plate of chicken,” he says, “I’m very happy.” Chan really appreciate that his wife helped a lot.

The tables turned after the Michelin award. More than 10 people approached Chan for partnership deals but he finally picked Hersing Culinary – a brand management firm that owns several other Michelin-starred franchises. The company promised to expand his business beyond Singapore, which was an exciting start. Today, there are five branches of Liao Fan Hawker Chan eateries – three in Singapore, one in Taiwan and another in Thailand. The Philippines and Indonesia are due to open new Hawker Chan eateries in the next two months.



G N O L S ’ E S R E “A H T AS G N E LO H T A , E U T E S U U Q M D O ” O D F O O G BE

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C F K D N Y O A C E D S E N O


@ THESHOWBIZLION




March 2098

Volume 138

The authentic Asian taste you’re looking for.

The cheapest Michelin-starred Meal in the world

3 Things You Must Do in Mid-Autumn Festival

• 壹食客 •

Black Pepper Crab on Henry Golding’s Table


March 2098

Volume 138

The authentic Asian taste you’re looking for.

Black Pepper Crab on Henry Golding’s Table 3 Things You Must Do in Mid-Autumn Festival The cheapest Michelin-starred Meal in the world

• 壹食客 •


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