There couldn’t have been a more appropriate time for Rants and Craves to introduce me to The Hungry Ghost Kid. This is because I am a spicy Sichuan-eating, Peking Duck-loving, sushi-smothering, dim sum-downing Jew. Big Ghost’s Study of the Unique Intersection Between Jewish and Asian Cultures through the Medium of Chinese Cuisine is a wonderful and true interpolation that I’ve seen evidence for through years of Jewish Sunday night family dinners at Chinese restaurants in the San Fernando Valley. On most nights there’re more Jews at Bamboo on Ventura Blvd than in temple on Saturday morning.
Further evidence can be found in my trip to Las Vegas over the weekend. One of the original food marathoners and I (both Jews), made our way off the strip to Vegas’ Chinatown. It would more appropriately be called SGV Lite, as it’s basically the same Korean BBQ, Pho, Bahn Mi and Dim Sum found in the heavenly valley east of downtown Los Angeles.
On my drive up to Vegas I noticed numerous ads for Hite. No other Asian beers had billboards so I was thinking Korean might be the better bet than Chinese, but instead followed KJ’s suggestion and went with Yun Nan Garden.
We asked for two dishes that were spicy and representative of the flavors of the Yunnan Province. The oustanding choices were Boiled Beef with Szechuan Sauce and Chongqing Spicy Chicken.
The beef dish immediately set off pleasure sensors in my brain simply due to its red hue- it had the visual tone of deliciousness. Salivation followed by spice sensation followed by satiation. It was phenomenal.
The chef utilized the golden ration when making the Chongqing dish- dividing it fairly with 70% chili peppers : 30% chicken. It was a brilliant, tongue-numbing hit, an addictive array of flavor and crunch.
After we ate the chef pointed out a bunch of other dishes that we should try next time. Luckily there are Yunnan Garden locations in the SGV, so I won’t have to wait to long. Stay tuned for the follow up: Jews Love Chinese Food Marathon…