Bao! The highlight of my China Trip.

All the Chinese Dumplings You Never Knew Existed.

I’ve tried most of the dumplings listed, if not all, and they are consistently among my favorite chinese dishes.  A lot of sushi places offer shaomai, often spelled shu mai or shui mai, as an appetizer.

The best of the bunch is char siu bao, or simply bao. I first experienced these delightful steamed buns during my 2006 trip to China, and I’ve been singing their praises ever since. I was especially tickled to see them featured so prominently in Kung Fu Panda. 

A great place to get fresh bao in Chicago is “Wow Bao“, but they only have a few locations , and none convenient to me. However, many specialty asian grocers will have steamed buns in the freezer section to make at home. Try some soon and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Another first!

Today, I was following a recipe and one of the ingredients was cajun seasoning. Guess who didn’t have any. So I thought maybe I could find out the key ingredients and approximate the flavor.

I found one better, a recipe for a simple version to make at home. For that I had all the ingredients. So I made some awesome burger patties for dinner
and my first ever homemade seasoning mix. Now I want to go find recipes that call for cajun seasoning just so I can use more of it.

The more I explore in the kitchen, the more resourceful I become. So here’s to many more chances to find solutions, and here’s to many more firsts in the kitchen and beyond. Enjoy!

Picky? Not on my watch.

I am determined to not raise a picky eater.

I hear the horror stories all the time. I have seen these kids in the restaurants I’ve worked at over the years. The ones who eat the plainest things or fuss about food on their plates. The teenagers are the worst, with their plain hamburgers and boring pizzas.

I don’t want my son, or any other kids I may have after him, being afraid to try new things, or frustrating other adults because he’s so hard to feed. I want an adventurous eater, who knows what he likes, but braves any new thing with the hopes of adding to that list.

Of course, he’s allowed to not like things. He’s also allowed to like things a certain way. Tastes and taste buds change over time, and i will want him to know he’s allowed to change his mind. What I don’t want him to do is decide before he’s tried. I also don’t want him to never try again. I don’t like brussel sprouts. I went twenty years without eating them. Yet my wife asked me to try again and I did. The verdict is I’m still not a big fan. (I feel they are bitter little baby cabbages plucked before their time.) Yet I was open to the possibility that my tastes had changed.

So I have a plan. I’m tentatively calling it the “3612 Plan”. If the boy doesn’t, for example, like tomatoes the first time he tries them, we’ll come back to them in 3 months, then 6 months, then 1 year, then 2 years. After that, he’s allowed to never try them again. My hope is not to force him to like tomatoes, but to create the habit of being open to revisiting things throughout his life, and to trying new things whenever the opportunity arises. In the end, I want to impart the same adventurous food spirit I have, so he can live an adventurous life, both at the table, and beyond. Enjoy!