Exotic China

In this third blog post in the series, my goal is to find the hottest dish on the menu in an international cuisine.  And through the lens of that one dish, I will attempt to analyze and learn about what it says about the cuisine in general.

In previous posts on this topic, I have covered Thai and Indian cuisines. 

Chinese cuisine happens to be among my favorite international cuisines.

I had heard so much about Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodles on 10th and Race St. in Philadelphia.  The place had great reviews and I decided that this was going to be the next stop in my quest for the hottest dish in another type of international cuisine. Continue reading


An Indian Safari

In this second blog post in the series (my first was on Thai Drunken Noodles), my goal is to find the hottest dish on the menu in international cuisine.  And through the lens of that one dish, I will attempt to analyze and learn about what it says about the cuisine in general.

Indian cuisine is one of my favorite international cuisines.

I have eaten Indian many, many times.  However, now I am trying to learn more about the food, the culture and traditions behind it.

India happens to be a country which is a mix of a number of diverse geographies, languages, religions and traditions.  As a result, the cuisines of India differ significantly from each other and use locally available spices, vegetables, fruits and modes of cooking. Continue reading

A Thanksgiving blog

I love Thanksgiving.  For me, this is an exciting time, a time of getting family and friends together, a time of gratitude and giving thanks for things we have.  I remember standing in the kitchen with my mom as she cooked, the great smells emanating from the kitchen, eating all the great food, the laughter, the great conversations ringing through the house, and the early start to Christmas shopping in the malls on Thanksgiving night.

During this reunion of the ones that are closest to us, food serves as not just a medium of nourishment but also a reflection of the cultures and traditions that we have inherited and imbibed.   

Turkey and Thanksgiving are inherently intertwined in our collective consciousness and tradition going back to the time when the Pilgrims and Native Indians shared turkey over a meal.  But there are other ways of cooking the classic turkey by adding international recipes and flavors.  Continue reading

A Fun Field Trip – Reading Terminal Market

The first thing I remember as soon as I entered Reading Terminal Market was the feeling that I had been transported into another magical place, far away, from a bygone era, so far different than the city that surrounded it.  Multiple thoughts were swirling in my head – what was this place?  How can something like this exist right in the midst of this urban concrete jungle?

The place is throbbing with energy, vibrant anReading-Terminal-Market-JSmith-3598-1200vp_PeopleWalkingAroundd truly a treat for the senses. And this is not a quiet market – you hear the hum of activity, of tourists and local folks, families, children, old and young – all walking around and taking in the sights and sounds of this unique experience.  And unique it is – an old world charm of a bygone era in a city that has been transformed by time.  The gorgeous smells of the foods being sold, the sights of the freshest locally sourced produce, the sounds of activity and laughter. Continue reading

An indepth recipe – Thai Drunken Noodles

I recently started a “stunt” on my blog where I am going to uncover the hottest dish on each international cuisine restaurant that I visit in Philadelphia.  Through the lens of that one dish, I will attempt to learn about that particular cuisine. 

Thai is one of my favorite international cuisines and my learning and immersion into “hotness” started with me ordering one of the spiciest dishes on the menu – Drunken Noodles – at a Thai restaurant. 

Wide rice noodles with tofu or chicken, stir fried with fresh garlic, chili, basil leaves, vegetables, bell peppers, onions and sauce.  Eating this dish is like a symphony of the senses – the heady tastes, great smell of the spices and the basil all make for a great experience.  So, I thought – why not try and learn to cook it too?  Continue reading

An Interview with an international cuisinist

Ah, Middle Eastern food.  The mere thought of it conjures up visions of exotic foods from faraway lands.  Middle Eastern food has been gaining in popularity over the years especially with millennials and with people willing to experiment with more flavorful international cuisine.  Over time, I have come to love certain dishes that are part of this cuisine.  Hummus, falafel, Baba Ghanoush (eggplant), kebabs – all remain at the top of my list.

When it came time to work on this assignment, I was determined to interview someone who was very involved with international cuisine.  And then, I thought of Aloush – which is a Bar and Grill in Philadelphia near University City.  I have been to this restaurant a few times and can absolutely say that it is one of the best Middle Eastern food in Philadelphia.  Lively music, great atmosphere and ambience, and most importantly – superb food.  There are dishes that have stayed true to their roots. Continue reading