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Bite Fight: Sichuanese Cuisine

If we’re honest, Dallas isn’t the optimal food city when it comes to nuanced Chinese regional cuisines. The gentle umami of Fujian stews and the roasted meats of Xinjiang barbecue aren’t commonly found in the gastronomic landscape of a metroplex boasting 25 Pei Wei locations. But over the years, I’ve come across some truly satisfying representations of classic Sichuanese dishes that I believe every Chinese food fan should have the pleasure of experiencing. Sichuan food is famous for its bold flavors, aggressive heat, salt, and pungent aromatics. Great Sichuanese dishes possess intense flavors that compound to create unique profiles that can leave you thirsty, sweaty, and hungry for more.

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Dining for Dummies: Asian Market Edition

The April issue of D Magazine is a food lover’s paradise. One feature included information on local ethnic markets. In an effort to help you decipher the guide, here is a run-down of some foods that were included in the feature. I’ll start with the Asian markets.

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Cheap Eats: 4 Affordable Dishes at Tei-An

I’ve been on a Tei-An kick lately. As the weather keeps getting colder/crazier, it makes sense to pop in and drink a hot, steaming bowl of soup layered with handmade soba. Just thinking about it makes my stomach feel all warm and fuzzy. I can feel my sinuses clearing.

Tei-An’s fine dining, Zen-of-an-atmosphere can give off a I’m-too-expensive-for-you attitude. Matt Shelley never walked into Tei-An until three weeks ago, thinking it was out of his price range. He’s been working in the Arts District for the last five years, too. After he discovered the $10 bowl of tonkotsu ramen, he’s been hooked ever since. That man has had Tei-An three times already.

Teiichi “Teach” Sakurai’s noodle heaven is amazingly affordable, contrary to popular belief. It’s easy to go in, order a dish for less than $10, and leave wallet-happy. It’s true. I’ve scrutizined the menu, backwards and forwards. Here are four dishes to prove it.

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How to Celebrate Chinese New Year in Dallas 2014

Every year, as soon as Chinese New Year rolls around, Asia shuts down. Chinese people take advantage of their two-week holiday to get outta town. If a loved one dies during the extended break? Well, you’re pretty much screwed. A lot of funeral homes aren’t open for business, either.

Here in America, Chinese New Year isn’t as widely celebrated for more than one obvious reason. Yet Asian-American households still take it seriously. Especially young kids. For them, it’s like a second Christmas. Per tradition, parents, relatives, and family friends give hong bao (red envelopes) filled with money to children and even young adults. Families gather to eat dumplings, noodles, new year cakes, and fish. It’s always the biggest and best meal of the year. And today all of the multi-day celebrations begin. 2014 is the year of the horse.

Chinese culinary traditions are naturally confusing, even if you grew up with them. But here are some of the foods you need to start the new year off right.

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My Top 10 Cheap Bites of 2013 in Dallas-Fort Worth

Everyone who knows me (especially D Magazine people who observe my snacking habits like a zoo animal. Ahem.) know that I’m not a fine-dining person. I love fine-dining, sure. But in my element, I am a cheap eater. I was born on a budget, I live on a budget, and I like to save money like it’s nobody’s business. Some may even describe it as a fault.

A good meal under $10 can make me the happiest person alive.

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Restaurant Reviews: Royal Sichuan, Lion City Cafe, and Noodle House

My family is Taiwanese. Growing up, this meant we—like many typical Asian-American households—dined at Old Country Buffet, Furr’s cafeteria, and every disgusting, since-abandoned Chinese buffet within a 25-mile radius of my childhood Carrollton home. Only after Hong Kong Buffet finally puttered out after four years on life support did we begin to regularly eat at mom-and-pop Chinese restaurants. Places like Royal China were too fancy and expensive for us. They never made it into our rotation.

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Miss Chi Vietnamese Brings Home-Cooked Asian Cuisine to Preston Center

Prolific restaurateurs Joey and Chi Le are at it, again. A little over a month ago, they opened Dallas’ first dedicated ramen shop, Tanoshii, in Deep Ellum. In mid-August, they shut down their second location of Wicked Po’ Boys in Preston Center and decided to re-concept the whole shebang. Now signage is up for Miss Chi […]

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First Take: Monkey King Noodle Co. in Deep Ellum

Back when my dad was growing up in Taiwan, noodle makers were considered blue collar workers. It was family tradition to pass down the trade from father to son, son to grandson. But this back-breaking work wasn’t an enviable job. Now, in today’s age of fancy technology, noodle makers are hard to find, especially when […]

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After a Fire and Lots of Remodeling, Oishii (the Sushi Restaurant You’ve All Been Waiting for), is Finally Opening on Monday, Oct. 21

It’s happening, it’s happening. It’s really happening!!! Pinch yourself to make sure it’s true, because Oishii—the pan-Asian restaurant that always could—is finally back and ready for business on Monday, October 21. After a fire destroyed it last year, Oishii at 2525 Wycliff Avenue had to undergo heavy remodeling. Owner Thanh Nguyen, a great sport, has […]

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First Look: Tanoshii Ramen in Deep Ellum

Tanoshii, Tanoshii, Tanoshii. It’s all that’s on everybody’s lips these days. Okay, maybe just mine. But you have to admit that Dallas’ first ramen shop is a pretty exciting event. Pizza (meh), burgers (meh), but a brand new place for noodles? Yeahhh. Yesterday, as soon as the clock hit 4:30 p.m., I raced out of […]

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Good Asian Grub: Lion City Chinese Cafe in Plano

I hesitate to add Lion City Chinese Cafe to this “Good Asian Grub” series, but this Chinese/Singaporean restaurant is so undeniably tasty… to leave it off would feel almost wrong. The truth is, the service here is not great. By “not great,” what I really mean is “so terrible, it’s pretty much nonexistent.” That’s not […]

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Good Asian Grub: Ramen Tatsu-Ya in Austin

Before Lucky Peach, a food quarterly by Momofuku’s David Chang, exploded into our consciousness with its first issue – one wholly dedicated to ramen – most food enthusiasts on the east and west coasts were already keenly aware of the growing noodle situation happening in the United States. But somewhere between our immigration patterns and our […]

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Good Asian Grub: Shaved Ice in Chinatown

The ladies and gents of the Web Team crowded around my desk area as soon as I uploaded the above photo into Photoshop. Jason Heid thought it looked like “rotten mashed potatoes.” Liz Johnstone called it “caviar.” Best of all, ShopTalk Editor Raya Ramsey dubbed it “old lady food.” No, my good people. This here […]

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A Few Asian Bakeries in Dallas That I Cannot Live Without

Alexander Nham wrote “An Ode to Chinese Pastries” in City of Ate last week, and pointed Observer readers to Vivian Bakery located in the New Chinatown in Richardson. Not sure why he called it “new” when Chinatown has been there forever. I mean, I was probably too young to even walk when my mother brought […]

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