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Tuesday May 20, 2008

bbq eel

Scenes from Lung Gong BBQ eel center, house dumplings bottom right, spicy pickled turnips (if everyone tells you to try them you probably should) center right.

beef tongue heart and intestine

Beef tongue, heart, and intestine. I’m not kidding, and it was great (although it did not a tripe convert make of me; if you don’t like chewy meats, stay away from the white bits). Again, order from the traditional menu and the dry-erase boards posted in the restaurant. You may also to check out LG’s website, charmingly devoid of a menu or any other useful information, or any actual photos of any actual dishes served at the restaurant.

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Monday March 3, 2008

“ahh! miami!” “do you watch nba?” “miami heat!” “shaq!” — Things that people in Beijing tell Silvia when they hear she’s From Miami.

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Wednesday October 17, 2007

I’m now officially 3 for 3 of friends in China with blogs: Ariel, Ross, and Silvia (sad kitten story here). Good job, China team! (Anyone seeing a bunch of question marks just needs to install a Chinese language pack.)

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Monday August 20, 2007

Carli Teproff on the little Chinese district along 167th Street. Very interesting, though I wish there were more photos. [Previously, here: Maggie’s Oriental Mart, China tag. ]

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Wednesday February 21, 2007

Miamians in Beijing

new years celebration

My friends Ross, Silvia, and Saul have just moved to Bejing for “indeterminate amount of time” to live and teach English, and Ross started a blog to document their experiences. The other day he got a phone:

Then you pick your number, which vary tremendously based on what numbers are present. (eg. Fours are very unlucky since the sound for four is the same sound for death, so numbers with many fours are cheapest.) Needless to say, I have several fours in my number. Then you get your sim card and buy a phone, which you must haggle like mad for. The whole process takes several hours.

Oh, and of course they were there for the Chinese new year. Here’s a video of the fireworks. It all looks pretty amazing, and I’m totally jealous. I traveled around China with Ross and other friends a couple of years ago, and Beijing definitely seems a place worth settling down for a while. It’s like five cities in one, and it’s changing so fast right now, with historical hutongs being torn down and glass towers going up.

Actually, the Beijing building boom makes Miami look small-time. We would be driving in a cab for a few minutes, and pass three or four construction areas that each looked like downtown Miami. In fact, China construction is the major reason the price of construction materials has been inflated and we’ve had all these over-budget projects.

But I digress. Ross is in for quite the adventure; drop by and check on him.

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Tuesday February 13, 2007

Lung Gong

Lung Gong

You’ve heard about the “secret menu” that some Chinese restaurants have, with real Chinese food that most Americans wouldn’t even dream of ordering? Welcome to Long Gong, a cozy little place tucked into a strip mall on Tamiami Trail just west of FIU. The staff is absurdly friendly, and the authentic menu isn’t that intimidating: it’s in English, and includes a mix of the comforting and intimidating. Go with a big group, order some of both, and prepare to be amazed.

food crop.JPG

It’s difficult to get a good picture of the food, because we ordered probably about a dozen different things, and they bring out each dish as it’s prepared, just like in China, so that the meal becomes this very time-based experience of overlapping courses. Here we have (counterclockwise from left) chicken with chestnuts, broccoli, a spicy fish stew, duck (head chopped in half for easy brain consumption), more broccoli, and some soup. We also had steamed dumplings, fried whole little octopi, garlic cucumber, and a couple of fried-dough based things, both sweet and savory. Copious quantities of beer and sake were also consumed.

This was a grand feast celebrating a couple of friends’ departure to China to teach English for a year+. Here is a photostitch of everyone at the table, with the secret menu at far right. (Please to note the Miami Chinese restaurant roundup in c305, which also features Kon Chau.)

Lung Gong
11929 SW 8th Street
305-553-4644

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Thursday May 11, 2006

Kon Chau

Kon Chau Restaurant

My friends and I have been to China, and we can confirm that what you’ve heard about American Chinese restaurants is almost always true: the food they serve — indeed, the whole dining experience — is very different from the real thing. However, we (really them; I sort of just tag along) have discovered a couple of places that come close; today, a dim sum place (next to Lucky’s, actually) called Kon Chau. The menu is a single piece of paper with check boxes; you generally order about two items per person and everyone shares the whole lot. Part of the fun is that it’s difficult to know exactly what you’re getting from the english translations on the menu, which include “Pan fried turnip cake,” “Pork paste roll with oyster sauce,” and of course “Fish porridge.”

Kon Chau Restaurant

Four of us ate a veritable feast (which included three Tsing Tao’s) for something around $35. We had some duck soup, some fried dough shrimp thing or other, the aforementioned turnip cake (which is actually delicious), a plethora of various steamed dumplings, and a few other things, acompanied by wonderful green tea. We skipped the beef organ meat items (though I’m assured many of them are wonderful, too).

It may sound like a place for the gastronomically adventurous1, but considering that not eating one or two ordered items is no big deal, it really isn’t. Highly recommended.

Kon Chau Restaurant
8376 S.W. 40 St.
Miami, FL 33155
(305) 553-7799

[1] Yeah, I said it: gastronomically adventurous.

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Wednesday April 26, 2006

Lucky Oriental Mart

Lucky oriental market

Ever since Maggie’s, I’ve been wanting to get down to Lucky’s (as everyone seems to call it). Tucked in a humdrum South Miami strip mall, it looks like nothing special from the outside.

Lucky oriental market

Right by the entrance, a big refrigerator of Chinese bottled iced tea (this ain’t Arizona, kid), soft drinks, and beer. Refreshing.

Lucky oriental market

A row of mysterious oriental snacks is obligatory. We bought some cola-flavored gum, black sessame seed crackers, and “cakes of green peas” (the later unopened so far).

Lucky oriental market

On another asile, variety of freeze-dried and canned fish and seafood.

Lucky oriental market

The promised land: a generous produce section. Everything looked fresh and delicious. Bought some bok choy.

Lucky oriental market

Durian, the king of fruit.

Lucky oriental market

Rootin’ for roots . . .

Lucky oriental market

Quail eggs and, yes, “Coconut Jell.”

Lucky oriental market

A wall of soy. There’s also a butcher (my photo was out of focus) with all the requisite squid and other stuff, and a section of oriental cookware and serving dishes.

Lucky oriental market

By the entrance, another display of toys, trinkets, aromatherapy oils, a tennis-racket style mosquito killer, bonsai, swords, and doggie folding stools. Irresistible.

Lucky Oriental Mart
8356 SW 40 Street #D-I
Miami, FL 33155

Update: See also Maggie’s Oriental Mart.

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Friday March 3, 2006

Maggie's Oriental Mart

Ever since Laurenzo’s, the hunt has been on for a perfect Chinese market. Maggie’s Oriental Mart, nestled between two Chinese restaurants across the street from 163 Street mall, is not bad, but not quite up to the challenge.

The usual suspects are in effect: numerous variations of clear and regular noodles, a thrilling selection of sauces in jars, cans, and bottles, exotic candy, and almost a whole aisle of single-serving ramen. Yum!

Dried fish. We ate something like this in China, and they were delicious. I’m actually sort of regretting not getting some of these.

Fermented beans, pickled vegetables.

Dried fungus.

Maggie’s looses serious points for the almost complete lack of a produce section. There was fresh garlic, ginger, and one other mystery item (all in bags, without english labels), everything else prepackaged. Bummer. There was, however, a massive selection of medicines on the shelf behind the front counter. A pharmacy? We had an experience with Chinese medicine on our trip, too, and this might be worth investigating further.

Maggie’s Oriental Groceries
1234 NE 163rd St.
North Miami Beach, FL 33162

Update: See also Lucky Oriental Mart.

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