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Tag Results for 'spicy'

Mexico City
Birria Santa Bárbara: Hangover Helper

For a case of the morning-afters, Mexicans believe that the best cure is a bowl of hot and spicy broth. On Sundays you’ll find the bleary-eyed, hard-partying denizens of Mexico City seeking out restorative traditional soups like the tripe-based menudo, also known as pancita; caldo tlalpeño, made with chicken; and birria. Continue »

Shanghai
Bai Jia Qian Wei: Home Maid Meals

Mention Anhui to most Shanghai residents, and you’ll most likely get a response along the lines of, “My āyí [maid] is from there.” Continue »

Shanghai
Bamboo Sichuan: The Big Chili

The temperature has officially fallen off the register, and there are days when Shanghai seems bleak indeed, the cumulus clouds of winter hugging the skyline uncomfortably close. Continue »

Shanghai
Deng Ji Chuan Cai: Absolutely Crabulous

Though giant pandas subsist almost exclusively on one single plant – bamboo – the same would not stand for the other, more human, natives of Sichuan province. Its capital city, Chengdu, was once famed as the start of the southern route of the Silk Road, along which exotic vegetables and spices were ferried inland from Burma, India and around Central Asia. Continue »

Shanghai
Spicy Moment: The Hunan Touch

It’s a rare feat, even in Shanghai, when a Chinese restaurant serves authentic dishes in an atmosphere that is style-conscious, laid-back and affordable. Spicy Moment manages all three, so it’s no surprise to learn that the owner, Lao Deng, owns a quirky interior design shop just across the street and constantly moves between the two spaces. Continue »

Shanghai
Zhu Que Men: Legendary Noodles

Unwieldy English restaurant names often lose a lot in translation. Take Zhu Que Men, or “The Gate of the Vermillion Bird.” The name, which draws on Chinese astrology and Taoism, might seem a little highfalutin’ for a home-style noodle joint, but the subtext speaks volumes. Continue »

Shanghai
Elixir Health Pot: Hot Tonic

Healthy hotpot sounds like a contradiction in terms, which is probably why Elixir doesn’t even use “hotpot” in its name. Instead it labels itself “health pot” in English, or无老锅 (wúlǎoguō - “No Aging Pot”) in Chinese. Its fountain-of-youth claims are touted by celebrities across Asia, from Mando-Pop’s reigning dancing queen Jolin Tsai to K-Pop crossover star Choi Siwon. Continue »

Mexico City
Birria Santa Bárbara: Hangover Helper

For a case of the morning-afters, Mexicans believe that the best cure is a bowl of hot and spicy broth. On Sundays you’ll find the bleary-eyed, hard-partying denizens of Mexico City seeking out restorative traditional soups like the tripe-based menudo, also known as pancita; caldo tlalpeño, made with chicken; and birria. Continue »

Athens
ENOA: (Not) For Members Only

Editor’s note: We’re sorry to report that ENOA has closed. Situated by the sea in the marina of Agios Kosmas, ENOA is part of a truly strange neighborhood. There are a couple of nightclubs, some cottages and the enormous, badly lit rowing and sailing buildings that have been left to molder after the 2004 Olympics – but mostly the feeling is of an abandoned wasteland by the sea.

The entrance to ENOA, an area club, is equally unimpressive: a number of trophies cramped behind a glass display followed by a cavernous dining room that, with its harsh, unflattering neon lights, resembles a hotel from 1960s rural Greece.

Things get even weirder inside. ENOA, a visitor quickly finds out, is not any old beach club but rather the sailing club of the association of Greeks from Egypt. The fact that there’s a boat club in Athens dedicated solely to Greeks who came from Egypt actually makes a lot of sense when you look at history. From Herodotus’s writings to Alexander the Great’s conquest to the influential Greeks of the Ottoman Empire, Greece and Egypt’s relationship stretches back millennia.

By the early 1940s there were 250,000 Greeks living in Egypt. Greeks established the first banks there and were also instrumental in the two stalwarts of the Egyptian economy, tobacco and cotton farming. However, in 1952, following Gamal Abdel Nasser’s ascendance as well as that of Arab nationalism, the Greek diaspora was forced to abandon Egypt. By the mid-1960s, 70 percent of the Greek population of Egypt was gone. A number of them returned to Greece at about the same time as the Greeks who were expelled from Turkey, and Athens is still filled with associations of Greeks from the two countries. During the day, ENOA sees frequent use by members, and especially kids, training or learning to sail. But it is open to non-members from 8 p.m. onward every night. (We prefer to visit while the weather’s still warm so we can sit at one of the handful of tables out by the water.)

The chef, Reda Sheasha, hails from Egypt and for three years has been cooking dishes with Greek, Egyptian, Lebanese and Cypriot influences. We had wonderfully silky and smoky baba ghanoush laced with lemon and onion and a dish called “Egyptian rice,” which, in the great pilaf tradition that can be found everywhere in the Balkans, mixed the grains with fried vermicelli, raisins, pine nuts and cashew nuts. It recalled the homey pilafs of a grandmother who cooked in the classic Istanbul style. Sheasha makes dolmadakia, Greek stuffed grape leaves, like the ones from the island of Kassos, tiny, crisp packets stuffed with delicate rice and herbs. The Egyptian influence comes through in such dishes as a turkey kebab that was spiced to taste almost like pork and a particularly spicy köfte that combined beef with a tiny bit of lamb.

Last time we were at ENOA, while the Hollies, Celine Dion and the popular Greek singer Makis Hristodoulopoulos played in the background, we happened to overhear the two elderly white-haired gentlemen sitting at the table behind us who were having a heated argument over which monument was best, the Parthenon or the Pyramids. As we savored our dolmadakia and köfte, we couldn’t help but be grateful that, at least through ENOA’s food, we could have both.

Location: Agios Kosmas Marina, Elliniko
Telephone: +30 210 981 8525
Hours: 8pm-midnight
 
(photos by Christiana Thomaidi)
 
Shanghai
CB on the Road: Chengdu’s Spicy Noodles

It’s been two weeks of cycling through China’s Qinghai province, and the food selection is slim. The majority of the province sits on the vast Tibetan Plateau, well above the tree line in conditions too harsh for significant cultivation. Yaks graze on well-trampled grass as far as the eye can see, with white yurts and colorful prayer flags dotting the hillsides and each summit pass. Continue »

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