Dumplings & Dynasties

Dim Sum

When someone mentions “Chinese food” thoughts of cheap, greasy, heat-burn inducing takeout food often comes to mind. Chinese cuisine is a case of “lost in translation” if I’ve ever seen one. Eileen Yin-Fei Lo has a whole section in her book Chinese Kitchen dedicated to telling the story of how dishes like General Tso’s Chicken and Chop Suey came to be and the original dishes they were based on. The changes were partly due to the availability of ingredients and partly due to the fact that many early Chinese immigrants were laborers, not chefs.

“Real” Chinese food can be elegant and refined and the James Beard Foundation decided to showcase Chinese cuisine in their annual gala and conference this year. The Dumplings and Dynasties Gala tonight will feature food from leading Chinese chef’s from both the US and China with dishes like “Tea-Smoked Duck Breast, Cold Lobster in Jelly, and Vegetable Marrow with Assorted Vegetables” and “Chilled Coconut Milk and Bird’s Nest Jelly in Icewine–Poached Pear, Egg White Tartlet” on the menu. The 2 day conference on Friday and Saturday feature panels, presentations and workshops highlighting the rich diversity of the food.

While I don’t have the cash these days to plunk down for the gala or conference, Foodbuzz got me into a preview event hosted at Chinatown Brasserie (one of my favourite places for dim sum in Manhattan). Below is a little photo tour of what I saw and tasted:-)

Food sculpture made by Joe Ng

Joe Ng of the Chinatown BrasserieJoe Ng from from Chinatown brasserie made these scenes entirely from food.

Dumplings & Dynasties

Patrick LinPeople from the James Beard Foundation and one of the guest chefs.

Peking duck with duck shaped bunsPeking Duck with duck shaped buns

Guest chefsGuest chefs

Table center piece at Dumplings & Dynasties preview eventCrazy table centerpiece made from fruit

Pan Fried Dumplings

Deep fried dumplings

ShumaiAssorted dim sum were making the rounds

Downstairs at the Chinatown Brasserie

  • http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com/ sharon

    All of these pictures are stunning! I cannot believe those little scenes are made of food. Sounds like a great event with amazing food.

  • http://newlywedcooking.blogspot.com sharon

    All of these pictures are stunning! I cannot believe those little scenes are made of food. Sounds like a great event with amazing food.

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com/ Heather

    Ooh! That looks like such a great time. I love food events. That attention to detail makes my eyes cross.

    I don’t think of Chinese food as greasy, most of the “bad” Chinese food was invented in America, anyway. I do love me some egg foo yung, though. Oh man.

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com Heather

    Ooh! That looks like such a great time. I love food events. That attention to detail makes my eyes cross.

    I don’t think of Chinese food as greasy, most of the “bad” Chinese food was invented in America, anyway. I do love me some egg foo yung, though. Oh man.

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    Oooh! the power of being “connected”…it’s the same here in Australia. It gets a bad reputation because of all the “localized” stuff that was produced to satisfy the “emerging” palate of the Australian population…it’s real flavours and strengths only started emerging in the last few years. The food event looked like fun.

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    Oooh! the power of being “connected”…it’s the same here in Australia. It gets a bad reputation because of all the “localized” stuff that was produced to satisfy the “emerging” palate of the Australian population…it’s real flavours and strengths only started emerging in the last few years. The food event looked like fun.

  • JSC

    Gorgeous photos! The Chinese food here in Shanghai can be greasy too but mostly it is awesome and nothing like American Chinese food.

  • JSC

    Gorgeous photos! The Chinese food here in Shanghai can be greasy too but mostly it is awesome and nothing like American Chinese food.

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    Though we also get the quick and cheap Chinese food here a lot, its reputation will always be that of “high-society” food. But I enjoy it all, as you may have probably guessed :)
    That looks like a fantastically posh event. Love the Joe Ng sculptures, and the duck-shaped buns! You lucky duck!

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    Though we also get the quick and cheap Chinese food here a lot, its reputation will always be that of “high-society” food. But I enjoy it all, as you may have probably guessed :)
    That looks like a fantastically posh event. Love the Joe Ng sculptures, and the duck-shaped buns! You lucky duck!

  • http://findingladolcevita.blogspot.com/ Maryann

    Very cute dumplings! :)

  • http://findingladolcevita.blogspot.com Maryann

    Very cute dumplings! :)

  • http://vixeninthekitchen.blogspot.com/ Kitchen Vixen

    Thanks for visiting! I’ll be sure to post about the brussel sprouts once I start trying recipes.

  • http://vixeninthekitchen.blogspot.com Kitchen Vixen

    Thanks for visiting! I’ll be sure to post about the brussel sprouts once I start trying recipes.

  • http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com Darius T. Williams

    Oh wow…I’ve never been to a place like this before. Looks like there were good times to be had!

    -DTW
    http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

  • http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com/ Darius T. Williams

    Oh wow…I’ve never been to a place like this before. Looks like there were good times to be had!

    -DTW
    http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ We Are Never Full

    i feel like there are too many bad chinese restaurants. i read an excellent article on what real chinese food is about and we’re lucky to have some excellent places here in the city. nice for you to go to that event. i’m still not totally sold on the foodbuzz thing to be honest…. but i do think they’re on to a great great thing!

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com We Are Never Full

    i feel like there are too many bad chinese restaurants. i read an excellent article on what real chinese food is about and we’re lucky to have some excellent places here in the city. nice for you to go to that event. i’m still not totally sold on the foodbuzz thing to be honest…. but i do think they’re on to a great great thing!

  • Marc

    Thanks Sharon, I actually dragged the chef over (in disbelief) to ask him if it was all made of food products and he confirmed.

    Heather, yea I have a soft spot for american chinese food every now and then. Growing up in Napa we only had 3 Chinese restaurants for the longest time, so I think it got ingrained in me at an early age.

    Peter, having had both, I’d have to say that Aussie Chinese is better than American Chinese. Honestly, I think it has to do with the recency of immigration. For example here in NY, Flushing has a much better selection of Chinese food than in Manhattan, but Flushing also has a higher population of recent immigrants.

    Thanks JSC, I’ve never been to Shanghai (or China for that matter), but it’s at the top of my list off places I want to visit.

    Manggy, I bet Filipino Chinese food is good:-)

    Maryann, dumplings are always cute, but these were cuter than usual:-)

    Kitchen Vixen, I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.

    We Are Never Full, do tell about the excellent places! Aside from Chinatown Brasserie and places in Flushing, I haven’t really found any decent Chinese places here in Manhattan.

  • Marc

    Thanks Sharon, I actually dragged the chef over (in disbelief) to ask him if it was all made of food products and he confirmed.

    Heather, yea I have a soft spot for american chinese food every now and then. Growing up in Napa we only had 3 Chinese restaurants for the longest time, so I think it got ingrained in me at an early age.

    Peter, having had both, I’d have to say that Aussie Chinese is better than American Chinese. Honestly, I think it has to do with the recency of immigration. For example here in NY, Flushing has a much better selection of Chinese food than in Manhattan, but Flushing also has a higher population of recent immigrants.

    Thanks JSC, I’ve never been to Shanghai (or China for that matter), but it’s at the top of my list off places I want to visit.

    Manggy, I bet Filipino Chinese food is good:-)

    Maryann, dumplings are always cute, but these were cuter than usual:-)

    Kitchen Vixen, I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.

    We Are Never Full, do tell about the excellent places! Aside from Chinatown Brasserie and places in Flushing, I haven’t really found any decent Chinese places here in Manhattan.

  • http://tastewiththeeyes.blogspot.com/ Lori Lynn

    How fun for you Marc! I need to take Foodbuzz up on that offer. Thanks for reminding me.

    Love those duck-shaped buns with the Peking Duck.

  • http://tastewiththeeyes.blogspot.com/ Lori Lynn

    How fun for you Marc! I need to take Foodbuzz up on that offer. Thanks for reminding me.

    Love those duck-shaped buns with the Peking Duck.

  • http://londoneater.com/ kang

    Hey Marc, can I just say your blog is super cool, I love the concept of cooking without recipes… its just such a cool idea of off the cuff cooking ( i know i just raid the fridge and whip up wotever ive got in there.. but im sure you’ve got a superiorly stocked fridge compared to mine :P)

    All the pictures are awesome too… hmm, if I had to take a guess, are you pics from a canon? The blacks versus color looks canon-y :D

    Anyway, keep it up, cooking is 40% inspiration indeed :)

  • http://londoneater.com kang

    Hey Marc, can I just say your blog is super cool, I love the concept of cooking without recipes… its just such a cool idea of off the cuff cooking ( i know i just raid the fridge and whip up wotever ive got in there.. but im sure you’ve got a superiorly stocked fridge compared to mine :P)

    All the pictures are awesome too… hmm, if I had to take a guess, are you pics from a canon? The blacks versus color looks canon-y :D

    Anyway, keep it up, cooking is 40% inspiration indeed :)

  • http://lickmyspoon.com/ Lick My Spoon

    love your site, marc!
    i’m so jealous you got to go to this! how did you hear about it? i’m a ny transplant living in sf now and would love to cover stuff like this out here.
    as for dim sum places, my favorite is a little hole in the wall in chinatown called chatham restaurant (http://lickmyspoon.com/nyeats/dim-sum-love/) the BBQ pork buns are amazing.

  • http://lickmyspoon.com/ Lick My Spoon

    love your site, marc!
    i’m so jealous you got to go to this! how did you hear about it? i’m a ny transplant living in sf now and would love to cover stuff like this out here.
    as for dim sum places, my favorite is a little hole in the wall in chinatown called chatham restaurant (http://lickmyspoon.com/nyeats/dim-sum-love/) the BBQ pork buns are amazing.

  • Just Dropped By

    I agree, “Marc Saya.” Filipino Chinese IS good eating! Their version of egg rolls, or shrimp rolls, “lumpia” (sp), is so delicious!

  • Just Dropped By

    I agree, “Marc Saya.” Filipino Chinese IS good eating! Their version of egg rolls, or shrimp rolls, “lumpia” (sp), is so delicious!

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com/ Syrie

    Lucky man! What a great event.

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com Syrie

    Lucky man! What a great event.

  • http://yujai.blogspot.com Yujai

    I absolutely agreed on the “lost in translation” part! I grew up in a chef-occupied family and move to North America when I was a teenager. I was lucky that we settled in Vancouver while Chinese food are usually quite authentic (due to a lot of “technical immigrants”, i mean real chef ;D)

    Now that I moved to Seattle, I started cooking everything at home because there aren't anything decent here! Yup, you are correct on early Chinese immigrants were laborers, not chefs. I found weird ingredients in a lot of popular dishes…

    I am trying to introduce what real Chinese food is like to my coworkers, and BBQ pork stuffed bun is called Cha Siu Bao, no hum bao!

    I have to state one more time, there is no such thing as wanton soup and fortune cookies and take out box and the Chinese bamboo font in China or HK or Taiwan XD

Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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