Andy Aroonsameruang — Thai Chef

A Top Chicago Chef
Blue Crab and Chinese Celery

“I’ve cooked since I can remember.  When my mother wasn’t there, I was the one who cooked.” — Andy Aroonsameruang

“One of Chicago’s very best chefs.” — Michael Nagrant

A leading food writer has said that Andy Aroonsameruang is one of the great chefs in Chicago, not just a great Thai chef.

Andy’s Thai Kitchen

Andy wasn’t trained as a chef. A native of Chachoengsao, a town in Central Thailand near Bangkok, he moved to Chicago in the mid-1990s to do graduate study.  He earned an MBA from Dominican University in suburban Chicago.

To help with expenses, Andy worked at various side jobs, including cooking at a Thai restaurant. He had never studied cooking formally, but he did have Continue reading

Spam Sushi

Barack Obama Likes This
Hawaiian Comfort Food

“Some of these throwback dishes were best left in the past.” — Kate Bernot

“In  Hawaii, Spam Nigiri is ubiquitous.  You can get it at any 7-11.” — Ivan Lee

I

Spam

t’s a bit like Loco Moco or a couple of other Hawaiian favorites. If you grew up eating them, you probably still crave them. Hawaiian comfort food. At least, that’s what Barack Obama did — on a trip to Hawaii after his election in 2008, he was seen enjoying Spam Sushi. [1]

Spam Sushi is not exactly sushi in the usual sense of the word. It’s basically a piece of Spam integrated with rice in a way that looks sushi-like. Continue reading

Takashi Yagihashi – Noodle Expert

Fusion Temple to Noodle Boutique
Master of the Slurping Turtle

“Despite being in a mall food court, the ramen here will satisfy your craving.” — Chicago diner

Japanese Shio Ramen - Tonkotsu TypeAs a child in Japan, Takashi Yagibashi could not afford to eat meat.  But “fish was very cheap,” he says. [1]

And he says  Continue reading

Tony Hu, Sichuan Chef

Bill Clinton Ate Here
Street Food from Ghost Street

Lao Sze Chuan

Lao Sze Chuan, Broadway

Three Tony Hu’s: You can see a photo of a happy Bill Clinton in front of Tony Hu’s Lao Beijing restaurant, in Chicago’s Chinatown.  Perhaps from the former President’s pre-vegan days.

Of course, you can get veggie dishes at Hu’s various Lao restaurants. Like the excellent Ma Po Do Fu at his Lao Szechuan flagship location.  But even that tofu dish has some meat in it. Continue reading

Pomelo

The Biggest Citrus Fruit
Captain Shaddock’s Trophy

“In the southern provinces, there are pomelos, a drier kind of grapefruit.” — Buwei Yang Chao

What You Need To Know About Pomelos:  Pomelos  are a delicious Asian fruit, with nutrition and health benefits and an important Continue reading

Chinese Celery

Quote

The Stuff of Heroes’ Wreaths
Fragrant Swizzle Sticks

“A leafier, skinnier-stalked version of the familiar green head” — Mark Bittman

 

Chinese  Celery

Chinese Celery Plant

When you cook with Chinese Celery, you’re using he plant that ancient Greeks and Romans used to weave their heroes’ garlands. [1]

The Vegetable Itself: As the picture shows, Chinese Celery looks similar to Western Celery, but is smaller, with bright green leaves.  As Mark Bittman says, it is a “leafier, slimmer-stalked version of the familiar green.” Continue reading