Happy Lunar New Year

When I first moved to NYC I stayed with a friend who lived in Chinatown on Monroe street in a one bedroom tenement – the garbage cans where in the hallways, which were painted a very dark grey, the tilt of the floors was so great that if you dropped something round it would roll to the other side of the room.  The shower was in the kitchen and the toilet was in a closet in the living room.  I slept on a futon in the: dressing room/closet/bedroom (my friend worked in a very high-end clothing store so clothes were a priority.  Every night I would tuck all the sheets under the futon because I was so worried that I would wake up with “wild life” in my bed, and there was an abundance of wild life co-habitating with us.  Needless to say this place was a bargain and I loved it.

I digress… my first Chinese New Year in New York was before they banned fireworks and walking along the streets of Chinatown was not dissimilar to taking a stroll through a bombing attack in Beirut. So this video is very charming to me, now instead of firecrackers being exploding at your feet they have these colorful tubes that somehow gently blow glitter out of them.  A big improvement, as now I’m not afraid to partake in the festivities.IMG_1902 IMG_1901 IMG_1899 IMG_1895IMG_1887 In order to bring good luck the dragon has to enter your store…love this. IMG_1884In my neighborhood I saw a several tables heavy with Moon Cakes and bags of rice (an offering ?)  outside a temple, I was in such a hurry I didn’t snap a picture because I finger this would be a common site.  It wasn’t. But here is a picture of a local bakery that seems to make nothing but Moon Cakes which are filled usually with Red Bean or Lotus Seed paste and can be incredibly ornate and beautiful.  They are an important staple of the Lunar New Year and are sliced up into wedges and eaten with tea traditionally.

Happy New Year!

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note: urbanfoodguy@gmail.com
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