57 votes

Why do Chinese grocers advise cutting and discarding flowers in Chinese vegetables?

When a plant arrives in the kitchen, the ecological perspective doesn't matter any more. Any insect present on a plant destined for human consumption is considered a pest by the consuming humans and ...
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  • 124k
44 votes

Why do North American Chinese restaurants advertise "We use 100% Vegetable oil"?

Odds are that anything sold in the US as ‘vegetable oil’ is soybean oil, but it might mean something different to a restaurant. The issue is that it used to be fairly common for restaurants to uses ...
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  • 75.3k
43 votes

How do restaurants make chicken fried rice? What ingredient am I missing?

For me it isn't fried rice without toasted sesame oil, and the fried rice I have had in restaurants always tastes to me as if it contains toasted sesame oil. Peas are pretty required too. BTW, La Choy ...
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  • 58k
43 votes

Why do Hong Kong chefs use a white towel instead of gloves to clutch a wok?

Because it is more efficient when running the kitchen while in full service. It takes less time to remove their hands from the towels than it would take to remove gloves. This also applies to chefs ...
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  • 19.4k
33 votes

Why is cheese never used in Americanized Chinese food?

It's simple; Americanized Chinese food rarely contains cheese because Chinese food rarely contains cheese. As many as 90% of Chinese people are, to some degree, lactose intolerant. Dairy is simply ...
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  • 58k
25 votes
Accepted

Is there supposed to be a difference between General Tso's and Sesame Chicken besides the seeds?

These recipes aren't very standardized. Your mileage will vary greatly from one restaurant to another. That said, generally these are three distinct dishes. Orange chicken is... Orangey. Sesame ...
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  • 3,790
18 votes
Accepted

What is the real difference in lo mein, chow mein, mei fun, and chop suey?

The problem with your question is that you're kind of asking something akin to "what is the universally accepted traditional preparation for Spaghetti". While conventionally in much of the English ...
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  • 11.1k
16 votes

How do restaurants make chicken fried rice? What ingredient am I missing?

I might suggest that one thing that most home cooks are missing in comparison to a restaurant is heat. You aren't going to get the same results as a restaurant without the blazing wok that a ...
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  • 11.1k
15 votes
Accepted

How to cook Lo Mein?

OK I can read Chinese and let me tell you the answer: the noodles you bought are made by eggs. They're not made by rice. (FYI, there are TWO kinds noodles called "Rice Noodles", they are actually made ...
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  • 376
15 votes
Accepted

Reducing the moisture in cooked rice for making fried rice

Kenji López-Alt from Serious Eats dealt with the exact same issue (section Rule #2: plan in advance if you can, but don't worry if you don't). To sum up his findings: Rice only need to be dry, not ...
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  • 4,592
14 votes
Accepted

How does velveting work?

I think what's really happening here is mostly physics, rather than any magical reaction between the meat and the "velvet" (i.e. egg and cornstarch; I'm going to use this term for brevity). The ...
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  • 14.7k
14 votes
Accepted

Are egg rolls supposed to be eaten with chopsticks or hands?

It's a matter of personal preference when referring to restaurants in the United States. Some egg rolls are too large to be easily handled with chopsticks, and they can be eaten using your hands; ...
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  • 14.7k
14 votes
Accepted

is Doubanjiang (sezhuan hot bean paste) an acceptable substitute in recipes calling for gochujang (Korean hot sauce)?

Both are mildly spicy, but the similarities end there. Gochujang is tangy and slightly sweet, whereas doubanjiang is more salty, savory and fermented-tasting. Even the textures don't match up: ...
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  • 20.2k
13 votes

How should baking soda be used to tenderize meat?

I once worked in a Chinese restaurant and we used it for beef only, It was always the same, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda per lb of meat (lean meat, we used top round), tablespoon ShaoXing wine, pinch of ...
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  • 131
13 votes
Accepted

Why do Chinese grocers advise cutting and discarding flowers in Chinese vegetables?

I would say there may be more insects in the flowers, but that is not a big deal. The ones not removed by normal washing or possibly a saltwater rinse will mostly at least be tiny ones attracted by ...
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  • 8,575
12 votes

Is asking for a "Chinese menu" in a Chinese restaurant a common way to get more authentic dishes?

I am answering the question as I understand it based on our discussion in comments. Step 1 - Choose the restaurant wisely. As a rule you don't want big fancy restaurants and you certainly don't want ...
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  • 58k
12 votes

Why boiling water, then cold water for this shaobing recipe?

Adding boiling water to flour causes the starch granules to swell and gelatinise, allowing the dough to absorb more water, resulting in a softer and/or fluffier finished product. However, a dough made ...
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  • 1,714
11 votes

Why'd Cantonese restaurants desire 40,000 BTU for soup?

For a domestic kitchen a few thousand BTU is plenty as you will rarely need to heat more than a few liters of liquid. In a professional kitchen you might be asked to prepare a 30-litre portion of ...
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  • 581
11 votes

Why is rock sugar used in Chinese cooking?

while all of the above answers are correct, I want to provide a perspective as a native Chinese. Rock sugar is better used (than granulated sugar) when you try to make dishes involving coloring the ...
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  • 111
10 votes

What kind of rice is used in Chinese cooking?

I wrote a blog post on this issue, in terms of conclusion: In the case of boiled rice with Chinese dishes, use japonica rice (Medium Grain Rice). In the case of cooking porridge, use japonica rice (...
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10 votes
Accepted

Is there a reason to not add salt when making a soup?

Because as you are cooking your soup, water in your soup is evaporating away as steam. You might salt a soup perfectly halfway through, but after evaporation, your now thicker soup is too salty. ...
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  • 2,672
9 votes
Accepted

Vegetarian replacement for pork mince in Chinese style stir fry

It seems like you are primarily interested in reproducing the umami of the meat. Tofu does in fact have glutamic acids that will add to the umami; just make sure to thoroughly dry the tofu (...
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  • 7,269
9 votes

Is rice supposed to be eaten with chopsticks?

The Chinese cultural norm is to eat rice with chopsticks. It would be very inconvenient to constantly switch back and forth between eating with chopsticks and a spoon depending upon whether you were ...
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  • 2,454
8 votes

Vegetarian replacement for pork mince in Chinese style stir fry

Let's recapitulate the textural options you have: Crumbled firm tofu, sauteed (with or without some soy sauce and/or wheat paste - mind the color you want too!) Brunoised/minced fresh/reconstituted ...
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8 votes

Is rice supposed to be eaten with chopsticks?

In Japanese food, I would say you use chopsticks to eat white rice that comes in a rice bowl. Japanese rice is short/medium grained and sticks together so you can pick up clumps at a time. You also ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Why do HK chefs let water faucets run unceasingly, when the basin overflows?

This appears to be a dipper well: a continuously running sink used to rinse utensils. The water runs continuously to remove contaminants, always leaving a clean supply of water to rinse dirty utensils ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Szechuan fish soup ingredient -- what is it?

From your description, if it isn't tripe, then it is probably Bamboo Fungus. This is often used in soup an other dishes and has a neutral flavor. The texture can be from soft to slightly crunchy ...
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  • 777
7 votes

Why is cheese never used in Americanized Chinese food?

Jolenealaska is right, that a large majority of Far Eastern people are lactose intolerant. I think the answer to the question about cheese is that historically the peoples of the Far East did not ...
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  • 71
7 votes

Is salty tongue effect normal after eating sichuan peppercorns?

Yes. This happens to me. Some scientists are investigating the possibility of using the peppercorns as a means of reducing people's salt intake. Potential of Szechuan pepper as a saltiness enhancer, ...
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7 votes
Accepted

What is this seafood that I bought in a Chinese market?

That's abalone (鮑魚 bàoyú), a popular and expensive delicacy in Chinese cuisine.
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