recipe: deep-fried stuffed eggplants

In Chinese, 盒子 (hézi) literally translates into box -- an edible box, of course. A typical “box” that you’ll see sold as a quick street food item consists of chopped chives and eggs (or some other variation of that) stuffed into a dough “box,” although that box is shaped more like a crescent moon. I like to think of them as the older cousin of dumplings. Both are like savory pocket pies, but hézi usually are larger, have more filling, and a crisper skin.

austin: odd duck

Odd Duck's menu has complex items that are so eccentric and eclectic. The antelope tataki and smoked chicken nachos are amalganations of not just flavors and unique food items but also cultures. Antelope tataki combines antelope (a unique meat, in my opinion) and the Japanese cooking style of tataki - lightly searing meat. What this unlocks is a reservoir of flavors almost never seen beforehand.

recipe: shrimp pad see ew

Pad see ew translates into “fried with soy sauce,” and that’s basically the foundation for this popular Thai dish. It’s made with a combination of light and dark soy sauce (one for the color, one for the flavor), and is topped with eggs, protein, and Chinese broccoli. As for the star of the show: flat, broad rice noodles.

recipe: turnip cakes

Turnip cakes are a classic at dim-sum restaurants, and have always been my favorite item (I save room for an entire serving for it each time...) While the more appropriate name is radish cake, they are an incredibly savory dish featuring veggies, sausages and rice flour. They're a bit of a time commitment, but nothing too extreme -- block out an hour and a half-ish, and you've got yourself some turnip cakes. And paired with some hoisin sauce and Lao Gan Ma chili crisp sauce...well, that's as good as life gets.