NJ Dining: Nanking

August 30, 2008

Nanking Restaurant
101 Hudson Street, Jersey City NJ 07302
(201) 333-6500

Web Site: http://www.nankingrestaurantgroup.com

Downtown Jersey City is an area that I normally don’t get to spend a lot of time in, and that’s mostly by choice — it is situated in one of the most difficult traffic areas in existence, and if you live in any of the Eastern Bergen County towns like me, trying to get there at any time of the day is an utter nightmare, because you’re dealing with roads that intersect every major crossing into New York City. That being said, I am now working on assignment in the Exchange Place area for a few months, and I’ve had to make the best of my commute, which gets me up at 6am and into work by 8am, missing most of the bad Holland Tunnel and bridge traffic.

Despite the horrendous traffic situation, Jersey City is an absolute goldmine of fantastic ethnic food. One of those ethnic cuisines is Indian food, which has grown in popularity since all the strategic outsourcing started bringing in IT workers from Bangalore and other cities in India to work at many of the financial institutions which migrated to Jersey City after 9/11.

One Indian restaurant that I recently visited in Jersey City is Nanking, which is very close to the Exchange Place PATH station. Nanking is actually an Indian Chinese restaurant (which is part of a small local chain that has several restaurants in NYC and NJ) which also serves Indianized Thai food. For those not familiar with Indo-Chinese cuisine, its a spicy, tangy fusion cuisine that originates from Calcutta and utilizes Chinese-style wok cooking methods combined with Indian spices. Indo-Chinese is a rather rare cuisine in both New York and New Jersey — the two best known restaurants that serve this food are owned by the Mehtani Group, which owns Ming and Ming II in Edison and Morristown, both of which are excellent.

Nanking Restaurant, Jersey City NJ by you.

Nanking, in downtown Jersey City features exotic Indian Chinese cuisine. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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June 13, 2008

Ah yes, the pleasures of the Thai Yum. When it turns summer and disgustingly hot, and you feel like your energy has been sapped from the oppressive weather, spicy and tangy Asian salads can be a refreshing and satisfying boost — and for the most part, they’re pretty healthy too.

Larb is one of my favorite Thai dishes. Chances are, if I am going to a Thai restaurant for the first time and they have Larb on the menu, its what I am going to be ordering — it’s one of those “benchmark” dishes because its so simple to make. Anyone can make a good Larb at home, because it doesn’t require difficult to obtain ingredients (fish sauce is easy to get these days) or technical skills to prepare. Larb was a huge subject of interest back when I was still involved on eGullet — it was one of those huge monster threads that kept on going, and going. The general rule of thumb is that If it’s a protein, you can larb it. I have to give fellow blogger tommyeats the credit for starting it, it was inspired genius.

Larb, Laab, Larp… doesn’t matter what you call it, let’s eat it! Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Triangle Dining: Korean Food

May 17, 2008

On cold rainy days away from home, I want a taste of Jersey. For me, that means Korean food.

The Korean community in the Triangle is relatively small, but it is growing steadily, and a  few restaurants have popped up to support the local taste for home style Korean dishes. During my stay in the Raleigh-Durham area I found two that I enjoyed.

Chosun Ok Korean B.B.Q
2105 E Highway 54, Durham NC
(919) 806-1213

Chosun Ok Restaurant

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Cleveland Dining: Phnom Penh (UPDATED)

February 10, 2008

Phnom Penh Restaurant

13124 Lorain Ave
Cleveland, OH 44111
(216) 251-0210

1929 W 25th
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 357-2951

Web Site: http://www.ohiorestaurant.com

I happen to be a huge Asian food fan — be it Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese or Korean, I’m immensely attracted to the firey chiles, the fresh herbs, the strange vegetables and the confluence and exotic spices and strange condiments used in these cuisines. And when I get to try dishes from this region that I normally don’t have access to where I live in the New York Metro area, I jump at the chance to do it.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been travelling back and forth to Cleveland — a city that for the most part I would classify as sorely lacking in decent food. Cleveland is a meat and potatoes town, a city where chain restaurants reign and are even test marketed. But there are definitely pockets of great ethnic food in Cleveland, and you have to know where to find it.

One fine example of this is Phnom Penh, which is a Cambodian restaurant with two locations in Cleveland. Cambodian food is something that I have absolutely no experience with, as we don’t have any restaurants that I know of that represent the cuisine in New York or New Jersey. The best way I could describe Cambodian is it has all the herbal notes and heavy reliance on fresh produce and the funkyness of Vietnamese, but with all the explosive chili fire of Thai. Like Thai, many of their dishes are curry-like and served over rice or rice noodles like the Vietnamese do. Like the Thai, they use tamarind, galangal, and kaffir lime. Like the Vietnamese, they use Star Anise as well as Cilantro/Coriander. What sets Cambodian apart from both of these cuisines is its signature Khmer spice paste, Kroeung, which is used in many of their native dishes and made up of a combination of Lemon grass, Kaffir lime, Galangal, Turmeric, Rhizome, Garlic, Shallots, and Dried Red Chillies

Phnom Penh’s Lorain Avenue location. The restaurant is very small and barely has enough space for 3 cars to park in front in its tiny lot, so you might have to park around the corner or across the street.

The Lorain Avenue branch is not much to look at. But that’s not what you’re here for.

Ready for some seriously spicy and exotic food in Cleveland? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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