East Meets West
Stephanie Yuen is a name many Vancouver epicureans will recognize. The vivacious Hong Kong-born food writer and self-taught chef has emerged as an ambassador for the city’s Asian cuisine. Yuen worked as a food columnist for CBC Radio 1 and now writes for Edible Canada, What’s On, and the Vancouver Sun, among others, and regularly appears on TV and radio.
For British Columbia Magazine’s Winter 2011 feature article on Chinese New Year celebrations (“Behind the lion’s mask”), Yuen introduced writer Daniel Wood to the many auspicious ingredients that go into a Chinese New Year feast.
“Oranges are always present for New Year’s visitors because they’re golden and promote wealth. Noodles are never served cut into pieces because their length represents longevity. A cooked chicken always appears with its head and feet on to symbolize wholeness,” she advised.
Yuen shares more of her wisdom and observations of the Vancouver food scene over the past 30 years in her newly released cookbook East Meets West (Doulas & McIntyre), which features traditional and contemporary Asian dishes gathered from acclaimed Vancouver restaurants. The offerings range from the well-loved (Phad Thai and Beef ‘Pho) to the more surprising (Sea Urchin and Scallop Mousse and Jellyfish and Chicken Salad).
One of the first to try on my list is ‘Lovely Lady’ Special Bubble Tea, which Yuen secured from Chef Dennis Lam of Dessert Dynasty:
“Lovely Lady” Special Bubble Tea
2 tsp basil seeds
16 oz watermelon juice
1 Tbsp white sugar
½ cup ice chips
2 oz premade kanten jelly in ¼-inch cubes
3 oz seeded watermelon, in ½-inch cubes
In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a gentle boil on high heat. Add basil seeds and immediately turn off the heat. Allow seeds to soak for 5 minutes or until they become translucent. Pour seeds into a colander, drain and rinse under cold running water for 90 seconds. Transfer seeds to an airtight container and refrigerate until needed. In a blender, combine watermelon juice, sugar and ice chips and blend on high for 60 to 90 seconds. Evenly divide kanten jelly, basil seeds and watermelon cubes among 3 or 4 large, tall glasses. Pour watermelon juice over the jelly and serve ice cold.
For another sample recipe from the book, Original Shanghai Tan Tan Noodles, click here.
To order a copy of East Meets West, contact Douglas & McIntyre.