10 Reasons for the Culinary World to Welcome Spring 0
Spring is in the air, flowers in bloom, winter gear has already gone back in closet hibernation, and our Little Red Dot Kitchen bak kwa-slinging ninjas are back in our new and improved kitchen working away. From seasonal produce, food television programs, bacon, farmers, gastropubs and locally grown goodies, here are ten reasons why we will be (and hopefully you too!) welcoming Spring 2013 with wide open arms:
You know spring is here when some of our favorite seasonal fruits and vegetables start popping up in abundance in stores and farmers markets. Asparagus pretty much marks the arrival of spring, while broccoli, kale, radishes, sunchokes, cauliflower, bok choy and artichokes are also reaching a peak.
Sustainability isn’t just a trending buzzword, sustainable agriculture has been put in the spotlight as the future for the farming industry. Pasture-raised, grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free, farm raised, free range, organic, a new generation of farmer is setting the tone to honor and respect where our food comes from, and this is getting national press. In Dallas, for example, organization Edible DFW has teamed up with Chipotle for a spring food film series that aims to raise awareness about buying local and sustainable agriculture practices. Or premiering this spring, the documentary series Grow chronicles a movement of young educated city dwellers leaving corporate jobs to become farmers in Georgia.
In seems like 2013 will be the year of the food shows, and we can’t wait for all the food-loving television that’s about to come our way. Anthony Bourdain has two hits premeiring: Parts Unknown, a CNN show where he will go to undiscovered crevices of the world to show different foods and cultures. Another one of our favorites is PBS show Mind of a Chef, produced and narrator by Bourdain, and starring celebrated chef David Chang, following him around the world on a culinary journey. There are a lot of other great shows coming up this season, check out Grubstreet's analysis on what's worth watching.
Put away the hearty stews and comfort foods, because spring is all about bright, fresh and nutritious meals. We are especially fans of Smitten Kitchen, Tastespotting and Simply Recipes, which all gives great seasonal springtime recipes. Our top picks? Farm raised poached eggs on top of grilled asparagus, artichoke soup and strawberry rhubarb pie.
Gastropubs & Microbrews
Sure the whole gastropub craze is not new trend, but as we enter the warm weathered air it’s just the right time to really enjoy ice cold microbrewery beers to the max. That's why we've looked to Eater’s Handy Guide to LA’s Gastropubs, a bar bible that should be required LA reading.
Don’t you love a good restaurant collaboration? It’s like in Seinfeld’s bizarro world of the culinary world, all-star chefs, from killer restaurants, teaming up or swapping kitchens for the ultimate food fest. Alinea's Grant Achatz traded places with Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park last year, and we can look forward to many more pop-up collaboration takeovers.
I love bacon, you love bacon, we all love bacon. Bacon has become more than just a favorite food, and exploded into a nation-wide obsession. Bacon sundaes, bacon mayonnaise, bacon soap, bacon salt, bacon magnetic poetry bacon condoms and good ole fashioned bacon: it’s no longer shocking to find ridiculous bacon products on the market.
Southeast Asian (Street) Food
Warm spring weather means outdoor dining, but our idea of eating under the open stars might be different than others. For us, warm weather marks street food and food truck season, especially with our favorite cuisines: Southeast Asian food. Malaysian food trucks in New York, Singaporean street food, well umm in the world's street food country capital, Singapore.. the whole nation has looked to Southeast Asian cuisine as the top dogs in street food culture.
Like it or not, we are a high tech nation of smart phone food loving Instagrammers. Have an insane spread at #breakfast? Instagram Earlybird. Getting down and dirty with some yummy #dimsum? Instagram Walden. Eat your little heart's galore of our spicy chipotle beef #bakkwa? Instagram Kelvin.
Food Start Ups & Collectives
As a food start up ourselves, we love seeing young, enthusiastic and creative entrepreneurs working together on inspiring food projects. Organizations like Local Food Lab are changing the way food start ups launch products while Food Hackathon was the first event that brought together food lovers and developers to share their brainy food knowledge.
The Low Down on Bak Kwa: A Quick Lesson About THE Snack of 2013 0
Obviously here at Little Red Dot Kitchen we are major Bak Kwa fanatics – snacking on this Southeast Asian protein-packed meat snack until there is no more left to snack on. But while our Bak Kwa has just recently made its delicious debut in the United States, this trending low-sodium, high protein, wheat-free/gluten-free charcuterie has quite a rich (and tasty) Asian history with its addictive street food roots in Singapore, Malaysia, Macau and Taiwan - versions that's unique to their own regions.
First things first: what the F@#$% is Bak Kwa?! Spelled bak kwa, bakkwa, bah kwa and bak kua – despite how your friends may say it, the proper pronunciation is “/buck-ku-ah/” Let’s say it together now, this time channeling Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman: “BUCK – KU – AH.” Very good.
While some like to call it long yok, others rou gan and many just Malaysian/Singaporean/Asian style barbecued snack, but no matter how you like to say it, there’s one thing that all us enthusiasts can agree upon: we’ve gone LOCO for Bak Kwa!
Directly translating to mean ‘barbecued dried meat’ in the Hokkien dialect, the sweet, savory and smoky charcuterie originated with the Fujian people way back in the day -- dating as far back as the 16th century. Back in that time meat was quite the hot deluxe commodity, where every last ounce was saved for consumption. So what happens when there are meaty leftovers with a short shelf-life in the need for some immediate preservation to be saved for later? Thinly slice those bad boys up, smother a flavorful marinade and grill -- all so it lasts long time.
Used as a way for meat preservation, Bak Kwa became part of regular snacking in Singapore and Malaysia, where it exploded onto the food scene (who doesn't love bacon?). While traditionally made from pork that had been marinated in sweet and savory sauces, it was dried on racks at about 130°F (optional, and there about), then barbecue-d and served in small thin squares. Overtime this favorite snack has transformed and matured in variety, with a wide selection of flavors, sizes, shapes, spice levels and even different proteins like beef, bacon, chicken and turkey Bak Kwa charcuterie.
Considered a delicacy in a time when a form of refrigeration was a luxury, Bak Kwa was saved for special occasions, especially the Chinese New Year where it was customary to celebrate by popping open a bag of Little Red Dot Kitchen’s very own recipe... well, maybe not our exact recipe, but it was pretty close.
With an immense amount of flavor in every meat-iful bite, this unique street food snack in Singapore and Malaysia has not only began to explode onto the culinary scene worldwide, but it's also known to cause a severe addiction for those who are snack and bacon lovers!