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Donal Skehan
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Chinese New Year / Saturday Night Fake-Away

January 27
Chinese New Year / Saturday Night Fake-Away | DonalSkehan.com, My first taste of Asian food like most Irish people was from our local take-away, in our case, the Dragon Boat in Howth (who amongst plenty of the classics, do a cracking salt & chilli prawn dish). Prawn crackers that fizz and melt in your mouth, fried rice and sweet and sour chicken from little metal boxes was the height of novelty in our house when I was growing up and real treat. If I was lucky and I got the request in early, birthday dinners were celebrated at the local Chinese restaurant, The Pagoda in Sutton Cross. Dark lighting, white table cloths, Chinese instrumental versions of classic hits made the perfect setting for a Chinese feast.

My first taste of Asian food like most Irish people was from our local take-away, in our case, the Dragon Boat in Howth (who amongst plenty of the classics, do a cracking salt & chilli prawn dish). Prawn crackers that fizz and melt in your mouth, fried rice and sweet and sour chicken from little metal boxes was the height of novelty in our house when I was growing up and real treat. If I was lucky and I got the request in early, birthday dinners were celebrated at the local Chinese restaurant, The Pagoda in Sutton Cross. Dark lighting, white table cloths, Chinese instrumental versions of classic hits made the perfect setting for a Chinese feast. Crispy duck pancakes, hot and sour soup, and beef in black bean sauce served on sizzling plates dramatically rushed to the table complete with a lazy susan- it was fierce fancy!  It didn’t end there, the pomp and ceremony of being handed hot towels was not lost on me before devouring a dessert of deep fried ice-cream. Eating spag bol or shepherds pie the next day for after school dinner didn’t quite cut it and so began for me a love of Asian food that has endured.

Where we live now in East Los Angeles, we are about fifteen minutes from the San Gabriel Valley, home to the largest and best Chinatown in the world. You can explore almost every regional Chinese cuisine in one 20 mile radius and their is no shortage of great dishes to explore like steamed. I spend most Saturdays here hunting down a top tip on where to get the best hot pot, dim sum, numbing biang biang mian noodles, fried scallion pancakes or peking duck- it’s lead to a bit of an obsession! 

Although I do think you can only eat the best of Asian cuisines from the masters, homemade and simplified Asian dishes most definitely have their place in the home kitchen and can leave you with some really great doable mid-week suppers.

With all that in mind, this week’s recipes are a beef noodle stir fry inspired by one of our favourite LA spots, Woon, a chicken dish that delivers sweet and tangy sauce with minimal effort and a one pan Singapore noodle dish, that most Singaporeans will never have heard of but will give your local take-away a run for its money!

Follow these links for the recipes in the photos:

Beef Noodles, with Shiitake Mushrooms & Bok Choy

Ching’s 3-Cup Chicken

One Pan Singapore Noodles

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