Chinese Food: A Christmas Tradition
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I was recently was looking over the numbers on Windchimes website and noticed that last month on December 25th there was a large spike in business. I know a lot of America celebrates Christmas on that day and typically spend it with family/friends and home cooked meals. But what if that wasn’t your holiday or you didn’t want to cook? The answer is Chinese food.

This is no surprise. The tradition of going out for Chinese food on Christmas day has been around since 1935 when Jewish American’s were one of the largest non-Christian immigrant groups along with Chinese people. That meant there were new populations that didn’t typically see December 25th as a holiday. While a lot of stores/restaurants were closed many Jewish and Chinese immigrants found something of a shared experience of celebrating who they were together in a safe space.

“Chinese restaurants were safe. There was definitely an era for Jews when they felt insecure about being American and being perceived as foreign, especially since a good, good number of them came from Eastern Europe,” said Jennifer 8. Lee, author of Fortune Cookie Chronicles and producer of the documentary film The Search for General Tso. “They knew at least in Chinese restaurants they wouldn’t be judged about being foreign.”

Today you can find more restaurants open on Christmas this tradition has stuck through and through. It’s even been popularized in movies A Christmas Story. Even though the original film has a few flaws on political correctness the remake of it in 2017 fixed that:

All in all Chinese food is a staple during the holiday season so maybe next year instead of stressing out on what to make why not make a new tradition and go out and celebrate at Windchimes! It’ll be great time!

2019: Year of the Pig
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A New Year means a new Animal in the Chinese Culture. The Pig is the twelfth in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac sign. The Years of the Pig include 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031, 2043...

Earthly Branch of Birth Year: Hai
Wu Xing (The Five Elements): Shui (Water)
Yin Yang: Yin

People with Chinese zodiac Pig sign are considerate, responsible, independent and optimistic. They always show generousness and mercy to endure other people's mistakes, which help them gain harmonious interpersonal relationships. However, sometimes they will behave lazy and lack actions. In addition, pure hearts would let them be cheated easily in daily life.

  • Strengths
    Warm-hearted, good-tempered, loyal, honest, gentle

  • Weaknesses
    Naive, gullible, sluggish, short-tempered

    As the Zodiac Year of Birth (Ben Ming Nian) for people of Pig sign, 2019 could be a year full of ups and downs in all respects for them. They could receive support and help from their colleagues and leaders, but might feel stressful under too many regulations. The fortune in wealth is fair. Although they can expect a salary increase and also gain more income from financial products, there could be a lot of unexpected expenditure offsetting the favorable money increase. As for love relationship, single females of Chinese zodiac Pig may have a fairly good fortune and could start a sweet relationship in 2019.

Pad Thai: Food History
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What is Pad Thai?

Pad thai is made with soaked dried rice noodles, which are stir-fried with eggs and chopped firm tofu, and is flavored with tamarind pulp, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic or shallots, red chili pepper and palm sugar and served with lime wedges and often chopped roasted peanuts. It may contain other vegetables like bean sprouts, garlic chives, pickled radishes or turnips, and raw banana flowers. It may also contain fresh shrimp, crab, squid, chicken or other animal products. Many of the ingredients are provided on the side as condiments such as the red chili pepper, lime wedges, roasted peanuts, bean sprouts and other miscellaneous fresh vegetables. Vegetarian versions may substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce and omit the shrimp.


Where did it come from?

A dish of stir-fried rice noodles is thought by some to have been introduced to Ayutthaya during the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom by Chinese traders and subsequently altered to reflect Thai flavor profiles.

During World War II, Thailand suffered a rice shortage due to the war and floods. To reduce domestic rice consumption, the Thai government under Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram promoted eating noodles instead. His government promoted rice noodles and helped to establish the identity of Thailand. As a result, a new noodle called sen chan (named after Chanthaburi Province) was created. Pad thai has since become one of Thailand's national dishes. Today, some food vendors add pork or chicken (although the original recipe did not contain pork because of the government's perception that pork was a Chinese meat). Some food vendors still use the original recipe.

Come in to Windchimes today to try our version! You wont’ be disappointed!

Monthly Horoscope: December
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The Month of the Wood Rat of the Chinese calendar starts on December 7th, 2018 and ends on January 6th, 2019. On December 6th, the new moon announces the passage in the Chinese calendar from the Water Pig Month to the Month of the Wood Rat of the Year of the Earth Dog 2018.

It is a dynamic and warm cycle during which the family ties are consolidated, coupled with an increase in the desire for material possession.

According to the monthly Chinese horoscope of December 2018 and beginning of January 2019, the passage of the Rat (of the month) in the Dog (of the year) announces a period of positive actions supported by an inflexible will to face the difficulties with more ardor and insurance.

A Month of the Rat is an opportunity to explore, delve into and analyze problems in depth in order to find the most appropriate solution to the events that affect our daily lives.

On a social level, one's self-image can momentarily become more important than usual. Elegance and sobriety can take precedence over pageantry and exhibition in order to display an image of stability and anchorage. In addition, the desire to imagine, conceive and give life to new ideas, based on positive and simple values, is definitely relevant.

When starting a new project, the need for approval from one of one's peers isn't felt as much as a necessity. The Rat possesses in him secret and varied resources that allow many new initiatives to emerge from the 12 signs of Chinese astrology. In addition, we can expect help and moral support when our endeavor is implemented. It is even possible to return an unfavorable situation to one's advantage and extract an unsuspected personal profit, provided necessary insurance was in place to begin with.

The only negative point to note for this period concerns the character of the two Chinese zodiac signs whose energies dominate the calendar of the month. It should be known that the Dog (of the year) and the Rat (of the month) have anxious natures. Therefore, care should be taken not to be overcome by pessimism in the event of a delay in the progress of one's aspirations. While hopes are immediate, good things always take time to mature and bear fruit.


The Tien Tisn Pepper
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One thing Chinese food has is great flavor! From sweet to savory it showcases how pleasurable eating can be.

One main element they use in dishes are peppers. They can range from a slight heat to making your mouth feel on fire. A common pepper used a lot in dishes is the Tien Tsin Pepper. You may know Tien Tsin peppers by another, more descriptive name – Chinese red peppers. These are the surprisingly hot, dried chilies that you sometimes find in you Kung Pao chicken or one of many other Szechuan or Hunan dishes. They’re popular to use as a flavoring spice that are removed prior to serving (unless you order your meal extra hot).

Can you eat the Tien Tsin Pepper? Think of it as a small cayenne peppers with extra pop and you’ll be on the right path for both looks and tastes. Tien Tsin chilies are branch-like thin, one to two inches in length. They age from green to a vibrant red, at which time they are picked and dried for their typical usage

The Tien Tsin pepper’s slimness is very reminiscent of cayenne, and it has a neutral, almost musty, flavor behind the heat similar to cayenne too. This is not a complex chili in terms of flavor; the heat is the star here. And that certainly colors how it is used in the kitchen.

All in all it’s a great element to any Chinese dish and makes each bite DELICIOUS!

Tien Tisn Pepper in Kung Pao Trio (look for the pepper flakes in the dish!)

Tien Tisn Pepper in Kung Pao Trio (look for the pepper flakes in the dish!)

The Mystery of Kung Pao
Kung Pao Trio (includes beef, shrimp, and chicken)

Kung Pao Trio (includes beef, shrimp, and chicken)

Kung Pao chicken (Chinese: 宫保鸡丁), also transcribed as Gong Bao or Kung Po, is a spicy, stir-fried Chinese dish made with chicken, peanuts, vegetables, and chili peppers. The classic dish in Sichuan cuisine originated in the Sichuan Province of south-western China and includes Sichuan peppercorns. Although the dish is found throughout China, there are regional variations that are typically less spicy than the Sichuan serving. Kung Pao chicken is also a staple of westernized Chinese cuisine.

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The dish is believed to be named after Ding Baozhen (1820–1886), a late Qing Dynasty official and governor of Sichuan Province. His title was Gongbao (Chinese: 宫保; pinyin: Gōngbǎo; Wade–Giles: Kung1-pao3; literally: "Palace Guardian"). The name Kung Pao chicken is derived from this title.

There are a few different versions of the dish from the original Sichuan version that has diced chicken is typically mixed with a prepared marinade. In Sichuan, or when preparing Sichuan-style Kung Pao chicken, only Sichuan-style chili peppers such as facing heaven pepper or seven stars pepper are used. It is these peppercorns that give authentic Kung Pao chicken its distinctive numbing flavor. Kung Pao chicken starts off with fresh, moist, unroasted peanuts or cashew nuts. These are often used instead of their pre-roasted versions. The peanuts or cashew nuts are dropped into the hot oil at the bottom of the wok, then deep-fried until golden brown before the other ingredients are added.

Versions commonly found in the west, called Kung Pao chickenKung Po, or just chicken chili and garlic, consist of diced, marinated chicken, stir-fried with orange or orange juice, ginger, garlic, chicken broth, sugar, cooking oil, corn starch, and salt and pepper to taste. The dish often includes or is garnished with whole roasted peanuts. Instead of chicken, western variations sometimes substitute other meat such as pork, duck, fish, or tofu.

Come try our version today!


Thanksgiving: We Thank YOU!
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It is said that the Chinese are the only people other than North Americans who celebrate Thanksgiving. American teachers have been teaching kids about this holiday and how America was settled by Pilgrims for several decades now, and it has caught on among younger people and Christians in China.

Picking up on this American holiday, Chinese people generally think this is a time to have a Western meal and thank friends, family, workmates, and teachers or bosses. They call it "Gan'en Jie" (感恩节, literally: 'thanks for grace holiday'). So foreigners in China might hear people say "thank you" and receive a small gift.

We at Windchimes just want to take a moment and thank YOU, our loyal customers, for coming back time and time again! We appreciate your business so much and hope that we can serve you into the future!

Please enjoy your time with family and friends this Thanksgiving and, like always, enjoy great food!

Monthly Horoscope: November
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The Month of the Water Pig of the Chinese calendar starts on November 8th, 2018 and ends on December 6th, 2018. On November 7th, the new moon announces the passage in the Chinese calendar from the Water Dog Month to the Month of the Water Pig of the Year of the Earth Dog 2018.

According to the Chinese horoscope, the 2018 Water Pig Month begins on November 8, 2018 and ends on December 6, 2018. The month of November is always synonymous with the preparation of the end of year festivities. This is why socially, activities around the home and family are usually preferred. Luck, charm, sensuality and creative intelligence coexist during the lunar month of the twelfth animal of the Chinese zodiac, for the greatest happiness of all.

The Month of the Pig is often the occasion to combine moments of relaxation and pleasure but also to take the time to make a point on the priorities of the daily routine. It is therefore good to ignore any possible rigidity in order to be able to free the chains that can attach one to one's habits and can slow one in one's life projects. This perspective could occupy the first place in the lists of existential resolutions specific to the Month of the Pig 2018.

The majority of Chinese zodiac signs are less prone to criticism and sarcasm against their peers and are more willing than usual to be generous. Indeed, during the Year of the Dog 2018, it is during the Month of the Pig that one can be able to observe a strong increase of altruism. In summary, the current month is that of clairvoyance, of concretization, but also of receptivity to the needs of one's fellows.

However, even if the astrological conjuncture is particularly geared to those who wish to accommodate the tastes and feelings of people of their choice to please them, one must not forget that unlike those one can believe, any Pig conscious of his natural credulity is much less naive than he appears. One must therefore beware of possible breaches of trust. But in case of unexpected setbacks that must be faced at all costs, the benevolent and fortunate energy of the Water Pig can greatly reduce the damage.

What are Singapore Noodles?
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Singapore Noodles is a dish of stir-fried rice vermicelli seasoned with curry powder, vegetables, scrambled eggs and meat, most commonly chicken, beef, char siu pork, or prawns.Even though you would think it would a be a dish created in the town in which is named after it actually was Chinese-American creation.

This dish looks more complicated than it is. It consist of Rice vermicellia dried noodles, egg, meat and a handful of different types of vegetables. All of this can be personalized for you taste and YES, you can even make this at home!

Don’t believe me? Check out this simple recipe:

One of the most popular stir fried noodles, made at home! Made with Chinese BBQ Pork (Char Siu), prawns/shrimp, egg and vegetables with a signature curry seasoning. See notes for a quick Char Siu and subs. This recipe makes 2 generous servings. Recipe video below.

Course: Noodles, Stir Fry, Street Food

Cuisine: Asian, Chinese, Hong Kong, Singapore

Servings: 2

Calories: 555 kcal

Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (Note 1)

  • 2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (Note 2)

  • 2 1/2 tsp curry powder (hot or ordinary, Note 3)

  • 1/2 tsp sugar

  • 1/2 tsp white pepper (black also ok)

Stir Fry

  • 100g / 3 oz dried rice vermicelli noodles (Note 4)

  • 2 tbsp peanut oil , separated

  • 8-10 medium raw shrimp / prawns , shelled and deveined

  • 2 eggs , beaten

  • 1/2 medium onion , thinly sliced (yellow, brown or white)

  • 4 garlic cloves , minced

  • 1 tsp ginger , freshly grated

  • 1/2 lb / 250g Chinese barbecue pork (Char Siu), thinly sliced (Note 5)

  • 1 cup red capsicum / bell pepper

  • 2 tsp thinly sliced hot green pepper (adjust to taste, optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine the Sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix.

  2. Place rice vermicelli noodles in a large bowl filled with boiled water and soak as per packet instructions. Drain and set aside.

  3. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok or heavy based fry pan over medium heat. Add the shrimp/prawns, cook until just cooked - about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.

  4. Add the egg and spread it out to make a thin omelette. Once set, use a spatula to roll it up, remove from the wok and slice (while still rolled up).

  5. Return the wok to medium heat and add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil. Add the garlic, ginger and onion, cook for 2 minutes until onion is slightly softened.

  6. Add capsicum and cook for 1 minute.

  7. Add noodles and Sauce, give it a few tosses. Then add the egg, pork,  shrimp/prawns, chillies (if using). Toss until the sauce coats all the noodles and everything is heated through - about 1 to 2 minutes.

  8. Serve immediately.

Notes

1. I use all purpose soy sauce (Kikkoman) or light soy sauce. I don't recommend dark soy sauce, the flavour is too intense.

2. Also known as Shaoxing wine. Substitute with dry sherry, cooking sake or Mirin. If you can't consume alcohol, use chicken broth.

3. Any generic curry powder is fine here. I use Keens or Clives of India, both general curry powders sold at supermarkets. I use hot because I like the spice!

4. Wai Wai is the brand I recommend if you can get it, for both texture and also it holds up well to lots of tossing action. Rice vermicelli is very cheap - usually $2 for quite a large bag - and nowadays you'll find it at everyday supermarkets.

I know it doesn't sound like much noodles but it expands, almost doubles in weight.

5. If you don't have store bought or homemade Char Siu  substitute with diced chicken, bacon, ham or pork, leave it out and/or add more vegetables. For a quick Char Siu, make a small quantity of the Char Siu marinade, marinade pork chops for 20 minutes then pan fry on medium until caramelised, or bake at 180C/350F for around 20 minutes. Then use per recipe.

6. How to tell shrimp/prawns are perfectly cooked: raw prawns hang straight, perfectly cooked prawns form a "C" shape and overcooked prawns are tightly curled into an "O" shape.

7. Adapted from Singapore-Style Rice Vermicelli by Saucy Spatula

8. Nutrition per serving.

But if you don’t like to cook just come into Windchimes and order it!

Why the Chicken Became Orange
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_chicken

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_chicken

 

The variety of orange chicken most commonly found at North American Chinese restaurants consists of chopped, battered and fried chicken pieces coated in a sweet orange-flavored chili sauce, which thickens or caramelizes to a glaze. While the dish is very popular in the United States, it is most often found as a variation of General Tso's chicken in North America rather than the dish found in mainland China. Chef Andy Kao claims to have developed the original Chinese-American orange chicken recipe at a Panda Express in Hawaii in 1987. It’s become popular enough that other Chinese restaurants have created their own versions.

In Chinese, this dish is known as "橙花雞", literally "(Fresh) Orange peel chicken". The dish also has a variation known as "陳皮雞", literally "Dried Citrus peel chicken", referring to dried orange or tangerine peel, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine as well as cooking.

For restaurants outside of Asia, fresh orange peel is often used instead, or even no peel at all.

Come and and taste our Orange Chicken and see what you think!