Chinese Food

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Here’s the backstory on the soul roll

Photo: Priscilla Smith of Cora Faye’s Cafe in Aurora, Colorado

No one knows for sure who first conceived of putting soul-food ingredients in an egg roll wrapper and frying it, but once you have one, it’s hard to doubt the brilliance of this funky culinary mashup.

The “soul roll” is popular with caterers, food trucks, home cooks, and restaurateurs alike. I ate my first soul roll in the late 1990s at a swanky soul food restaurant in New York City called the Shark Bar.

After taking a bite of the fried puff pastry filled with baked chicken, black-eyed peas, collard greens, and rice, I was floored. Now that I’ve learned…


I realized I hadn’t, so I set out to ferment my own

Sumayya Ansari illustrations

I’d never even wondered what soy sauce was, really, until last summer, when I listened to Shunan Wang, the owner of Tea Drunk, wax rhapsodic about the complexities of the stuff, swooning over its citric notes as if it were a fine wine or whiskey.

At her beautiful shop in New York City, over tiny glasses of fresh Guapian, a green tea from Anhui Province, she regaled me with stories of the strange fermented delights she’d stumbled across during her adventures through China in search of tea: blocks of tofu inoculated with a mold that eventually left them swaddled in…

Heated

Food from every angle: From Medium x Mark Bittman

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