ClevelandPeople.Com Food Adventurers Passport The Pearl Asian Kitchen 20060 Van Aken Blvd Shaker Heights, OH January 10, 2017
The Cleveland Food Adventurers Passport event in January 2017 was to China at The Pearl Asian Kitchen formerly known as Pearl of the Orient.
As you know, the Food Adventurers travel to authentic ethnic restaurants in the Cleveland area and, besides enjoying a special traditional menu, learn about the culture of the country. The Pearl (formerly Pearl of the Orient) is run by Chef Rose Wong and the evening included many glimpses into the culture of China.
Chef Rose Wong prepared a special menu anticipating the upcoming Chinese New Tear celebration for the 50 adventurers.
The menu consisted of:
Yuen Baos (Crispy Crab Wontons)
Pork Pot Stickers
Vegetarian Spring Rolls (Significance: gold nuggets, gold bars, wealth, and prosperity)
Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wrap (Significance: Growth & wealth)
Steamed Glutinous Pearl Balls (Significance: Happy Family Unity)
Flaming Sweet and Sour Scrod (Significance: Surplus)
Whole Soy Marinated Chicken (Significance: Good Fortune)
Long Life Noodles (Significance: Longevity)
Pan-fried Glutinous Rice Cakes (Significance: Happy family unity)
Lotus Seed, Red Dates Sweet Soup (Significance: having sons year after year)
Good Luck Snacks and Fruits
Before eating, Shaker Heights Mayor Earl Leikin welcomed the ClevelandPeople.Com Food Adventurers to the Pearl Restaurant and applauded them for their commitment to diversity.
Shaker Heights Mayor Earl Leikin
NOTE: All the images below with a white arrow in the middle are videos. (The other images are just photos) You can click on the white arrow to watch the video of whatever is described. Make sure your speakers are on and you can make the video full screen once it begins by clicking the icon in the lower right corner. (Sorry for the dark lighting)
Debbie Hanson from ClevelandPeople.Com introduced Chef Rose Wong.
Rose Wong and Debbie Hanson
Chef Rose Wong told of the 5 different flavors of Chinese food and how the food varies in different parts (North, South, etc.) of China. She said that Chinese will eat anything that moves and everything inside and out of whatever moves.
Chef Wong described the sauces on the table and said there is no such thing as duck sauce and told why they don't put soy sauce on the table.
Chef Wong told of some of the colorful names of Chinese food that come from pronunciation, legend and superstitions. For example, the dish called Ants climbing tree is basically ground beef or pork over fried vermicelli. Field Chicken is really frogs. Spring rolls are lucky because they look like gold bars. Glutinous rice is good for family unity.
Chef Wong said they always have fish because the word for fish rhymes with surplus. The head of the fish should face the guest of honor. The word for lettuce is raw vegetable which rhymes with growing wealth.
Since it was almost Chinese New Year, Chef Wong told of the ubiquitous lucky red envelopes with money in them that are for good luck.
Chef Wong was asked about the expensive delicacy called bird's nest soup.
Chef Wong told of a fundamental difference between American and Chinese dining. For example, in Chinese dining it is impolite to fill the plate. Everything goes into a small bowl bite sized pieces at a time.
In this video we see the lighting of the Flaming Sweet & Sour Fish presented to the diners.
During the cultural part of the evening, Lt. Colonel Joseph Meissner spoke about the 4 famous novels of China: Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Dream of the Red Chamber, Water Margin and Journey to the West.
Lt. Colonel Joseph Meissner
Anthony Yen and Dr. Wang Yunmei spoke about the Chinese Garden, part of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens.
Anthony Yen and Dr. Wang Yunmei
They emphasized the importance of teachers who are honored in the Chinese Garden each year. They also spoke about the huge 7.5 ton granite Confucius statue and the male and female lion statues which protect the Chinese Garden.
Yen mentioned that some workers wanted to try Maotai which is very strong distilled Chinese liquor, made in the town of Maotai in China's Guizhou province.
Anthony Yen introduced Dr. Yan Yan Xu, director of the Confucius Institute at Cleveland State University and Professor Xuhong Zhang, Associate Director of the Confucius Institute.
Anthony Yen, Professor Xuhong Zhang and Dr. Yan Yan Xu
The group learned about the many important works of the Confucius Institute including Chinese New Year's celebrations and scholarships.
Professor Xuhong Zhang and Dr. Xu
Luling Li teaches Chinese language at Shaker Heights High School.
Luling Li and Rose Wong
Luling showed 5 important Chinese characters.
Then Luling showed a map of China and told why the Cantonese language is popular but that Mandarin is the official main language.
Luling also taught the audience the characters and pronunciation of numbers in Mandarin.
Luling taught the audience how to say Happy New Year in Mandarin.
Mathematician Dan Hanson told some basics about Chinese mathematics and the Chinese abacus which is able to do hexadecimal calculation as opposed to abacuses from other countries.
Dan Hanson with Chinese abacus
Dan also told about and demonstrated the popular Chinese Tangram Puzzle.
The food was delicious and the cultural presentations were enlightening. It was another great Passport Adventure.