Chef Tom Lei puts the finishing touch on a Shanghai specialty that will be served at the banquet.
A while ago I stopped by Chef Tom Lei’s restaurant Spy C Asian Cuisine in Forest Hills to review it for amNewYork. “What type of food would you like to eat?” the waiter asked. Chef Lei’s restaurant specializes in Sichuan food, but Lei, who studied at a top Beijing culinary school is conversant with a variety of Chinese cuisines, including Shanghai, Hunan, and Hangzhou to name a few. Since I was there to review the restaurant I couldn’t very well order any of these secret regional items, but I did have a great Sichuan meal, including mortar and pestle smashed eggplant (擂辣椒茄子, lei la jiao qie zi) and firecracker chicken wings (麻辣鸡翅, ma la ji chi). On a previous visit Chef Dr. Tom Lo, the restaurant’s culinary director, introduced me to Chef Lei’s take on crispy squirrel fish (松鼠鱼, song shu yu), a specialty of Hangzhou capital of Zhejiang so named because of the cross-hatched flesh appears when deep fried. It’s traditionally served with a sweet and sour sauce, but Chef Lei make his with a garlic sauce.
As I ate the squirrel fish and Chef Dr. Lo (an anesthesiologist by trade who is also a trained chef) waxed rhapsodic about Chef Lei’s smashed cucumbers in spicy sauce an idea came to me: Queens Dinner Club should have a multiregional Chinese banquet. Which is precisely what we are doing on the evening of February 10th. Make sure you don’t miss out on this very special dinner by signing up for our mailing list here.
The eight-course banquet will also feature Tea Smoked Cured Pork Belly (
四川腊肉, Sichuan la rou) smoked in house using da hong cha tea and glutinous rice as well as Mortar and Pestle Smashed Eggplant (擂辣椒茄子, lei la jiao qie zi)
a Hunan specialty, as well as those spectacular Firecracker Chicken Wings. Dessert will be Matcha Green Tea Flan (绿茶果馅饼 , lu cha guo xian bing), a dish whose provenance is Forest Hills, since it is a creation of Chef Dr. Lo. “As a Chinese Chef and Doctor, a few things are very true to who I am: I love tea, I love delicious food, and I’m an advocate for promoting good health. Matcha Green Tea Flan accomplishes many of my goals in one dessert,” Lo says. I can’t wait to try it and look forward to seeing you on February 10th.