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On March 24th, we will partner with the Specktator for a special event. We’ll re-create classic TV dinners Here are the details:
As a kid, who didn’t love TV dinners? Dining on mushy and/or flavorless food on a TV tray while watching your favorite show was pretty much a rite of passage (unless, you were the neighborhood kids whose parents wouldn’t let them watch TV).
Chef Dennis Chan remembers those days fondly and wanted to re-create the TV dinner experience but for an adult palate. The TV Dinner Dinner is a three-course meal featuring two of the most popular entreés, along with grown-up-kid-approved appetizer and dessert. (Kerry “The Specktator” Speckman was a big fan too, but she can cook about as well as Cindy Brady could say, “She sells seashells down by the seashore.”)
Mille Feuille-enrobed mini-link sausage with mustard dipping sauce
Salisbury steak with forest mushroom demi-glace
Buttermilk fried chicken with country gravy
and duchess mashed potatoes flavored with Parmesan
Molten-center brownie bundt
I look forward to seeing you!
This year, the lunar new year begins on January 31.
It’s the Year of the Horse, and according to astrologers, it is a year of unexpected adventures and surprising romance.
We are celebrating with a Chinese New Year cooking class on January 25th,
Dim Sum on Sunday, January 26th,
Dinner Specials on January 31st and February 1,
and Dim Sum on February 2.
Join us as we ring in the year of the Horse!
This week, I spent an afternoon cooking with Heather Crawford from First Coast News.
She asked if I would be able to cook a gourmet meal with food purchased from a dollar store, and spend less than $10. Although I had my own doubts about what I could possibly buy at the dollar store to cook a decent meal, I was ready for the challenge.
As we walked around the store, I didn’t want to select anything that wasn’t wholesome, because that is just not how we cook with at Blue Bamboo. That meant all prepared foods, mixes, and canned foods were out. As tempting as it was to pick up a bag of seasoned rice or pasta to cook, I passed on all of that stuff too. Anyone can open a package and make those things. There were canned veggies and fruit. Some were packed in juices or water, and not heavy syrups, so I could have cooked with them, but I decided to pass on them too. I couldn’t imagine that starting with those ingredients would have given us a meal that we would be proud of.
I struck gold when I came across their freezer and refrigerated sections. I found frozen peas, frozen berries, milk, eggs, and sausage. I found some flour, and some cocoa powder caught my eye.
All of those groceries ended up costing $9.07. Under our budgeted $10.00, and now I had a bout an hour to prepare our gourmet meal.
Here’s the final menu:
Pork and English Pea “Love Letters” with Green Pea Sauce
and Cool-Hot Cocoa Creme Brulee with Berries.
The ingredients actually could have fed 6 people, but we had to save a little for us to taste.
See the video clip of our shopping and preparing this meal at firstcoastnews.com.
When we first opened, we wanted to give nod to our restaurant ancestors. That restaurant in the space that we are in now was called the Dragon. We decided to create an appetizer just to honor that ancestry. We wanted this appetizer to be a fun one to share, and one that could be a signature item for Blue Bamboo. So we julienned up some zucchini, coated them in some buttermilk and seasoned flour, and fried them up until golden. Dragon Whiskers have been on our menu since our first day in business.
Today is National Zucchini Day and we are excited that we can celebrate with Dragon Whiskers!
We’ll celebrate with our WAG salad, created especially for our 8th Anniversary tasting menu. This salad has all the goodness of watermelon, asparagus, and grapes, dressed in our house-made soy-balsamic vinaigrette. Stop by today and celebrate national watermelon day
This Easter Sunday, we’ll be open and serving our Blue Bamboo Favorites alongside our monthly Pajama Brunch specialties.
- Served – 10am-2pm
- Menu service, starting from $7.50
- All are welcome
- In order to provide proper service, we are not able to offer individual separate checks.
- There may be a long wait during peak times. Please call for us to set a table for you!
Please call if we can be of service. 904.646.1478
A few weeks ago, we were asked to participate in a martini contest. The Junior League of Jacksonville sponspred this competition betweeen 6 local top restaurants and nightclubs.
In preparation for this competition, we tested many flavors and combinations to get what we thought might be the winning recipe.
In the end, we made a “Blood Orange Crush,” made with blood orange juice, tequila, blood orange liqueur, and topped with salt air.
The competition was stiff. But when the votes were counted up, we won! Look in next month’s Jacksonville Magazine to see pictures and a story about our cocktail.
Alongside our regular menu this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, we will also offer a Lover’s pairing menu where we’ll feature 4 romantic-themed courses paired with 4 glasses of wine for $80. Menu specials this weekend will include Thai Basil Whole Snapper, Sous Vide Curry-Rubbed Filet, Vahlrona Chocolate Terrine, and Southern Strawberry Tarts.
Thanks to all who selected us as “Most Romantic Restaurant in Jacksonville,” on researchpaperkingdom.com, and one of the top restaurants in Jacksonville on opentable.com.
This Sunday,February 10th, we will serve up a very special Chinese New Year Edition of Dim Sum Sunday at Blue Bamboo from 11-2. It’s no secret that we love our dim sum, and after the feedback from our previous Dim Sum Sundays, we are more excited than ever that we are able to offer it on Chinese New Year. During Dim Sum Sundays, we offer a la carte service of roast pork buns, turnip cakes, shrimp dumplings, pineapple buns, potstickers, and other dim sum favorites for that day only.
If you are new to Dim Sum, Dim Sum is the way Cantonese people socialize and conduct business. In any Chinatown around the World, there are Dim Sum restaurants where all menu items are served in mini steamer baskets, and small plates. Some people describe Dim Sum as Asian Tapas, where you can order as many items as you’d like, and keep ordering until you are full according TermPapersForSale24h.
Looking for a new brunch place to try? This Sunday, we will serve our first ever Sunday Brunch, offering a la carte service of traditional brunch favorites, including cornmeal blueberry pancakes, maple chicken and waffles, fluffy omlettes, and crispy bacon and egg skillets during a monthly special event which we call Pajama Brunch Sundays.
Pajama wearing by our guests is encouraged, but not mandatory. Our servers do wear their pajamas at work on Sunday. We make them come in early to take care of our guests, so why shouldn’t they be allowed to just roll out of bed to come to work? Otherwise, they would show up late, and you know what happens when you can’t take care of people when they are hungry… GRRRRRR!
- Served – 10am-2pm
- Menu service, starting from $5.95
- All are welcome
- In order to provide proper service, we are not able to offer individual separate checks.
- Often there is a long wait during peak times. Please call for us to set a table for you!
Although May and Michele have officially retired from the restaurant business, they have been begged out to partner with Chef Dennis to offer this once a month brunch event.
Please call if we can be of service. 904.646.1478
Today is national Peking, or Beijing duck day. This generations-old Chinese dish is still one of our favorites. It takes days to prepare properly, but the crispy skin, and succulent meat is worth waiting for. The classic technique requires that you pump air into the duck before it is roasted. These days, it is served with a steamed bun, but traditionally, it is served on a wheat flour pancake.
Although we don’t prepare this dish often, we’re celebrating the well-deserved day with an authentic peking duck special. Come on in and join us for this special treat.
Today we took a virtual trip to the trendiest Asian restaurants in the country. Along the way, we had West Lake Rice Porridge, Saucy Edamame Pods, Spiked Thai Iced Coffee with Tapioca Pearls, Chicken Katsu Don, and Kaya Toast. What a trip! Look for versions of these to appear on the Blue Bamboo menu as specials real soon!
At Blue Bamboo, we admire the creative part of what food trucks do. The food served from these trucks is usually pretty good, they don’t charge a lot of money for what you get, and they are very casual. A big part of our own success at Blue Bamboo is catering, and I imagine that operating a food truck is much like catering. It is a big event every time that you go out!
I can see the glamour in why someone would want to go into the food truck business. There is freedom of not having a lease, and the idea of having lines down the street to eat your food is ego feeding. Cooks who don’t have a restaurant, who may want to have a restaurant could work towards that by having a food truck. In Florida, though, there are countless regulations to follow for anyone who would want to start a food truck business.
People often ask if there will ever be a Blue Bamboo food truck. Probably not. We’ve made an investment in our community by building a restaurant, and we are thankful that the neighboood likes us. That does not stop us from exploring the creative part of what makes a food truck successful, though! Today, we took a virtual tour around the United States, and visited Portland, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to check out the best Asian food trucks we could find. Here are a few pictures of the items that we made, and ate!
We have cooking classes at Blue Bamboo every month, and each month, our classes feature a different theme. Join us if you can! Learn more about Blue Bamboo cooking classes and see what classes we have in store for you on the Blue Bamboo website. We would love to have you join us!
Tomorrow is our next Dim Sum Sunday special event, and we’re debuting a brand new cocktail: The Sriracha Splash. Think lightly flavored beer with a spicy and savory kick. Join us and try this new specialty drink! Dim Sum Sunday is from 11AM – 2PM. Call us if we can set a table for you.
Today, August 24, is National Waffle Day.
The day picked to celebrate this culinary favorite is on the anniversary date of the U.S. patent for the waffle iron, which was awarded in 1869. The history of waffle making in the United States dates back to Thomas Jefferson bringing home a waffle iron from a trip to Europe in the 1700′s.
Here is how people are celebrating all around the USA:
At Blue Bamboo, we will mark the day by featuring our Peachy Southern Chicken and Waffles. In this dish, we serve up a Belgian waffle, served with a boneless breast of panko-breaded chicken, topped with peach compound butter, peach compote, and cinnamon crisps. With a Southern favorite like this, we just may want to celebrate waffle day every weekend!
We did it again… 4 Courses, paired with 4 wines!!!
This Tuesday, we served up:
Please Join our mailing list if you’d like us to keep you informed about events such as this one.
Today, August 8th, is National Zucchini Day! As you know, we use this green squash to make our signature appetizer, Dragon Whiskers! Abundant in late spring and summer, zucchini is both versatile and delicious. Since our favorite flavor is “fried,” that’s the way we like to serve it.
We named this appetizer to honor our restaurant ancestors, which occupied the space where Blue Bamboo is currently.
Today, we got a batch that were just HUGE! Each squash was even bigger than our knives.
What an Honor! Go Magazine has listed us as one of the top 10 things to do in Jacksonville, Florida this month! Here’s the link if you want to see the rest of Jacksonville must-do’s…
We are in good company, too. A few of the others listed along with us are Jaguar games, The Soul Food Bistro, Butterfly hollow at the Jacksonville Zoo, and the Riverside Arts Market.
Tom Gray and I have been friends for a long time. I credit him with turning around the restaurant scene here in Jacksonville. His restaurant, Bistro Aix, has changed the way that Jacksonville thinks about upscale-casual dining. So when Kerry Speckman asked me to do a cooking class with him, there was no hesitation in saying YES!!!
Join us on August 10th, where Tom and I will cook up 2 courses each at the Publix Aprons cooking studio in Mandarin. Tickets to the event can be purchased ahead of time by clicking the following link:
Many of you know that my favorite flavor is… FRIED!
Here’s a fact for you… French Fries were actually invented in Belgium, not France. They’re called Pommes frites, or fried potatoes, in both conutries, since they speak the same language. We can probably blame Thomas Jefferson for the mix-up here in America, since he called them ”potatoes in the French way” when he brought the recipe home with him after a trip to Paris. We also have him to thank for waffles, the yummy stuff we at Blue Bamboo serve with fried chicken, but that is another holiday we will have to talk about later.
I can’t imagine a single American sandwich that would not taste better with fries. Chefs all over the country serve up recipes with all kinds of French fry creations. Here at Blue Bambo, we simply serve our fries with salt, cracked black pepper, and some rosemary fresh out of our garden upon request. We serve them alongside our Chinese BBQ Spareribs, Peppercorn Crusted Beef Filets, Chicken Sandwiches, and Vietnamese Bahn Mi Sandwiches.
So come on in and celebrate National French Fry Day with us!
Often, guests who visit us at Blue Bamboo write online reviews to share their experiences with others. I appreciate each and every visit our guests make to our restaurant, and every review that is out there. It is our pleasure that our guests include Blue Bamboo in the online community. Most of all, we appreciate the support during our first 7 years in business. There is a plethora of review sites out there, and the fact that our guests take the time to share the word about Blue Bamboo is heartwarming.
Those who are new to Blue Bamboo ask us about the kind of food that we serve. We call it hip Asian comfort food. When I worked up in New England with my mentor, Ming Tsai, at Blue Ginger, he taught me to learn how to cook food with cultural accuracy before making it my own. I always keep that in mind with every dish that I create. That’s what you will experience when you visit Blue Bamboo. We’ve taken what we like about Asian dishes, and present you with our interpretations, which I hope you’ll agree are pretty darned good. Some people call what we do “fusion.” Call it what you want, but I just hope you’ll like our food.
There is local history in what my family and I do. My grandfather’s very own restaurant was right here in our neighborhood 40 years ago. Even though the type of food that we serve is different from what grandpa served, some of his customers and their families are now our customers. It’s a great feeling to have that history. With all of our busy lives, often we settle for what’s convenient, and not what has meaning. Only decades of service can build some of these relationships that I value so much today.
These days, I am thankful to be a part of the Jacksonville community again, taking part in local charity events and teaching food classes at the local culinary college. The restaurant gives me the opportunity to do these things.
As we approach our anniversary, i am thankful for all out there who have included us in the online community during Blue Bamboo’s first 7 years, and every one of us at Blue Bamboo takes your reviews to heart. We constantly evaluate our internal operations and change when we need to. That agility is one of the benefits of being a single unit, local, and family restaurant operation.
As much as I’d like to, I simply don’t get to personally say hello to everyone that comes through our doors. I do try to speak with our guests and actively seek feedback when they are in the restaurant. If you would like to contact me, I can always be reached at the restaurant- 904.646.1478.
Going forward into our next 7 years, I promise we’ll continue delivering fun, one-of-a-kind, casual experiences inspired by our travels and experiences worldwide to you at Blue Bamboo. I look forward to meeting all of our new guests and strengthening relationships with our current guests.
Chef and proprietor
July 6 is National Fried Chicken Day.
For us at Blue Bamboo, there is nothing more comforting than a piece of juicy and crispy fried chicken. This Southern specialty is found on the plates of both humble food trucks, shacks, and fine dining places alike, all over Jacksonville. The oldest fried chicken place around here is Beach Road Chicken Dinners, which opened right here in our neighborhood in 1939. Here’s their website:http://beachroadchickendinners.com
The trick to our crispy fried chicken at Blue Bamboo is our Japanese panko breading. We dip our chicken (breasts only) in Buttermilk before coating to keep the meat moist. An alternating dip between wet and dry ingredients ensures that the breading doesn’t separate from the meat, and seasoning each step in the process keeps it flavorful. When frying, we won’t ever overcrowd the fryer, and we make sure that the oil is at just the right temperature.
We serve our fried chicken many ways. Currently on our menu, we are offering general’s style fried chicken, sweet and sour fried chicken, fried chicken pot pie, and best of all, we make a peachy southern fried chicken and waffles.
So, happy Fried Chicken Day! Come on by if you are in the neighborhood. We’ll be happy to whip up some of our fried chicken specialties for you.
It is our 7th anniversary, and we are celebrating with an evening of lucky 7′s.
Here’s an preview of what we are practicing to bring you the newest of techniques. We are cooking a few eggs sous vide, then soaking them in some beet juice to get a beautiful marbling on the outside.
The eggs are cooked until they still have a liquid center, allowing them to ooze a little onto the plate. We consider this a “rough draft” of one of the 7 courses we will be serving.
Thank you for your support over the last 7 years. We look forward to seeing you soon!
One of the local charities that we support whole-heartedly is the Ronald McDonald House.
This year’s theme was Magic, which is surely something that they know a lot about, since our local Ronald McDonald House brings Magic to so many lives every day every day.
We were happy to be on-hand to serve our Chile Noodle Salad to atendees as they bid on some pretty cool donated merchandise and vacation packages.
The evening allowed us to visit with a few of our favorite guests in the community and support a great cause. Every year, we look forward to this wonderful event!
This is the second year that we participated in the Great Chefs of Jacksonville event. I, along with Mathew Medure, Tom Gray, and Scott Ostrander made up the City team. We went up against a team of chefs from the beaches to create 4 courses, matched up against one other.
Here’s the link to the event information about the annual event:
There were 200 guests, so we had to perform as efficiently as possible.
Happy first day of Spring!
I stopped by the WJXT studios to share our technique for fresh spring rolls. These fresh rolls are easy to make, and the arrival of Spring is the perfect excuse to eat them! They are flavorful, fresh, and healthy.
Here’s the link to the little segment that aired this week:
See you soon at Blue Bamboo for some spring eats!
This week, our monthly cooking class was called, “Hot Pot Cooking across Asia.”
To start the day, we made a Japanese Berry Cobbler.
Our first dish was Shabu-Shabu, Sukiyaki style.
Next, we made a curry Mongolian Hot Pot, with chicken tenderloins and raisins, seasoned with turmeric and tomatoes.
Korean Bibimbap had fern heads, spinach, and bean sprouts.
Sauteed shitake mushrooms gave the bibimbap a little extra umami flavor.
For dessert, we made a black sesame-Korean Pear Tea Cake. Before serving, we whipped a little almond cream, which made the cake even more irresistable.
Our next class is on April 14th, 2012. The theme is Spring Market Cooking. In that class, we will visit our local produce market, make a few selections, and come back to cook what we find.
This Sunday,February 26th, we will serve up our next Dim Sum Sunday at Blue Bamboo from 11-2. It’s no secret that we love our dim sum, and after the feedback from our previous Dim Sum Sundays, we just couldn’t wait to do it again. During Dim Sum Sundays, we offer a la carte service of roast pork buns, turnip cakes, shrimp dumplings, pineapple buns, potstickers, and other dim sum favorites for that day only. This year, we have comitted to offering Dim Sum Sundays once every month, for as long as it is still fun for us.
If you are new to Dim Sum, Dim Sum is the way Cantonese people socialize and conduct business. In any Chinatown around the World, there are Dim Sum restaurants where all menu items are served in mini steamer baskets, and small plates. Some people describe Dim Sum as Asian Tapas, where you can order as many items as you’d like, and keep ordering until you are full.
Mark your calendar for our next Dim Sum Sunday if you can make it, and come on by from 11-2 on Sunday, February 26th. Better yet, call us if you can make it. We will set a table for you.
Love is in the air at Blue Bamboo, so let us make your Valentine’s day romantic and easy this year.
Alongside our regular menu this Friday, Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday, we will also offer a Lover’s pairing menu where we’ll feature 4 romantic-themed courses paired with 4 glasses of wine for $80. Menu specials this weekend will include Whole Snapper Cantonese, Spicy Curry-Rubbed Filet, Vahlrona Chocolate Terrine, and Passionfruit Creme Brulee.
Book your table today at www.bluebamboojacksonville.com, or call us at 904.646.1478.
For something fun this Valentine’s week, join us for our next cooking class, Hot and Spicy in the kitchen on February 18th. We’ll start class at 10AM, and be done by 12 noon. It’s the perfect way to start your weekend. Tuition is $42, which includes lunch and a handcrafted cocktail. Call to reserve your space today!
Happy February, and thanks to all who selected us as “Most Romantic Restaurant in Jacksonville,” on urbanspoon.com in 2011, and one of the top restaurants in Jacksonville on opentable.com.
We hope to see you soon!
People often compare us to the hottest Asian restaurnt in their favortie cities. In those cities, modern Asian takes on a whole new meaning, with tacos added to menu mixes, and pork belly and steamed buns taking over entire bar scenes.
This weekend, some of our Blue Bamboo friends challenged us to cook the recipes from the hottest Asian restaurants in the country who happen to have cookbooks.
Never one to turn down a challenge, especially when food is involved, We did just that. There was only one condition, though. My friends had to cook along with me. I wasn’t about to do all of the work myself. We took four days to source ingredients, prepare recipes, and cook our ultimate Hot Asian spot tasting.
In the end, my friends and I prepared Pork belly tacos, Sous vide glazed chicken wings, Ham hock rillette, Ground chuck-short rib-brisket burgers, and Passionfruit-coffee chocolate chip cake.
Every bit of work that we did to make buns from scratch, roll out taco shells, hand grind beef cuts, and hand-pick ham hocks to puree was worth it. The meal was delicious, and I even learned some new techniques that will probably make its way on to our menu in the near future.
Recently, I added some fun new equipment to our collection to better the way that we cook at Blue Bamboo. This equipment is made for laboratories, and since cooking is science, I thought they’d be perfect toys for our kitchen. These toys really did come in handy for our menu. We were able to cook our chicken wings to the exact temperature that we wanted them to be.
We hand rolled and then braided buns for our burgers.
That made for an intersting pairing of flavors, that really worked. All in all, the recipes that we made were delicious! Look for some of these borrowed flavor combinations to appear on our Blue Bamboo menu soon!
We created some unique dishes, all in our Blue Bamboo signature style.
We started with an earthy mushroom-veggie wonton stack.
The next course was a leek risotto cake, with a sherry sauce .
To finish off the meal, we created a chocolate-bruleed-banana mousse torte, drizzled with a cherry glaze.
It’s not often enough that we get asked to do custom dinners like this, but we look forward to the chance to practice our craft, and create new items for our menu.
Happy New Year!
To ring in 2012 at Blue Bamboo, we are bringing you more unique events than ever this January! We are going to kick it all off with our regular First Thursdays Wine Tastings from 6-8. We pour at least 4 wines on the first Thursday of each month, and we offer special pricing on everything that we pour.
On January 18th, we will have a very special wine blending event featuring Franciscan Magnificat. This event is very limited, and each guest will blend their own bottle of wine. A representative will be on hand to guide you through, and explain to you why each varietal belongs in the wine. This very limited event is $42 per person, and will include wine tastings and appetizers that will be especially created for the evening.
Our cooking class, Asian Street Eats, will be on January 21st. Imagine traveling to any Asian country and experiencing a street market. The smells, the fresh produce, and the best part of it all, we will get to taste the food! Without having to leave the city!
The very next day, we will have our now monthly Dim Sum Sunday. Dim Sum is the way that Cantonese people conduct business over brunch. Baskets of dumplings and pastas are created to order until you are full.
Join us for all or any of these events.
This year, we served up New Year’s specials, our regular menu, and for those who wanted something a little extra-special, an exquisite 4-course tasting menu.
On our a la carte menu, we offered Lobster Cantonese and Whole Snapper with Black Bean Sauce in limited quantities alongside Blue Bamboo menu favorites.
We also shared our new molecular gastronomy skills this weekend! Our tasting menu featured a “Good Luck Hoppin’ John Cake,” Crispy Oysters, Sous Vide Chimmichurri Ribeye, and Pistachio Air Cake. Each course was paired with a wine selection from our extensive cellar.
Look for more exciting specials every time you visit Blue Bamboo for Hip Asian Comfort Food in 2012!
My father, who many of you know from dining here at blue bamboo, told me we needed an update to our gift certificate presentation. He said, “No-one uses certificates anymore!” It took very little convincing on my part, and now our gift card system is up and running!
We’ll even wrap them and make them gift-giving ready for you.
Gift cards are available in any denomination for $5 to $500.
Gift certificates are valid for cooking classes, merchandise, and of course, food and beverages. Come on by and pick up some today!
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our guests!
This Sunday, November 27th, we served up our third Dim Sum Sunday at Blue Bamboo from 11-2. It’s no secret that we love our dim sum, and after the feedback from our previous Dim Sum Sundays, we just couldn’t wait to do it again. We offered a la carte service of roast pork buns, turnip cakes, shrimp dumplings, pineapple buns, potstickers, and other dim sum favorites for that day only. Previously, we had done Dim Sum Sunday only once every quarter. Going forward, in 2012, we hope to offer it monthly.
If you have never heard of it, Dim Sum is the way Cantonese people socialize and conduct business. In any Chinatown around the World, there are Dim Sum restaurants where all menu items are served in mini steamer baskets, and small plates. Some people describe Dim Sum as Asian Tapas, where you can order as many items as you’d like, and keep ordering until you are full.
Mark your calendar for our next Dim Sum Sunday if you can make it, and come on by from 11-2 on Sunday,January 22, 2012. Better yet, call us if you can make it.
Some of you already know that my former career was a VIP tour guide for the Walt Disney World Resort. Along with that title came the responsibility of making sure that VIP guests had everything that they needed to enjoy their Walt Disney World experience. I met a lot of neat people through working the many special events that happen year-round for the Disney Company. Back in 1996 and 1997, I was one of the few lucky tour guides chosen to exclusively work the first few annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festivals.
Fast forward 15 years, and today, I took a day trip to this year’s International Food and Wine Festival. I had the pleasure of attending a forum with Huma Siddiqui, a self-taught cooking instructor who was born in Pakistan, moved to London for a few years, and now lives in Madison, Wisconsin. The one thing that resonates in my mind from her discussion was her explanation of why she cooks. It’s not a chore, or something she dreads. She simply does so to remind her family of her home, their family traditions, and her travels. I imagine that if she had her own restaurant, it would be just like Blue Bamboo. We call the kind of food that we make, “Hip Asian Comfort Food,” because through our food, we share our traditions and flavors so that our guests may experience our restaurant’s roots, great local fare, and inspirations from our travels.
After Huma’s session, I attended a Champagne seminar given by an exclusive Champagne house, and a demonstration by a pastry chef from Barbados named Noah French. In the latter, the chef shared his technique for a Caribbean Shortcake with a Coconut Haupia and a Passion fruit curd that was intriguing.
This “homecoming” was a fun day, and it was refreshing to see the festival’s evolution after all of these years. Look for some of the things I learned today to show up at Blue Bamboo soon.
My only experience with travel to Korea has been nothing more than a layover in Seoul on my way to Hong Kong. Although I could never call myself an expert on Korean cooking, I have had some incredible dining experiences that allow me confidently talk about this country’s wonderful food. In preparation for today’s cooking class, the Blue Bamboo staff and I went to several Korean restaurants in our area, just to make sure we had our authentic flavors down pat. Over a lifetime of visiting Korean restaurants and tasting Korean foods, I never felt a connection as strongly as I did when I was cooking the food that we made today.
sweet and savory marinated and grilled Shortribs called Kalbi
sesame-seaweed sushi called Kim Bap
pork and beef pan-fried dumplings called Mandu
A cocktail made with Soju and Seju, Korea’s answer to vodka
These foods are addictive, and we will be weaving some of them onto our menu in coming months. I’m sure that Korean flavors will be next big culinary thing! Well, at least for Blue Bamboo it will be.
Every year, we look forward to Caring Chefs, benefiting the local division of Children’s Home Society. It is our favorite food event, and we believe in the good that the organization does wholeheartedly. This year’s event was held on October 23rd, and we offered samplings of our Blue Bamboo Peanut-Lime Slaw, Veggie Spring Rolls, and Chile Noodle Salad, which is a recipe straight out of our cookbook- Hip Asian Comfort Food . It is our chance every year to re-connect with guests that we have not seen in a while, and to meet new guests. It also gives us the opportunity to connect with other restaurateurs in the community. The festive evening is the Children’s Home Society’s main fundraiser every year, and just as we expected, the attendance was amazing this year. Thanks to all who stopped by our booth to say hello!
This Sunday, September 18th, we served up our second quarterly Dim Sum Sunday at Blue Bamboo from 11-2. It’s no secret that we love our dim sum, and after the feedback from our last Dim Sum Sunday, we just couldn’t wait to do it again. We’ve had multiple dim sum cooking classes at Blue Bamboo, but we only serve it to our guests once a quarter. We offered a la carte service of roast pork buns, turnip cakes, shrimp dumplings, pineapple buns, potstickers, and other dim sum favorites for that day only.
As I have mentioned before, Dim Sum is the way Cantonese people socialize and conduct business. In any Chinatown around the World, there are Dim Sum restaurants where all menu items are served in mini steamer baskets, and small plates. Some people describe Dim Sum as Asian Tapas, where you can order as many items as you’d like, and keep ordering until you are full. Customarily, the table will order a stir fry plate of noodles to finish off their brunch experience.
Mark your calendar for our next Dim Sum Sunday if you can make it, and come on by from 11-2 on Sunday, November 27th.Â Better yet, call us if you can make it.
In many kitchens, you’ll often hear the phrase, “save for stock,” when someone just doesn’t know what to do with extra scraps of still good trimmings. That simply means they are going to place the scraps into the kitchen’s stock pot to enhance their base stock’s flavor.
A few weeks ago, I got an email from R. Davis, asking us if we’d be willing to save scraps for some pigs that he is raising.
Personally, I couldn’t ask for a better partnership than one like this, and I love the fact that we are helping a farmer out.
Here’s what Mr. and Mrs. Davis have to say about our new partnership:
Every city has at least one place you have to go eat at when visiting. Jacksonville has a few places that are unique to our city, including Beach Road Chicken Dinners, Blue Boy Sandwich Shop, and Cap’s. We are honored that travelers from all over the world consider Blue Bamboo one of those places too.
During our first 6 years in business, we’ve built some pretty great relationships with our local guests. When their families or friends come into town, often we’ll be chosen to help impress their visitors. Upon return visits to our city, we get to see these new “friends” again.
What makes Blue Bamboo a destination restaurant? Unique recipes and experiences make people tell others about us and want to return. We do things a little differently, and because of that, travelers to Jacksonville often send their friends back to check us out.
On a recent trip to San Juan, multiple people told me I had to experience a restaurant called Kasalta. I hopped in the cab, and told the senor that I wanted to go to Kasalta. He smirked a little, and started driving. He knew immediately where I wanted to go.
While I was enjoying my sandwich called Pan Con Bistec, I saw multiple taxis stop and drop off passengers, then wait for them to return with big boxes of food, obviously going to the airport to begin their journeys back homes all over the world.
Knowing that I had to experience more of the great food mecca that I was in, I also pigged out on some Flan, Guava Pastry, and Cafe con Leche. I justified my intake by vowing to do a lot of walking that day.
I left Kasalta feeling just how I want people to feel after they’ve dined at Blue Bamboo. I want them to think, “I can’t wait to come back to this place.”
Earlier this week, a dear friend emailed me pictures of someone else who had lunch at Kasalta on Monday… El Presidente of the United States of America. I am sure that his staffers and the local patrons chose Kasalta as the place that he had to visit when he was in Puerto Rico because of their unique recipes and unforgettable experiences.
This is just the kind of place that I love being. My family has worked decades to offer the recipes and experiences that we offer. We have built a good loyal local following, and we’ll do our part to keep being that place that people bring their out of town friends to show them just how good we have it here in Jacksonville.
I love Latin food. The flavors and ingredients are similar to the Asian food that I grew up on, but with different preparation methods. Naturally, the two pair well because of those similarities. Over the years, we’ve dabbled with Chino-Latino flavors. Both on our menu and in our cooking classes.
During the last three days, I took a quick trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. While there, I experienced Chino-Latino cooking at its finest. My grandfather was the master of Chinese proverbs, and he once shared this one with me: reading about something for 20 years could never measure up to experiencing a culture for one day. This trip proved his proverb to be true.
Here’s what I learned, from masters of Chino-Latin cooking… Soft plantains, or amarillos, make a perfect slightly sweet stuffing for dumplings when paired with pork. A short-cut way of making Mofongo, or mashed root veggies, can be had by using a food processor. Mojitos, can be enhanced with Asian or tropical fruits, such as pineapples, guavas, and lychees. Tembleque, a coconut pudding, is made just like a Chinese mango pudding, but topped with cinnamon. Pegaito is a Puerto Rican dish made the same way that my grandmother used to make a crispy rice snack.
Look for this new knowledge to work its way into our offerings at Blue Bamboo soon!
On Sunday, June 5th, we are going to serve our first Dim Sum Sunday ever from 11-2. It’s no secret that we love our dim sum. We’ve had multiple dim sum cooking classes at Blue Bamboo, but we’ve never served it to our guests. So here it is. We’ll offer a la carte service of roast pork buns, turnip cakes, shrimp dumplings, pineapple buns, potstickers, and other dim sum favorites for one day only. We’ve had many guests ask us where they can go to enjoy Dim Sum, and for a one-time special event, that place will be Blue Bamboo.
Dim Sum is the way Cantonese people socialize and conduct business over brunch. In any Chinatown around the World, there are Dim Sum restaurants where all menu items are served in mini steamer baskets. It’s traditional to consume your dim sum dumplings with a good pot of tea. Â Some people describe Dim Sum as Asian Tapas, where you can order as many items as you’d like, and keep ordering until you are full. Customarily, the table will order noodles to finish off their brunch experience.
So mark your calendar, or stop by from 11-2 on Sunday, June 5th. Better yet, call us if you can make it. We’ll save a table for you.
Those who are close to me know that I like things that are well made. That applies to living goods, clothing, kitchenware, and of course, FOOD! I recently made one of the better discoveries that I have made in a very long time. Walking along the brick-paved streets of St. Augustine, I came across a sign that said, “Fresh, Local, and Natural.” I was so intrigued that I just had to stop in to this little shop that specialized in popsicles. Yes, popsicles. I walked in, and I saw tempting flavor combinations such as Datil Strawberry, Key Lime, Riesling Pear, and Champagne Mango. I asked the attendant what his favorite was, and without hesitation, he said “Strawberry-Basil.” So that’s what I tried. What I experienced was the most delicious flavor I have ever tasted in a popsicle, and by far, the absolute best texture too. As I got ready to pay, I looked down and saw that the shop takes payment with square. Way cool. This place won mega kudos for not only being cool, but also delivering a quality product. Check them out if you are in St. Augustine. Here’s their website: www.thehyppo.com.
It’s election day 2011! When researching the favorite restaurants of our two mayoral candidates here in Jacksonville, the Florida Times Union reported that one candidate’s favorite restaurant is Jenkins Quality Barbecue and the other candidate’s is Blue Bamboo. Hmmm. We at Blue Bamboo do love us some Jenkins Barbecue, and we are honored to be in their company. They are a successful local business, and their family, like mine, has fed Jacksonville for decades. If you’ve been around Jacksonville for any length of time, you have come in contact with the Jenkins’ family in one way or another, at one of their three restaurant locations in town, or out in the community. Just like you probably have come in contact with my family too. Like us, the family who runs Jenkins has built strong ties with those who have been dining with them weekly, daily, or even multiple times daily for many years. Guests become extended family. It’s a good feeling to have these connections with the community. What’s really cool is that these legacies that the founder of Jenkins Quality Barbecue, Melton Jenkins, and my grandfather, Bill Eng started generations ago still live on today. I am proud to be a part of that legacy. Better yet, I am honored that Blue Bamboo is one of the two Jacksonville mayoral candidates’ favorite restaurants. So politics aside, we’re excited to be in good company with Jenkins Quality Barbecue, one of Jacksonville’s other multi-generational local establishments. Check them out if you are craving ‘Q at JenkinsQualityBarbecue.com.
Yesterday, I was the guest chef at one of this area’s coolest venues…A Chefs cooking studio in Ponte Vedra. A Chefs is a hands-on cooking studio which holds regular classes on some really creative subjects. A group of 9 students, who were mostly new to Asian flavors, did an incredible job making Spring rolls, Summer rolls, Chile noodle salad, Pad Thai, Panko-crusted tomatoes, Dragon whiskers, and Cucumber-lime refreshers, which are all recipes from Hip Asian Comfort Food, the Blue Bamboo Cookbook. The real test was when we all sat down to eat all of the class’ hard work. Let me tell you, their flavors could not have been more spot-on. A Chefs is owned by Andrea (pronounced AnDREa), who is a big food resource here in North Florida. During the “social time” of our class, the topics of discussion ranged from our favorite sources for Asian groceries to brands of vodka, and favorite wine stores, to fresh mint varieties.
About the Blog
Chef Dennis Chan is the creator of Blue Bamboo, a great restaurant. He writes this blog as an outlet for his food ideas and to keep fans of Blue Bamboo, Hip Asian Comfort Food and his cooking classes up-to-date.
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