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It’s already time to start booking for the holiday season. This year, I can’t take credit for remembering. A guest called yesterday and told me she wanted to book an event for her company’s holiday party in December. I was completely caught off guard, but envious of her organization!
Every year at Blue Bamboo, we are excited to help bring our guests’ holiday event visions come to life.
Our holiday catering services at Blue Bamboo will delight even the most discerning guest. Our dedication to serving only the finest, specially-sourced ingredients, combined with thoughtful service and attention to detail, provides for an infinite array of unforgettable events in-house, or any setting of your choosing. We will have take-out catering available for those who want to bring something special to your host’s party.
Whether you are gathering friends for a festive holiday brunch, or gathering your colleagues for a relaxing holiday celebration over lunch, we are dedicated to providing good food, and welcoming hospitality.
Blue Bamboo’s private dining rooms are perfect for holiday parties and special events. From intimate holiday dinners with friends, to festive luncheon celebrations and formal dinners, we will custom-create a menu and a setting that fits your event and style. Our culinary team uses fresh, seasonal foods and presents with a dramatic flair. Customized pre-fixe or tasting menus are available as well as wine pairings. Our private dining rooms seat up to 12, 45, and 100 guests, and can be decorated to your desires. We will even assist you in party favor selections for your guests of all ages.
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.
Tonight we catered a birthday party at one of the best places in our city to have a party… on the Southbank of the Riverwalk in downtown Jacksonville. I’m sure that this place sees many parties, but tonight, wishing our special guest a happy birthday in such a perfect setting made our food seem that much more amazing. This private residential building has views of Jacksonville from 38 stories up. You could probably even see Blue Bamboo from that location, but I was busy looking at all of the other scenes around the city.
The space is caterer’s dream, with a modern working kitchen. With such a wonderful kitchen, we were happy to prepare our Chile Noodle Salad, Veggie Fried Rice, Ginger-Garlic Marinated Chicken Wings, Spring Rolls, Lump Crab Rangoons, Sweet Chile Meatballs, Hoisin Lettuce Wraps, and Fresh-Steamed Shrimp Dumplings.
The evening was everything that I envision to be a perfect party. DJ, Bar, and lots of tasty food.
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.
This week, I was asked to give a cooking demonstration at my alma mater, The Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park, New York. While up there, I worked in a couple of days of eating in New York City before and after my demonstration. I thought I would just share with you some of my food inspiration while up in New York.
A few weeks ago, a chef friend told me about these little exclusive buds called Sichuan buttons. He said that they “electrify” your mouth.
After looking up the item, I found a ton of videos online that show people experiencing one of these things. The best way to describe the effect of eating one of these Sichuan buttonsÂ is to say that you have put a 9-volt battery to your tongue.
So I ordered some.
I shared the expereience of eating then with a few industry professionals, some of our public cooking class students, some culinary students, and luckily, I got a chance to share these things with some of our guests. The reception has ranged from excited to frightened.
Who knew that a little plant-based item would bring such conversation to the table.Â Literally. Going forward, we will continue to seek out these fun experiences to broaden our own culinary knowledge. Who knows, maybe the next time we experiment, we may just ask you to join in.
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.
For a few years now, I’ve loved listening to the music of The Shanghai Restoration Project in my car, at home, and on my personal headphones. The music is best described as retro-jazzy but contemporary, and super chill with a touch of Chinese tradition. What you hear in these tracks is classic Chinese instruments with modern hip-hop and electronic beats.
I recently made contact with Dave Liang, the incredibly creative producer and founder of The Shanghai Restoration Project, and I asked him if he’d be OK with us playing his music at Blue Bamboo. He replied positively, and so we began playing his music exclusively in our dining room. Personally, I can’t wait. If you listen carefully, you’ll notice a great comparison between the music and the food that we serve atÂ Blue Bamboo. Both are contemporary interpretations with elements of comfort classics.
If you want a preview, check out the offical website at www.shanghairestorationproject.com. Or better yet, come on in to Blue Bamboo, and take a listen!
To add the music to your personal playlist, look up The Shanghai Restoration Project on Itunes, and Amazon.com, where the works are available for downloading.
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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