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Back in the 60′s, my grandfather had a restaurant right here in Jacksonville called Eng’s Chop Suey. It was located in the La Villa part of town at the corner of Ashley and Davis Streets.
As the story goes, Chop Suey was created by Cantonese immigrants who really knew how to cook! That was my grandfather. A medic in the US Army, he settled in Jacksonville because of its similar climate to his hometown in Canton.
These days, Chop Suey is one of those classic dishes that hasn’t made it on our menu. Occasionally, we do get the request for Cantonese Chop Suey, and we are happy to make it as long as we have the ingredients in-house.
So join us this week at Blue Bamboo for a celebration of my family history, We’ll be happy to make Chop Suey for you.
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!
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.
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.
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 is National Taco day. A classmate from culinary school had the pleasure of working with Roy Choi, who started the whole Asian Taco craze in LA. Roy is also a fellow Culinary Institute of America Graduate. My classmate shared the technique, and a similar recipe to what he made so popular in Los Angeles. In our Blue Bamboo version, we use an Asian pear for sweetness and add a kiwi to help tenderize the shortribs in our recipe.
People often tell us we are a vegetarian freindly restaurant. That’s because the flavors that we serve on our menu are also very good when made meatless, too.
Today, is World Vegetarian day. In celebration, we have sourced some locally made tempeh. Tempeh is a fermented whole-soybean patty which originated from the southeast Asian country of Indonesia. It has a heartier texture than tofu, and is a little fuller in flavor. We like serving up our tempeh in noodle dishes or alongside some of our veggie stirfries.
A producer in Gainesville makes just about the best tempeh that we’ve tried. We’ll probably keep ordering this stuff because it is made locally, and it is a high-quality product. Come by and try it for yourself at Blue Bamboo. Happy World Vegetarian day!
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!
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!
Today would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday. We all know what this lady has done for those of us in the food world, and she has become such a big part of American History.
When I worked at Blue Ginger in Boston, we’d see Julia come in about once a month. She lived in nearby Cambridge. The open Kitchen in that restaurant allowed me to work less than 5 feet away from the living legend everytime she came in. When someone who has paved the way for what I wanted to do was so close, I couldn’t help but get goosebumps every time she was near.
Many of her recipes and techniques are the benchmark of how chefs, both professional and professional in their own minds, cook today.
Cheers to the life of Julia Child, and her 100 years of contributions to our American food culture!
Occasionally, we get asked to create special dinners for guests. Tonight was one of those nights.
Here’s the photos from the evening:
Grilled Lamb T-Bone
Seared Filet with Chile Dusted Onion Rings
and Poached Jacksonville Sand Pear with Almond Whipped Cream
Although we love the food that we serve daily at Blue Bamboo, it is always a treat for us to have the opportunity to prepare items not on our menu from time to time also!
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
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.
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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