Asia’s Top Chef Flew from Bangkok to Hong Kong to Eat a Bowl of Noodles before the Restaurant Shuts

Alkira Reinfrank wrote . . . . . . . . .

Half an hour before the roller door is lifted for the day at one of Hong Kong’s most beloved noodle shops, a hungry lunchtime crowd gathers outside. They wait patiently to tuck into what could be their last bowl of traditional egg noodles from Wing Wah Noodle Shop.

The institution in Wan Chai, on Hong Kong Island, has been making its famous noodles with a bamboo pole for 68 years, but the no-frills establishment will shut up shop at the end of August.

Once seated inside away from the sticky summer heat, nostalgic locals start firing off their orders – and the chaos ensues. One table of customers has travelled from Shenzhen, the city in China just over the border from Hong Kong, just to eat here. But word of the family-run noodle shop’s impending demise has travelled further afield.

On Saturday, an unassuming man dressed in shorts and flip flops, and sporting a Mona Lisa T-shirt and an untamed top bun, walks into the venue to no fanfare. He, like the other customers, is here to devour a bowl of his favourite noodles. Unknown to his fellow diners, he is also one of the world’s most highly acclaimed chefs and the man behind Asia’s best restaurant.

When staff are told that Gaggan Anand has travelled all the way from Bangkok just to eat their noodles, they couldn’t care less – and the laid-back Indian chef wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s all this commotion, the rush, the s**t the staff give you; it’s part of the experience,” says the owner of the two-Michelin-star restaurant Gaggan of the brash and hurried service the Hong Kong venue is known for.

“When I heard it was closing I made a point [to come back],” he says during our interview with him on Facebook Live. He thinks it is a terrible loss for the city. “With this, everything will die, a whole era and culture. If you look at France and Japan they want to protect their cuisine. Why doesn’t the Hong Kong government want to protect these kind [of places]?” he asks.

Wing Wah is one of only a few Hong Kong eateries left that still make its noodles using a bamboo pole to knead the dough. It’s understood the landlord is redeveloping the building on Hennessy Road, and the elderly owner, who can usually be found manning the cash register, has decided to call it day.

Anand first visited the restaurant in 2013 on the back of a recommendation from friend Richard Ekkebus, culinary director of the two-Michelin-star Amber at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong.

Since then, Anand has eaten here every time he passes through the city. “Sometimes I eat here when I arrive, then eat [here again] before I depart. It’s a must in my life … I love this style of noodle. The texture. The elasticity. It has a bite to it,” he says.

I came all the way from Bangkok just to eat these noodles. It’s the most expensive bowl of noodles I’ve had in my lifeGAGGAN ANAND
He doesn’t need to consult the menu under the glass table top to know what to order: a serving of spicy pork noodles (which soon turns into two) and a side of wonton. He raves about Wing Wah’s braised beef brisket, too, adding with a laugh: “But don’t tell my mum I eat beef.”

The Kolkata native also orders a refreshing bottle of Cream Soda – his second of the day – a reminder of his childhood in India. “I love Cream Soda, it’s a Kolkata-British-Hong Kong connection that you don’t get in Thailand.

“As a foodie you have your fetishes based on cravings, and I was raised drinking this. It is these old childhood memories … that become a jinx in your brain and the moment you [have it] you forget you’ve become 40 and you want to be a child [again].”

Anand opened his progressive Indian restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok in 2010. Five years later it won the No. 1 spot on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list, an award the restaurant has won every year since. This year, Gaggan moved into fifth spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Anand’s meteoric rise in the culinary world and his passion for reinventing Indian cuisine was detailed in season 2 of Netflix’s Chef’s Table series. But he is adamant that his best is yet to come.

“If we can climb the mountain of what Gaggan could be, we will reach our peak by next year and then be on the peak for one year, before closing,” he says. Last year, Annan shocked the culinary world when he announced the last dish would be served at Gaggan in mid-2020, but he says he won’t stop cooking – he is only “taking a break”.

“It makes sense that you need to come down the mountain and start again a new journey. And I will start a new journey in a new challenge. Because imagine life without challenge,” he says. “I would love to have a restaurant in India, but these things are destiny based.”

His next adventure following Gaggan, however, will take him to Japan, where he plans to open a small restaurant on the island of Kyushu in partnership with chef Takeshi Fukuyama of La Maison de la Nature Goh in Fukuoka. Called GohGan, it will be open for just 20 days a month and seat around 16 people.

While his fans can be assured they will be able to taste his creations again, whether it be in the remaining months at Gaggan or in a later venture, he is disappointed that Wing Wah’s legacy will be lost.

“It’s like when a band breaks up, who suffers? The fans. Not the band, the band is rich. The fans will suffer because they won’t get new music. So we as fans [of Wing Wah] will miss this kind of place,” he says.

Asked by a fan on Facebook Live how he would rate the noodles at Wing Wah out of 10, he replies with a grin: “I came all the way from Bangkok just to eat these noodles. It’s the most expensive bowl of noodles I’ve had in my life.”

His mouth full, he waves away our questions. “Leave the mic; stop the camera. Let’s enjoy life,” he laughs, pointing to our cooling bowls of noodles. It’s time to eat.

“[The dish] is everything I have come for,” he says, digging in. “This is my heaven; my peace.”

Source: SCMP

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Hamburger with Truffled Beef and English Muffin

Ingredients

1 fresh black truffle (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 pounds ground beef chuck or ground sirloin (22 percent fat if using a charcoal grill, or only 18 percent fat if using a flat-top griddle or heavy skillet)
about 1 teaspoons salt
about 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 English muffins, split
vegetable oil for brushing on cooking surface
3 tablespoons butter

Method

  1. Finely chop the truffle. Stir one fourth of it into the mayonnaise, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours.
  2. In a bowl, lightly mix the remaining chopped truffle into the beef by hand. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature for 4 hours, so that the truffle perfume permeates the meat.
  3. Season the truffled burger meat with salt and pepper to taste. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, divide the beef into 4 equal portions and form the portions into patties, making neat edges, to fit the muffins.
  4. In a grill, prepare a hot fire for direct-heat cooking, or preheat a heavy skillet or griddle until very hot.
  5. When the grill rack, skillet, or griddle is ready, brush it with vegetable oil. Grill or pancook the patties until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes, seasoning them a little more with salt and pepper on the outside as they cook. With a wide spatula, turn the patties and cook until done to preference, about 4 minutes longer for medium-rare.
  6. Meanwhile, toast or grill the muffins, then butter each half.
  7. Transfer the burgers to the bottom halves of the muffins. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the truffled mayonnaise on top of each burger and cover them with the muffin tops.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: James McNair’s Burgers

In Pictures: Burgers of Restaurants in Los Angeles, USA

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Warns Vaginal Rejuvenation Devices have Serious Side Effects

From press release of FDA . . . . . .

We’ve recently become aware of a growing number of manufacturers marketing “vaginal rejuvenation” devices to women and claiming these procedures will treat conditions and symptoms related to menopause, urinary incontinence or sexual function. The procedures use lasers and other energy-based devices to destroy or reshape vaginal tissue. These products have serious risks and don’t have adequate evidence to support their use for these purposes. We are deeply concerned women are being harmed.

As part of our efforts to promote women’s health, the FDA has cleared or approved laser and energy-based devices for the treatment of serious conditions like the destruction of abnormal or pre-cancerous cervical or vaginal tissue, as well as condylomas (genital warts). But the safety and effectiveness of these devices hasn’t been evaluated or confirmed by the FDA for “vaginal rejuvenation.” In addition to the deceptive health claims being made with respect to these uses, the “vaginal rejuvenation” procedures have serious risks. In some cases, these devices are being marketed for this use to women who have completed treatment for breast cancer and are experiencing symptoms caused by early menopause. The deceptive marketing of a dangerous procedure with no proven benefit, including to women who’ve been treated for cancer, is egregious.

In reviewing adverse event reports and published literature, we have found numerous cases of vaginal burns, scarring, pain during sexual intercourse, and recurring or chronic pain.

We haven’t reviewed or approved these devices for use in such procedures. Thus, the full extent of the risks is unknown. But these reports indicate these procedures can cause serious harm.

Today, we’re warning women and their healthcare providers that the FDA has serious concerns about the use of these devices to treat gynecological conditions beyond those for which the devices have been approved or cleared.

We recently notified seven device manufacturers of our concerns about inappropriate marketing of their devices for “vaginal rejuvenation” procedures. They are: Alma Lasers, BTL Aesthetics, BTL Industries, Cynosure, InMode, Sciton and Thermigen. We requested that the manufacturers address our concerns within 30 days. If our concerns are not addressed, then the FDA will consider what next actions, including potential enforcement actions, are appropriate. This matter has the full attention of our professional staff.

The deceptive marketing of unproven treatments may not only cause injuries but may also keep some patients from accessing appropriate, recognized therapies to treat severe medical conditions. These products may be particularly appealing to women who may not be candidates for certain FDA-approved treatments to relieve vaginal dryness, and thus are seeking alternative, non-hormonal options. Women considering treatment for vaginal symptoms should speak to their doctor about the potential and known benefits and risks of all available treatment options. FDA is committed to helping advance the development of safe, effective treatment options for these conditions.

We’ve been focused on advancing new policies to improve our oversight of device safety. As part of our Medical Device Safety Action Plan and our ongoing commitment to advancing women’s health, we’ve begun building out important device safety registries. We’ve also established the Women’s Health Technologies Strategically Coordinated Registry Network (CRN) to provide more complete evidence in clinical areas that are unique to women, such as uterine fibroids and pelvic floor disorders.

As part of this critical work, we remain dedicated to closely monitoring reports of adverse events associated with “vaginal rejuvenation” procedures. We will keep the public informed if significant new information becomes available. We’d also like to learn more about patients’ experiences with these procedures. We encourage those who’ve had an adverse event associated with the use of these devices to report their problem to MedWatch, the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting program.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

What is Prediabetes

It’s estimated that 84 million Americans (greater than 1 in 3) have prediabetes — a condition that raises the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Also referred to as impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance, prediabetes occurs when your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are higher than the normal range but not high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

If left untreated, prediabetes may develop into Type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, changes in lifestyle — such as managing food choices and increasing physical activity — can help return blood glucose levels to normal.

What Are the Risk Factors?

A direct cause for prediabetes has not been determined, but excess body fat, especially in the abdomen, and inactivity are two key factors. There are few symptoms associated with the onset of prediabetes.

You are at higher risk if:

  • You are 45 years old or older and have an overweight body mass index; or
  • You are younger than 45 years old and have an overweight BMI with a history of inactivity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or have a family member with diabetes.

What Does a Diagnosis Mean?

With prediabetes, your body may be producing less insulin, your insulin sensitivity may be decreasing, or a combination of both. Insulin regulates the level of blood glucose helping your body turn carbohydrates into energy. Having high blood glucose puts you at risk for developing some long-term effects associated with diabetes such as blindness, damage to nerves and kidneys, and circulatory system problems.

Managing Prediabetes

The CDC-recognized National Diabetes Prevention Program has helped many people make healthy lifestyle changes to reverse prediabetes and prevent Type 2 diabetes. Consider finding a program near you. Everyone with prediabetes can slow the disease progression by following these strategies:

  • Exercise for at least 150 minutes per week. Start by walking for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
  • Eat a balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein foods and calcium-rich foods.
  • Work with a registered dietitian nutritionist to help you make lasting healthy habits.

A Healthy Meal Plan

Following a balanced diet and eating meals at consistent times can help with blood glucose control. Glucose comes primarily from the foods that we eat, specifically carbohydrates — and it’s not just sweets. While all carbohydrate-containing foods affect your blood glucose levels, they also play an important role in your overall health by providing energy for your daily activities. You do not need to cut carbohydrates out of your diet!

When putting together a meal plan, include a variety of the following foods:

  • Grains – whole-grain pasta, breads and cereals, and brown rice
  • Vegetables – spinach, romaine, tomatoes and other colorful vegetables
  • Protein – lean meat, chicken, fish, lentils, beans, tofu and tempeh
  • Dairy – low-fat or fat-free yogurt, low-fat or fat-free milk, and fortified soy milk
  • Fats – avocado, walnuts, olive oil

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


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