'Double Happiness' Chinese street food brunch
Here's news of an interesting brunch option that will be offered tomorrow by a vendor at Mill Valley Garden Center and Farmers' Market, 2800 Sisson St., in Remington.
The vendor is Hanne Blank, who said she has been studying Chinese cuisine for about 10 years.
She describes the fare as Chinese street food and calls the spread "Double Happiness" brunch.
I e-mailed her about it, and here's what she wrote back:
"The brunch is called 'Double Happiness' because it involves my two most favorite Chinese breakfast foods. One is congee (Cantonese call it jook), a rice porridge that's served with various savory toppings to stir in. This Sunday I'll be serving it with a number of options to choose from: stir-fried minced pork with garlic and wine, stir-fried snow pea sprouts, red-cooked egg or tofu, fried peanuts, scallion, cilantro, and bean sprouts. Diners can also opt for a dollop of ground brown bean sauce or my house-made chili-garlic paste for their congee.
"The other dish is called jian bing. It's a northern specialty, originally from Beijing, though it's made in a lot of places nowadays. It's a large pancake or crepe, made from a mix of rice and wheat flours, stuffed with egg, scallions, cilantro, and on Sunday, will also include some of the mushrooms the Chinese call 'chicken legs' that have been previously braised with garlic and wine. The jian bing also typically get a smear of either the ground brown bean sauce or the chili-garlic paste or both, depending on the eater's tastes.
"A bowl of congee with your choice of toppings is $6, a jian bing is also $6. I'll be serving from 9-1.
"Zensations by Jen (a Mill Valley vendor) sells hand-blended tea by the cup during brunch, or bottled beverages or Zeke's coffee by the cup can be had from the main counter.
She also sent news of another brunch planned for later this month.
"On April 25, there will be the second Dumplings Take Over The World brunch at Mill Valley, in conjunction with Whiskey Island Pirate Shop. (Heather Hulsey wrote a review of the first Dumplings Take Over The World brunch."
(That article references Blank's other job, that of writer. But I know how Dining@Large readers hate topic drift, so I won't get into that.)
The menu for Dumplings Take Over The World:
A Bowl of Soul
Throughout China, a bowl of huntun -- the Cantonese call them wonton -- is a favorite food. Our fresh handmade huntun come in a traditional pork and water chestnut filling or a vegan Buddhist version with seitan. Try them northern style, with diabolically tasty Chengdu ma la oil infused with chiles, Sichuan pepper, and spices. Or, for those who "pa la" (fear chiles), the southern version with Cantonese ginger-scallion oil is sublime.
The Chinese invented gunpowder, but it took Maryland to produce Gunpowder Bison. Coated with glistening glutinous rice and fragrant with Mongolian spices, these steamed balls of minced bison are our shout-out to Asian cowboys everywhere.
Traditional dim sum menus include sweet items alongside the savory so eaters can enjoy alternating tastes. Filled with sweet and delicate lotus seed or comforting red bean paste, these homestyle steamed buns will bring you a sweet and happy Year of the Tiger!"
There are two seatings for the April 25 brunch, 9:30 and 11 a.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prices aren't set yet for the dumpling brunch, but Blank said it will be about $6 for the huntun, $2 for the Gunpowder Pearls and $2 to $3 for the bao.
Photo by Hanne Blank