May 27, 2006

Chinese-ish food: Cafe Kashkar and Dim Sum Dynasty

KASHKAR
mmm, plow

Yo-ho, it's my favorite neighborhood hang out!

...No it's not. Cafe Kashkar is located at the edge of Brooklyn by Brighton Beach. I had never traveled that far to the right of a subway map before, although I did once go pretty damn far on the B train only to realize after a very long time that I was supposed to take the D train. Bee, dee...my brain just can't handle the complexity of that kind of similarity in pronounciation. Since I wasn't too bright I backtracked, waaay back, instead of going forth on the Q and changing in Coney Island. The result of the journey was the intense desire to never return to Brooklyn.

But Brooklyn has tasty food (and a handful of friends with undefined tastiness), thus I'm compelled to go every so often. I went on Thursday night to join Mike and five of his food-loving friends for seemingly endless Uygur-licious food that left me hugging my belly while thinking, "So full...so very full...so very worth it."

telly
telly

The small restaurant (around 25 seats) may keep you entertained with a variety show featuring a singer who we determined resembled a cross between Hilary Clinton and Janeane Garofolo. This frightening combination led to a discussion on the composition of the ultimate woman Volton. Male Voltron would become a hot topic later in the night. Oh yesss. I'll come back to that.

Before I talk about the food, I want to mention that I don't remember what any of the spices or seasonings were. I just know I liked it all. Whatever the flavors were, I'd say that they weren't bland nor too strong; no one should find them offensive. EVERYONE, DIG IN!!!

manty
ginormous little dumps

Take a normal sized Chinese dumpling, enlarge it by 400%, inject it with Uygur superpowers and you'll get something that looks like manty.

manty innards
innarrdss?

Manty are ginormous thin-skinned dumplings of tender lamb chunks (at least I think it was lamb; the menu just says "meat") sweet chopped onion, and from the looks of the photo some wayward grains. Why there aren't more dumplings on steroids, I do not know; these are some tasty, meat juicy dough bags. And I know "dough bags" doesn't sound very appetizing...which is why I said it. I love dough bags. Sometimes when Diana eats dumplings, she'll leave the skins behind. At such time, something inside me cries, "The skins, the delicious dough skins, abandoned!" but I don't wimper too much or else she'll think I'm even weirder than she perceives me to be. You would not leave these skins behind because 1) you love dough and 2) they're really yummy. It wasn't as heavy as typical Italian pasta skin (just imagine that you know what my idea of a typical Italian pasta skin is), but it had more chewiness to it than a Chinese dumpling skin. I loved it, dough, meat, onion and all. I could've eaten the whole plate, but I knew there were a gazillion more dishes a-comin'. Gotta save room, you know. [pats belly]

lamb pilaf
lamb pilaf

WHAT DO THEY PUT IN THIS FOOD?! The lamb pilaf was another favorite of mine, although it loses to the manty for not being wrapped in dough. I love rice in just about all forms, aside from "stale" or "uncooked". This pilaf was...well, cooked and not stale. What did it taste like? Rice with added yumminess. Just put this on your "must order" list, okay? Yup. The lamb was tender and meat-flaky, if you know what I mean. Be careful of the bones; otherwise, enjoy the soft, moist, flaky, "this was once a cute little innocent lamb" muscle. I did!

bread wheel
carbed

The giant bread wheel (seriously, like the size of a steering wheel, or...uh, a hemroid cushion) was alright. It was chewy and a bit too dense for me to comfortably eat a lot of it without thinking I'd explode.

samsa samsa
more things wrapped in dough

Samsa are like manty but with different dough, in this case flaky, golden layers. Oh. Man. Because of the heftier dough, we split three of these between our table of seven people. (To clarify, up to this point we had ordered two plates of manty, or eight total, two bread wheels, and two plates of lamb pilaf.) I prefer the manty over this, but it was still awesome. The dough wasn't your wimpy flaky stuff; it was more like chewy, flaky armor. Or something. I guess that's not very good armor, but it's substantial, and I'm a fan of chewing.

goiro lagman
pile of noods

Holy shizz, it a pile of fresh noods! We got three plates of geiro lagman for the table because Mike knew this was the good stuff. I'll just copy and paste his review:

We started with the "geiro lagman" ($6), which is listed rather strangely under "soups." While the soup version of this dish is available under the title "lagman," the geiro version (under-described as "noodles with meat & vegetables") is more of a noodle dish with toppings. It's also one of the best things I've eaten on my nearly half-complete journey through the Cheap Eats list. It features hand-thrown noodles that rival Super Taste's and a sauce that includes tender, fatty chunks of lamb (watch out for the bones!), green and red pepper chunks, green beans, onions and scallions, and it's tied together with a oily red sauce enhanced with ground black pepper. We practically licked the plate clean � no joke!

Yup, it's awesome. I've only had hand-pulled noodles once in my life, but these were better because they weren't softened from sitting in a bucket of soup. The long, variable-width noodley ropes were fluffy, chewy, and not very dense. Eat this, you MUST.

uh..i think it's ground beef meat innards
it's meat-on-a-stick time!

Ground beef kebabs came on flattened, pointy metal rods that besides skewering meat may be used to kill people. Then again, you could use just about anything to kill someone if the object is moving fast enough. ...Um. on that note, look at the delicious juicy meeeeat. Juice and meat is a good combination, as long as the juice is from the meat. Actual meat juice and dry meat separately may not be so good. ...But then again, meat jerky is tasty. Pure, freshly squeezed meat juice? That's not so hot.

WHY DOES MY MIND DRIFT SO MUCH?! Back to the food.

lamb chop kebabs
lamb chop kebabs

The lamb chop kebabs were unfortunately not as good as the beef. Many of the pieces were more fat than meat, and...we wanted meat. Whatever spices they used were pretty good though. I was reminded of them all night when they constantly made their presence known to my tastebuds in the form of endless burps. Mike recommends Cheburechnaya for delicious meat on sticks.

chak chak
chak chak

I love desserts, but this dessert did not love me. Chak chak looks like a Chinese fried noodly brick bound by a sugar-based goo I've seen many times, but rarely eaten. It also resembles a rice krispies treat, which I have much experience eating. Ultimately, the soft, loose splodge of fried noodles soaked in honey was neither of these. It's not like it was bad—it just wasn't what I expected. I thought it'd be crunchier and sweeter when it was actually not crunchy (since it was moist and would fall apart as you picked at it) and...well, it was kind of sweet, but you know me and my sweet tooth.

Ian eats
this photo is 100% unposed

And lastly, there's Ian. I totally just happened to catch him looking in my direction in the process of eating noodles. At no point did he say, "Robyn, I want to be in your blog; could you take a photo of me?" and then proceed to pose as an exuberant noodle eater.

HAHAAAA just kidding. Ian is cool! I think he's the first person to ask to be in my blog. His first question was whether or not I took photos of people for my site, which was apparently code for, "Put me on your site." ;) Sometimes I take photos of the people I'm eating with for my site, but I ask if it's okay (usually is, aside from the people who want their identity kept secret) or I request the other person to get an action shot of me shoveling a forkful of something in my mouth or ungracefully trying to fit my mouth around a sandwich. On a rare occasion, the person I'm eating with will take my camera and insist on capturing me in my gluttonous glory to share with the Internet world.

So...if you want to be in my blog, just ask! And if you don't, I might ask you anyway.

The final damage for seven people (and more food than seven people should be able to eat) was $80. Whoa. The awesomness of food jumps a bajillion points when it's cheap. Even though Cafe Kashkar is way, waay out there for someone like me (who lives in...NJ), I'd love to go back. For one thing, I need more manty. Many more. Also, Uygur food isn't especially easy to come by, yet here it is on the rightmost tip of Brooklyn! If you live in Brooklyn, you should check this place out. If you don't live in Brooklyn, you should still check this place out.

Thanks to Mike for inviting me out with his friends who fulfill an optimum coolness-quotient. YAY, I LIKE HUMANS!

Oh, I didn't talk about man-Voltron! Mr. T is in. Sting is not. There were maybe 100 other candidates, enough to create many imaginary Voltrons, but my mind is drawing a blank. I didn't take notes and photographs can't capture this kind of intense conversation. [pokes brain]

WHO ELSE WAS PART OF THE MAN-VOLTRON?! Discuss, if you'd like.

Dim Sum Dynasty

Dim Sum Dynasty interior
Dim Sum Dynasty

I've passed Dim Sum Dynasty in Ridgewood, NJ about a bagillion times, but hadn't thought about trying it until I read about it on Jason's blog and eGullet. I went on Wednesday night, which is not exactly a dim sum eating time. They serve dim sum from carts (the way it's traditionally served) on the weekends from 11 AM - 3 PM, but you can order a selection of them off the menu during other times. I ordered three dim sum and my mum and brother each ordered one entree for the three of us to share.

mini shrimp rolls shrimp rolls innards
mini shrimp rolls

I wanted one of the taro dim sum, but it turns out they only serve them on the weekends. I let my brother choose one and he picked "mini shrimp rolls". Neither of us knew exactly what that entailed, but what do you know—they're mini shrimp rolls. Nothing mysterious here. Take a little shrimp, stretch it out, wrap it in spring roll skin and deep fry the sucker. They're like spring rolls, but less satisfying and kind of boring since they're only one type of filling and thus have the circumference of a straw. On the upside, that makes them much lighter than spring rolls. There's nothing wrong with the mini shrimp rolls, unless you're like me and aren't a big fan of shrimp.

turnip cakes
turnip cakes

Turnip cakes are one of my most favorite foods. The rectangular slabs are mainly composed of turnip and rice flour, but may also contain bits of shrimp and pork. When people ask me what turnip cakes are, I'm not really sure how to describe them. "Uh...it's not 'cake' cake. Um. It's good, just trust me."

turnip cake innards
innaarddsss!

My favorite kind of turnip cake has a slightly crispy "skin" holding in soft, almost creamy—but not quite that mooshy—innards. However, I'd enjoy it even if it weren't crispy and soft. I WILL EAT ANY TURNIP CAKE! As for the flavor of a turnip cake, I don't know how to describe it. Saying it "tastes like turnip cake" helps no one. Salt? Sugar? Yum? The black blob sitting on the cake is oyster sauce, which is a mildly salty, viscous sauce that as far as I can tell doesn't taste heavily of oyster. If you're near Chinatown there's a place on Mott Street where you can get three crispy turnip cakes slathered in oyster sauce for $1.25.

snow pea leaf dumplings
snow pea leaf dumplings

I had never tried snow pea leaf dumplings before, but they sounded cute and potentially delicious. And what do you know, THEY ARE CUTE! Lookit them little transluscent babies (transluscent because the skin is made of wheat starch and tapioca starch, or some other kind of...starch). Check out that pink and green viscera! Mmm, colorful.

snow pea leaf dumpling snow pea leaf dumpling
dissection time

The viscera turned out to be snow peaf leaf shoots and shrimp. Mmm. Tender. Just the way babies should be.

plum duck plum duck
plum duck

My mum ordered the plum duck, described as "braised boneless duck with sliced soft taro root crusted plum sauce". Since it was braised, the skin wasn't crispy like what a typical duck dish may have, and boneless was especially nice because I'm lazy and hate eating things around a bone. The "taro" was unfortunately not taro, unless taro is uniformly white-ish and tastes like a cross between a potato and a radish. From my experience, taros are purple, sweet, and hearty. WHERE IS THE TARO? WAARH!!!

Ah well, still good. This duck really packed it away for the winter; its tender, juicy meat was blanketed with a thick layer of smushy fat that I imagine resembles the one under my skin. While I wouldn't order fat-blanketed duck on my own free will (I'm not much for dark meat), this was good. I recall past duck-eating experiences being marred by weird fatty skin and tougher meat, characteristics that this duck didn't possess.

chef's fried rice
chef's fried rice

Leave it to my brother to get something rather boring. However, we all love rice, especially when fried and mixed with other things (in this case, shrimp, scallop, egg, bacon & vegetables). I don't recall ever having fried rice with bacon (the pig component usually comes in the form of roast pork bits), but pig meat is pig meat, so it all fits. It was good, better than other fried rice I've had, although nothing mindblowing (is there mindblowing fried rice?). My mum objected to the bacon...ye know, the mum who got the fat cushioned duck. I know they're not the same; I'm just sayin'.

The final bill was $15-$20 per person. Not bad. This is probably the closest Chinese restaurant to me that isn't purely take-out, so if I get the craving for a nice sit-down Chinese place, I know where to go. Then again, I don't think I'd get that craving very often as my taste buds seem to have shifted to "things that come between two pieces of bread". Or manty. Mmm, mantyyy.

Too lazy to use google? FINE!

Cafe Kashkar
1141 Brighton Beach Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11235

Dim Sum Dynasty
75 Franklin Ave
Ridgewood, NJ 07450

random food related stuff

Soft drink company Tango made a great spoof commercial based on Sony's Bravia advert. It retains Jos� Gonzalez's singing (a musician I have unfortunately never gotten into even though I've felt like I'm supposed to), but replaces the boucy balls with less bouncy, destructive fruit. Awesome. [via Cool Hunting]


Not doing anything on Monday? Do you wanna see people eat giant hot dogs? RIGHT ON. Check out "Schnack�s Stahl Meyer 30" 100% Angus Beef Hot Dog Eating Contest". Complete info:

Monday May 29th @ 1:00pm

WHAT: 2nd Annual Schnack Stahl Meyer 30� 100% Angus Beef Hot Dog Eating Contest. Size does matter. The Schnack Stahl Meyer Hot Dog Eating contest is all about technique. The contestant to finish an entire 30" 100% Stahl Meyer Angus Beef Hot Dog nestled in a 28" Caputo's bun will win a grand prize of $500.

WHO: Eight contestants who have pre-qualified in "eat off" heats held at various locations throughout the city during the month of May will compete to see who can eat a 30" 100% Angus Beef Stahl Meyer Hot Dog the fastest. Judges Harry Hawk, owner of Schnack, and Arnie �The Chowhound� Chapman will judge the contest to ensure that contestants adequately chew and swallow and do not deconstruct the hot dog (or any portion of it) or dip it in liquid to make it easier to swallow.

WHEN: Monday, May 29th � 1:00pm

WHERE: Schnack Restaurant 122 Union Street, Red Hook (Brooklyn) NY 11231 718-855-2879

Posted by roboppy at 5:07 PM

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Comments

I don't know why, but when I scrolled past all the food porn and suddenly saw one of the very rare humans that appear on this blog who wasn't Robyn, my first thought was: "Hmm, signs of cannibalism?"

I have that exact same thought every time I see ANYBODY on this blog.

HOW WAS I TO KNOW?! All those delish photos of shrimp, noodles, dumplings, the ginormous bread Frisbee, etc., and then a dude. Seriously.

Posted by: Adalmin at May 27, 2006 8:34 PM [#]

those dumplings look soooooooooooo good and i like shrimp rolls except you start to feel sick when you have eaten at least 5 in a row =)i have never seen the snow pea leaf shoots, it looks yummy and cute...so cute i want it in my tummy. by the way, you take awesome pictures. i can't wait to see where you dine next

Posted by: Claudia at May 27, 2006 9:44 PM [#]

Not a comment per se - but I thought I'd enable your sandwich addiction...

http://www.iliveonyourvisits.com/sp/index.php

Posted by: piccola at May 27, 2006 9:51 PM [#]

Adalmin: I will try most foods, but humans...ah, I dunno. I think I'll leave that off my "eat" list. ;)

DOES MY BLOG NEED MORE HUMANS?!

Claudia: Ahh, maybe i needed to eat five of the shrimp rolls. I mean, if you put 5 together that's like one super shrimp roll, which might be more satisfying than just one. Or...uh, it might make you sick, as you said.

There's another entry in the queue. It has burger and ice cream action.

piccola: Lordy, that site is fantastic. Thanks for pointing it out!

Posted by: roboppy at May 28, 2006 2:40 AM [#]

I reacted the same way when I had my first manty. I was like, "holy crap. that's one massive dumpling!" Just shows how far the Chinese influence goes (or maybe it was the other way around). Either way, thank god for dumplings. It would be a mighty sad world without them!
In Vietnamese restaurants we usually wrap the shrimp rolls with noodles and lettuce then dip them in nuoc nam. Ohhhh delish!

Posted by: Kathy at May 28, 2006 2:41 AM [#]

HOLY! WAS THAT A BREAD BOMB I SAW ON HERE?!!! Robyn you've gotta do a bakery/bread post for me!

Posted by: Heather at May 28, 2006 12:15 PM [#]

*shaking fist at germs* rarrghgghghg. wish i could have shared in uigher-feasting. did anybody get the fluorescent green soda? that was good too. i forget what flavor it is. it doesn't taste fluorescent though.
i love turnip cake! i've only had it once. maybe i just like things that have the word 'cake' in them.

Posted by: janet at May 28, 2006 12:50 PM [#]

I should eat lunch. This all looks sooo yummy.

I've never had dim sum before - in fact, the extent of my Chinese food knowledge is the typical fried rice fare. I'm not exactly proud of that, but it's about the best you can do in a city of less than 100,000. Hopefully this will change in college - if I can find some good cheap restaurants. :D

But yeah. I could go for a dumpling right now, gigantic OR normal sized.

Posted by: Kristin at May 28, 2006 1:21 PM [#]

Kathy: Chinese influence is EVERYWHERE, HOLY CRAP! That's kinda what I learned in my "Essentials of Cuisine" class. Everyone has some kind of dumpling dish though...oh man, what if there was a restaurant that just sold dumplings OF THE WORLD?! OH MAN, best restaurant ever.

That sounds like a good way to eat the shrimp rolls. Vietnamese food, so yummy!

Heather: Ooh, I'm planning to bake some bread! Even bought flour! Maybe I'll make a post about ...bread...or failing to make it correctly.

Janet: I hope the germs are gone by now. I'd go back if YOUUU wanna go! Yeeahh?! I can find some other people to join, perhaps. No one got the soda (they bought beer beforehand, hehe), but I'd love to try that next time.

Need more turnip cake! So delicious.

Kristin: Fried rice is yummy, but...yeah, there's so much other stuff out there. :D There should be cheap restaurants around college campuses to cater to the students, eh?

Posted by: roboppy at May 28, 2006 7:17 PM [#]


YUUUUM...Turnip cake! We call them deeeleeesyooous Raddish cake here, but heck, it's the same name! Heehee. :)

Love the photos...It just induced even more oily, MSG-y, fatty food cravings!

Posted by: abster at May 28, 2006 11:49 PM [#]

Ok, spooky/gross flashback. Ever see "Dumplings" directed by Fruit Chan?

"Mmm. Tender. Just the way babies should be."

That quote took me back to that film, which is also in "Three . . . Extremes."

Shudder.

The fried rice looks great.

(that's all from the tipsy lady).

Posted by: Mochene at May 29, 2006 12:20 AM [#]

abster: Today I fried bread in olive oil. (My mum helped me make chinese pancake things.) Now That definitely fulfilled any desires I had for oily fatty whatnot. Things seem less deathly when fried in olive oil compared to other oils, but they're probably not.

Mochene: I didn't see that film, but one of my friends told me the story a while ago. Yeeah...I'm not gonna watch that. :) It would make an interesting part of the "Food in the Arts: Film" class I took last year though, hehe.

Posted by: roboppy at May 29, 2006 10:16 PM [#]

Dude. Ian...is hot.

Posted by: CJ at May 31, 2006 4:38 PM [#]

This is some of best Uzbeki food I've eaten.The People working there are super friendly.You get a lot to eat. The bread is nothing less than excellent large or small parties are served very well here.this place is different from most other kabob place in the it's not simply meat , rice , bread and raw lettuce.This place gives you a decent selection of meat You can top your rice with one of a variety of vegetables.The salad(no it is not just choped lettuce) is topped with a tasty vinagrette.Itried the kabob platter with lamp and chicken and i was pleased. The green sauce has a nice kick to ot and the guy working the register hooks you up.The poeple here know customer service.The prices here aren't bad especially compared to some of the other kabob places

More power to Kashka Striving to become the food capital of the world

Posted by: Matin at June 29, 2008 6:12 PM [#]

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previous entries

» 03/19/14: Taipei 2011, Day 5: Mussels, Fried Oysters, and Extreme Soft Serve in Danshui

» 03/09/14: Taipei 2011, Day 4: Keelung River Bikeway, TAS, Beef "Pie," and Din Tai Fung

» 02/14/14: Behold French Fry-Stuffed Fat Sandwiches From RU Hungry in New Brunswick, NJ

» 01/27/14: Taipei 2011, Day 3: Taipei 101 Food Court and Dim Sum Dinner

» 01/15/14: Hong Kong Recap: Favorite Bites, Sweets, People, Etc.

» 12/02/13: Taipei 2011, Day 2: Shaved Ice Two Ways, 7-Eleven, Shilin Night Market, Etc.

» 11/05/13: My Favorite Places to Bring Tourists on the Lower East Side

» 10/23/13: How I Made My BMO (Adventure Time) Costume

» 10/20/13: Taipei 2011, Day 1: Fried Crullers, Bear Head Doughnuts, Scallion Pancakes, Etc.

» 08/19/13: Indessert, My New Favorite Dessert Shop Serving Tong Sui in Chinatown

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May '10: Canon 7D with a Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC macro lens
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links

Please don’t hate me if I haven’t included you. I tried to whittle this down to a manageable list, but there are just too many food blogs out there that I like! I shall update this list every so often.

Blogs

A Hamburger Today
A Hungry Girl's Guide to Taipei
The Amateur Gourmet
An American in Ireland
Appetite for China
Baking Bites
Beef Aficionado
The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck
Bionic Bites
Blondie and Brownie
Boots in the Oven
The Boy Who Bakes
Brave Tart
Candy Blog
Cha Xiu Bao
Chubby Hubby
Chuck Eats
Comme un Lait Fraise
Dan Delaney
David Lebovitz
Deep End Dining
Dessert Comes First
Dumneazu
Eat Drink & Be Merry
Eat to Blog
Eat Your Kimchi
The Eaten Path
Eating In Translation
Eating Asia
FastFoodr
Fifteen Pickles
Food In Mouth
French Revolution
Fries With That Shake
Grab Your Fork
Great Food Photos
Goldilocks Finds Manhattan
Hello Sandwich
I live in a Frying Pan
i nom things
The Impulsive Buy
Just Hungry
Kathy YL Chan
The Kitchen Pantry
Law and Food
Lingbo Li
Lingered Upon
LUNCH
Maps and Fragments
Me So Hungry
Michele Humes
Ms Adventures in Italy
My Camera Eats Food
My Inner Fatty
No Recipes
Noona Blog: Seoul
One Wall Kitchen
Ono Kine Grindz
The Paupered Chef
Paris Breakfasts
Real Cheap Eats
The Scent of Green Bananas
Seoul Eats
Slice
Smitten Kitchen
So Good
Street Foodie
Sui Mai
Suicide Food
Sustainable Table
Swirl and Scramble
Tamarind and Thyme
The Tasty Island
Thursday Night Smackdown
Tommy Eats
The Ulterior Epicure
umami
U.S. Food Policy
The Wandering Eater
We All Go Poopie
World to Table

Non-Blogs

Brooklyn Chowder Surfer
Edible Queens
Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down
Serious Eats
VendrTV

Recurring Eating Companions

These friends have lent me their stomach acids on numerous occasions.

Chichi
Colin
Diana
Eric
Greg
Kåre
Kathy
Melissa
Morten
Olivia
Tristan
Veronica