Friday Foodstuffs 2.4.11: Happy Bunnies! Chinese New Year Dining Ideas for South Jersey

Shamefully, I have to admit that I love to post goofy Chinese New Year pics on our site when it’s that time of year – and this one fits right in to that tradition. (Evidently there seems to be some taunting with a corndog going on here…)

It’s The Year of the Bunny, so Hoppy New Year to you! We love Chinese food, whether it be the not-so-authentic take out fare you can get anywhere, or the really good Chinatown stuff that is much harder to find. In fact, in South Jersey it’s almost impossible to find. We have not tried many Chinese places in South Jersey, mainly due to the fact that we have been a little disappointed in what’s out there. BUT…hope does spring eternal, so I have put together some ideas for you if you have a hankering for Hong Kong, a notion for noodles, or a craving for crab rangoon.

There will most certainly be a Chinese New Year celebration in Atlantic City tomorrow, thanks to the good folks at Caesars Entertainment. A parade of celebration will be happening on the boardwalk starting at 2PM in front of Showboat. Special shows will be taking place in the evening at the Circus Maximus Theater and at the House of Blues. But the most intriguing part will be the Chinese marketplaces that will be taking place at Caesars and Bally’s starting at 4PM. They will be attempting to create a Chinatown-like atmosphere in their main ballrooms, and I would expect that food would be part of the mixture.

If your interest is more about a sit-down feast at a Chinese restaurant, I will share with you our list of places we intend to try:

Hong Kong Fusion – 1998 Route 70 East, Cherry Hill. 856.751.3888. This place is number one with a bullet on our list. Our friend Ed Hitzel raves about the place. And they have juicy buns on the menu. If you have not had juicy buns, it is one of the best eating experiences…oh sod it, it’s one of the best life experiences you will ever have.

Joe’s Peking Duck House – 145Route 73 South, Marlton. 856.985.1551. They have been the outpost for good Chinese for so long now, and seem to still be going strong. And you’ve got to like a place that will serve whole fish (steamed or fried).

Chez Elana Wu – 910 Haddonfield-Berlin Road, Voorhees. 856.566.3221. Not that Asian/French fusion hasn’t been done before (because it has, many times over), but the menu here is intriguing. Or maybe it’s just that the restaurant name makes me think of Steely Dan for some reason…are you with me, Doctor Wu?

China Dumpling – 5200 Ventnor Avenue, Ventnor. 609.822.6888. Read an article about Chef Michael Leung some time back, and have wanted to try his place for dim sum. Dim sum, when done well, is another one of those wonderful eating life experiences that few can top.

For those of you who are not into the whole Chinese New Year thing, there’s other food-loving things to do this weekend…

Tonight is the annual Soup-er Bowl at the  West Cape May Fire Hall in, well, West Cape May. The slurping commences at 6PM, and your $12 fee goes to help support the Center for Community Arts in Cape May. Also, tonight is the curiously unspecific Great Wines from Great Places in Europe at Renault Winery in Egg Harbor City.

In preparation for The Big Game, how about some chili and wings tomorrow? At the Mauricetown Fire Hall in, well, Mauricetown, it’s the annual Eagle Festival and Chili Bowl. Three things you should know: 1) the chili is not made with eagle meat, 2) eagles will not be eating chili, and 3) The Eagles are not competing in the cook off. Hope that clears up any confusion. And while there is this Wing Bowl nonsense going on today (I’m not an eating contest fan), on Saturday you can help support local Cub Scouts at the Wing Ding in Ventnor starting at 4PM.

And on Saturday and Sunday, it’s the Garden State Cake Show in Unity Hall at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Burlington.

The cooking class schedule is small this weekend (more on that in a minute):

Tonight: Classic Dishes of Spain at Sur La Table in Marlton, and the Gourmet Club at La Campagne in Cherry Hill.

Tomorrow: Lessons in French Pastry at Sur La Table, and Middle Eastern Couples at Kitchen Kapers in Moorestown.

Why the short list? Well, Viking Cooking School in Atlantic City has been selling out quite of number of their classes lately (which is a good thing). Always feel free to check our Cooking Classes page to check the upcoming schedule of classes. If I see a class become sold out, I remove it from the schedule.

Blogging Out Hunger

A food drive in Moorestown schools, being run by an organization called  “live civilly”, is going on now through April 30.

Unemployment is sending more and more kids to school hungry, even in affluent suburbs.

And in the news this week…

Wineries in Jersey may be losing its special privilege of selling directly to in-state consumers, which would be a terrible hit to the industry.

Beer in cans is making a comeback, and you’re going to see more and more canned microbrews.

Surf Taco helped out a family devastated by the loss of their father, an Ocean Gate police officer, by donating 20% of their proceeds on February 2.

Laguna Grill in Brigantine is dealing with two legal issues: a three-week liquor license suspension and a lawsuit with the town itself.

Hot dog trucks and Ocean County are not a great combination lately. First it was the Deez Dogs saga; now, Dewey’s Dogs here in Forked River may be going bye-bye.

You will have to get your fix of hot wings and objectification elsewhere: Hooters on Route 38 in Maple Shade closed this week.

And the annual Muskrat Dinner at the Lower Alloways Creek Fire Company took place last weekend. One of these years, we will go. You hear that, muskrats?!

Have a great weekend!


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