At Little Tong, Noodles And Other Yunnan Specialties Rule

It’s not exactly shocking that death, life’s great inconvenience, seldom appears in restaurant reviews. But food traditions tied to mourning span generations, and the globe; after all, eating and dying are about as universal as human experiences get. New Orleanians console themselves with jambalaya, the American Midwest has its casseroles, and the Amish make something called funeral pie. In China’s southwestern Yunnan province, a diverse area bordering Southeast Asia and Tibet, ghost chicken is one such dish. The bracing chilled poultry salad is classically made from birds ceremonially cooked by the Dai people in honor of their deceased. As with all recipes too tasty for their own good, it’s become a popular staple independent of the ritual, which is why you can now find it at one of the city’s hottest new slurp joints.

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