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August 2012 San Francisco Dish of the Month: Nomination Thread

August is just around the corner, which means it's time for a new Dish of the Month. Asian Fried Chicken has been a great success, and I hope that these projects will continue to grow and include more and more users.

Here's a link to Asian fried chicken (there's still time left to eat!): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/856748

This is the nomination thread for August 2012…you can nominate as many dishes as you want, but once we do the voting thread (which will start on July 25), it will be one vote per user.

To nominate a dish, post it in ALL CAPS in the responses below. This thread will be open until July 25.

For more information about this Dish of the Month project, see last month's nomination thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/855771

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  1. Because they came in 2nd and 3rd places last time, I'm putting in the nominations for the following:

    BANH KHOT https://www.google.com/search?q=banh+...

    SUAN NI BAI ROU (cold pork belly in garlic sauce

    )

    KNIFE-CUT NOODLES

      1. re: hyperbowler

        I still like this idea....and would probably make a San Jose excursion to find the best versions down there!

      2. CHANNA BATURA (because what's more delicious than deep fried bread?)

        6 Replies
        1. re: MissVeg

          I like that idea....maybe we could expand it to all versions of poori and bhatura

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Why not? Still not nearly as broad as Asian Fried Chicken.

              1. re: Dave MP

                Broadening/expanding a category might make it easier to participate, and that's a good thing to keep an eye on. But with a broad survey, depth and detail are sacrificed, it seems. I didn't really realize it until some recent posts offered up a compare and contrast of various Chinese garlic chicken wings and I really, really want to see more discussion like that. Tighter focus would create more opportunity to draw these comparisons. I'd like to encourage collective input on what makes a good, better, best version; comparisons to originals overseas where applicable; more context and background, etc. I'm craving a more chowhound-ish discussion, such as the ones about xiao long bao (fwiw, SF 'hounds popularized the abbreviation XLB and non-Chinese speakers learned how to pronounce it from posts here) and jaew bong referenced in Birdsall's article.
                http://www.chow.com/food-news/120771/...

                In your original introduction of the Dish of the Month idea, you referred to the earlier dim sum civil war. I'll point out that the criteria for that competition was not the broad category of every dim sum dish in the universe, but instead a set number of specific standard dishes plus some wild cards that could be judged across restaurants.

                By focusing in on a single dish, Channa bhatura aka chole bhature, stylistic differences and variations among cooks, e.g. soupy vs. thickened, the specific type of chickpeas (black, kabuli, chana), use of tamarind, could be illuminated and put under the microscope for a learning opportunity. A broader category of poori and bhature would include every chaat dish that has some puri crisps crumbled in it, pani puri, Georgia's khachapuri and deda puri, stuffed puris, or South Indian thalis with a couple pooris laid on top, among others. To me, it's like using tortilla or baguette as a category and I'm not seeing the value.

                As far as availability of channa bhatura, if that's the reason that you want to go more lateral, restaurants that serve other kinds of pooris are likely the ones that have channa bhatura. Off the top of my head, the few exceptions would be South Indian places, Georgian, and Armenian places. So, I don't see that much geographic dispersion to be gained by broadening.

                I guess my question would be, Why do you want to include all versions of poori?

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  I sort of have three reasons for suggesting an expansion to all kinds of poori....although I think that you have definitely swayed me toward your side with this explanation!

                  1) Too specific a dish might deter people from participating. I think that someone who doesn't regularly eat Chinese food (let alone Sichuan food) might not be as excited about trying a dish like suan ni bai rou. Also, reading about different variations of this dish might not be as interesting to a wider audience (i.e. people who end up reading this thread). I do think that chole bhatura, and even banh khot, are more accessible though, so I'd probably vote for either of those over suan ni bai rou.

                  2) Another argument for broadening a category is that it allows people to make connections between different related dishes. For example, I remember when I learned about the connection between Thai khao soy and Burmese coconut noodle soup (Ohn no kauk swe)....based on a post by you, in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4035... Discussions on Chowhound allow for this type of connection to be made, and this is a perfect place for those connections to happen, especially if we allow for different variations on dishes (which may not have the same name

                  )

                  3) Having a broader category might allow for more exploration. For example, had the category this month been Korean fried chicken, I might never have gone to the Indonesian place in Saratoga.

                  Having said all this, I think I'm actually much more in agreement with you now. I agree that being a bit more specific could lead to some really great in-depth discussion of dish preparation, and I'd really like to see this too. I think Asian fried chicken was a bit too broad a category, since it led to so many different types of dishes.

                  In terms of the channa bhatura discussion, I now agree that there's no need to expand this to other types of poori. I think you make a good argument, so thanks for posting it!

                  Ultimately, it's up to everyone who votes, but I agree with Melanie that being more specific with our dish for the month for August is a good idea. So, I'd be very happy to go for channa bhatura, or banh khot, or something else that we can come up with today!

                  1. re: Dave MP

                    Thanks for your very thoughtful reply, Dave.

                    1) Yes, it's a fine balancing point to not discourage participation or readership. But everything that we select is going to have some segment who would never touch it. Some people don't eat anything deep-fried or ever consume meat. That makes it important to change things up. And while I'm interested in being inclusive, I don't have a need to appeal to masses.

                    2) Kauk swe and khao soy (or kao soi) may actually be the same words, spoken in different dialects. Funny, because it's been on my mind for this project because the Bay Area may be one of the few places in this country where one can try Burmese, Chiang Mai, Lao, and Iu Mien versions of the dish. And after reading yummyrice's post yesterday, I was going to suggest that it be nominated, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5349...

                    3) I agree that broader categories can encourage exploration. There can also be the flipside where folks refrain from posting about something that has already been in the dish of the month mill or things that might come up in the future.

        2. Why all the focus on fried food?

          1. I'll put in a vote for SUAN NI BAI ROU.

            Oh wait, this is not the voting thread . . .

            BUN MAM - Viet fermented fish noodle soup

            1. Some other ideas that could be fun, taken from other threads:

              GAZPACHO

              CEVICHE

              9 Replies
              1. re: Dave MP

                I'm glad this isn't the voting thread--- I'll gladly punt my banh khot preference forward a few months. "mdg" makes a good point. Especially after a month of eating fried chicken, a more seasonal and lighter dish than the fried stuff would be nice.

                I'll take a look at CUESA's seasonality charts, and see if any produce driven dishes immediately come to mind.

                1. re: hyperbowler

                  A couple of your posts today sparked a few ideas. New England lobsters are cheap these days, I mean I was served a butter-poached lobster claw as an amuse bouche in a bar. Lobster rolls are summer food. Yes, they would exceed the $8 average price originally stated in the selection criteria. I've interpreted that as $6 to $10 range, but that top-end has been exceeded by a few of the chicken dishes already. Or other lobster dishes such as lobster yee mein or lobster risotto.

                  Other seafood that are in season now are anchovies, black cod, Monterey Bay squid, and salmon.

                  Among produce items in season now are corn, okra, and squash blossoms. Dishes that come to mind are gumbo, okra jalfrezi, elotes, atole made with fresh corn, uchepos (aka tamales de elotes or green corn tamales), squash blossom quesadillas, squash blossom fritters (oops, fried), succotash.

                  More about green corn tamales,
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/19215

                  Uchepos,
                  http://www.chow.com/search?query=uche...

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Oh, I totally forgot about the price guideline!

                    Dang, I think voting starts today. That's too bad, because, I'd love to know the availability of some of these dishes (squash blossom quesadillas sound awesome). Elote was easy enough to find by doing a search on Menupages. I'm certain there are others (e.g., various carts, Comal, I've had it Andalu), but filtering for ones that are corn on the cob plus accompaniments are:

                    Chez maman, Nick's Crispy Tacos, Papito, Regalito Rosticeria, Tacko, Underdogs Sports Bar and Grill

                    An advantage of this dish is that the variations aren't too broad in terms of ingredients, at least from what I've eaten, but more in terms of quality.

                    1. re: hyperbowler

                      "Elote" can also be served cut off the cob in a cup and called esquite or elote en vaso. Since elote just means sweet corn, the word is also short hand for tamal de elote and other things made with sweet corn one can be surprised when ordering what you think will be corn on the cob to be handed a tamale or a beverage! Elote also appears in ice cream form. Perhaps this is a place to celebrate an ingredient or component (a distinction you had laid out earlier discussing knife cut noodles). An example would be this thread for seasonal pumpkin dishes.

                      "2011 - Pumpkin Please"
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/815543

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        So, any nominations for elote?

                        I'm keeping the nominations open until tomorrow (July 26) at which point I'll start a voting thread.

                        Last chance for nominations. There's no limit to how many you can suggest

                        1. re: Dave MP

                          Not from me, I don't nominate and I don't vote. Just a kibbitzer here.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Ha, yeah, I've noticed :)

                            But you've been eating lots of fried chicken this month, so it's all good :)

                            1. re: Dave MP

                              I'm omnivorous so I feel that the opinions of others and those who feel strongly should carry the day.

                              Since some of those who voted for what ended up being July's dish have not contributed yet, I'll mention that in the cookbook of the month series there has been some antipathy toward those who vote but end up not participating when their pick is chosen. Sure, life sometimes gets in the way, and maybe some people vote for what they want to read about and not what they intend to share intell on. Maybe I'm speaking out of turn, but I thought it worth mentioning before month end when there's still time to jump in. Otherwise, it kinda sorta looks like the Chow team stacked the deck.

                          2. re: Dave MP

                            I'll nominate elote. Just to keep things focused, it should be the on the cob variety. All hell can break loose from there!

                  1. re: Dave MP

                    Since the other dishes are named in their non-English native tongues, I'll add that knife-cut (or knife-shaved) noodles would be dao xiao mian 刀削面 in Mandarin Chinese (putong hua) .