Blue Ginger, a popular pan-Asian restaurant in Shippan area, moved to East Main St. last month. Owner Kenny Sun and his wife Tiffany Tian hope to sell traditional home-style Chinese food with fresh and healthy ingredients, expanding typical Chinese offerings that are not found at every street corner.
Their kitchen is capable of cooking more than 130 Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese dishes. The Sushi chef can present an expansive list of classic rolls, Sashimi and platters. They have introduced more authentic regional cuisines of China to their customers since the grand opening of their 2,500-square-foot storefront at 1132 East Main St (at the shopping plaza across from Interstate 95 Exit 9).
“There are eight major regional cuisines in China including Cantonese, Szechuan, Hunan, Shangdong styles. They are all delicious,” Sun said. “Every city and every town has so many dishes you must try.”
Before Blue Ginger moved to East Main St., Sun managed the business for three years on Elm St. He took it over from a Taiwanese couple that was ready to retire. The couple also passed on the recipes to Sun as a gift.
One of Sun’s personal favorites is the Taiwanese stewed noodle soup. The dish comes with two options: Udon or Taiwanese thin noodles. Both are served in generous portions. The fine noodles are topped with soy braised beef shank, stir-fried bok choy and pickled mustard greens. The vegetables add a nice contrast to the meaty broth in terms of color and flavor.
“It’s getting more popular among American customers,” said Sun, who shops twice a week to get the tender beef shanks from a Flushing Asian market. “They see Chinese order it then try for themselves and find they love it.”
Even red-meat lovers would be drawn to the roast Peking duck. The duck is stuffed with ginger, scallion and other flavorful seasonings while roasted and fanned for ten hours. The skin comes out delicious and crispy, but the meat stays tender and juicy. The tradition is to wrap the meat up with thin slices of cucumber and scallion and sweet bean sauce, a must-have for eating Peking duck.
The chicken gyoza, or Japanese chicken dumplings, is one of their best selling appetizers. The savory Japanese-style dumplings are steamed then pan-fried until they get toasty brown on one side. The thin wrappers are filled with minced chicken and vegetables. They are often ordered in large quantities for parties, Sun said.
Sun also brought his hometown flavors into the beef scallion pancake rolls. He created the recipe based on the memory of a street snack that he always loved to eat growing up in Qingdao, China. Fresh scallions, steamed asparagus and thick, tender slices of beef are rolled in the crispy and chewy pancakes.
Good, fresh food takes time to prepare, Sun said.
“Our regular customers know that our fried eggrolls take a few more minutes to get because they are not precooked,” Sun said. “We fry them when we get the order. But they’re definitely worth the wait.”
Sun strives to present authentic Asian food with fresh ingredients that taste like home.