Holiday is one of the busiest times of a year for our restaurant Legend 72. People from the neighborhood, from other boroughs, from all over the country, from the whole world, come to visit us. Our chef and his staff work so hard on our gourmet food they almost forget holiday for themselves. The kitchen alchemy is floating in the air. Just like the past days of the year culminate into the wonderful holidays at year end, many ingredients combine to form something more delectable than the sum of their parts. Fancy ones are not required; simple, made-up are usually better.
Our chef doesn’t like food too carefully arranged. He is afraid to spend too much time arranging and not enough time cooking. He grew up with his grandma who cooks, never went to culinary institute. It just started in his blood. But first he had to be a craftsman, a technician. Like a jeweler, or a surgeon, he learnt to know his trade in his hand. Through endless repetition, it finally became part of himself. Even nowadays, he cooks every day. Repeat, repeat, repeat. And the technique burnishes. In this tasty cadence, another new year comes to knock at the door.
Year 2016 has been a wonderful year. Legend 72 gained a great reputation. There is a steady group of customers following us, and the group is getting bigger and bigger. In the new year, Legend 72 will continue to create new dishes and flavor combinations that brings our customers pleasure from far-away Sichuan. This is our job and we love. We wish you a Happy New Year!
As President-Elect of the United States, Donald Trump has roused unexpected sensation in Sichuan, China. PEOTUS, who was born and has been living in New York almost for his entire life, and never showed particular affection for spicy Sichuan food, quickly started flooding the websites and social media in the region well-known for its delicious cuisine with over 100 million people. The reason: one popular version of the translation of his name is Chuan-Pu (川普）, which also literally means “Sichuan Mandarin”, a term to describe the spoken Chinese mixed with local dialect and official Mandarin (Pu Tong Hua, 普通话）. Sichuan Mandarin has been a reliable source for funny jokes and witty humor as the dialect spreads all over the country along with Sichuan cuisine. No matter what their view toward politics in the United States, certainly Sichuan people feel a little amused by the coincidence. Many more new jokes based on it are the testament to this comic spirit. As anywhere else, there have been heated debates on the election in Legend 72, especially among Chinese students and intellectuals. Some were definitely carried out in Chuan-Pu. We hope in the end the delicious cuisine and good humor can bring people back together, whether in Sichuan or New York.
Kung Pao Chicken is a ubiquitous Sichuan dish. It can be found in almost every Chinese restaurant around the world. It’s also one of the most common items on family dinner table. According to folklore, Kung Pao Chicken first emerged in Qing Dynasty around 150 years ago. Originated in Sichuan, it was named after an admired Mandarin’s posthumous title. Kung Pao Chicken has complex combination of flavors and texture. For a good one, the chicken should taste tender and juicy; peanut fresh and crispy; the pepper and peppercorn dry and aromatic. You can always tell whether the chef has solid basic skills from a Kung Pao Chicken. One common mistake is to treat the dry red chili pepper as mere garnish in Kung Pao Chicken. People add it in toward the end of cooking. In fact it should be put in the cooking oil at the beginning before anything else so that the high temperature oil can quickly bring out its unique aroma. Chef Yang in Legend 72 strictly follows the traditional way to cook Kung Pao Chicken. You probably can still savor how Kung Pao Chicken was like 150 years ago, in thousands miles away Sichuan.
We put Noodle Soup with Braised Beef on our menu cover because it is one of our most delicious dishes, and it could be the best of its kind in town, well, at least some customers say so. Many restaurants offer Braised Beef Noodle Soup. But Sichuan style is very unique. The key is how to cook the Braised Beef. To cook it right, you need to heat the oil and put in dry chili pepper. Wait for about 15 seconds, then put in Sichuan chili bean paste, Sichuan peppercorn and the rest of ingredients. Stir-fry it for 10-20 seconds till the aroma comes out, put in the beef and add water to braise it. The result is the complex spicy flavor, in which several layers are combined, yet they enhance each other to give your taste bud and olfactory sense the best simulation. The noodle is immersed with the braised beef and soup, soaking up the taste. It has become the vehicle carrying the flavors so you can enjoy it with every bite. You may sweat over it, yet the satisfaction is addictive.