But that doesn't explain my infatuation with multitudes of other Asian cuisines.
On the flipside, a couple weeks ago, I was overjoyed to introduce my Mom to Pok Pok for her first taste of serious Northern Thai fare. She kvelled over Chef Andy Ricker's spin on brussels sprouts, sauteing them in oyster sauce and spiking with Thai chilis. Don't get me started on her euphoric reaction to his infamous chicken wings. She was saddened to learn a similar Thai haunt hasn't yet opened in the City of Brotherly Love.
Still, I don't think Mama Vamp is the source of my Asian food fascination. How then could I account for my happy noodle-slurping ways at both Ivan Ramen and Ganso as of late? She doesn't care for Japanese food. And, that goes double for sushi. (Oh, how I adore the pristine sushi and sashimi at Jewel Bako!)
Then, of course, there is Korean. Count me in for incredible barbecue alongside breathtaking cityscape views at Koreatown's Gaonnuri. I'm also at-the-ready for an even more generous helping of Korean BBQ -- sans the view -- at the miraculous Hahm Ji Bach in Murray Hill, Queens, where the meat is first-rate and the banchan keep coming.
And we're back to Chinese. It's amazing how many Chinese restaurants in New York City truly suck. But, hit one of the city's three Chinatowns - especially the ones in Flushing, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and it is be hard to be let down. In fact, I'm still dreaming about a recent dinner had with friends at Sunset Park's Lucky Eight. Complete with the obligatory Lazy Susan and Tsing Tao beers, we feasted on the restaurant's signature dish - the Pride of Lucky Eight - a flavorful stir-fry of abalone, squid and dried scallop, alongside shitakes, scallions and Chinese celery. We accompanied that with a rich mix of razor clams sauteed with Chinese flowering chives in a black bean sauce, a garlicky plate of sauteed snow pea leaves, and a heaping steamer of sticky rice with bits of sweet Chinese sausage and loads of velvety chicken meat.
I'm still on the hunt for the perfect Shanghai soup dumpling. But, I've actually had them in Shanghai, so I'm probably a bit too spoiled on that front.
Any which way, I don't see my Asian food enthusiasm waning in 2015. So, let me know when you're ready to grab a pair of chopsticks and join me.