Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Lower East Side Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival 2010 and the Hester Street Fair

I am back.  Really.  And I have SO much goodness to blog about!  New food favorites and experiences coupled with old ones.  Stay tuned! 

In the meantime, these are a set of pictures from an event from forever ago (1 month), that I was super excited about that celebrates the wonderful co-existence of Jewish and Chinese residents in the Lower East Side called Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival (do go to the site, it is ever so cute with the majohngg matching game).  It took place outside of the Eldridge Street Synagogue which is a National Historic Landmark that has been around for over 120 years and still functions as an active synagogue. 

As I walked to the event, I passed by a bubble tea and banh mi shop called Gude Gude, and when I saw the $1.75 price tag for standard pearl milk tea, I just had to have some. 

Banh mi sandwiches were the standard cheap, and you have your choice of bbq pork, chicken or more pork.  The shop seemed to have everything I love in life under one roof: Italian ices, banh mi sandwiches and of course, bubble tea.

Unfortunate picture for them because it looks like they also have dog balls for $1

The bubble tea with Asian toons and Engrish

Note to self: $1.75 is not a good deal when the bubbles suck.  They were all sorts of hugeness and so not bouncy.  Borderline decent but by no means "gude."  (I had to go there!)

Anyway, that's okay.  Onwards to bigger and better things as the festival awaits!

Entrance to the tiny, no, quaint festival

I was immediately in love as right behind the information desk were the cutest little old Asian people playing mahjongg.  The lady in the blue flower print looks so intense.

I want to be this old couple (eventually)

There was a small stage for both Chinese and Jewish performances.  At this hour it was an eclectic group of elderly Asians

I then moseyed to the egg rolls and egg creams tables.  They were serving the thickest egg rolls for $3.  I am not sure where they got these egg rolls, but there is nothing Chinese about buying one egg roll for $3.  I couldn't get myself to do it even for the sake of the blog !  $3 is nearly a Baohaus bun, and that egg roll didn't look nearly as savory!

So I did get myself an egg cream which was a collaborative effort of one kid filling the bottom of the plastic cup with chocolate syrup, then the hatted girl pouring seltzer water while another gent stirred the concoction with a metal swizzle stick.

And then the egg cream is topped off with more seltzer water

The finished product!

Contrary to what I had believed, no eggs in the egg cream !  Apparently the name comes from the frothy texture of the drink.  I did enjoy it: it tasted like a chocolate cream soda, and who doesn't like that combination?

There were a couple of tables selling products, which is where I discovered the ingenius existence of The Jewish Zodiac, in response to our traditional Asian one.

I am the Blintz and Diana is the unfortunate Chopped Liver.  I still love her all the same!

The event was held right outside the synagogue which also hosted other events like Chinese painting, challah making demonstrations and more.

I sat down and listened to the history of the synagogue.  A cantor also shared with us some traditional Jewish music.  I am not going to illegally download any Jewish music soon, but it was interesting!

After, I joined a table where people decorated yamakas with foam stickers.  Is this traditional?  I have no idea.  It was fun though!

Here is mine in honor of our blog.

Thanks for Lexi Leigh Sirota for making this activity possible; it appears she had so many extra yamakas from 2008 that they are still funding activities two years later!

Since that bubble tea clearly was not going to tide me over for the day, I headed to the nearby Hester Street Fair for some random eats. 

The Hester Street Fair occurs every Saturday and Sunday.  I've been here one time before this, and I love it.  It's a good outdoor food market Manhattan alternative to the Brooklyn Flea (not nearly as many vendors, but still some pretty choice ones!)

I bee-lined for Luke's Lobster because I am seriously infatuated with lobster rolls, and Luke's is my favorite-favorite.  I watched them assemble the simple, but oh so delectable treat: buttered and grilled bun, squeeze of mayo, lobster meat, squirt of lemon juice and a light sprinkling of spices.


And because my cholesterol is still so low, I grabbed a beef empanada from La Sonrisa

It had a little bit of vegetables in it and a ton of meat (my kind of style).  The empanada wrapper was thin and flaky, but the meat was kind of salty and plain.  It could have been much tastier if it was spicy.

Then I grabbed a pineapple and mint paleta from La Newyorkina as part of my new tradition to always finish my Hester Street Fair day with a $1 mini paleta.  I really liked it.  It took on the texture of the pineapple but was brightened with the bits of mint.  Refreshing!

After, I detoxed a bit before going out to meet Belmund and his friends for an early dinner.  Due to poor communication on Belmund's part (I am sure he would say otherwise), I went all the way to Long Island City at the restaurant he originally told me, when in fact, they had switched the location to Jaya in Chinatown.  So....I arrived late to Jaya, a restaurant specializing in Malaysian small plates, but in time to order some Volcano spare ribs, described as deep fried spare ribs served with chef's special sauce in flambé.  Han food weakness #57: food served flambé.

The dish was indeed served aflame, as you could safely assume from its menu name, but I don't think the fire itself served much purpose other than being fancy.  I thought the pork was pretty flavorful, but I kept grabbing huge gobs of fat that even I could barely stand to eat (in front of other people, by my lonesome might be another story! :D)

And that was my day! 

12 Eldridge Street
New York, NY

Essex & Hester

90 Baxter Street
New York

1 comment:

  1. omg old people playing mahjong = SO ADORABLE. i totally want to try egg cream!

    and how much to i LOVE your kippah?! it's absolutely beautiful. :)

    do you know what else is beautiful? the insides of that empanada. *drool*