Eating seasonally at Rainbow Chinese

Greens were haunting me, taunting me, stalking me, seducing me last week.  After a weekend of five different kinds of greens from the farmers market prepared in various dishes, I walked in to the latest Minnesota Food Bloggers event and was greeted with yet more greens.

Was the plant world trying to send me a message?

As luck would have it, the theme of this event at Rainbow Chinese Restaurant in south Minneapolis was cooking seasonally using farmers market produce.

Rainbow Chinese restaurateur Tammy Wong is truly remarkable; not only has she successfully operated her restaurant for over 20 years while being a working mom, she is active in her neighborhood, a vocal supporter of the Minneapolis Farmers Market and is focused on using local, seasonal ingredients for her Asian menu items.  What better place to test my new greens knowledge?

At the event, I surveyed the buffet table, where a wide array of peak season vegetables was transformed into an abundant feast. The assortment included:

Chicken egg rolls served with a variety of lettuces and herbs, including spearmint, peppermint, basil, shiso leaf, fish mint and Vietnamese coriander

Asparagus fried rice with anchovy paste

Fried soft tofu coated with cornstarch and sprinkled with five-spice salt, on a bed of blanched baby Asian greens, including mustard greens, choy sum and Shanghai baby bok choy

Cold sesame noodles with fresh pea shoots [Note that Tammy has a recipe for stir-fried pea shoots, along with many other seasonal recipes on her restaurant’s website.]

Szechuan wontons (pork and shrimp dumplings) in black bean sauce with spring onions [I will be dreaming of these wontons.]

Coconut-tapioca pudding with a rhubarb compote

It was green, green everywhere; the dominant food color during the spring and early summer months.

Tammy and her kitchen staff really outdid themselves with this display of seasonal bounty.

Prior to this event, I had no idea that Rainbow Chinese had a banquet room.  The gathering took place in a space upstairs which had polished hardwood floors, attractive Asian artwork, a comfortable lounging area with sofas and abundant natural light. 

A beautiful spread complemented by beautiful surroundings – it was a lovely evening all-around.  Thanks again to Rainbow Chinese for providing such warm hospitality and demonstrating how to make seasonal ingredients shine.
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