How time flies! A few days ago, it dawned on me that I have been blogging at Appetite for China for five years. I never wrote anniversary posts in previous years, but for some reason “five” seems significant. Five years of seeking out interesting eats to blog about. Five years of recipe testing. Five years of photographing meals. When you really think about it, it’s kind of weird, to spend your days documenting things you eat in detail.
But luckily, this has been a great ride. I’ve been lucky enough to go from this very first post on Nov. 11, 2007, an uncertain “hello world” kind of greeting, to turning blogging and food writing into a full-time career. I’ve also made a lot of great friends through blogging. And because of Appetite for China, I got the amazing opportunity to write and photograph a cookbook, which comes out in exactly 1 month. (Eek!)
So, to borrow from media year-end round-ups, I wanted to take a trip down memory lane and reflect on some of the most interesting posts and moments from the past five years.
Most popular post ever: General Tso’s Chicken – Ever since it was published in March 2009, General Tso’s chicken has been the most viewed, searched for, and commented on recipe on this blog. So many of you have tried it and loved it. After a number of revisions, the current General Tso’s is crunchier and tastier than ever. (You can also find it in The Chinese Takeout Cookbook and a GrubKit recipe kit!) The more I’m writing about it, the more I crave it right this second…
New reader favorite: Shrimp with Spicy Garlic Sauce – This easy shrimp dish I made on a whim back in 2010 has really taken off on Pinterest and StumbleUpon! Goes to show that sometimes the best dishes need only 5 minutes to make.
Most memorable meal while traveling: Banh Mi Op La! – In 2009 I traveled through Vietnam and met up with a former culinary school instructor in Hoi An. One morning, we were looking for breakfast and stumbled upon a busy stall serving this amazing concoction pictured above: banh mi op la. It’s a beautiful mess of runny eggs, sausage bits, onions, and tomatoes still sizzling on a thin hotplate, with a baguette on the side. Pure comfort food heaven. We went back again and again. To this day I’m still on the lookout for a place in New York that serves this perfect, perfect breakfast dish.
Most fun and retro party: Mid-Winter Tiki Party – During the blizzard-y and arctic winter of 2010/2011, I decided to throw a tiki party to ward off the winter doldrums. Also, I reasoned, it was research for my cookbook, as tiki culture played a key part in the history of Chinese food in the U.S. The night was filled with mai tais, Singapore Slings, pupu platter appetizers, plastic leis, and retro surf rock. Research had never been more fun.
Happiest moment: Getting a book deal!
It has been wonderful sharing recipes and travel adventures with you all over the years. It feels great to be part of such a supportive food blogging community, and I feel really lucky to have met some of you and become good friends through a common interest (okay…obsession…) Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading, commenting, and being a great support network for the past five years! I hope you continue to revisit for many years to come!