Asian inspired

Dishes from the Sichuan province are cranking up the heat in U.S. kitchens.

Published in FSD Update

Revered for its bold flavors, mouthwatering heat and unique numbing sensation, Szechuan cuisine hits a lot of notes with today’s adventurous diners, says Mark Kim, executive chef at UCLA’s Feast at Rieber Dining Hall.

“Chinese cuisine was highly requested from students, and Szechuan is [particularly] enjoyed by many diners due to the liberal use of garlic, chili peppers and fragrant peppercorns, yielding slightly sour and bitter tastes,” says Kim, who uses mostly stir-frying, steaming and braising techniques.

UCLA isn’t alone. Because of the large population of international students, particularly of Asian origin, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides a wide variety of Asian foods, including Szechuan Bang Bang in three variations: beef, chicken and vegan protein.

“The flavor profile of Bang Bang, also known as Bon Bon, is best described as fireworks in your mouth—it’s bold with a balanced sweet heat,” explains Dawn Aubrey, associate director of housing for dining, adding that most students prefer the bold profile when served alongside mild flavors, like noodles.

Similarly, in the corporate world, more customers were requesting Asian cuisine, says Kris Valencia, regional culinary director for Compass Group supporting Microsoft Real Estate & Facilities, in Redmond, Wash.

So dining services recently launched a new Asian concept called Pacific Rim Kitchen, where noodle dishes are served alongside traditional dim sum and small plates, like Szechuan chicken wings. The wings are marinated in a sauce of sesame oil and seeds, ginger, garlic, chilies, Chinese five-spice and freshly ground Szechuan peppercorns. “Toast the spice powder and peppercorns together first to bring out the oils and fragrances,” suggests Valencia, noting the secret to the wing’s popularity is in the sourcing.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
low sodium foodservice

From Furmano's.

Although salt often gets a bad reputation in the health and nutrition industry, a small amount of the nutrient is necessary for proper body functioning. It’s an essential mineral the body uses to control blood pressure, help muscles and nerves work properly and balance fluids. However, it’s important for consumers to watch sodium intake, because some studies have shown that it may increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

One group of people who are at high risk for too much sodium intake are elderly consumers, as the...

Industry News & Opinion

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is serving free meals to students in North Carolina who were affected by Hurricane Florence.

Students in the disaster area will be able to receive the free meals through Oct. 26. The government says that the meals will potentially benefit 31 districts and more than 284,000 students.

School districts will be able to serve meals that do not follow meal pattern requirements or meal planning through Oct. 19 in order to help administer the meals as effectively as possible.

“During a storm like this, the state may face...

Managing Your Business
school supplies

Students at School District 27J in Brighton, Colo., and Pueblo City Schools in Pueblo, Colo., returned to a shorter school year this fall . Both districts have switched to a four-day school week in an attempt to cut costs and help attract and retain teachers.

While the switch could have a positive outcome for the districts, the nutrition teams are facing challenges such as staffing , a potentially off-kilter commodities supply and concern over how to provide food to students on the extra day.

Open communication

On Monday when school is not in session, School District 27J...

Industry News & Opinion

More than 200 schools in Colorado participated in Colorado Proud School Meal Day, Alamosa News reports.

The day is meant to highlight Colorado agriculture as well as educate students on healthy eating.

At Mountain Valley School in Saguache, Colo., staff served tomatillos, collard greens, purple potatoes, beans, squash and pickled beets, while students at North Conejos School District in La Jara, Colo., enjoyed Colorado peaches.

In Sanford, Colo., students at Sanford Schools got to try local potatoes and were able to vote on if they liked them or not. A map of...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code