MN Food Bloggers: Rainbow Chinese

"What are you doing here?" we asked each other, as if the plate of food in front of L didn't explain her presence. L hovered over her dumplings and told us why she crossed the river from St. Paul to dine at one of the best Chinese food joints in Minneapolis, then offered me a bite of her black bean noodles.

It is always a good sign walking into a restaurant and seeing an old friend dining there.  T and I headed out early last night, hoping to catch a happy hour bite before joining fellow bloggers at a MN Food Bloggers event, hosted this month by Tammy Wong, Rainbow Chinese owner and chef.

Tammy is a tiny person with a big personality (and super cute orange socks). Cooking is easy, she said. The challenge to her is planning a menu.  She is the daughter of immigrants (her father was an officer in the Vietnamese War), and has spent twenty-six years in the kitchen. Her food reflects her character; fresh and bold.

Tammy stood behind the endless buffet table, which was covered in greens and huge bowls of gorgeous food, instructing us in the proper way to wrap a Vietnamese egg roll in lettuce and (this is very important) nine herbs. As we shuffled through the food line she tossed herbs on our plates like a card dealer in Vegas. "Fish mint makes you skinny!" Tammy laughed and loaded my plate with the green.

T asked me why a business would want to host fifty ravenous foodies rather than paying customers. The marketing scheme is smart and effective when fifty foodies take to their blogs and Twitter and FB. Tammy was upfront about her role and why she was feeding us. "I love what I do, and I want to stay in business."

One of the herbs on the table looked familiar.  Tammy didn't know the name of it, but referred to it as a Hmong woman's green.  It was none other than Stepping Out On My Man, which is currently growing in our garden.



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