Junzi Kitchen announces the launch of its five grain-inspired fall menu, available at all three New York and New Haven locations starting September 23, 2019, the day of the Fall Equinox.
It can be said that China was built upon the five grains. In the Han Dynasty, long before modern botanical categorization, the specific use of the number “five” had philosophical importance as much of the world was understood to be composed of the five elements, as well as the five directions, the five colors, the five tones, and the five tastes. Therefore, the five grains meant much more than the five most important crops in China; they were the very foundation of ancient agrarian society and civilization itself. Over the years, the identity of those five grains have varied; this year the five grains that Junzi is celebrating this fall are: soy, foxtail millet, barley, buckwheat, and red bean.
From chef & culinary director Lucas Sin, the fall menu is a celebration of the autumn harvest in ode to ancient Chinese grains—the first cultivated crops representing immense nutritional, economic, and spiritual importance for early Chinese civilization. The five grains also traditionally suggest a prosperous and fruitful year in Chinese culture. This fall, chef Lucas incorporated three out of the five grains—buckwheat, foxtail millet, and barley--to create the below exciting new offerings:
- Squash and Grain Salad (grains: foxtail millet & buckwheat): This hearty salad bowl features black sesame roasted squash, arcadian harvest lettuce mix, tangy rice vinegar pickled cabbage, and ginger scallion chicken. The flavors are complemented by an indulgent Chinese red date dressing served on the side, garnished with crunchy foxtail millet crisp and toasted buckwheat.
- Chilled Noodles with Beef or Squash (grain: soy-inspired): The brand’s first-ever cold noodles, this grab & go item is a spin on Junzi's famed noodle offerings, boasting a cornucopia of fresh vegetables, pickles, and textures: sliced braised beef shank or sesame roasted squash, corn, carrots, cucumbers, pickled cabbage, and cilantro. This dish also highlights an umami combination of two sauces: a rich savory black-sesame soy dressing, and a fragrant sauce of slow-caramelized shallots.
- Barley Tea (grain: barley): Toasted over a fire until deep brown and caramelized, barley is the base of a popular grain tea in Northern China, Korea, and Japan. This hot beverage is a nutty, toasty and almost buttery counterpart to many fall meals. Barley tea also boasts the health benefit of aiding digestion.
In addition to the above five grain-themed items, Junzi will continue to serve its popular Chicken and Kale Salad and add a new house tea, Blossom and Spice, that signals the warming flavors of autumn, featuring lightly sweet notes of orange blossom, cardamom, and apple cider vinegar, will be added to the fall menu lineup.