Tso’l Food: An American journey through the Chinese kitchen

Digital Originals

CGTN America presents Tso’l Food – an American journey through the Chinese kitchen with Gerald Tan.

Episode 27: Jianbing Guozi

There’s a common expression that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So, it’s not to be skipped, no matter how busy one gets. This could explain why many commuters in Chinese cities have their breakfast on-the-go. In the latest edition of Tso’l Food, Gerald Tan samples a hand-held snack that’s gaining popularity in the West.


Episode 26: Jjajangmyeon

Traditional Chinese dishes are known to inspire many remixes. Sometimes, the newer versions become the highlight of a different cuisine altogether. CGTN’s Gerald Tan is in Atlanta, exploring a Chinese-Korean favorite in this episode of Tso’l Food.


Episode 25: Pork and Mucnee

Chinese food can taste quite differently depending on where you are. In the Caribbean, the cuisine boasts tropical flavors teeming with West Indian spices. For this episode of CGTN’s Tso’l Food, Gerald Tan meets Chinese Jamaicans bringing their brand of home-cooked dishes to Atlanta.


Episode 24: Carved Phoenix

The art of food carving in China traces back to as far as the Tang Dynasty in the 7th Century. Today, the traditions are proudly carried on by the nation’s top chefs. In this latest edition of Tso’l Food, CGTN’s Gerald Tan meets a master carver who’s brought his craft to the United States.


Tso’l Food: Honolulu

This episode from Honolulu examines the rich influence of Chinese migrants on the cuisine of Hawaii, resulting in numerous dishes that do not exist anywhere else in the world, from chicken long rice to manapua and saimin.


Episode 23: Look Fun

Hawaii’s capital Honolulu is home to one of the oldest Chinatowns in the country. And it’s a bustling hub for restaurants, shopping, and the arts. In this installment of Tso’l Food, CGTN’s Gerald Tan is letting his nose lead the way to discovering a local favorite.



Episode 22: Cake Noodles

There’s a common phrase in English — to not judge a book by its cover. The wisdom can be applied to the restaurant world, with humble-looking storefronts churning out the most delicious meals. CGTN’s Gerald Tan found out firsthand as he explored Honolulu in this week’s episode of Tso’l Food. 


Episode 21: Manapua

You could call it a staple of Hawaiian cuisine – soft, fluffy buns stuffed with barbecue pork. And if you think that sounds like something familiar steaming off a dim sum cart, you’re not wrong. In this episode of Tso’l Food, CGTN’s Gerald Tan is in Honolulu to trace how a popular local dish evolved from the cooking of Chinese plantation workers.


Episode 20: Poke Salad

From Sydney to Singapore, Los Angeles to London, poke bowls dominate food trends. This traditional Hawaiian delicacy has gained global renown in part because of one chef, who made it his mission to promote a dish he so loved as a child. We meet him in this latest episode of Tso’l Food with CGTN’s Gerald Tan.


Tso’l Food: Boston

Boston has a pioneering spirit unlike any other city in the United States — from its roots as the birthplace of the American Revolution to its current renown as a center for life science research. It has also played a seminal role in the advancement of Chinese cuisine in the country, as Gerald Tan discovers in this episode of Tso’l Food.


Chinese cuisine is one of the most popular and pervasive across the United States. As it reached every corner of the country, a lot of flavors evolved to suit local tastebuds. Resulting in some fascinating creations, such as the chow mein sandwich. CGTN’s Gerald Tan went to learn more in this week’s Tso’l Food.


Episode 18: Yangrou Paomo

It’s a ritual we probably engage in more often than we can count — catching up with family and friends over a meal.
The practice, often called breaking bread, takes on special meaning with one Chinese dish. CGTN’s Gerald Tan heads to Boston to find out more.

Episode 17: Tang You Baba
Chinese cooking is often spoken of as an art form, with traditions passed down through the generations. But one medical doctor turned chef has taken a different approach — bringing science into the kitchen. CGTN’s Gerald Tan profiles one of Boston’s most celebrated restaurants in this week’s Tso’l Food.

Episode 16: Lion Head

Few people can claim having an influence over the way a nation eats. In this episode of Tso’l Food, CGTN’s Gerald Tan travels to Boston to profile a cook turned TV star who shattered glass ceilings and brought a taste of China into the homes of Americans. This is the story of Joyce Chen.


Tso’l Food: Seattle

Resilience and resourcefulness have always characterized the Chinese diaspora. Many migrants opened up restaurants as a means of surviving in a new country. And they learned to adapt flavors and ingredients to cater to a new market. Gerald Tan travels to Seattle in this episode and learns how traditional Chinese dishes have given a new spin in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.


Episode 15: Dan Dan Mian

In this episode of Tso’l Food Seattle, we learn all about Dan Dan Mian and how the restaurant Plenty of Clouds perfects its noodles. CGTN’s Gerald Tan meets the heads of this restaurant to find out more about their cooking magic.


Episode 14: Biang Biang Mian
Chinese dishes can have really poetic names. Some hint at ancient text others at their appearance. But one delicacy from the city of Xi’an takes its cue from an unexpected source. CGTN’s Gerald Tan peers into its secrets in this episode of Tso’l Food.


Episode 13: Chicken Soup Pot
Bresse chickens from France are often considered among the world’s tastiest. Now one restaurateur in the U.S. turns farmers to believe he knows the best ways to capture Chickens’ flavor. Tso’l Food goes on a taste test in Redmond, Washington. Take a look.


Episode 12: Dungeness Crab
You can’t visit Seattle without trying Dungeness crabs, a specialty of the Pacific Northwest. They even play a starring role on the menu of Chinese restaurants, as we discover in this latest episode of Tso’l Food.


Tso’l Food: Chicago
Chicago’s urban Chinatown is a rare breed, the only of its kind that’s still growing. While Chinese families in cities across America have opted to move into the suburbs, here lies a thriving community that’s something more than a pastiche tourist attraction. In this episode of Tso’l Food, host Gerald Tan traces how this sense of community binds the many Chinese eateries all over Chicago and into its suburbs.


Episode 11: Chop Suey

What exactly is chop suey? Tso’l Food visits the oldest Chinese restaurant in Chicago to introduce this Chinese American classic.



Episode 10:  Jiao Zi

A thorough fixture in almost every Chinese celebration; dumplings, whether boiled, steamed, or fried. In this installment of Tso’l Food, CGTN’s Gerald Tan gets a masterclass from two siblings who made this delicacy their life’s work.



Episode 9: Dong Po Rou
China has eight main regional cuisines. Each is known for its unique ingredients, cooking styles, and, of course, signature dishes. In this week’s edition of Tso’l Food, CGTN’s Gerald Tan meets a restaurateur set on introducing all these flavors to American diners.


Episode 8: Cheong Fun

CGTN’s Gerald Tan travels the world in search of exciting flavors and compelling stories, looking at what we eat, and why? As part of his American journey through the Chinese kitchen, Tan is in Chicago, trying Cheong Fun, or steamed rice rolls. Take a look.



Tso’l Food: Los Angeles

Los Angeles has emerged as one of the best cities to sample authentic Chinese cuisine in the United States. In this episode of Tso’l Food: Los Angeles, meet chefs clinging onto age-old traditions while trying to revive the traditional Chinatown, now surpassed in volume and popularity by restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley.



Episode 7: Water Boiled Beef
Sichuan cuisine is taking the U.S. by storm! And it’s raining peppercorns in this episode of Tso’l Food, where a dish so dramatic in presentation and personality takes center stage.


Episode 6: Winter Melon Pastries

It’s a pastry that goes by many names — sweetheart, wife, or old lady cakes. In our latest episode of Tso’l Food, CGTN’s Gerald Tan learns all about this traditional treat from one of the oldest bakeries in Los Angeles.



Episode 5: Char Siu

The best char siu anywhere! A bold claim indeed, as Tso’l Food tastes some of LA’s finest offerings.



Episode 4: Emperor’s Jar Soup

In this episode of Tso’l Food Los Angeles, we learn all about Emperor’s Jar Soup at Bistro Na’s. Take a trip with CGTN’s Gerald Tan.



Episode 3: Lamb Kebab

In this week’s episode of Tso’l Food, we’re exploring ‘yang rou chuan’, one of the most popular street foods in Beijing, and how it’s become the source of inspiration for one businessman who moved to the U.S.



Episode 2: Crab Rangoon

Go to any Chinese restaurant in the United States, and you’re likely to find an appetizer called Crab Rangoon. It’s a rather misleading name as it neither has roots in the former capital of Myanmar… nor China. CGTN’s Gerald Tan explores this curious dish in our latest edition of Tso’l Food.



Episode 1: Peking Duck

When Washingtonians want Korean cuisine, they head out to the suburb of Annandale in northern Virginia. The businesses in this enclave can be so niche, that some don’t even bother with English signs. But nestled among them is a Chinese restaurant with a unique place in history… in the normalization of China-U.S. ties half a century ago.