What’s better than one New Year’s celebration? TWO New Year’s celebrations. Millions of people around the world are welcoming the Year of the Rabbit with festivities and customs, from colorful lanterns to traditional foods. To celebrate the occasion, Universal Studios Hollywood crafted a variety of tasty treats inspired by traditional pan-Asian dishes, available at Hollywood & Dine from January 19 to February 28. As a foodie, I was thrilled for the chance to meet with R&D Chef Edward Kim and R&D Sous Chef Rudy Quezada to get the inside scoop and dish out all the delicious details!
Pork Ramen Noodles
Roasted pork, rich pork broth, ramen, marinated egg, black garlic oil, green onion, and sesame seeds
Back by popular demand, this delectable ramen dish is sure to take you to noodle nirvana. In recent years, ramen has taken the world by storm, giving the popular Japanese dish immortality in the culinary scene. Hollywood & Dine’s take on the traditional noodle soup skillfully captures the essence of the dish in an impressive way and the chefs are excited to dazzle our palates once again. Delightfully chewy noodles are bathed in a rich pork broth and adorned with roasted pork and fan-fav ramen toppings like a marinated egg. Can I get a slurp slurp?!
Creamy Sesame Noodle Salad
Buckwheat noodles, carrots, cucumber, red bell peppers, red cabbage, creamy sesame dressing, and crisp marinated tofu
How can you make a salad even better? Replace the lettuce with noodles; trust me on this. Buckwheat noodles, also called soba noodles, are chewy in texture and slightly nutty in flavor. Traditionally served hot or cold, these noodles are ideal for a light and fresh dish like this salad which hits all the right spots when it comes to both flavor and texture. I challenge any salad naysayer to turn their head to this one!
Secret Ingredient Noodle Soup
Spicy vegetable broth, ramen, tofu, bok choy, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots
A Universal Studios Hollywood exclusive, this soup won’t be found on traditional Chinese menus. However, one taste and you’ll agree it deserves a place. This vegetarian soup packs all the punch of its meaty counterparts and ups the ante with a little spice. It will not only warm your belly but your heart as well. As for the secret ingredient, well that’s up to you to decide, but I suggest several heaping bowls while you conduct your research.
And speaking of research, according to R&D Chef Edward, new menu items are thoughtfully and creatively researched, conceptualized, and tasted before hitting the kitchen line and menu board. All items go through the R&D kitchen for development before a tasting is done with Executive Chef, Julia Thrash, where the top contenders, like the Secret Ingredient Noodle Soup, are refined and ready to make the cut.
Korean Corn Dog
All-beef hot dog, mozzarella cheese skewer dipped in a Korean corn dog batter, and served with a side of seasoned fries
Possibly one of the most fun dishes to emerge from Korean culture are Korean corn dogs. Typically, they are made from foods like hot dogs, cheese, rice cakes or fish cakes, battered (with sugar!) and fried to perfection. Inspired by Chef Edward’s trip to Korea, Hollywood & Dine’s version uses both hot dogs and cheese: “I started seeing the trend come to LA as more and more Korean corn dog shops popped up,” he says. “When the time came for a new menu item, I knew we had to bring this to the table.” More than just a hot dog on a stick, this portable dog pays homage to Korean culture and is perfect for wandering around a theme park.
Chicken, teriyaki sauce, white rice, broccoli florets, julienne carrots, green onions, and sesame seeds
Arguably as popular as ketchup, teriyaki sauce is one of Japanese culture’s greatest gifts to the world — karaoke and bullet trains aside. Sweet, savory and salty, teriyaki sauce can be used in a variety of ways from marinating to glazing, giving it universal appeal. The dish, crafted by the chefs at Universal Studios Hollywood, has comfort food written all over it. Tender pieces of chicken coated in sticky, sweet sauce served over a bed of fluffy white rice with perfectly cooked veggies… What could be better?
Prosperous Steamed Fish
Steamed cod, rice, bok choy, mushrooms, and soy ginger glaze
Please give a warm welcome to this popular Chinese dish as it joins Hollywood & Dine’s Lunar New Year menu for the first time! A favorite of R&D Sous Chef Rudy for its authentic roots and simple, fresh ingredients. Symbolizing wealth and prosperity, steamed fish is popular for special occasions, the new year being no exception. Jam-packed with umami, our chefs’ take on this culinary classic has perfectly steamed cod topped with a sweet and savory sauce and crisp bok choy. As delicate as it is delicious, this lucky fish dish gets a 10/10.
The Peachy Rabbit
Baijiu, peach puree, lime & pineapple juice, grenadine, Sprite, and peach popping boba
No celebration is complete without a fun and fancy beverage! The new Peachy Rabbit cocktail features Baijiu, a Chinese liquor, for the first time at Hollywood & Dine. Add in the flavors of peach and pineapple with popping boba and you have one potent potable. Also available in a mocktail version.
The Lucky Lotus
Vodka, prickly pear puree, lime juice, orgeat, ginger beer
Tickle your tastebuds with this lucky libation. Sweet and tart meet earthy and nutty for an explosion of flavors. Vodka not your thing? No worries, enjoy as a mocktail!
Gracing the menu once again are the non-alcoholic Fortune Cookie Frappe and Golden Mango Tea with boba which are as fun to drink as they are to look at.
Rounding off the menu are a selection of sweet treats, such as the Long Life Sugar Donut with cinnamon sugar and a cherry drizzle, the Year of the Rabbit Almond Cookie, and the Rabbit Cheesecake.
Be sure to pay a visit to Hollywood & Dine to experience the culinary celebration yourself — your tastebuds will thank you. The chefs and this foodie wish you a very sweet and prosperous new year!
What was your favorite offering? Share it with us on our social media accounts or in the comments below!