Lettuce Wraps

I’m not sure if PF Chang’s invented lettuce wraps or if they are just really good at making them, but pretty much everyone I know who like lettuce wraps first tried them at that restaurant and almost every lettuce wrap recipe you will find online states that they are trying to replicate the PF Chang’s wrap. Every recipe you find, as does mine, will include some combination of hoisin and soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and green onions. I am not a great lover of ginger, so I go with just a half teaspoon of ground ginger, but if you are a ginger fan you can certainly grate up or cube some whole ginger, but I would argue that if you are having some picky eaters over for supper I would stick with just a little of the powder. Likewise, it is always a safe bet err on the side of too little sesame oil than too much. It is powerful stuff and if you use too much in this or any recipe it can quickly overwhelm all the other ingredients.


  • 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • Half teaspoon sesame oil
  • Half teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • Half dozen diced green onions
  • A pound or so of ground chicken
  • A head of lettuce (or a package or two of Belgian endives)
  • Couple tablespoon sriracha sauce


Fry the ground chicken in a large pan with a little olive oil. When the chicken is just about done, dump all of the ingredients except the green onions and sriracha sauce in a mason jar and give it a good shake before pouring it into the pan. Stir it around a few times so all of the meat gets coated in the sauce, then let it simmer on medium-low heat until the sauce reduces and thickens. While the sauce is simmering, break apart the lettuce into big leaves. When the sauce has reduced and thickened, toss in the green onions and give them a quick stir, then fill up the lettuce leaves with the filling and serve. Sriracha sauce makes a great topping but it isn’t for everyone, so serve it on the side so your guests can decide for themselves if they want it. There is plenty of flavour already built in so sriracha is by no means required. If you want to serve these as appetizer I would recommend using Belgian endives instead of lettuce if you can find them. They are naturally cup shaped so you can just fill them with a spoonful or two of the filling and people can eat them with one hand without making a godawful mess.

Stop Saying “Fee and Chee”

In recent years, Newfoundland has become an increasingly popular tourist destination, helped in part by a great advertising campaign, a popular TV show set in St. John’s, and more recently, the cheap Canadian dollar. One of the things that tourists find interesting about Newfoundland is our unique accent and vocabulary. While most English speaking Canadians speak almost the same way (Nova Scotians’ annoying use of “somewheres” notwithstanding), Newfoundland, since it is an island and was among the first places in North America to be settled, has maintained a unique dialect.

The best example of Newfoundlanders’ unique version of English would be its continued use “ye”, the plural form of you. Anyone who has read Shakespeare knows that English, like almost all other languages, used to have a singular and plural version of the word “you”, such as tu/vous in French. For some reason this died out in most of English speaking world but has been preserved in Newfoundland.  The worst example of Newfoundlanders’ unique version of English would be the phrase “fee and chee”, which some townies have started using as slang for fish and chips.

There is not a historical term that has its roots in 16th century English, it is an invention of 21st century townie hipsters with an irrepressible longing to be different just for the sake of being different. If you could go back in time to the 1890s and asked someone for “fee and chee” you would starve to death before anyone figured out what you were asking for. Same goes for the 1990s for that matter. The expression has no roots in Newfoundland culture or history. It was probably invented by some guy in Southlands five years ago and somehow has spread faster than the Zika virus.

Just to be clear, I actually like the invention of new words and phrases. Google should be considered a verb because it is useful and makes sense. “Fee and Chee” is not useful and makes no sense. It has the same number of syllables as fish and chips, so why would you create a slang phrase that is no shorter than what it is replacing? The only valid reason for anyone to use the phrase “fee and chee” is if you forgot to wear your hemp necklace and want to make sure people know that you are a hipster.