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Kirk's Traveling Kitchen News and Blog

Lantern Restaurant- Chapel Hill


I've always been a sucker for "locally sourced, Asian inspired" restaurants (you had me at hotpot), and Lantern Restaurant in Chapel Hill is no exception. We'll be working a series of events in the NC research triangle over the next year and I fully expect to make Lantern a regular stop. Situated on main street in downtown Chapel Hill, with simple interior decor and a kick-ass al fresco garden, they have a great setting to compliment the solid work happening in the kitchen.

Lantern Restaurant

I had the whole fish (among many other things) at my recent visit, here is my version of what they're doing:

Wok-Fried Whole Fish with Sweet Chile Sauce

Quantity Produced:  Serves 3-4.

Whole Sea Bass or Snapper, Trimmed & Scored                    1/ 4-5# Fish
Waterchestnur Flour or Corn Starch                                       to dredge

Vegetable Oil                                                                           4 Cups

Chile Paste/Sambal Oelek                                           3 Tablespoons
Garlic, Minced                                                                        3 Large Cloves
Rice Wine Vinegar                                                      ½ Cup
Water                                                                          1/3 Cup
Sugar                                                                           2/3 Cup
Salt                                                                              1 Teaspoon
Cornstarch                                                                   1 Tablespoon dissolved in 1/3 cup water
Lime Juice                                                                   1 Lime
Cilantro, Stemmed/Chopped                                       4 Tablespoons

Preparation Procedure-

For the sweet chile sauce combine everything, except cilantro, in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thickens. Cool completely and add cilantro. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Heat oil in large wok to 325˚. Coat scored fish with waterchestnur flour or corn starch, removing excess. Carefully lay in hot oil, cook 8-10 minutes per side until golden and crispy. Transfer to paper towel lined plate and serve on platter topped with sweet chile sauce.