A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 21, 2018
Dragon and Phoenix (Chinese dish of lobster/shrimp and chicken)

"Dragon and Phoenix” is a popular Chinese dish of lobster (representing the dragon) and chicken (representing the phoenix). Shrimp is frequently included instead of lobster.

The dish was served at the Manhattan’s Shun Lee Dynasty Restaurant (900 Second Avenue, at the corner of 48th Street), as described by Back Stage (New York, NY) on October 29, 1965:

“The menu lists all sorts of original dishes with suggestions like Happy Family (shrimp balls, meat balls, fish balls, shrimp, chicken, abalone, mushrooms, snow peas, etc.), Dragon and Phoenix (lobster and chicken cubes with bamboo shoots, snow peas and mushrooms), ...”

Similar Chinese combination dishes include “Double Wonders,” “Three Musketeers,” “Triple Crown,” “Triple Delight,” “Triple Harvest,” “Four Precious Jewels,” “Four Seasons,” “Hawaii Four-O,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Happy Family” and “Happy Together.”


29 October 1965, Back Stage (New York, NY), “Manhattan Tips” by Sheldon Landwehr, pg. 23, col. 1:
SHUN LEE DYNASTY
The newly opened Shun Lee Dynasty Restaurant at Second Avenue, corner 48th Street, is a far cry from the type of drab, second floor Chinese restaurants that started spreading over the city in the 20’s.
(...)
The menu lists all sorts of original dishes with suggestions like Happy Family (shrimp balls, meat balls, fish balls, shrimp, chicken, abalone, mushrooms, snow peas, etc.), Dragon and Phoenix (lobster and chicken cubes with bamboo shoots, snow peas and mushrooms), Buddha’s Delight...a vegetarian dish of water chestnuts, gingko nuts, carrots, dried bean curd, vegetable steaks and bok choy or scallops Wang style.

24 December 1965, The Record (Hackensack, NJ), “Mandarin Style Meals Served At New York City Restaurant; Chinese Dining Spot Opened In October Under The Direction Of Teaneck Man” by John H. Kuhn, pg. 27, col. 5:
(Shun Lee Dynasty at 900 Second Avenue.—ed.)
Other entries are: Buddha’s Delight, a vegetarian dish which includes all types of Chinese vegetables; sizzling rice with shrimp, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and peas; happy family, a combination of shrimp ball, meat balls, fish balls, shrimp, chicken, abalone, mushrooms, snow peas, bamboo shoots, and bok choy; and dragon and phoenix, in which lobster and chicken cubes are served with bamboo shoots, snow peas, and mushrooms.

16 October 1970, The News (Van Nuys, CA), “Cafe Ramblings” with Larry Lipson, pg. 20, col. 6:
At Wu’s Garden in Santa Monica when you order a dragon and phoenix, you’re not requesting a slab of prehistoric monster, but rather a special recipe of boneless breast of chicken and lobster meat sauteed with fresh vegetables in subtle Cantonese sauces.

5 May 1971, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Roundabout” by Lois Dwan, pt. 4, pg. 14, col. 3:
The dragon and phoenix (lobster and chicken) will be one of the specialties on the a la carte menu of Mme. Wu’s Garden, Santa Monica, with three special dinners, also from 1 p.m.

17 February 1977, Courier-Post (Cherry Hill, NJ), pg. 34, col. 4 ad:
DRAGON AND PHOENIX
Fresh lobster meat, chicken, black mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, fresh snow peas, broccoli.
(China Dragon restaurant.—ed.)

24 July 1977, Odessa (TX) American, Weekly Television Information sec., pg. 11 ad:
No. 10—DRAGON AND PHOENIX
Fresh shrimp and chicken cubes sauteed with pea pods, bamboo shoot and mushroom in white sauce.
(Hawaiian Garden Restaurant.—ed.)

Twitter
Matthew Helm
@MattHelm91
Best meal ever: Dragon and Phoenix from china Express: 12.99 - Shrimp, Crab, Chicken, Celery, Mushrooms and Sugar Snap Peas. Fried Rice.
1:32 PM - 8 May 2010

Saucy Living
August 16, 2011
Dragon and Phoenix Balls
(...)
So of course these two symbols have to make their way into our food! The chinese word for lobster translates literally as “dragon shrimp” (cuz something about the lobsters look like dragons…yah, I don’t know either, just go with it), and chicken feet is “phoenix talons” (cuz it’s a bird?). From there, we get “dragon and phoenix” dishes that include anything relating to shrimp/lobster and chicken.

When I was young, my mom made a dish called “Dragon and Phoenix Balls” on special occasions. These balls were minced shrimp and chicken, with a coating of mini bread cubes, that were then deep fried to a golden, crispy goodness.

Bicultural Mama
The Symbolism Behind Chinese New Year Foods
January 17, 2012 by Maria Adcock
(...)
Chicken – In Chinese culture, chicken forms part of the symbolism of the dragon and the phoenix (lobster is the dragon, chicken is the phoenix). Chicken represents a good marriage and the coming together of families. It’s important to serve the bird whole to highlight family unity.

Visit Richmond, BC (Canada)
8 LUCKY DISHES TO DEVOUR DURING CHINESE NEW YEAR
February 16, 2015
(...)
#5 Fresh Lobster
For a strong marriage and family bond
Where: Shiang Garden Seafood Restaurant
Lobster is known as the ‘dragon of the sea’ and embodies strength, good fortune, energy and spirit. In Chinese cuisine, a lobster dish, representing the dragon, is often paired with a poultry dish, representing the phoenix, and together the two symbolize a strong marriage and family. Follow this dish with an order of squab for the perfect symbolism of the dragon and phoenix.

Twitter
Brooklyn Street Beat
@BklynStreetBeat
Want to try something #special? We recommend #LicheeNut’s Dragon and Phoenix House Special. It’s got marinated chicken with #Chinese mushrooms and string beans in a special brown sauce! #Chinesefood #takeout #yummy #yum #foodporn #foodie (photo courtesy of Lichee Nut)
10:52 PM - 30 Jun 2018

Twitter
notachef
@notachef2
Dragon and Phoenix dinner!
Chicken and shrimp in a white wine sauce. Surprisingly good from a nearby place where I’m staying for the week.
9:23 PM - 4 Dec 2018

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Friday, December 21, 2018 • Permalink