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Culture Watch: Homecoming means home cooking for the Raptors

Home is where the heart (and food) is for three of the Raptors this week.

Toronto Raptors v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Six

Hey guys, we did it! For the fourth time in five seasons we have voted DeMar DeRozan into the All Star game! DeMar finished second in fan voting for guards, with 998,999 votes, and second in both media and player voting as well for guards. Not bad!

And that’s just the beginning: congratulations have been coming in from all of DeRozan’s Raptors teammates too.

@demar_derozan congrats ⭐️ #ProveEm #nbaallstar

A post shared by Pascal Siakam (@pskills43) on

And even from Kyle’s mom, Marie. (Don’t worry Marie, Kyle’s got next.)

This year’s All Star game will be played in Los Angeles, and as a native of Compton, California, this is an opportunity DeMar is surely not taking for granted. During a January 8th interview with Adrian Wojnarowski for The Woj Pod, DeMar recalls his father, Frank, recording every All-Star game to watch with his son. DeMar has been visiting his father between games, and the chance to have Frank watch him perform at the highest level is certainly one for both DeRozan men will treasure.

The Raptors released a new YouTube segment entitled “The Spot” this week, which showcases the players’ favourite places to eat in their hometowns.

DeRozan’s fellow Californian Raptor Norman Powell, took viewers on a trip down memory lane to Gushi Korean BBQ & Teriyaki in Westwood, California. Powell states that he ate Gushi for “probably 80%” of his meals during third and fourth year of college, with his usual order being the chicken teriyaki. Of course, Norm opts out of the salad and kimchi included in the meal in order to get more chicken and rice (basketball stars, they’re just like us).

While there is a Gushi in Toronto, it is not the same as Norm’s old stomping grounds, and doesn’t even offer chicken teriyaki. Through extensive, uh, field research, it has been decided that the best place for a chicken teriyaki plate in Toronto is Ho Ga Oriental Cuisine on King Street West, with a plate of Powell’s comfort food priced at just $5.00 plus tax. However, if you don’t want to brave the Canadian cold and prefer to stay indoors until April, both chicken teriyaki and fried rice are both easy dishes to make.

Fried Rice for Norman Powell

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked rice, preferably 2-3 days old

13 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 eggs, beaten

12 cup finely chopped carrots

12 cup frozen peas

White pepper, to taste (black pepper is also fine)

Directions:

In a bowl, mix eggs with about 12 a teaspoon of the soy sauce.

Scramble eggs in heated wok, remove, and set aside.

In same wok, add vegetables and some of the soy sauce and sesame oil, cooking for about 3-5 minutes, remove and mix together with eggs.

Add rice and remaining soy sauce and sesame oil to wok, cooking until it rice is no longer clumped.

While rice is still in wok and on heat, gradually add vegetables and pepper (to taste).

You can also add chicken, shrimp, or any other vegetables to this recipe, but Norm only had these ones — and it is for him after all.

Chicken Teriyaki For Norman Powell

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts, cut into bit sized pieces

1 cup water

12 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar (don’t sweat it if you don’t have this, just reduce to 12 tablespoon of regular white vinegar)

1 tablespoon minced ginger (this is important, ground ginger is not the same)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

13 cup honey

13 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch

Directions:

In a pot, mix all ingredients except chicken and corn starch.

Cook on medium heat until mixture begins to boil.

Remove from heat.

Heat wok (or frying pan) on stove over medium heat until hot.

While your wok is heating, mix chicken and corn starch in a bowl (the corn starch will help the sauce stick to the chicken).

When wok is hot pour sauce and chicken in, stirring regularly.

Remove from heat when cooked and serve over rice — while sharing with Norman Powell.

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Norman wasn’t the only one to take us home this week. With the team playing the Philadelphia 76ers on MLK Day, and Kyle Lowry back from injury, the Raptors starting point guard brought his work home with him (literally) and gave his teammates a tour of his Philly home, as glimpsed on Fred VanVleet’s Instagram story.

The Raptors were not the only ones sharing the wealth of Lowry though, as earlier in the day it was announced that the three (hopefully, soon four) time All-Star had donated $1 million dollars to his alma mater, Villanova. Kyle’s donation was the largest ever made by a former basketball player, and will be used towards the reconstruction of Villanova’s athletic facility, a place that Kyle still uses to work out when he’s home.

Although the Raptors fell short in the afternoon match-up, Lowry could leave feeling proud and happy, knowing the difference his contribution will make to his former school and hometown community. He probably didn’t, though. It is Kyle Lowry after all.