Black Is Beautiful

An Asian culinary trend heads west as ebony ingredients begin to show up on fashionable menus

Photo for TIME

Black carrots.

Black has long been considered a chic color to wear when going out to dine, but for most Americans it seems slightly less à la mode for an entrée. Recently, though, some of the most sophisticated chefs in the country have begun incorporating black grains, vegetables and even poultry into their dishes.

The craze for ebony-tinged foods can be traced to Asia, where inky ingredients have a long and illustrious tradition. The nutty flavors and raven tones of forbidden rice were once reserved for Chinese emperors. Silkie chickens, whose snowy white feathers cover birds with black skin, flesh and bones, are...

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