Spicy Dry Noodles (干辣面)

I lived for a total of seven years in Asia: one and a half years in Taiwan and five and a half in Singapore. 

Thus, I sometimes crave real Chinese food. Real I mean as Chinese food prepared traditionally by Chinese people for Chinese people. 

The serving was much bigger I would have received in Singapore. I liked the deboned pork ribs, the Sichuan pepper and the pickled vegetables. Except for the huge portion it tasted authentic, like a dish I could get at a stall in the People’s Park Complex in Singapore’s Chinatown. 

I went with my brother. Afterwards we walked over the Pershing Square and I ordered some petits fours at a chocolatier.

The petits fours were very rich and I managed to eat two, a bitter chocolate and a rose lemon flavor. 

Fried Cumin Lamb (孜然炒羊肉)

I went down to San Diego a few weeks ago to hang out with my youngest brother. The Asian ghetto, as it were, is located on and around Convoy Street, so we stopped at Chef Chin’s restaurant which looked promising.

The cubes of lamb were salty, fatty and crispy and aromatic with lots of cumin. The dish was garnished with fried cilantro and scallions. I loved it. While it wasn’t as good as the similar dish cooked by Lao Chengdu in Singapore, it pleased me.

Beef cooked in chili oil was good too.

It wasn’t as fiery as I would have liked.

They even had almond soup for dessert!

The Chairman’s Bao (毛泽东的包子)

My craving for Chinese food was sated by my trip to Baohaus, a Taiwanese steamed bun restaurant by way of New York.

I’ve had this very same dish in both Singapore and Taiwan. Berkshire pork belly said the menu, served in a steamed bun with crushed peanuts, cilantro and a sweet sauce.


The taro fries were served with a peanut-based garlicky hot sauce that wasn’t very spicy. 

I also ordered lemonade mixed with green tea that was unusually good. 

I like this place, located in a mall in Chinatown, Los Angeles.

Luckily for ne there was a firecracker festival going on.

Kung Pao Chicken 

I was in Santa Clarita, a week ago and after I had a brief meeting I was hungry and there weren’t many good options in the area. So I went to Pick Up Stix, a vaguely Chinesoid restaurant and ordered Kung Pao Chicken. 

It wasn’t bad at all, although the zucchini is an American addition. The sauce was sweet and tangy and the chilies were present. Sichuan peppercorns weren’t invited to this party. 

The rice was too dry to eat with chopsticks, so I had to eat it with a fork. 

I would rather not have to eat and Pick Up Stix again, but I’d eat there before I’d eat at Chikn Filet. 

Twice Cooked Pork (两次熟猪肉)

One of my favorite Chinese dishes, this attempt did not measure up to my standards, but my parents liked it.

However, I know what I did wrong, so next time, the attempt will be successful. 

For the broth in which to boil the pork I places a chopped up scallion and a small handful of Sichuan peppercorns.

Instead of using pork belly (which I should have used) I used pork loin which was way too lean. This recipe needs fatty pork. So I cooked the pork in the pot for twenty minutes. 

Meanwhile, I had chopped up scallions, garlic, ginger and dried birds eye chilies.

I took the cooked pork from the pot.

Then I sauté the ginger and garlic in the wok. When the ginger began to turn golden brown I added the pork.

I then added chopped leeks, chilies and scallions. 

At this point I should have cooked this down a bit. Instead I added bell peppers. I also added a mix of soy sauce and sugar. 

It added too much sweetness to the dish. Twice cooked pork should be about spice and fat. It might have tasted fine, but I was disappointed. Next time I know what to do. 

Broccoli and Scallops (西兰花扇贝)

Cooking for my parents, I wanted to show them a classic Chinese vegetable dish. I also wanted to explain how the Chinese incorporate meat and fish to flavor vegetables. 

After I cut the florets into smaller pieces, I blanched the broccoli, just until the broccoli turned bright green. 

I made an ice bath and put the blanched broccoli into it to stop the cooking.

I followed a recipe which recommended braising the scallops in chicken broth for a few minutes to eliminate the fishy flavor which develops in frozen scallops.

The fishy scent is probably decomposition, but I could be wrong.

I then removed them. 

 Chopped ginger and scallions went into the hot pan. I was using the wok to cook twice-cooked pork. 

I used tongs to flip the tender scallops as I didn’t want to break them apart. 

When the scallops were seared, I added soy sauce, dry sherry and a tablespoon of oyster sauce. 

This dish turned out well. 

Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁)

Here I am in San Diego County and after making a pretty decent sweet and sour pork, I decided to make one of my favorite dishes of all time, kung Pao chicken. 

The finished product tasted like the real deal. I was very pleased. 

First I cut the chicken breast into cubes and marinated it in soy sauce, sherry and corn starch. 

Next I mixed soy sauce with sugar and corn starch for the sauce. Since I didn’t have black vinegar, I used balsamic vinegar. 

Next I cut up ginger, garlic and scallions which I would add after cooking the chicken cubes. 

Chilies went into the hot wok first. They burn quickly, but a little burn is what I associate with kung pao chicken. 

After they brown a bit, I added the chicken cubes.

I cooked the chicken until golden brown. 

Then I added the garlic, scallions and ginger. 

Here is the recipe: