I lived seven years in Asia: one and a half in (基隆) Keelung, Taiwan and five and a half in (新加坡) Singapore. If the reader wondered if I crave Asian food, I do. Chinese food is my favorite cuisine of all and dumplings have become comfort food for me.
It’s not Don Tai Fung, but it’s four blocks from my apartment and it’s relatively cheap. IXLB is my local dumpling house and I just realized the acronym means something like “i love xiaolongbao.”
I didn’t order the xiaolongbao, but i ordered cucumber slices in garlic and sesame oil. This version also had Sichuan peppercorns and chilies and I liked it.
The steamed pork bun was likewise delicious and comforting.
It’s no-frills, but the food is authentic and reasonably priced.
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!
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.
It’s a real Chinese dish and to prove it, I have photographic evidence from 川味坊, Sichuan Square. (Thanks, Google Translate).
The familiar ingredients were all there: diced chicken, peanuts, chilies and zucchini. This being a Sichuan restaurant, Sichuan peppers were present too. In small amounts I like them, but they can numb the taste buds.
Bitter gourd can be good, say doused in sesame oil with salt. Bitter gourds with chilies was not to my liking.
I was still hungry, so I ordered Sichuan sausage which came home with me and found itself in a few tasty sandwiches for lunch.