At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Sunday, May 14, 2017


Ever since I got to work today, I've had Shanghai pork chop noodles on my mind. Which, and this shouldn't surprise you in the slightest, are not available within several miles of where I was. That being deepest darkest most entitled Marin County. There are wild anti-vaxxers there, and rabid Vegans, plus pot, and people who eat all kinds of meaningful.

But no Shanghai Pork Chop Noodles.
Which is depressing.

['Jaa jyu baa tong min']

But if you have access to a decent butcher, just get some thin cut pork chops, beat the bejazus out of them with a meat mallet, dip in flour with fine bread crumbs mixed in, shake, and slide gently into the hot oil. Crispy on both sides, remove. Of course you salted and peppered the dredge stuff, and you may have used a beaten egg white to let more of it adhere.
Let it cool for a few minutes, then chop into broad strips.

You will also need pork broth, thickish wheat flour noodles, and either tiny bokchoi or mustard green (which is preferred). Pre-blanch the noodles as needed, cut the vegetable coarsely, combine harmoniously with the broth.
Add a dash of soy sauce and a strew of chopped chives.

Shanghainese pork broth presents a balance of flavours; mostly pork bone, a little smoked dried ham for a fresher taste, dash vinegar, some seafood flavour added. A little sweet, a little savoury. Intense, but light.
How you achieve this is up to you.

Shanghai noodles (上海麵) may be found at a well-stocked market. And Udon noodles, or even Spaghetti, can be substituted. As, lucky choice, can also be Kwan Miao Wheat Noodles (關廟麵), which are very good.
Or look for the name Yangchun Noodle (陽春麵).
That last type, very Shanghai.

A bowl of garnished noodle soup, pork chop(s) on a separate plate, some pickles for added relish on the side, red oil optional, and, naturally and very much NOT a Shanghai phenomenon, sambal or or chili sauce.

Because in fact this is a Hong Kong dish.

Indeed, Shanghainese exiles brought it with them. But it has been eaten in the former crown colony since the fifties, beloved as a quick fix-me-upper at the small eateries along many streets on the ground floors of the fifteen - twenty story apartment blocks, and there is a Shanghainese restaurant within walking distance of almost everyone in Yau Ma Tei.

The same bowl of noodles in soup is also paired with fried shortribs, or red-stewed porky bits, or great big pork ribs cooked various ways, or a sauce of chopped meat simmered with soy and sugar .....

And none of it is available in Chinatown anymore, because the Shanghai Soup Noodle lunch place on Jackson near Kearny has been long gone.
That section of the block now has a lovely cake shop, a sea cucumber vendor, and a few other more recent businesses. Yat Pin Heung (一品香) on the corner of Kearny has been replaced by a bubble tea place.

So of course you will have to make it at home.
Be sure to disable the fire alarm first.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.



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