Wednesday, November 02, 2022


Their conversation strayed across many things. When I sat down to enjoy my egg tart and tea, they were talking about nine hours sleep versus needing to get up periodically to pee. As old men do. Which then veered into convertibles, with the top down, speeding down the coastal highway. As old men also do.

They've all been retired for at least half a decade or more now, so they are older than me. By a wide margin. But they're full of piss and vinegar.

One of them reminisced about the time a classmate worked part-time at Shanghai Low as a dishwasher. Shanghai Low (上海樓), which opened in 1913, was a famous C'town restaurant throughout the twenties and thirties, and still existed in attenuated form up till the late sixties. The colourful sign was still on the front of the building in the mid seventies.
The finest Chinese Cafe on the West Coast.

Shanghai Low, 532 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, California.

One could, if one studied the menu well, get actual Chinese food there. Edible. Not the goofy shiznit that Caucasians think Chinese food is. No, I never ate there, but I spent a large part of the eighties eating chicken buns, pastries, and breakfast specials barely a block away. There was also a restaurant in the same neighborhood which had juicy seared pork chunks, and fabulous garlicky 豆豉田雞 ('dau si tin kai').
The trick with delicate white meats prior to a quick stir-fry is to marinate them with a little beaten egg white and cornstarch, which will keep them firm and pale during cooking. Garlic, of course, needs only a little gilding around the edges, and adding a pinch of sugar when flame-seething everything with sherry is a good idea. Black bean sauce can be strong;
be judicious when adding the mashed flavouring.

That green stuff? A garnish of cilantro.
Sliced Jalapeño is also good.
Heck, both.

[Many menu items may be only in Chinese. Very often it's because they don't know how to translate things at all, sometimes they think that my fellow Caucasians of the severely Anglo type will get weirded out by tiny bones.]

There was some fabulous eating back then.
Vegan and gluten-free didn't exist yet.
It was a rather okay time.

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