January 25, 2013 by Joanne T Ferguson
Am I the only one who has the “thing” about food “looking at me?”
When I was little and as mentioned in Lucky Lemon Chicken https://whatsonthelist.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/lucky-lemon-chicken/, “it was always a special treat to go “all the way” into New York City for a day’s adventure.”
In New York City, Chinatown was “always” one of my favorite places to experience. Visiting the fish market in Chinatown was always fun. As I was “used to” adults looking at me “strangely“, I used to wander up and down each of the rows and “introduce” myself to various fish; some were live, some JUST stared! And (let’s remember I was VERY little okay? lol), it was a “game” to me to stare back at them to see who could keep the longest stare. Little did I know at the time, I could not outdo some of fish stares. It took me “quite a while” to figure out why! lol But, we always “thought” their stares was what brought us luck! OBVIOUSLY, “someone” must have told us that! Perhaps it was “newly acquainted “hanging out” friends! lol
There were “ducks and chickens and geese” (all with their heads on and eyes intact) just “hanging out” all over Chinatown. (lol) My childhood friend (this one was real lol) Princess Svetlana and I would walk up and “introduce” ourselves and continue in “very animated conversation” with our food friends. One of our favorite games was “Hide and Peek” (No NOT Hide and Seek lol) We would “hide” our eyes, then open them. Only to find out “fine feathered friends” were STILL “peeking” back at us! I don’t know now if the experiences were actually fun; they “were” at the time. But I STILL can close my eyes, (especially in my dreams) and seeing all sorts of foods in Chinatown STILL staring back at me! ;-) :)
Most people passing never took noticed “who” or “what” were were talking about. On one occasion, an elderly Chinese lady walked up to us as she “seemed” interested that we both (not only) talking to food, but that we had the “manners” to introduce her to our new “ducks, chickens and geese” friends too! ;-) Little did we know at the time, she probably did not understand what we were saying, but she was “patient” enough to stand there and her “smile” seemed like we were also “brightening” her day! :)
Then off to lunch we would go merrily!
Hands up, who has ever gone to a Chinese restaurant (remember we were BOTH very little lol) and wanted to be “more mature” by ordering something on the menu that was in Chinese with no English translation? lol Princess Svetlana and I used to (again it was a game for us) to “peruse” the menu and then point with confidence at what we would like to order. After we did, we would watch the waiter’s faces to see if we ordered something that was either a “local delicacy” or something that was going to be STARING aka “PEEKING” back at Princess Svetlana and me! lol
I really “hope” you are “amused” by now, as I can STILL see us “pretending” to look over the menu (HOW many pages? lol) and “calmly” suggest this is what we would like! :) Princess Svetlana and I “must” have been VERY lucky always in our choices as we never ordered a dish we did not like. MANY years later, we always “wondered” if we did indeed order something that was A LOT different and/or did the waiters change our order to make sure we would enjoy dishes that we “thought” we ordered.
京都排骨…”Yes please!” :) :) Little did we know at the time, the waiters decided to “surprise” us (true); serving the dish with a “small” pig’s head (eyes intact” STARING back, “PEEKING” back at Princess Svetlana and me too!) It is something to this day I cannot forget, but they “suggested” it was Lucky “Peeking” Peking Pork!
Every time after ordering “confidently” lol, Princess Svetlana would always ask, “What did we order?” My reply was always the same, “Dunno! But I guess we will find out!” The waiters always seemed to have hearing like my mum (and mums around the world ;-)). They would “hear” us whispering and then to make us feel “good” about whatever we chose off the menu in Chinese, they would always smile and say “Good Choice” and then ;-). It was the ;-) that scared us more than “knowing” we had (once again! lol) made a good choice!
You can “ONLY” imagine my “SQUEAL OF DELIGHT” when I came across 京都排骨, (Jing Du Pork — Peking Pork Chops Recipe on Rasa Malaysia http://www.ziplist.com/recipes/556084-Peking_Pork_Chops_ ) I “knew” it had to be on the list “slightly adapted” as a “tribute” to my childhood Chinatown “Peeking” friends.
The funny thing I remember is (as we “always” ordered Lucky Lemon Chicken) the waiters asked us when we ordered 京都排骨 if we wanted Chicken or Pork. Princess Svetlana and I were like “twins”; we dressed alike, enjoyed the same things and when it came to questions like this, we “both” “YELLED” out (Here’s probably where the YELLING* thing started lol) “PORK PLEASE!” lol
*like in Spinning Globe Persian Pomegranate and Pistachio Meatballs https://whatsonthelist.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/1130/ ;-)
In the States, Jing du pork (京都排骨) is made with pork tenderloin and I “just” happened to have some in the freezer.
1 lb. (~450 grams)
pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 cups oil for deep frying
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1/2 tablespoon plum sauce
1/2 tablespoon chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon Hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons aged balsamic glaze
1 1/2 tablespoons Xylitol (original recipe calls for sugar)
1/4 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice powder
2 tablespoons water
Pound pork slices with mallet until tender. Set aside.
I cut my pork tenderloin in half horizontally before pounding in between a large piece of baking paper placed on a cutting board.
In a bowl, mix the Marinade ingredients; add in pork slices, mix well; marinade for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
In a separate bowl, mix the Sauce ingredients. Adjust sauce for personal taste. Set aside.
Heat wok with enough oil, deep-fry pork slices for 5 minutes, or until color changes to golden brown and slightly crispy (See Follow Up Note); drain with paper towels and set aside.
Bring sauce to a quick boil, add deep-fried pork, and stir until all the meat is well coated with sauce. Sprinkle pork with toasted sesame seeds. ENJOY! :)
FOLLOW UP NOTE:
Next time, I would try this recipe with boneless pork spare ribs.
I substituted aged balsamic vinegar glaze (very thick); original recipe called for black vinegar.
Despite my oil being “more than hot”, I could get the pieces golden brown and initially could not tell if they were crispy enough without burning the pieces.
Next time I would double the sauce too! I really enjoyed making this recipe and despite the photo, the pieces were crispy and when I closed my eyes, I was with Princess Svetlana in our favorite Chinese restaurant enjoying our Lucky “Peeking” Peking Pork! ;-)
Do you ever “take” a chance and order food off a menu not written in your native language? (Without asking the waiters or waitresses for help? ;-)
Do you think some foods ARE lucky? Are YOU drawn to all things “Lucky” like me? ;-)
As someone I admire always says, “You make your own luck in life!” Well, YES I DID today too! :) :) :)
Now that Lucky “Peeking” Peking Pork was “on the list“, now “off the list“, will you be “inspired” to be “Lucky” in making this recipe too? ;-) ;-)