Posts Tagged ‘lard

26
Sep
11

Fool’s Noodles

Lard, chicharon, and noodles. Yum.

Lard is amazing. I had some hesitation writing this post. An almost border line abusive conversation happened between my artistic freedom self and my down to reality self about whether or not 1) lard/pork fat/bacon/pork belly is a food trend that is over, stale, or needs to die, 2) way too unhealthy to belong on a blog that talks (mostly) about healthy local foods, or 3) too similar to lard rice to post.

In the end, I realized that I made the dish, took the picture, and might as well write the post.

Are you familiar with this dish? It’s a traditional Taiwanese dish you find on the streets of Taiwan. The dish is rooted during a time when the low income and working class were conscious of their access to extravagance, like meat, and the respect towards their food by not wasting any of it. I never ordered it when I was in Taiwan, mainly because I was eating other things that I couldn’t get in the US. I finally tried this dish one lunch with my parents when I was in middle school.

Growing up, my parents made sure that we always had a stocked fridge. Every meal must always have vegetables, fish, meat, and soup. This also meant that we went grocery shopping every week, which became one of the best family memories growing up. The weekly Saturday schedule was always driving 30 minutes to Irvine or 45 minutes to Roland Heights, getting some delicious Chinese or Taiwanese food for lunch, and then grocery shopping. It’s where I learned about Chinese produce, cuts of meats, and more about the food from my community.

One of the places we frequented was a Taiwanese restaurant that had “sha gua” noodles. It’s translated to “fool’s noodles”. Mainly because a fool can make it. Lard, soy sauce, noodles, and scallions in a bowl. Easy. The flavor is something between butter and nutty soy. To be more specific, in as much vague descriptions as I can give, it’s like an earthy, briny, less gamey buttered noodles with bursts of freshness from the scallions. The scallions also add a green crunch which buries itself in the creaminess of the lard mixed with the al dente chew of the noodles. All in all, it’s a great snack or meal after a night of drinking.

Enjoy all it’s goodies.

~stuff

2 servings dried Chinese Noodles

1 tbs lard

1 tsp soy sauce

1/2 cup scallion, minced

chicharon or pork rinds, crumbled (optional)

~steps

cook noodles per packaged directions until al dente and drain

mix in rest of ingredients

season with salt or soy sauce to taste and sprinkle the Chicharron if you like

-serves 2-

21
Apr
10

la rou fan-chinese bacon rice

lard rice...i said it...lard rice

This is not your vegan post.  There is no veggie option.  There are no similar flavors that can be replicated with tofu, seitan, veggies, or fake meat.  This is a post purely about the joy of lard and its flavors.  Yum.

The joy of some fatty substance mixed with starch is, as I find it, pretty common across borders.  Most people I talk to about it says it comes from memories of their youth. I heard of stories of butter mixed with soy sauce and rice given to young Koreans, tortillas slathered with butter for my Chicano friends, and myself enjoying the joys of lard, scallions, and cooked noodles mixed in a bowl.  Awesome!  It was so delicious, creamy, and wonderful.  The thought of it reminds me both of my youth and how the “waste not” pioneers started with the working class and trying to survive with what they had.  There is a  Chinese dish that roughly translated is called “Idiot Noodles”.  Concept being that an idiot can make it, however the noodle dish was created out of the fact that people in areas of China could not afford to throw away every part of the pig.  That after all the meat had been eaten, there still needed to be a way to feed the family, so they created a simple meal that was both filling and flavorful.

I’ve been doing some consulting work for a community based organization here in New York City.  It’s been a really great experience, and I have been brushing up on my Mandarin… so don’t be surprised when you find a post about 午餐肉 (dang, it took me like 5 minutes to type SPAM in Chinese).  In addition to the benefit of becoming a UN interpreter from my limited knowledge of mandarin, I also have been getting to know more about food.  Working with a working class community, I’ve been able to build relationships and really value the work and experiences of the members.  I’ve also been generously given homemade moonshine and Chinese bacon.  Both have brought me much squealing delight, one maybe more than the other.

Now, the bacon is somewhat of a mystery to me.  I haven’t really been able to get a sense of its history or any interesting facts, so if folks have any; leave it in the comments.  You can get the bacon in most Chinese supermarkets.  In the aisles or butcher section there is dried up sticks of pork belly fat that almost look like a mini meat club.  They can either be found hanging up or in vacuum packs, both will work for this dish.   This dish couldn’t be any simpler and tastes amazing as a side.  I have a rice cooker so I used that, but you can also cook it stovetop.  I just don’t know how.  You can also use this bacon for my brussel sprout with duck prociutto and substitute the duck for the best bacon you will ever taste!  And now, my ode to lard, in haiku form:

My Love of Lard

my love knows no bounds

provides rich flavor of joy

you do me no wrong

~stuff

1 cup uncooked rice

1 cup water, plus some for rinsing

6 ½ inch slices of Chinese Bacon/La Rou/Lap Yuk

½ tbs soy sauce

minced scallion for garnish, optional

~steps

rinse rice with water until liquid runs clear

mix all ingredients with water, rice, bacon and soy sauce

cook rice per direction of method (rice cooker or stove top)

serve topped with scallion

-serves 2-




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