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Missing Chinese Dish

Dena Dec 3, 1999 12:00 PM

Does anybody else remember the Chinese restaurants of the 50s and 60s fondly? At least in the area where I grew up (McKeesport, PA - near Pittsburgh), they were Cantonese and called themselves "Chinese-American" restaurants. There was very little on the menu to challenge our palates and that was fine because, back then, we weren't terribly adventurous eaters.

What I find myself craving now is Char Siu Ding - it was a roast pork and vegetable dish that I haven't seen on a menu in at least years. Small cubes (not slices) of roast pork, bok choy, bamboo shoots, snow peas, water chestnuts and, my favorite part, whole almonds - in a light sauce.

Anybody know of a restaurant in Manhattan with a hopelessly outdated menu that includes this happy memory?

  1. j
    Jessica Dec 3, 1999 12:56 PM

    I've never been there, but Eric Asimov reviewed a place called Pig Heaven not too long ago. It's the reincarnation of a pig-festooned Chinese restaurant. Sounds like they have a lot of old-school Chinese-American dishes, and from the name, I'm guessing they're heavy on the pork. You might want to check their menu.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jessica
      Dena Dec 3, 1999 01:08 PM

      Thanks, Jessica. Pig Heaven's not too far from me but I've never tried it. I'll make a point to go by sometime soon and take a look.

      1. re: Dena
        Alan Divack Dec 4, 1999 12:03 PM

        You might also want to try a Cuban Chinese restaurant on the Upper West Side. The takeout menu from Flor de Mayo (101 and Bway) lists Char Sue Ding, albeit with cashews rather than almonds. They also have a new branch further downtown on Amsterdam in the 80s.

        In general, the best places to go for blast from the past chinese-american food are the Cuban Chinese places. (Nothing is quite so satisfying as the egg foo young at La Caridad for example, provided you eat it fresh and not take out, and can revel in the large amounts of cornstarch in the gravy.)

    2. m
      mitch615 Aug 1, 2013 09:26 AM

      Did you ever get the correct recipe? I loved this dish & no Chinese restaurant ever heard of it! The secret is in the sauce. I have a resurrected version which I can sent you.

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