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1950's Old Style Chinese Steamed Pork (Hom Yu)

  • m

Hello,
Anyone remember the steamed pork that was served back in the l950's at Chinese restaurants Far East Cafe in Japan Town in Los Angeles or Tin Sing in Gardena? It was softer and didn't have the stinky fish (the actual hom yu) on top. It had a distint flavor that I don't find in steamed pork with hom yu these days at most Chinese restaurants. Any one know what they might have put in it to make it taste so good?
Thanks in advance, it's a nostalgia thing for me. Also, it's flavor was very distinct and I don't ever taste it any other dish these days.
Mochi

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  1. It is probably flavored with salted duck eggs mixed into the pork instead of the salted carp.

    1 Reply
    1. re: theSauce

      Thank you for the idea of salted duck eggs. I have a feeling it did not have them in it because I think the recipe was quite humble and simple. I imagine the salted duck eggs are quite a delicacy. I am curious about the dish with ducks eggs and will try to make it soon.
      Thanks for you advice.

    2. I would love a recipe, if you have it...that is real comfort food to me.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ChineseChou

        Can't comment on the ones served at restaurants, but here's how we make it at home:

        Mix together:
        Ground pork
        Soy sauce
        Rice wine (optional)
        Sugar
        Corn starch
        Oil
        A little water (a tablespoon or so)

        Put the mixture in a shallow place and put hom yu and/or salted duck egg on top. If using hom yu, also place some shredded ginger and oil on top of it. Steam till done. The steaming time will have to depend on how thick the meat is. You'll probably need to do some trial run on that.

        The following are sometimes added to the meat:
        Perserved vegetables (various types)
        Rehydrated shittake mushroom, diced
        Chinese sausage
        Water chestnuts, diced
        Dried mandarin peels
        Egg (chicken), scrambled

        A word about the ground pork: The best texture comes from making the ground pork at home. Instead of putting it through a grinder, cut the pork into small pieces then run the cleaver over them until you get the texture of sausage meat.

        1. re: anna
          w
          Wayne Keyser

          If the foregoing recipe is what you remember, it seems to me to bear a very strong resemblance (heck, it's identical) to three other familiar things:

          (1) Basic wonton/dumpling filling,
          (2) The meatball inside a Vietnamese steamed bao,
          (3) The dish I just "discovered" last week: meatballs like this, served over rice, with a basic white (chicken-broth) Chinese sauce (yum!)

          1. re: anna

            Hello,
            Thanks for the recipe, I will try it. I made some last night, but, instead of using rice wine I used shao shing (sp) wine. I also added salt and white pepper, lop chong, shrimp paste and water chestnuts. It didn't taste the way I remember it. But, I'll try it the way you make it, it sounds like it would taste more of the way I remember, very simple and delicious!
            Mochi

            1. re: Mochi

              Mix in one uncooked salted duck egg and omit the salt. The steam pork in the restaurant probably has meat tenderizer mixed in as well.

          2. Not knowing the exact taste you are referring to, I could guess that some old timers used to add chopped liver lop cheung (liver chinese sausage) to the minced meat. I like the taste but my kids hate liver of any kind. Perhaps you can try it. I also think that chopped water chestnut is really important for this dish as it prevents the patty from becoming heavy and dense after steaming.

            Margret

            3 Replies
            1. re: Margret

              Hello, Thank you so much for your advice. I've previously made it with lop cheung and it was quite delicious! But, it was not the same as the one I've been trying to re-make from childhood memories. Yes, I do think it did have the water chestnuts. They do make it nice and soft. The recipe that I've come up with so far is:
              Coarsly ground pork from Boston Butt
              Salted Fish (Hom Yu) that is mashed up
              Fine cut up ginger (?)
              2 T cornstarch
              1 t salt
              1 t sugar
              water chestnut, coarsly ground
              Chinese Rice wine
              Mix together and steam for 20 minutes.
              It's not a complex dish, I recall it being rather simple, humble, but with great flavor.
              We'll see if it does the trick!

              1. re: Mochi

                Mochi, your recipe is very similar to mine, except I don't use the rice wine, water chestnuts and I use funyu. I'm try to improve on the texture of the finished product. Does the chopped water chestnuts make the meat flakey?

                 
                1. re: Ricequacker

                  Water chestnuts will give you the crunch. It makes the ground pork "lighter". Can add 2 T room temp water.

            2. Are you sure the salted fish wasn't mashed up and mixed into the minced pork? That style of pork beng was more common when hom yu was rarer and more expensive. Plus the taste is much lighter than a solid piece of fish.

              Another possibility, and I'm going out on a limb on this, is that what you remember isn't hom yu but hom ma, fermented shrimp paste. A little bit goes a long way and it has a different, but still very salty and briny taste.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mty

                Hello,
                Thanks so much for the idea of smashing up the hom yu into the pork mixture. Previously, I was planning to do just that but could not find any hom yu at the store but I did find the shrimp paste. So, I did add the shrimp paste, but it was not the same. I'll have to look for the hom yu, I thought it might be a dried fish item, but could it possibly come in a jar in oil?
                Or frozen?
                Thanks for your advice.

                1. re: Mochi

                  Check your local chinese market and look in canned seafoods. It comes in a jar and labelled salted croaker in oil.

              2. This is the recipe from a church cookbook my father used, unless he modified it. The cookbook is from the 60s.

                1.5 lbs ground pork (cook book recommends boston butt)
                salted fish (rinse with warm water to remove scales)
                ginger slivers
                2T cornstarch
                1t salt
                1t sugar

                9 Replies
                1. re: Alan408

                  Thanks so much for the recipe! I shall try it soon.

                  1. re: Mochi

                    I hope you're still interested in a Homyu recipe. I think that the ingredient that gives it that unique flavor is a chinese wet bean curd called Fu Yu or Fun Yu. Until a few years ago there was one specific brand my mother used, but it can't be found anymore and unfortunately there are many brands out there that aren't as good. Anyway, here's my recipe:
                    1/2 lg grund pork
                    1/2 lb ground pork fat
                    2 clove garlic crushed
                    1 tsp salt (slightly less)
                    2 TBS cornstarch1 - 11/2 cubes Fun Yu squares
                    Mix all ingredients except conrstarch. Once mixed, mix in cornstarch
                    Form into 9 patties
                    Steam 18-20 minutes

                    1. re: homyufan

                      homyufan,
                      "I think that the ingredient that gives it that unique flavor is a chinese wet bean curd called Fu Yu or Fun Yu. Until a few years ago there was one specific brand my mother used, but it can't be found anymore"

                      Was it the Quon or Quong Hop fuun-yu brand?
                      I have not seen this in years. Major bummer. I miss it too.

                      Oh the days of yore.

                      1. re: Pakkai

                        I don't recall the name, but I think the label was gold foil with red writing. Does that sound like the Fu Yu you were thinking about? If you find anything close, please let me know. I have purchased different jars of what I thought was fu-yu but ended up tossing them because the flavor was just not right.

                      2. re: homyufan

                        I've been reading about all the hom yuk recipes. I go way back to Far East, San Kwo Lo, Man Fuk Low, Gen. Lees, Tin Sings, PK's, Etc. The true unique flavor of good hom yuk, forget the stinky fish, is the Foon Yu (sp ???) Any recipe without it is not going to taste right. Plus, you need lots of pork fat and people don't cook that way anymore. Too bad. Thats what make hom yuk taste sooooo good. I'm going to try your recipe. Sounds good. Also, you can still get decent hom yuk at Fu Shings in Torrance/Gardena and at least a few months ago, Pauls Kitchen on San Pedro. Neither have the stinky fish and are lean, but have decent taste considering they probably cut the fat in half. At least they satisfy my craving.

                        1. re: luvgoodcheapeats

                          Made homyu the other day but the texture of the patty was too firm. Tonight I'm going to add more pork fat. Adding more fat to the recipe isn't the healthiest thing but I think it might add more flavor. The fun yu (fermented bean curd) is the key to the recipe.

                           
                           
                           
                        2. re: homyufan

                          The missing ingredient was Fu Yu (a type of fermented tofu) 2-3 pieces from the bottle. remember to seal the bottle with saran wrap and tight lid. The smell is outrageous but when cooked its da best. Don't use ground pork. lean boston butt and equal amounts of pork fat, all chopped to small size. 2Tbs corn starch, 1Tbs tapioca starch. Garlic, salt, & ajinomoto to taste. Make into 3" x 1" patties and steam with ham yu on top if you like. This was from Far East Café

                          1. re: bnc09

                            I love Fu Yu with watercress or pea shoots.

                            What my mom did with her yuk bang was to add diced preserved turnip. This is very Toysan. Rinse it before dicing, cuz it's way salty.

                             
                          2. re: homyufan

                            Your recipe is a keeper. I didn't use any garlic but next time I'll add garlic. I did add some chopped water chestnuts and the salted croaker in oil. I'm a HAPPY CAMPER.

                             
                      3. have you tried about 2-3 dried oysters soaked in water and minced into the meat?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: bw2082

                          One day I had an extra tub of tofu. I mashed it up and mixed it into the pork. Result was a lighter pork "beng" but just as tasty.

                          When I make my pork "beng" I add in chopped dried scallop & dried shitake (rehydrate them in water first) which gives it a nicer flavour.

                          1. re: gourmet wife

                            Oh I just had a thought on the weekend. Perhaps it was shrimp paste in it? I know a lot of people use it for flavouring as very little is required to make it tasty.

                        2. Omg....I grew up with the food from Tin Sing. I've only found one other place who has it similar, that place is called Wo Fat in Las Vegas. Their food is incredible! It's the pork hash that you want! If you remember Tin Sing's fried shrimp... They do it the same way. Now, if I can only ind their Pak Kai, I'd be set!

                          1. I would like to preface this by saying I never liked hom yu however my mom was a BIG fan growing up. She used to get two kinds. A much tinier thin kind and a a bigger fatter one that was about 3x the size of the tiny one. According to her there were also different quality ones and you could taste the difference both from the size and the quality of the process used to make the hom yu. It might actually be that the old timey flavor hom yu you remember is no longer made and that's what's throwing you off. She claims modern factory processing makes the new ones blander and has stopped her hom yu obsession since my teen years. (seriously, it showed up on the dinner table at LEAST twice a week if not more growing up.)

                            1 Reply
                            1. I do and fix it regularly...well maybe once a year.
                              I get pork steaks and ask the butcher to grind...actually last time I used boneless porkchops leaner) and just open a jar from an Oriental Store it is fermented Tofu. I cannot find the topping fermented fish of some kind but it was not duck. They do not sell this anymore. If any one knows of this. Please comment

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mollydollyholly

                                Try looking this salted croaker in oil.