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Jun 18, 2004 04:15 PM

Chinese bacon with mustard greens in East Bay or ...?

  • r

This is a Ton Kiang dish I really like. On the current menu, they call it "Steamed Bacon with Dried Mustard Greens." When I first had it, when TK was on Broadway, it was called something like "thrice-cooked bacon with reconstituted mustard greens."

Are there any East Bay restaurants that do this dish as well or better?

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  1. It's one of my favorites, and TK's version IS the best. Their pork belly (bacon) is proportioned right throughout and the sauce is the most refined. I like it better served w/taro rather than the preserved greens, but the dish at TK cannot be beaten and I've looked all over and even tried making it myself.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Sarah
      Robert Lauriston

      Where do you get it with taro? Sounds good.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        The Gold Medal in Oakland Chinatown has pork belly and taro, for takeout or cooked in claypot for dining in. It consists of alternating slabs of fatty (uncured) pork belly and taro.
        Cholesterol *and* carbohydrate! mmm...

        They also have a stir-fried dish of greens and "chinese bacon" which is the dried salt-cured kind of bacon (Hunan style bacon I think, though the dish is not spicy).

        Gold Medal
        381 8th Street (between Webster and Franklin)

        1. re: Joel Teller

          I've had the pork belly/taro at GM (takeout). Be aware that some of the meat slices may be mostly all fat, so help the counterperson pick out the "nice" pieces.

          1. re: Sarah

            Sarah writes:
            "Be aware that some of the meat slices may be mostly all fat, so help the counterperson pick out the "nice" pieces."
            But, the *nice* pieces are the ones with all the fat!

            /going to cholesterol hell/

            (by the way, the Soy Sauce Chicken at Gold Medal is exceptional).

            1. re: Joel Teller

              I vote with you, Joel! The trick to this dish is getting the fat into that near creamy state that's so satisfying.


              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Are we all going to end up in the heart transplant ward?? Pray for the FDA to come through!

                1. re: Sarah

                  If you click further up that thread I linked too, you'll note that I make a point to drink copious quantities of red wine to stay heart healthy. (g)

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    All right - between red wine and the tea my mom alleges to "melt away" fat, I should be OK, hah!

              2. re: Joel Teller

                The lean pieces are not good at all. Give me the fatty pieces. Or more correctly the fatty pieces that have been cook so long and properly that the oil is gone and only fat chamber are left. Not much oil but oh the favor.

                That is the reason I like the perserved vergetable more since the pig fat drain into the vegetable with all that favor. Taro if improperly cooked can be dry and adds little to the dish. But if cooked enough it's starch favor the sauce.

                The dish I like best at Gold Medal is the leftover Roast Pig cooked with perserved vegetables. It on top of the steam table or in the window with the Roast Ducks and Soy Sauce Chicken dripping oil and juices into the pans.

                I will need to pick some up next week when I get to Oakland.

                Hope my Doctor does not read this or I will be in his hell. Why did I tell him about this site.

                1. re: Joel Teller

                  No, "nice" is 1/2-1/2, streaks of meat and streaks of fat -- you know that!! All fat is too squishy!

                  1. re: Sarah

                    And all meat is too dry and pointless! Why bother!

            2. re: Robert Lauriston

              Down a few blocks, at Kirin. The meat, although good, won't measure up to TK's, but the price is lower by a couple of $$. Be sure to ask for it w/the taro. Let us know what you think!

          2. Daimo in the parking lot of the 99 Ranch parking lot does an excellent version. The the pork belly is melt in your mouth and they add a bed of spinach so that you don't feel like you're eating a heart attack. The name for the dish should be something closer to "Stewed Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetables." The phonetic chinese name is "May Zhai Ko Roe." Both the Pacific East and 168 inside the Market Plaza have it too although not as good.

            If you want a quick fix, the taiwanese deli in the 99 Ranch Market in Albany has a rice bowl for $3.50 that uses a similar cut of fatty pork stewed in soy sauce served with some pickled vegetables, roasted tofu and roasted egg.

            The before mentioned Pacific East does a takeout business after their dim sum service and offers belly and perserved vegetables in a takeout box for $5.

            The versions with taro aren't really the same. The belly is typically not cooked with the preserved vegetables and not cooked as long so the the fat and skin is not melt in your mouth and the flavor is more of a straight soy stew. The taro is supposed to achieve the creamy goodness instead of the fat of the belly.

            But if you're in San Francisco, Spices II does the dish in a rice plate form. You get 4 slices of belly with some preserved vegetables, bok choy and a roasted egg over rice.

            1. How is the TK version compared to Dragon River. Both offers this Hakka specialty.

              I also think Utopia in SF Chinatown makes a good one.

              1. I haven't had the Ton Kiang version, but in the east bay, at Shanghai Restaurant on Webster in Oakland Chinatown, they do a version that seems pretty good to me. (If I order it I'll eat the whole thing). Pork Belly braised in a sweet soy served on a bed of the dried salted mustard greens (not the sour style) with also some spinach. 5.50 or 5.95. But I don't think it (the braising sauce)is as complex as that described in Melanie's post below.

                I think Miles, referring to the dish at 168, might actually be referring to something made with pork leg (shoulder with skin) braised in a similar sweet soy, served on top of the sour mustard pickle, different from the belly pork I think is being discussed here.