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Jul 17, 2006 08:53 PM

Jook n' Fun - Bitter Melon?

Had dinner at Jook n' Fun on Friday night. Ordered the sparerib and bitter melon chow fun and lettuce with spicy sauce. Is bittermelon an aquired taste, or what? The noodle dish was great, but i pretty much had to choke down the melon. It tasted good for a split second but then became way too bitter. I'd never eaten it before, and don't know if i will order it again....and I eat and like anything??? The kid serving me complimented me and said he was surprised I ate it, but i didn't mention that I didn't care for it. And the lettuce with sauce wasn't lettuce but some sort of asian green, with a great sauce consisting of little pieces of pork meat and pork fat in a sweet and kind of tangy tad bit tomatoey? sauce. it wasn't spicy at all but it was good. another really good meal...but do people actually like Bitter Melon?

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  1. I do know that bitter melon is an acquired taste. The joke in my family is that you know you're "old" when you actually like bitter melon (no offense to any chowhounds who like bitter melon). I don't know about the tomato sauce; the bitter melon dishes we've had (that I've never tasted) are usually in some sort of black/brown bean sauce.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cindy

      the tomatoey type sauce was for the greens, the bitter melon was in the chow fun which had a brown type sauce.

    2. Bitter melon is, I believe, an acquired taste, which means that once you like it, you LOVE it. Your dish sounds wonderful; I'll have to Google to find out where JNF is.

      Buy a bitter melon and cook with it is my advice on how to love this wonderful and nutritious vegetable. The more you cook it, the more palatable it is to first-timers. Bitter Melon chips are a good start.

      1. okinawans LOVE bittermelon. in okinawa they even have a bittermelon drink! i'm only part okinawan, so i think it just tastes like evil.

        7 Replies
        1. re: umetaro

          I'm part Okinawan and I love it. I can't get goya champuru -- bitter melon stirfried with tofu, Spam and egg -- anywhere locally (except Mom's), so at B&M on 2nd in SF, I order it with tofu and blackbean sauce.

          In Okinawa there's also a bitter melon ice cream (sold under the Foremost Blue Seal label, which is I think the last place that label exists). I don't know if it's straight up, or if they mix it with something else, but it has a clean, citrusy flavor, with a moderately bitter finish. It's actually quite refreshing. I keep hoping one of the local shops, like Sketch, might pick up on it, but I guess that's unlikely.

          1. re: Debbie M

            Wait, there's Okinawan food in SF? 2nd and where??? I've seen Orion beer ("The Beer of Beers") but that's about as Okinawan as it gets around here.

            In other news, I'm going to start importing Hoppy, look for it as your izakaya drink of choice next summer.

            1. re: isaac1972

              B&M is on 2nd between Market and Mission. She meant she orders bitter melon w/ tofu in black bean sauce there, similar to one of her Okinawan dishes.

              1. re: kc72

                B&M is a Chinese restaurant that happens to have bitter melon on the menu. I think they actually have it as bitter melon beef, but you can kind of make up your own dish there, so I have it with tofu & black bean sauce.

                No real strong showing for Okinawan food in SF. Closest I've come is the Okinawa soba from the Happy Sushi truck (usually located on Bush somewhere between Montgomery & Market), which is operated by a couple from Okinawa.

                I've never had Hoppy, but I love the bottle!

                1. re: kc72

                  One of Sebo's co-chefs is half-Okinawan, but so far I've only read reports of the excellent sushi there.

                  1. re: kc72

                    Inoue/Ino san's wife is Okinawan. She gave me some sata andagi once and I ran out of the restaurant, chased by jealous friends, cackling the whole time.

              2. re: umetaro

                Hello Umetaro,
                My mother has been looking for a bitter melon candy do you know where she can get this?

              3. I think that you have to be over 35 to like bitter melon. As a kid and young adult I couldn't stand the taste of it. As I headed into my mid 30's I started to acquire a taste for it and now I love the stuff. Same goes for many friends of mine in the same age group.

                1. Bittermelon isn't for everyone. I happen to love it and I learned that from my grandmother. Bittermelon in a stir fry type dish is usually more bitter than a stew dish (which is what I prefer).