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Apr 17, 2008 03:05 PM

Hunan Bacon

Does anyone out there remember Henry Chung's original restaurant on Kearny in Chinatown - late 70's I guess...and on the menu they had this dish called simply, I think, Hunan bacon. It consisted of domino-sized chunks of bacon which had been boiled, fried and steamed to a melty, fatty delectablility. Was definitely some star anise and maybe scallion? I remember that when you ordered it the waitress tried to talk you out of it - "You no like."

Is there anywhere around that does that style dish? Think of it as a kind of nostalgia/cholesterol trip.

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  1. Was it bacon as in smoked american style bacon, or was it chunks/slices of braised/stewed pork belly?

    The latter is a classic dish, but you'll only find it in some authentic chinese restaurants or by request.

    1. I think you're describing kau yuk, usually steamed w/taro or preserved veg. One of the better versions is at Ton Kiang; Kirin also has a good one. Thought this dish was pretty prevalent in C-town cantonese restos.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Sarah

        I don't think Hunan Chinese Bacon is the same as kau yuk. It's pickled with spices including prickly ash in sorghum liquor, and later smoked. It's spicier than I can imagine in Cantonese restaurants.

        1. re: Sarah

          Ton Kiang's "steamed bacon with dried mustard greens" is the best version of that dish I've found. Worth planning a dinner there.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            if all works out, i'm to be treated to dinner here tonight, the 15th of june. considering the cut of meat, i'm assuming this dish is heavy. i think half of the family i'm going with does not like heavy, meaty dishes but the other half does. for six to maybe eight people, how does this dish portion out?

            i'm used to just letting this family order what they want and i thank them graciously, but i think i might insist on this if we do eat there. and do you know if this dish is consistently served with mustard greens, or does it vary? if we do eat here i'll report back. i've heard much negativity about ton kiang's dim sum, which i feel unqualified to weigh in on, but this is the only dish i've seen mentioned with any regularity (or positivity) from their dinner menu.

            1. re: augustiner

              Ton Kiang's is as described on the menu always served with mustard greens. They're dried and reconstituted so the flavor and texture are quite different from fresh.

              It's not so much heavy as rich. In my experience some people won't taste it and others will want only a bite or two, so one serving's probably enough for six or eight. You could always order another if people go wild for it.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                ate at ton kiang, and ordered the steamed bacon dish. when ordered, it was the only time that the waiter stopped and smiled, muttering "good dish," which i took as a good sign. it was definitely the standout dish of the meal. the sauce was haunting, especially mixed with rice. the slices of pork weren't the most tender i've had, but still juicy. it came late in the meal, and we over ordered, so i was able to take the rest home.

                the rest of the meal was fair to pretty good. salt and pepper scallops, basil beef, chicken and lop cheong clay pot...can't really remember what else. but this pork dish really stood out, almost felt as it it came from a different kitchen or restaurant.

                1. re: augustiner

                  I wonder if there aren't some other gems hidden in that long menu. Some of the soups sound likely:


                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    From augustiner's interaction with the waiter, it sounds like Ton Kiang is a place where it really helps to schmooze the waiter and get him to pick some other winners from the menu for you.

        2. yes, chunks of pork belly is right - but more steamed than stewed IIRC

          1 Reply
          1. re: BIM

            Don't know any restaurants in your area except for the one on the corner in SM which served dimsum, now departed (they probably had it!). Call around and ask for "kow yook." Maybe someone in your area will come to the rescue. If you're in SF, definitely try out the Ton Kiang version.

          2. In the early days, the waitress was probably Diana. If you sat at the counter, you would usually be served by Henry himself. I don't recall him ever trying to dissuade anybody.

            1. I order a dish called Hunan Bacon at Henry's Hunan (Henry Chung's family has about 4 restraunts) on Natoma St. It's boiled pork belly slices with tofu and a lot of dried red peppers, very spicy and DELICIOUS!!!! It is served in a bowl with broth like juice.

              7 Replies
              1. re: MSH

                There's no mention of that on the online menu. Does it maybe have another name?


                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I could be wrong, but my recollection from working in the Financial District is that the take-out menus from the Sacramento and Natoma restaurants were slightly different. Therefore, it's possible that the online menu is not exhaustive.

                  1. re: weem

                    It's not on the scan of the Natoma menu either.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      It's not on the menu at the Natoma location, but it is written on a piece of paper on the wall, as a "special" of sorts. I'm a Henry's fanatic, and we ordered it - it was intensely flavored, so you need to be careful about eating it with a good portion of rice. But when eaten that way, it was delicious.

                      1. re: Kenois

                        Every time I see this topic, I keep thinking "Human Bacon"
                        You know.....long pig.

                        1. re: kungful

                          I had that same thought when a NJ chowhounder was looking for real Polynesian food. Of course he wanted Zombies and Pu Pu Platter.

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                    It is not on any online menu because it is served only at this location and not Henry's other locations. So, when you go to the one on Natoma you will see it on thy physical menu.