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Pork pump... opinions please?

Anyone care to opine on the virtues of and differences between the various pork pumps of the SGV?

Shanghai Yu Yuan
Mei Long Village
Giang Nan

Others?

Mr Taster

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Mei Long Village
301 W Valley Blvd Ste 112, San Gabriel, CA 91776

Giang Nan
306 N Garfield Ave, Monterey Park, CA

Yu Garden (Shanghai Yu Yuan)
107 E. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel, CA 91776

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  1. Well my opinion is that pork pump is disgusting and I'll stop right there. However, no discussion would be complete without mention of Lake Spring in Monterey Park, which probably introduced that dish to Angelenos.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chandavkl

      Actually, to be more precise, I think Lake Spring introduced it to J Gold who then introduced it to the masses outside of SGV.

    2. While I don't find the dish necessarily disgusting as Chandavkl does, I'm not that big of a fan.

      Whenever braised pork shoulder is ordered at any of the above restaurants, I look forward to picking at the Chinese Sword Lettuce (or Yu Mai Tsai) that comes with the dish more than the actual pork (or more precisely the strands of lardons). The Mai Tsai goes perfectly with the gooey, brown-sugared soy sauce liquer-like coating that covers the "pork pump".

      If I want slow-braised pork nowadays, I'm more inclined to go looking for Chinese red-braised pork belly (dongpo pork) or steamed with sticky rice (fengzhen pork)

      3 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        So where in town would you go for the best Hangzhou style Tung Por pork?

        1. re: K K

          Would it be unfair to say at "my mom's house"?

          Ok, ok, if not there then I usually hit up a little hole-in-the wall place called Ho Ho Kitchen in El Monte that is located in the same strip mall where the more famous Dumplings 10053 is located. If you ask nicely they'll give you all the "au jus" you want to wash down big bowls of rice ...

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          Ho Ho Kitchen
          10053 Valley Blvd Ste 8, El Monte, CA 91731

      2. Mr. Taster - are these versions actually called "pork pump" too?? (In other words, did they just replicate the Lake Spring typo?)

        Well, Lake Spring's version isn't, in my opinion, worth a drive from anywhere. It's a big mass of oily braised (I think) meat.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cant talk...eating

          At least at Mei Long Village the braised pork shoulder is called "pork pump" and for those who care, there are two versions. One that you can order on the spot and another that requires advanced notice (1-day minimum).

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          Mei Long Village
          301 W Valley Blvd Ste 112, San Gabriel, CA 91776

        2. I love eating pork pump whenever I see it on the menu. I've had it 3 times at Mei Long Village, but only once at Lake Spring. I can't say I've eaten it enough to tell the differences between them, though.

          For those in OC, you can get it at Chef Chen in Irvine. Only OC location I've found, and it's on the menu as "braised pork shank" or something close to that description.

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          Chef Chen's Restaurant
          5408 Walnut Ave, Irvine, CA 92604

          1. I like the "order in advance" brined pp at MLV much better than any other I have had here, or in Shanghai.

            10 Replies
            1. re: Ciao Bob

              I've had and enjoyed the pork pump MLV several times and never realized there was a super-duper version. Maybe we'll give that one a shot. How is the brined version different? When I brine at home, it's to tenderize and flavor but the standard (unbrined) pork pump is hardly lacking in either of these qualities.

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster

                It's not brined, it's just slow braised longer, and allowed to rest so the flavors perform a Vulcan mind meld of sort.

                If you think stews and chili tastes better the "next day" then this is for you.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Hm interesting... I've got a friend from Phoenix coming in to town who is nuts about MLV pork pump (he's a bbq nut, smokes his own stuff, and loves any kind of meat done "low & slow"). He's only here for 2 days, and originally I was planning to get our pork pump fix at Shanghai Yu Yuan to expose him to their menu variations. Now the question is whether it's worth going back to the same place just for this one dish. Is it worth it? (for the record, we've had great experiences at both restaurants, though I have not tried SYY's pork pump).

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    Hi Mr Taster,

                    One thing that's nice about Shanghai Yu Yuan (Yu Garden)'s version is that it's small and inexpensive. So you could do a Mr Taster Taste Test and go to both restaurants (they're only 2 blocks from each other). (^_~)...

                2. re: Mr Taster

                  Whether brined as they told me or slow braised as ipsed. says I can say the process removed some of the fat and grease leaving more tthe meat more tender, firmer, and flavorful.

                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                    I don't remember what restaurant I've seen it at (maybe Giang Nan?) but I've definitely seen pork pump advertised on menus as the unappealingly named "degreased pork knuckle". Perhaps this version takes the degreasing to new heights?

                    Mr Taster

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                    Giang Nan
                    306 N Garfield Ave, Monterey Park, CA

                    1. re: Mr Taster

                      That's what it's called at Giang Nan, yes. What a disturbing name.

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                      Giang Nan
                      306 N Garfield Ave, Monterey Park, CA

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Or Pho Q and the Horseshoe Road Inn, yes.

                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                            I was always partial to Pho King (R.I.P.), but I'll admit that I like Das' better.

                            Mr Taster

              2. Is there anywhere Rowland Heights-ish that has a good verison of this dish?

                1 Reply
                1. re: SeaCook

                  A "good version" or just a version?

                  Shufeng Garden (on Colima) has it. Never had it, but everything there has been pretty good, highly recommend the eggplant dish.