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Fujianese (Fukienese) Pork Chops

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Zabar Apr 8, 2011 05:02 AM

At the suggestion of "squid kun" I have posted this inquiry on the Manhattan board. It was originally posted on "The Best" board late yesterday night:

After reading Chowhound message board threads for several years, I finally decided to sign up. There really is one particular reason for my joining this Forum and it is to try to find a restaurant that currently serves one of my all-time favorite things to eat - namely Fujianese (Fukinese) Pork Chops.
There was a thread on one of the Chow message boards some time ago regarding the great Fujian (Fukien) style cuisine that was served at the late and great "Foo Joy Restaurant" on Division Street in Chinatown. Foo Joy was my #1 choice (with Hop Kee a close 2nd) everytime I ate in Chinatown way back when. After the NYC Police Dept. forced Foo Joy to close in the early '70s (they were running a gambling parlor in the back room that got busted) there was never (to my knowledge) any other Chinese restaurant in New York City that specialized in Fukien Province cooking or that served "Fukinese Pork Chops". Note: these pork chops are about 1/4" to 3/8" in thickness, and are prepared by deep-frying them, after they have been marinated for many hours in a specially seasoned red bean paste. They were served at Foo Joy Restaurant with a very spicy and dark, soy-based sauce. Take my word for it - I'm talking seriously delicious.
I would be very grateful if anyone out there in foodie cyberspace can direct me to any Fujian style restaurant (in Chinatown, Flushing or any other location in the metropolitan NYC area) that serves these pork chops. I've already begun to salivate, just day dreaming about the possibility that they are currently available. Zabar

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Hop Kee
21 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

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  1. scoopG RE: Zabar Apr 8, 2011 07:21 AM

    Hi Zabar and welcome to CH. I am not aware of any Fujianese restaurant in New York serving up that style of pork chop. Even a search on baidu.com did not show much in the way of contemporary Fuzhou style pork chops as you describe:

    http://image.baidu.com/i?tn=baiduimag...

    Best Fuzhou on Eldridge street has four special pork dishes (Spare Ribs, Lychee Pork etc.) but alas no lone pork chop. It may be a dish lost to the ages...

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    Best Fuzhou
    71 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

    9 Replies
    1. re: scoopG
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      Zabar RE: scoopG Apr 8, 2011 08:02 AM

      Thank you "scoopG".

      I'm hoping that there is an enterprising chef from the Fujian Province who will be able to re-create this simple and extremely tasty dish. If that happens, please, pretty please, let me know about it!

      I'm guessing that there are many people who still remember the "joy" experienced by eating at Foo Joy Restaurant. My two daughters (now in their 40s), when they were mere toddlers, used to plead with me to trek down from Rockland County to Division Street, in order to return home with several orders of the pork chops, which were devoured in short order. At least one of the orders of pork chops was consumed by me, en route home (sans special sauce). Zabar

      1. re: Zabar
        penthouse pup RE: Zabar Apr 8, 2011 10:55 AM

        I am one of those who remember Foo Joy fondly, and I think it was late 1970's when it was shut down...as I recall, the chops had an intense vermilion kind of color...

        1. re: penthouse pup
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          AubWah RE: penthouse pup Apr 8, 2011 02:25 PM

          What was chinatown like back then? must have felt very dangerous

          1. re: AubWah
            penthouse pup RE: AubWah Apr 8, 2011 02:27 PM

            Don't be silly...

            1. re: AubWah
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              melo7 RE: AubWah Apr 8, 2011 02:48 PM

              Yes, it was very dangerous. That's why Zabar brought his toddlers down from Rockland.

              1. re: AubWah
                menton1 RE: AubWah Apr 13, 2011 07:42 AM

                Just like Little Italy, one of the SAFEST neighborhoods in NY, unless you were in a gang.

            2. re: Zabar
              scoopG RE: Zabar Apr 8, 2011 11:22 AM

              Great memories, Zabar. I do recall seeing online Mimi Sheridan's New York Magazine Chinatown spread circa late 1970's early 1980's where Foo Joy was mentioned.

              1. re: Zabar
                bobjbkln RE: Zabar Apr 8, 2011 09:36 PM

                Loved the porkchops, but it is the Fukenese Fried Fish Rolls that I miss the most.

                1. re: Zabar
                  Chandavkl RE: Zabar Apr 9, 2011 02:37 PM

                  Well since most of east Chinatown is Fujianese these days, it's up to you to try all of the Fujianese restaurants there and see if you can find your dish!

              2. Chandavkl RE: Zabar Apr 13, 2011 08:39 AM

                I should add that most of the numerous Fujianese restaurants in the East Broadway area do have pork chop selections, though it's not apparent if it is what you are looking for.

                8 Replies
                1. re: Chandavkl
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                  Zabar RE: Chandavkl Apr 13, 2011 12:27 PM

                  I plan to scour both East Broadway and Eldridge Street the next time that I'm in CT. Zabar

                  1. re: Zabar
                    scoopG RE: Zabar Apr 13, 2011 02:29 PM

                    Would it be too much to ask Zabar if you had an old menu from Foo Joy? That might help...

                    1. re: scoopG
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                      Zabar RE: scoopG Apr 13, 2011 03:39 PM

                      Hey "scoop", we're talking 32 years since Foo Joy was permanently closed down.
                      No way do I have a menu.
                      The only dish that I ever ordered at Foo Joy was the Fukienese Pork Chops.... 6 orders at a clip that were taken home. I'd also visit Hop Kee and buy 2 orders of "Wor Shui Kau Soup" and an order of Sea Snails, and, my 3rd and final stop was the Mandarin Inn on Mott Street (just across the street from Hop Kee) to buy an order of "Mongolian Beef".
                      It is strange to reminisce about the insane lengths that I'd go to, just to provide my family with delicious Chinese food that (to my knowledge at the time) was not available anywhere other than NYC's Chinatown. And this scenario was followed from the mid 60s through the late 70s.
                      Once, my friend Michael (the guy who introduced me to Foo Joy) invited me to sample his order of "Pork Livers"; however, I did not particularly care for the taste. Other than those two dishes, I do not have a clue regarding any other items on FJ's menu.
                      But I am sure about the main ingredient used to make these pork chops, because one night I went to Foo Joy, bought a couple of orders of the chops, and then took them to my Chinese cooking class. The teacher (his name was Norman Weinstein) confirmed that a red rice wine sediment paste marinade caused the vermillion color and created the distinctive flavor. I took several classes in Chinese cooking at the New York Restaurant School that were taught by Norman, and I still have many of his original recipes; however, all of them are Sichuan, Hunan or Cantonese. He was not into Fujian style or Shanghai style cooking, and, back then, there were only 5 styles of cooking that were commonplace. Fujian was and still is the rarest of the lot. Zabar

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                      Hop Kee
                      21 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                      1. re: Zabar
                        scoopG RE: Zabar Apr 14, 2011 06:06 AM

                        Fujian restaurants will sell their own Red Wine Lees to customers. It is called 卜糟 (Bu Zao.)

                        You could also try "Cooking From China's Fujian Province" by Jacqueline M. Newman, Hippocrene Books, 2008. She has a faux Red Wine Sauce recipe in her book. She does have 5-6 Red Wine Lee dishes there.

                        1. re: Zabar
                          Motosport RE: Zabar Apr 14, 2011 06:36 AM

                          Zabar, you are my kind of Chowhounder. Back in the day when I lived over the bridge in Prospect Heights my roomate and I would hop in the car and hit at least 4 places for our favorite dishes. Lins Garden for Chow Fon, Sweet and sour soup and Wor shu opp. Kam Bo (next door to Lin's) for a rice dish we loved, Foo Joy for Pork Chops Fukienese style and Crab Fukienese and Steam Buns from a place on Pell St. With two people we didn't have to find parking. One of us would run from place to place and order then run back to pick up the order at another place.
                          What a feast!!!

                          1. re: Motosport
                            z
                            Zabar RE: Motosport Apr 14, 2011 07:39 AM

                            Thanks for the recipe tips "scoopG". I purposefully gave my deep-fryer to a friend several years ago, and, that was because my Endocrinologist is usually pissed off about my cholesterol count. Hence, I better not ever learn how to make Fukienese Pork Chops!

                            "Motosport", it seems that in 2011, we all need to a helping hand from our friendly internet message boards, in order to locate kindred spirits.

                            By the way guys, I have almost discontinued my contributions to the TripAdvisor boards, because I'm enjoying so many of the highly informative and interesting posts on Chowhound.
                            My screename (Zabar) is also the name I gave to my beloved Golden Retriever, He was named in homage to my favorite store in all of Manhattan. Zabar

                          2. re: Zabar
                            huiray RE: Zabar Apr 14, 2011 07:40 AM

                            "Fujian was and still is the rarest of the lot."
                            -----------
                            (Maybe slightly OT but:) Maybe in Manhattan but NOT in SE Asia. It's just Hokkien food there.

                          3. re: scoopG
                            bobjbkln RE: scoopG Apr 16, 2011 07:59 PM

                            Not a menu, but here is a 1972 NYT article featuring the recipe for Zabar's Fukenese Pork Chops and my Fukenese Fried Fish Rolls. [Note we have a NYT subscription, but I believe that their paywall allows access via private links like this] .
                            http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive/...

                            and here's another review talking about the fish rolls and pork chops:
                            http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive/...

                      2. z
                        Zabar RE: Zabar Apr 17, 2011 03:07 AM

                        Dear "bobjbkln":
                        I am amazed at your skill in locating these NYT links. Unfortunately, in order to even view either one of the links it is necessary to pay $3.95 for the privilege. If you would be kind enough to cut and paste them onto this forum, I would be grateful.
                        Otherwise, if you advise that this is not possible, I will buy the recipe from the NYT.
                        Thanks again for your kindness in locating this information. Chowhounders are a group unto themselves, and I am very glad that I have finally joined you. Zabar

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: Zabar
                          menton1 RE: Zabar Apr 17, 2011 06:26 AM

                          If you access the article through Google, it won't count against your 20/month article limit. Also, if you get the NYTimes delivered, you can register for free unlimited web access.

                          1. re: menton1
                            bobjbkln RE: menton1 Apr 17, 2011 01:57 PM

                            @menton1: from what I understand about the NYT paywall is that links from Blogs/Forums etc. are unlimited, so that is not the problem . In fact, they may begin to limit Google and Bing searches, but not blog links. The problem as zabar discovered is that these articles come from the NYT Archives and are apparently not free under any circumstance if you do not have a subscription.

                            @Zabar Sorry that they don't allow limited free access to the archives. Unfortunately, since this article is from before 1981 it is available only as an image file (or the original NYT article) so it can't be cut and pasted. If you are willing to post your email address here, I could send it to you as a pdf.

                            1. re: bobjbkln
                              z
                              Zabar RE: bobjbkln Apr 17, 2011 02:45 PM

                              Thanks for the pdf file offer "bobjbkln":but I do cherish my privacy and I'd rather pay much more than $3.95 to insure it. I have "saved" the link on my computer and I'll be happy to access the recipe from the NYT archives.
                              If any Chowhounder owns a deep-fryer and you're also near enough to NYCs Chinatown or to Flushing (to purchase the necessary ingredients - especially the red rice wine lee), these pork chops have a very unusual and delicious taste.
                              Thanks again "bobjbkln" for your help. It only took you a week to uncover a mystery that is more than 30 years old.
                              By the by, it appears that it is NOT possible to send a "private message" to another Chowhounder on this message board? Is that true, or am I just uninformed regarding this possibility? If PMs are transmittable, how do you send them? Zabar

                              1. re: Zabar
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                                Zabar RE: Zabar Apr 17, 2011 03:16 PM

                                I just signed up for a 4 week trial "all digital" online subscription to the New York Times. The cost was just 99 cents and this reduced rate also allows access to 100 archive articles within the 4 week trial period. Please note that if you do NOT cancel within 4 weeks, your credit card will be automatically billed @ $35 dollars for every additional 4 week subscription.Here's a link to this trial subscription offer. I will try to cut and paste the recipe and re-print it for all CHers to view and use free-of-charge. Zabar
                                http://www.nytimes.com/subscriptions/...

                                1. re: Zabar
                                  z
                                  Zabar RE: Zabar Apr 17, 2011 05:37 PM

                                  A special thanks to "bobjbkin" for alerting me to the NYT "Archives".
                                  And now, at long last, a blast from the past, from August 03, 1972, the review of the incomparable Foo Joy Restaurant and the recipe for those absolutely fabulous Fukienese Pork Chops.
                                  As an additional kindness to "bobjbkin", the NY Times reporter (Raymond A.Sokolov) included the recipe for the equally famous "Fried Fish Balls".
                                  All I can say is that I'm blown away by Chowhound and its dedicated bloggers.
                                  We're all very lucky to have been born in a time when the internet can fulfill the dream of a foodie like me and erase more than 30 years of yearning for a spectacular (albeit arcane) Chinese recipe.
                                  We all now have a clear choice. We can attempt to recreate this recipe at home or show it to an English speaking employee, owner or chef at a Fujian style restaurant in Chinatown or Flushing, and, cross our fingers in anticipation of drooling all over ourselves once again. Zabar

                                  http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive/...

                                  1. re: Zabar
                                    huiray RE: Zabar Apr 17, 2011 06:49 PM

                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7775...

                              2. re: bobjbkln
                                coasts RE: bobjbkln Apr 17, 2011 07:50 PM

                                FYI you can simply rehost an image online using imgur.com. They have a free iPhone app, also. I often upload pictures to ch using this service.

                                1. re: coasts
                                  bobjbkln RE: coasts Apr 18, 2011 08:58 AM

                                  Thanks for the information. I thought about doing something like that, but while I was willing to email that image to a single person, I was not sure if Chowhound and the NYT would take kindly to the public distribution of proprietary material protected by copyright.

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