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Feb 13, 2012 02:03 AM

Help regarding a bacon-based dish from a defunct SM Chinese restaurant

I lived in West LA in the 1990's, and I ate several times at a decent but undistinguished and somewhat overpriced Americanized Chinese restaurant in Santa Monica Place. I can't remember the name of the place, but it closed before I left LA in 1999. This restaurant served a dish that was based on bacon - not, as I remember, Chinese bacon, but either American-style bacon, or possibly smoked pork belly. It was a stir-fry-style dish, somewhat akin to a kung pao bacon, with a thicker typical light sauce of soy sauce, chicken stock, and cornstarch. I remember scorched peanuts, bok choy, yellow onion and scallions, and perhaps water chestnuts. Does anyone recall this restaurant or this dish, and has anyone ever encountered a similar dish? It was NOT any of the familiar lap yuk dishes like la rou fan, it was not red-cooked bacon and there was no rind. It was the only thing worth eating at that place, and I'd love to recreate it or find a similar dish or recipe. Thanks!

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  1. J R Seafood opened up a branch at the very west end of Santa Monica Place in 1997, but it was only open a couple of years. However, unlike the sister location in West L.A. it wasn't truly authentic or very good. I believe it had succeeded a branch of Plum Tree Inn in that space. I mention this because both J.R. and Plum Tree still have locations in Chinatown, so perhaps you could contact somebody there about that dish. I'd lean towards Plum Tree as J.R. serves Hong Kong style food and this doesn't sound like a Hong Kong dish. Also. Plum Tree was even more Americanized than J.R.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chandavkl

      It was definitely Plum Tree Inn, but I never made the connection with the original in Chinatown. Sadly, though, I do not see any dish on their men that matches my recollection. I'll shoot them an email, thanks for the help.

    2. It sounds like a typical American-Chinese stir-fry that they customized with bacon. I doubt you would be able to find it at another restaurant. But it seems fairly easy to cook. How much experience do you have with Chinese-style cooking? I'm sure most decent Chinese cooks should be able to give you a recipe. If not, I can give my suggestion on how to cook it.

      1. Just a quick request, to try to keep information in places where it'll help others in the future:

        If you've got a spot in LA where a similar dish can be found, please post here. If you've got a recipe suggestion, please start a new thread on Home Cooking to share it, and post a link here. That way the original poster will get the info, but it'll also be found in future searches on Home Cooking.