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Mar 15, 2014 08:14 AM

Ong/Ung Choy or Gai Lan on the Menu?

Anyone know of any places that have one or both on the menu have this in the bay area? Esp ong choy with preserved bean curd?

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  1. Typically Cantonese restos in this area do not print the fresh seasonal greens on the menu. There are too many and they change frequently. Likewise with live seafood.

    The first things you should ask your waiter before looking at the menu:

    * What is the soup today?

    * What fresh and or live seafood is best today?

    * What fresh vegetables do you have today?

    Ong choy is in season during the summer. While you might run across some now, it won't be at its best. Gai lan is available year-round, but best during cold and wet weather which we've had little of this year.

    For my money, the best of the Chinese greens as we transition from winter to spring right now are mustard greens (gai choy) especially when simply poached in supreme broth, pea shoots, choy sum "preemies" the tiny brassicas with stems only about an inch long, and if you're lucky you might run across some choy miu the small almost threadlike brassica shoots.

    Asparagus from Stockton and the Delta is early this year. I've not had any yet, but it looks good in the market. Since you like strong-ish flavors, I think you'll enjoy it stir fried with fermented black bean-garlic sauce and the protein of your choice (chicken, rock cod, shrimp or beef would be my rec).

    4 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      That's right -- gai lan has become a year-round commodity, and that's not the worst thing in the world. Mom taught us that the best stuff is usually whatever's low-priced in large supply, because that indicates that the harvest is in full swing.

      1. re: BoneAppetite

        Yes, that's a very good rule.

        Here's more about the white-flowering variety of gai lan.

        1. re: BoneAppetite

          it seems that on choy has a long season now too. maybe it will be year too soon.

        2. re: Melanie Wong

          Had superb ong choy in garlic sauce at Mandarin Garden (Berkeley) last Saturday. Very tender and tiny pieces. Best I've ever had. It is usually a summer green, but maybe global warming has changed that.

          Also very good asparagus in black bean sauce at Ancient Szechuan (El Cerrito) last week; the sauce was very delicate, asparagus tender and crunchy.

        3. Just had some great ong choy with fermented bean curd at Great China.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Hi Robert, Was this 2190 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA or 2190 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA or other?

            1. Cooking Papa (both locations) has the ong choy with preserved bean curd on their specials menu when it's in season (which seems to be summer / fall?). Other than that, you generally have to ask, like Melanie said. I know Little Shanghai in San Mateo has had it in the past as well. Also R&B Seafood in Palo Alto.

              1. I was at Lam Hoa Thuan in the Sunset, SF tonight, and they had it. It wasn't on the menu, but when I asked what veggies they had, this was included in the list. And they do make it with the preserved bean curd, if requested.

                We actually had another dish, which was on the menu, which was eggplant with that same preserved bean curd. It was really good!

                I'll be posting about my meal in a separate discussion.