Nate’s favorite dish of all time has gotta be sweet & sour pork. It is his default order whenever we eat at Tien Ma’s and all other Chinese eating places. He can finish one order that is usually good for 2 or 3 persons to share. So, of course, I need to perfect my sweet & sour pork recipe, para naman hindi nakakahiya sa anak ko. Hehe.
The most important ingredient in a good sweet & sour pork recipe is the pork, siyempre. It has to be tender, well seasoned, and not overcooked. I use porkloin and buy it from the meat shop already cut into steaks or chops. I then slice the chops into 3 x 1 inch strips.
I recently rediscovered this steamed black bean spareribs recipe that I used to cook years ago, when my family was small and I had more time to experiment in the kitchen. The renewed interest was inspired by this Hong Kong style sparerib recipe.
Steamed spareribs are easy and convenient for busy households. The meat is prepared ahead of time, and left to marinate in the fridge. In the morning, simply cook in a steamer while you go about your other tasks before sending the kids off to school.
So I went along again with Hub on his latest China business trip. Our hosts, who have been our export agents for over 10 years, so graciously entertained us. Because it was a strictly business trip, dinners and massages were our pinaka-leisure time. (Oh, the massages are for another blog post!)
The humble, unassuming shao bing (read “shao ping” without the air sound on “p”… If you studied Han Yu Pinyin, you know what I’m talking about. :D)
My family spent the weekend at Discovery Suites to celebrate the birthday week of V and Nate, whose birthdays are just a week apart. (I got a very good deal from Deal Grocer – 50% off on overnight accommodation in a one-bedroom suite!) Across our room window we could see Shi Lin Restaurant, a fairly new restaurant at the Podium Mall.
Shi Lin (“shi” rhymes with “fur”) is a famous night market in Taipei, Taiwan. And I surmise that the restaurant was named after it. As expected, Shi Lin restaurant offers Taiwanese fare.
Among my favorites to eat in Taipei are the street food – deep-fried battered squid rings, chicken fingers, skewered fruits spiced with that signature Taiwanese sweet-salty powder – and pork chop pientong (or bendong or piantong or, as we know it, bento – brought by the Japanese during its colonization of Taiwan).
In Taipei, lunch on weekdays is usually a bento box that consists of a meat dish, two kinds of veggies, rice and a drink (usually Yakult). My in-laws do not have to bring me anywhere fancy; I’m perfectly happy with pork chop pientong!
Shi Lin’s Fried Pork Chop (Php148) did not disappoint – it is so authentic. I loved the distinct Taiwanese sweet-salty flavor (I think it’s five-spice) and the meat’s tenderness.
The Fried Chicken Chop (Php168) is similarly flavored as the pork chop. The cut seems like chicken breast fillet, but it was perfectly done and not dry at all.