Wednesday, December 13, 2017

shanghai thick wheat noodle with julienne pork - 上海肉絲湯麵

The opening of the new Asian supermarket 99 Ranch Market has been exciting for me. While I shop all over town for varied ingredients, I am delighted to find more ingredients that have not been available in town until now.

Since I first visited 99 Ranch Market, I have been back there many times as it is on my part of town. Some days I would just go there for the thrill of seeking out new things. This week I went there 3 or more times. As I cannot buy more food than I can consume that means the purchase of each visit becomes very small. So small that I do not earn the $1 coupon for each $20 spend. Here are some photos of ingredients that I deem important or new in town.

I last seen this in a Shanghai grocery store 上海鋪 in Hong Kong in 2013; I even tried to make my own from scratch. It is one of thousands of Chinese salt preserved vegetable.

the photos from the trip to Hong Kong in 2013

the salted "mustard green" is called red in the snow - 雪內紅 in this store in Hong Kong

China has thousands of preserved vegetable, and the problems many English translations are the same for totally different preserved vegetable. For example, the name "salted mustard green" can be found in just about most of the salted vegetable that are made of mustard green or mustard green like vegetable, not to mention there are countless kinds of mustard greens, and different way of salt preserving them. All these are lost in translation.

this is one of many different kinds of salted cabbage

these are high quality anchovy from South Korea

these dried founders are used to make the aromatic broth of authentic wonton soup noodles

this is the first time I see these

crapy Taiwanese canned fried glutenous dough - never buy

one of many different kinds of Taiwanese style noodles

Shanghai style thick noodles; the ones from my childhood are much thicker and rounder in cross section; these are machine cut so is square; this is from Vancouver, BC

another brand of Shanghai style thick noodles; I picked this one as it has the appearance that I think would be more authentic tasting; this is from California

Seeing the salted "mustard green" I immediately want to rush home and make myself a bowl of shanghai thick wheat noodle with julienne pork - 上海肉絲湯麵. I last have it in Toronto nearly 8 years ago and it was not that good. I know I can do a lot better. My goal is to recreate the memorable ones from my childhood that was made by Shanghainese. It has a thick and rich porky broth, and the noodles were thick and cooked just right.

I julienne up some pork loin; this would make many bowls

julienne cabbage, julienne pork loin, julienne ginger and scallions

 this is the closest Shanghai style thick wheat noodle that I bought

I judged it by the appearance on the back side; there is enough to make three bowls from this 1 pound bag

I would prefer the diameter to be twice as large; I have an idea up my sleeve which I would try in the future

the salted "mustard green" is called red in the snow - 雪內紅; I so crave this

It is just too hard for me to explain and document how this dish is prepared. There are techniques to make the broth thick and infused with porkiness. I briefly fried the pork with the ginger, and cabbage. the starch rich water from boiling the noodles is reused to make the broth, hence the thick consistency. A generous dashes of sesame oil and a bit of hot chili oil round out richness as well as add a bit of heat.

here is how it is presented; I recreated this dish all by taste and memory

here I brought up some noodles to the surface so you can see; the color of the broth is equally as important

I made this other bowl for another meal, this time I added a few fresh mussels

The mussels is just my own improvisation. I took the Porsche GT4 out for a spin across the river and I went to my Asian fishmonger to pick up some live mussels and clams.

I don't think I can find better tasting Shanghai style soup noodle here in North America; I challenge you to do a google image search for "Shanghai thick noodles" to compare mine; most are plain disgusting and so so wrong

Here is a link to google image search for "Shanghai thick noodles" though I don't know how stable is this kind of link.

Seeing all these photos of bad and wrong Shanghai thick noodles I thought I would try to search on Chinese "上海肉絲湯麵" instead. The results are much better as it cut out about all the Westernized misrepresentations.  I should note that the Shanghainese restaurants that I recreate this dish serves 2 versions of noodles. There is this thick version as well as a thin version. We always order the thick version, with the exception of one soup noodle that is topped with a delicious piece of deep fried pork chop very much like Tonkatsu. Here is the link for 上海肉絲湯麵 and enjoy.

For more fun, I notice the search results has filter options that I can apply. So I applied Hong Kong, and here is the link for 上海肉絲湯麵 (香港) . None even comes close to mine.

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