- Mar 8 2012
/百葉結烤肉 (Hundred Knotted Leaves BBQ Meat) Shanghai Cafe, NYC
Some meals recall powerful memories to mind (madeleines, anyone?) and other meals somehow transform one’s very notion of what food can be.
I am an eater equally impressed by postmodern gastronomy foams and the humble food truck taco. And, this dish falls brilliantly between the two. It’s part peasant food and part magic.
The ingredients feel familiar, but the way they come together surprises. Eating Shanghai Cafe’s Bai Ye Jie Kao Rou /百葉結烤肉, I felt joyous having discovered a dish that seemed in all the world to be meant for me yet saddened that I was just now finding out about it.
Pork belly simmered to gelatinous death, marrow-rich pork bones soft enough to chew, and beautifully tangled nests of tofu skin that somehow become the perfect vehicle for the hong shao (red cooking) sauce that Chairman Mao so loved.
How good is it? Let’s just say this: I’ve seen the Taj Mahal and I’ve tasted Hundred Leaves BBQ Meat.