Saturday, April 18, 2009

pig happy

My mom is a roast pig (siu-yook) connoisseur, or maybe just a fresser-fusser. Knowing I live in a place with a Chinese population over 20, she has over the years sent me hoofing all around the Bay Area for the perfect pig -- not too salty, enough of the other spices, and crispy fluffy skin. Above all, gotta be tender and not dry. Very few places meet her exacting Jungsan (Zhongshan) criteria.

So I'm at the Safeway on Washington St in San Lorenzo, and wandering across the parking lot toward the Longs Drugs when I see "Chinese BBQ" in nice red neon letters. It also says "Chinese Fast Food" which tends to make one shy away, unless one is in the mood for fat oily chow mein noodles. But BBQ of any ethnicity sparks interest. I come alongside the window and hanging in full, lovely view are ducks and chickens and pork ribs, brown and gold and red, all of them dripping.
(This is a pic from the web, not the actual restaurant.)

As I go in, a side of roasted pig appears, hanging from a hook on a steel pole. Inside looks like any nameless Chinatown BBQ place: checkerboard tile floor in neutral and white, formica tables or the modern equivalent thereof, industrial fluorescent overhead, and a slight sense of grime. Chinese don't believe in remodeling before opening a restaurant -- improvements come in dribs and drabs, if they ever come at all.

The pig looks looks promising, too. Good color and that bubbly quality to the skin like chicharones, not hard and flat. I talk to the customer ahead of me and she assures me she's picky about her pig and this is a good one. My heart soars.

I get a half-pound just to try it out. They also sell five gin-dui for a buck, which is a steal for the sweet.

As for the pig, I know my mom will find it near perfect. (A titch too salty for me -- I hardly ever salt anything so I find most prepared foods too salty.) I'm real pleased to have this place so near my house, so I can make my mom pig happy any time I see her.

Edit: While googling around for the image, I found this recipe from someone who made roast pig at home. Muahahaha...

1 comment:

PureGlutton said...

Hey Max! Thanks for visiting my blog and even linking my Roast Pork attempt in your post, haha! I'm glad u found some respectable roast pork nearby yr place for yr mom. But u shd also try making it at home & cut down on the salt - it's easy to roast it. Just have pork, have oven ... and you're set, hehe!