Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dim Sum - Pai Gwat and Cha Siu Bao

Ok maybe we need a bib for this one. The damned good dish above is called Pai Gwat in Cantonese, and it simply means pork ribs. It's a very simple dish. It's just pork spare ribs that have been chopped into really tiny bite size pieces, and then have been steamed with predominantly black beans and/or black bean sauce, and occasionally oil, salt, pepper, starch, onions, or other small ingredients are added to heighten the taste. It's a nice slightly salty dish, a tad oily. Usually the pork ribs are swimming in the flavor of all the combined tastes and ingredients, and often the pork is a bit fatty too, adding to that oh so indulgent taste. They're so bite sized, you'll jsut keep on eating them til you realize you're going to have to order another batch.

So what do we have here? It's white and puffy. Is it salty or sweet? Is there anything inside? Is it just bread? ACTUALLY, these are known as Char Siu Baos. Basically these are roast pork buns. Char Siu meaning roast pork, bao meaning bun. Have you ever been to a Chinese restaurant where they have various cooked meats hanging in the windows? There's usually a red one, which is usually pork shoulder thats been roasted with a special Cantonese marinade of seasonings that turn it red. It's got a nice sweet honey roasted taste to the meat, except it's distinctly chinese. That's what's stuffed in these suckers. That roast pork is stuffed inside these buns often with onions, and often have a sweet and savory taste to it because of the unique combination of flavors. This tends to be especially a favorite among kids. The outside bun is basically a very airy bread that has a tinge of sweeetness to it. All of this has been steamed and is now ready to be ripped into and eaten. =)


jules said...

I know this is an old post, but where do I find "Pai Gwat" in Manhattan? It sounds awesome! I looked at the menus at Big Wong, Joe's Shanghai & Phoenix Garden & don't see it listed, but maybe I'm just missing something?! Is the description usually just spareribs in black bean sauce?

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Diet Menu said...

DIM SUM isn't it like a magical cave :).

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