Hi everyone!!! Today I’m here to tell you about my new favorite Chinese food, Dongbei! Dongbei is a style of Chinese cuisine that originates in the Northeastern part of the country, but lucky for me, there are plenty of Dongbei style restaurants to choose from right here in Haikou! While we have sampled a few different dishes, today’s focus is on my two favorites: Guo Bao Rou and Di San Xian.
Guo Bao Rou is a type of sweet and sour pork, but what makes this dish different from other sweet and sour porks is the care taken into thinly slicing the pork. This thin slicing, along with the breading, frying, and perfectly balanced sauce, makes for one of the best dishes I have ever tasted. And that is a true statement. In my opinion, Guo Bao Rou is more like Guo Bao WOAH, because that is exactly what I think every time I eat, I mean gobble up, this delicious dish.
Di San Xian is the perfect complement for this sweet and sour savory tantalizing pork. What could pair better than a dish of potatoes, eggplant, and green peppers? Nothing. And the sauce! It is one of a kind as well, perfectly harmonizing salty, sweet, and soy sauce. These two dishes go so well together, and are both so delicious even on their own, that I can’t stop smiling as I eat every last bite.
While I haven’t attempted to make either Guo Bao Rou or Di San Xian yet myself, I’m including a recipe for Guo Bao Rou found here so anyone can see what this delectable dish is all about! So please, please, try it for yourself and let me know what you think!
If you’re not the most daring in the kitchen, go on the hunt for a Dongbei restaurant. Whether it is in China itself, Chinatown in another country, or anywhere you can find it, I dare you to take part in this wonderful experience.
A special thanks to Sunflower Food Galore for the recipe!
Yields: 2-3 servings
- 200 g pork loin, cut into thin slivers about 2 mm thick
- 1 tbspn light soy sauce
- 2 tspn Chinese cooking wine
- 1/2 cup potato starch or cornflour (cornstarch)
- a little more than 1/4 cup water
- oil for frying, about 1-1 and 1/2 cups
- 1 red chili cut into long thin strips (about 1 tbspn)
- 2-3 scallions cut into long thin strips or slices
- 1 piece of ginger (thumb size), shredded into very fine thin strips
- 5 tbspn Chinese red or black rice vinegar
- 2-3 tbspn sugar
- 2 tspn light soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- a little fresh cooking oil or meat frying oil
- extra spring onion and chili, to garnish
1. Marinate the pork slivers with soy sauce and wine and leave for 15-20 minutes.
2. Mix chili, scallion, ginger, vinegar, and sugar together. Set aside.
3. Mix the starch with water, it can be very stiff, so give it a good stir (it is best to use your fingers).
4. Add in the pork, and gently mix with your fingers. If the starch mixture is too thick and too hard to mix with the meat then a touch more water. The starch should stick to the meat in an even thin film.
5. Heat the oil until hot, test with a few droplets of batter, and if they sizzle rapidly without burning too quickly, the oil is hot enough.
6. Take one piece of meat at a time, make sure you spread it out like a little blanket (it is much easier picking up the meat with both hands). Gently lay the meat into the hot oil. Fry a few pieces at a time til golden brown and the coating is hard and crunchy.
7. Take the meat out and drain on a kitchen towel. If you have the oven on low, put this in to keep it warm. If the meat pieces are quite large, cut into smaller pieces.
8. Remove all the frying oil and leave about 1 tbspn (or you can use fresh cooking oil). Fry the garlic in it, then add in the vinegar mixture and let this come to a boil. Heat off, add in the meat pieces, and toss quickly. There should not be much sauce left. The coated meat should look quite glossy yet remain crunchy. Put this on a serving plate and top with the garnishes.
9. Serve hot.
Use a chunk of pork loin much larger than 200 g, because pre-sliced loin steaks are very difficult to slice into thin slivers. Slice what you need and leave the rest for another use.