Monday, July 27, 2015

Making Chinese BBQ Pork in Shanghai

On a visit to Shanghai that my husband, John, and I made
in January 2015, I checked one more thing off my bucket list when we had a drink at the Long Bar in the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund. The Waldorf Astoria opened in 2011 in the restored, historic Baroque Revival building that once was home to the elite Shanghai Club, which opened in the 1920s. I had always wanted to enjoy a libation at its Long Bar, so called because, at nearly 112 feet in length, it was the longest in Asia when it first opened. In its heyday, British gentlemen were seated at the bar according to social rank, with the most important people at the Bund end. Women were not allowed entry. 

Today the bar's interior has been restored to its original glory. The dark paneling is lustrous, the oyster bar offers their famed “Waldorf Special Oyster,” and the Long Bar is open to all of the public, including women.

Our visit to Shanghai was a
stopover between Chicago and Bangkok. We made use of China’s new, 72-hour visa-free stay, which allows for a 3-night stopover as long as travel continues to another country other than the one of origin. We stayed overnight at the Waldorf Astoria. The entire hotel is exquisite. John and I had lunch at its contemporary Chinese restaurant, Wei Jing Ge. Their Dim Sum Brunch included a variety of wonderful items, but my favorite was the barbecued pork. When Chef Jerry Zhou was making his rounds to the tables, greeting diners, I commented, “The barbecued pork is delicious. It must be difficult to make.” 

"No," he claimed, and he invited me to follow him to the kitchen, where he showed me how easy it was to prepare. The barbecued pork can be served as a main course or tapas style. 

3 lbs pork belly (should have 40% fat)
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp water

Barbecue Sauce
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp chicken bouillon
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp light soy
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp black bean sauce
1 tbsp Chinese rose wine (optional)
1/2 cup shallots, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 egg 
1/4 cup malted sugar (or honey) for basting

Cut the pork belly into strips one inch thick. Mix the cornstarch, salt and water and toss the pork into the mixture, mixing with your hands to make sure it is fully covered. Let it rest for an hour in the refrigerator. Wash excess marinade  They called it a marinade but I guess mixture is a better word. off under running water. Set aside and leave to dry.

To make the barbecue sauce, in a large pot, combine sugar, salt,
chicken powder, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, peanut butter, oyster sauce and black bean sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Add shallots, ginger, garlic and egg, mix  and remove from heat. Let it rest until room temperature.Rub the pork belly with the barbecue sauce and leave to marinate for 3 hours. Bake in an oven for 35 minutes at 240°F. Remove and brush with the malted sugar, put back into the oven and bake for 5 minutes or until the skin starts to bubble.

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