Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Even More Fun Playing With Authentic Chinese Food at Wonton Gourmet

Ok, I admit it - I'm a Wonton Gourmet whore. I can't get enough of it!

So even though we'd just dined there Sunday 12/28, we could not resist an invitation to lunch there again on New Year's Day. There was a hitch though - the dining companion who issued the invitation has a NYD tradition of eating Chinese food - Americanized Chinese food. Thankfully, though, we didn't have to compromise much of anything to make everybody happy.

We started with soup. What could be more Western than the dish served to tourists throughout China:

Chicken With Corn Soup

I have to say - it had a unique pepper-iness - not from chile, but from the white pepper sprinkled on (and which could also be added from a shaker on the table). Bob would pronounce it his favorite dish of the day.

Turnip Cake. 'Nuff Said.

Three Flavor Shrimp Dumpling

This is normally served in soup, but one of our dining companions recommended that we have it this way. Three different types of house-made shrimp dumplings, served with gai lan (Chinese broccoli).

Unfortunately, I could taste chemical notes in the shrimp - a shame because the dumplings were otherwise delicious.

Roast Pork on Rice

I expected this dish to be the counterpart of this Roast Duck dish, which we'd enjoyed a while ago:

Indeed, I had noticed a plate of crispy-skinned pork on another diners' table when we lunched on the 28th. So, there was a momentary disappointment that the dish wasn't what I thought.

But one bite dispelled any disappointment - rich with Star Anise and fresh flavor, this pork was fabulous.

Trying to respect my companion's desire for traditional American Chinese flavors, I suggested Yangchow Fried Rice.

Yangchow (or Young Chow, as on the Wonton Menu) Fried Rice

Turns out my companions had never before enjoyed authentic Chinese Fried Rice, which never has soy sauce. The plate was cleaned!

Fried Pork Chop With Special Sauce

Another of our dining companions was craving this dish. It was similar to the Fried Pork Chop we'd had 12/28, but the sauce was a great addition to the dish.

Salted Fish, Diced Chicken, Eggplant Claypot

This dish was most certainly NOT Americanized! The salted fish infused the casserole with an intense fish flavor - while a bit, well, fishy for the Western palate, it was not a "bad" fishy taste - just intense. The other components of the dish were perfectly cooked; the eggplant was sublime!

Pea Shoot Sauteed With Garlic

Wonton Gourmet executes this dish flawlessly.

And so, the five of us were stuffed. Bob and I got to take the leftovers home.

The next morning, I got a skillet and some bacon drippings srceaming hot, and added about half of the leftovers. I shirred some eggs in and sprinkled on a dash of soy sauce and some Sichuan Pepper-Salt. Breakfast was served:

Leftovers Transformed into Fried Rice

Nancy's Fried Rice Topped With Home-Made Garden Tabasco Sauce!

The Tabasco was the perfect counterpoint to the fish flavor - and we got two breakfasts out of it.

I think I see another trip to Wonton Gourmet in my near future - how much more fun can we have there? Follow this blog and find out!


  1. Wow, how made Tabasco? Care to share how that was made? I'd love to try it! That sounds so good.

  2. Dave - this is Bob's response:

    I grew my own Tabasco peppers, and you can't make Tabasco sauce without Tabasco peppers.

    I put the peppers into a small food processor (without seeding them), and chopped the peppers as finely as I could. I then added a splash of vinegar, and chopped again (a little liquid helps the processor chop finer).

    I then put the contents of the processor through a fine strainer, and used the back of a spoon to push as much pulp through the strainer as I could. I then put the strained pulp back into the processor, added a splash of vinegar, and processed again. I repeated processing and straining until all the pulp (or most of it) went through the strainer.

    The liquid that goes through the strainer is the sauce, and I recommend having a bowl under the strainer when straining the pulp, or else your counter could become very messy.

    Add salt, water, and vinegar to taste. Some people don't like the real Tabasco sauce because of too much salt and vinegar, so blend to your own taste. Keep refrigerated, as I suspect the reason for the imbalance of flavor in the brand name sauce is so that it can be left out at room temperature without spoiling.

  3. Tell Bob I said thanks. Do you know what kind of vinegar he used?

  4. Dave - Bob uses ordinary white vinegar.

  5. I LOVE the Wonton Gourmet. We first ran into this place last Fall, 2011, and always go back whenever we can (we live in Pittsburgh). Their beef chow fun, snow peapod leaves with garlic and wontons are solid dishes that are comparable, if not better, than Hong Kong standards. In fact, the past 2 times I've gone back to Hong Kong, I wasn't able to find such a strong chef as the one at Wonton Gourmet.

    This past trip, we ordered a fresh, steamed fish, that was cooked perfectly. I wish we lived closer--we'd go there for dinner every night!