On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong, like baby Richard, is being taken from
the only parents it has ever known and is being handed to those who
claim to be its "true" parents — Communist China. Only
Hong Kong isnt going "back" anywhere, because it
didnt really exist before the British arrived; it was simply a
rocky, weed-covered lump in the ocean, which the Chinese called Pirate
Island. Britain, needing a port for trading with the Orient, turned it
into one of the wealthiest and most fabulous cities in the world.
(Actually, it is literally true that much of Hong Kong didnt
exist when the British arrived 150 years ago — the colony has
been significantly expanded by means of reclaiming land from the sea.)
In the May 19, 1997 Newsweek Special Report on Hong Kong,
Jonathan Alter predicts that Hong Kongs future will not be
"a sudden dismembering by a mainland tiger; just a slow weakening
of its foundations as corruption and connections eat away its
heart." So, if you havent seen Hong Kong yet, you may still
have a little time to enjoy something of its glory.
It is an unsettling time for those living in Hong Kong — a
country that is accustomed to even greater freedom than we enjoy in the
US. Memories are still vivid of Tiananmen Square (it has only been
eight years), and human rights issues are still a major sore-point
between China and the rest of the world. But China is showing an
increasing interest in, if not our freedoms, at least our money, so
perhaps Hong Kongs economic future will be more stable than her
On the bright side, the exodus from Hong Kong of those who could
leave has meant a tremendous increase in the availability of great
Chinese restaurants and good Asian markets here in the states. Hardly
compensation for losing Hong Kong, but its better than nothing.
The dish below is basically a peasant dish. It would have been easy to
prepare when whole villages moved into their fields during planting and
harvest, and cooking fuel was not readily available. Though noodles
were basically an invention of the common people, arising during the
first century BC, they soon permeated Chinese
society all the way to the level of the emperor.
Noodles with Pork Sauce
4 scallions/green onions
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp. rice wine or dry sherry
pinch of salt
3 Tbs. light olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 lb. lean pork, ground
3 Tbs. rice wine or dry sherry
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 large onion, chopped
⅓ cup chicken broth
12 oz. fine egg noodles
Peel and split cucumber, and scoop out seeds. Cut
the cucumber lengthwise into "sticks" about ¼ in. wide and
about 2 in. long. Chop scallions finely, including some of the green,
and combine in bowl with cucumber. Crush the four cloves of garlic (use
a garlic press, if you have one — it actually makes the garlic
stronger), and add to the cucumber and scallions. Add wine and salt,
toss veggies, and set aside to let flavors blend.
In a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbs. of oil. Crush one clove of garlic
and add to oil. When garlic starts to sizzle, add the ground pork and
cook until it loses its pinkness, stirring occasionally to break up the
meat. Stir in the wine or sherry, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce,
onion, brown sugar, and chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Simmer for
10 to 15 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated almost entirely.
Cover pan and remove from heat.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add salt after water reaches
a boil, then add the noodles, stirring to separate. Boil for 6 to 8
minutes, or until the noodles are just tender. Drain, add 1 Tbs. of
oil, and toss. Arrange the noodles on a serving dish, cover with pork
sauce, and garnish with cucumber mixture. Serve at once, accompanied by
any remaining garnish.
You dont have to buy Asian noodles for this
dish, but your egg noodles should be the really skinny ones —
about 1/16 inch wide.
You can (and I usually do) make this with ground
turkey instead of ground pork. If you do, and especially if you use the
low-fat, all-white-meat ground turkey, you will need to slightly
increase the flavor elements, since the turkey is blander than pork. So
add another clove of garlic to the oil, and use another teaspoon of
wine, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce (or to taste). Since the
turkey can be drier, too, increase the broth to ½ cup.
Lastly, if you dont want to buy a whole bottle
of rice wine or dry sherry just to make this recipe, check the vinegar
section at the grocery store for "cooking sherry." They add a
little salt as a preservative, and since they figure that, with the
salt, you cant really drink it, it isnt taxed as liquor, so
it costs less (the bottles smaller, too). Plus, it will sit on
your shelf for ages without going bad. (Dont worry — there
really isnt enough salt to affect this recipe.)
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