Knuckling Down at Giang Nan
December 16, 2011 § Leave a comment
The steaming hunk of pork knuckle comes out of the kitchen, fatty scents wafting over to our table as soon as the waitress steps out of the kitchen with the dish in hand. On the table, the dish looks like a porky gelatin mold—the wobbly chunks of meat and gelatinous cartilage are super soft, falling off the Jurassic-size bone with no more than a glance. At Giang Nan, the de-greased pork knuckle is part of a nice collection of Shanghainese (and Jiangsu?) recipes, which have been dished out in the back of a Monterrey Park strip mall for the better part of a decade, a not inconsiderable amount of time on the fierce San Gabriel Valley dining scene. There are all kinds of treasures to be enjoyed here. Filled with salty duck egg yolk, the house special lion’s head meatballs are ombudsmen for the balance and light touch of the Shanhainese school of cooking, and there are lots more dishes to savor, including crab-filled dumplings and the delectable and simply prepared jade celery starter. Sadly, I’ve never tried the glutinous rice balls in fermented rice mash, which some count as the best Chinese-style dessert in town. You can’t eat it all, but I know I’ll be back here soon enough.