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Do you have a Chinese food guilty-pleasure?


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Restaurants & Bars Los Angeles Area Chinese

Do you have a Chinese food guilty-pleasure?

ipsedixit | | Oct 21, 2010 04:24 PM

Do you have one?

I do, well, actually I have several.

But the one I am craving at this moment, right now is at Ho Ho Kitchen in El Monte.

What is exactly at Ho Ho Kitchen that scratches my guilty-pleasure itch you ask?

It's the Dung Po Pork (東坡肉).

What's Dung Po Pork, you ask? A lost cousin of Ma Po Tofu mabye? Uh, no, not exactly. What it is -- in its most elemental deconstructed form -- is steamed pork belly with all of its jiggly fat goodness that's then topped and served with this rich, savory thick sauce formed from a "witch's brew" blend of soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, Shaoxing wine, black peppercorns, and perhaps some sesame oil and ginger (depending on whose grandma you're stealing the recipe from).

At Ho Ho Kitchen the pork belly is presented in the center of a big plate, neslted in a bed of broccoli florets, and slathered -- or maybe the better word is "smothered"? -- in this dark crimson-hued gooey sauce. It's beautiful to behold, with that thick layer of fat covered in so much sauce that it makes the whole thing glisten as if someone applied Turtle Wax and polished that sucker to a Military-spec shine.

When I order it, I ask them to hold the broccoli, and request extra bowls of white rice (has to be WHITE rice), and an extra bowl (or two) of that sauce.

Then I take one bowl of rice and dump the entire thing on the pork belly. Then drizzle some of that extra sauce on the rice. Then, and only then, do I attack it I by taking a large spoon -- my gosh, you didn't think I was going to use chopsticks, right? -- and plunge the spoon down that big mound of food. Because the pork is so tender -- as in "spoon tender" and not just fork tender -- I can, literally in one fell swoop scoop, get a nice mouthful of rice, pork fat, pork meat, and plenty of that rich sauce.

Seriously, the pork skin and fat are so tender they not only melt in your mouth, they sort of coat it -- the roof, your tongue, teeth, and throat become coated with this gooey sweet-savory goodness. Sort of like gurgling with melted pork fat.

Goodness. Pure porky goodness.

I have to get myself some soon, been far too long ...

10053 Valley Blvd., El Monte
(626) 442-6689

Ho Ho Kitchen
10053 Valley Blvd Ste 8, El Monte, CA 91731