I've agonized for several weeks about where to post this item. I started to post it to a geographic-specific board, but eventually realized that, although there is a geographic element to it, it is more general than anything else. Anyway, here goes:
Thirty five years or so ago, there used to be a Chinese restaurant on the main shopping street of Farmingdale, in Suffolk County on Long Island, New York. They served a dish that was called, on the menu, "Curry Beef". It consisted, as I remember, of beef and green peppers and onions in a BLACK, garlicky sauce with, of course, a pronounced flavour of curry powder. I suspect, in retrospect, that the black colour and some of the flavour came from fermented black bean paste, although at the time, I lacked the *distinguir* or the knowledge of that flavour. It was so good that I would occasionally go there for both lunch and dinner on the same day, and order it both times.
In the intervening years, I have ordered "Curry Beef" in many Chinese restaurants from coast to coast. I have always been presented with a dish that was red in colour, with a varying selection of vegetables, and entirely different tasting than that offered by Fong's. Many times, a dish called "Garlic Beef" will evoke the memory of Fong's "Curry Beef", but in a similar way that the Muzak version evokes a Beetles tune.
Does anyone know what the dish that I remember so fondly might be? Does it have some other name? Does anyone know if it is a "standard" dish that could be evoked by some secret Chinese password? Failing that, how would I describe it to the staff of a cooperative Chinese restaurant, so that they might try to make it for me?
Any help will be appreciated.