I spent part of last week in Philadelphia and wanted to share a discovery I made there in chinatown on the off chance you guys didn't already know about it.
I was walking down Race St. looking for an interesting dinner and my eye happened to catch an eel swimming in one of H. K. Golden Phoenix's window tanks. Given that one of my longstanding goals is to make an appreciable dent in the world's eel population, I felt morally obligated to choose choose the ol' Golden Phoenix as my dinner venue. Eel, however, was nowhere to be found on the English menu.
For a brief moment I was forced to supress a surge of anger -- how dare they lure me into this restaurant with decoy eels, I thought. If there's one thing I can't stand it's misleading marketing and faux eel seemed to be the height of insult. Luckily I gave the place the benefit of the doubt and decided to ask about the contents of the tank before taking more extreme measures. Turns out they are real eels in those tanks and if you ask about it, they'll cook them any of three ways for you -- steamed with black bean sauce, steamed another way which I forget, or fried with XO sauce. The latter dish is what I chose and it was excellent. A plate of thinly sliced orange on which sit large chunks of dark, fried eel with ginger, huge chunks of garlic, scallion, and perhaps some other goodies I can't remember was presented. Then it was eaten. In point of fact it was good enough to deserve better than the passive voice but I'm still a little peeved that they were hiding the eel from the English speakers.
I was eating alone so I couldn't sample anything else, but before I left I inquired if they had my favorite chinese vegetable on the kitchen, snowpea leaves (also called peapod tenderils, also called something I don't know in Chinese). I came back the next day to sample the sauteed snow pea leaves with garlic and they were good as well. Not quite as good as Peach Farm Seafood's rendition in Boston, but definitely a worthy dish. They're not on the English menu either. Those guys at HK Golden Phoenix are sneaky.
anyway, if you guys didn't know about these things already, there's the dope.