A culinary tour of SF's Chinatown

July 21, 2008 4:23:50 PM PDT
Shirley Fong-Torres is the author of three best sellers and is a San Francisco icon. Recently, our own Nick Smith caught up with the Asian culinary wiz for a tour of Chinatown and a little fun. Fong-Torres also shared one of her favorite recipes.

Classic Asparagus Beef
Servings: 3 to 4

  • 3/4 pound flank or coulotte steak (shrimp was substituted for The View From The Bay)

    Marinade sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Shao Xing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 1/2 pound fresh asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed; place in small bowl and add 2 cloves minced garlic and 1 teaspoon soy sauce.
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water

    Advanced preparation: Trim fat from beef; slice against the grain into 1 1/2 inches by 1 inch pieces. Place in bowl of prepared marinade for 10 to 15 minutes. Break off tough part of asparagus at the lower stem. Slice diagonally into thin pieces. In a small bowl, combine fermented black beans and garlic. Mash with the end of a cleaver to a paste. Add soy sauce and mix well. Prepare cornstarch mixture.

    To cook: Heat wok. Add oil, swirling to coat sides. Stir-fry the asparagus for a minute. Remove and set aside. Re-heat wok without additional oil. Stir-fry onion, beef, and black bean sauce. Quickly, toss the asparagus back into the wok, and as you are stirring, add the broth and when the broth begins to bubble gently, stir in cornstarch-water mixture to form a light gravy. Serve with steamed rice.

    Restaurants/businesses featured in this segment:

  • Wok Wiz
  • Yuet Lee

    Other links:

  • Shirley Fong-Torres' books
  • Buy Shirley's latest book on Amazon: "The Woman Who Ate Chinatown: A San Francisco Odyssey"


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