Street food is the soul of the nation. It is true all over the world, except the USA. In Fort Mason, overlooking the San Francisco Bay, national identification merges with the scenery.
Let me back up a little bit. It is 2006 and I am visiting California. My in-laws respect my obsession with food and they love to show me fancy eateries. And I reciprocate, since I love to try them. It may have been a bit shocking for them when they asked me about my favorite restaurant during my 2006 stay and I told them it was a taco truck. Yes. The taco truck, which feeds workers in Napa. I remember very fondly visiting John, his vineyard, talking to the ripening grapes, uncovering the “sun blocking leaves”, and hoping to learn something about viticulture that could make my grapes in Slovakia the same as John’s in California. While the last will never happen, I do have happy memories of a taco truck, where I had my first encounter with pulled pork, as Anthony Bourdain would say a “noble beast”. And that memory stayed with me until last Friday.
Learning about a food-pornographic, decadent and morally filthy activity known as a “meeting of taco/food/catering trucks” was a revelation for me and I canceled all my job interviews. Jump in the car, let’s go! I have to admit, part of me was scared. I have such a fond memory of that first taco truck. What if these guys will ruin it? Well, see the result for yourself.
So what’s next? Why would I blog about it on a “Central European” blog? Simply because I want to do it! I don’t think I have the energy and the drive of those fanatics in Fort Mason but why not try it at home? Not the same I know, but I set my sights on making a totally crazy fusion cuisine something. Oh yes, lecsó/pork/bao/buns. It is time for Hungary to meet China, and this time it is not about the cheap Chinese “büfe” known from the streets of Budapest. This time Hungarian lecsó meets Chinese-American baked bao! Let’s introduce them to each other.
For buns I used a recipe and technique from About.com.
- 2 pounds boneless chicken (preferably dark meat)
- 3 wax peppers (Anaheim)
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 strip smoked bacon
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tsp paprika
- 1 cup red wine
- pepper to taste
- Cut the pork into ½ inch strips or cubes. Dice the bacon and the onions. Slice the pepper and the tomatoes into circles.
- Start frying the bacon on medium high heat to render some fat, then add the onions.
- When onions are translucent or even caramelized (burned) on the edges add the pork cook on all sides (5-6 min) and then add the peppers and the pepper and paprika.
- When peppers start to shrivel (7-15 min), add the tomatoes. Toss together and cook for 7 more minutes.
- Add half a cup of water or wine and lower the heat. Simmer until the liquid evaporates and the mixture thickens.