Last we left our hero Chinese food explorer, he became so bewitched by Tasty Noodle House in the San Gabriel Valley he went not once, but twice. To refresh your memory, the San Gabriel Valley is home to some of the best Chinese food in the United States. Yours truly made a pledge to thoroughly explore this region and stopped abruptly after falling in love with noodles and dumplings, like a failed Odysseus lured away by Sirens. Luckily, New York snatched me away and now that I’m back, I’ve retaken my pledge, striking things up again last week with Zach Brooks of Midtown Lunch who joined me for a meal at Chung King.
On Friday, I sent out the following e-mail to my pork-eating friends:
Today I was reading the New Yorker profile of the only food critic to win a Pulitzer Prize, Jonathan Gold. In it he says of a spicy Thai food dish: “It was glowing, practically incandescent. You bite into it and every alarm in your body goes off at once. It’s an overload on your pain receptors, and then the flavors just come through. It’s not that the hotness overwhelms the dish, which is what people who don’t understand Thai cooking always say, but that the dish is revealed for the first time–its flavor–as you taste details of fruit and turmeric and spices that you didn’t taste when it was merely extremely hot. It’s like a hallucination.”