Pork Hock with Lotus Root at Kent’s Kitchen in Vancouver
It is not easy to make out in the above picture, but the Pork Hock with Lotus at Kent’s Kitchen in Vancouver’s Chinatown was served in what is essentially a Styrofoam Coffee Cup. The restaurant, as you might guess, is not one of your high-end, up-market sort of establishments, but, ambience aside, the food was excellent, and the Pork Hock dish in particular very satisfying and tasty.
Above, you can see the serving area at Kent’s Kitchen, which is in the Chinatown district of East-Vancouver. The place has the appearance of a cafeteria with only four or five tables, and much of the traffic I saw was for take-out orders. It is not easy to make out the dishes on the menu board behind the counter, but the variety is quite impressive.
There are only a few dishes that would be instantly familiar to Westerners, such as Beef with Broccoli, or Honey Garlic Spareribs, while the rest are clearly intended for an Asian clientele, who seemed to be in the majority, at least on my visit. Many dishes utilize cuts, or organ meats not popular, even in mainstream Chinese Restaurants in the West, so there were lots of dishes of Tripe, Tendon, and Feet, and even one featuring Spleen, which was a first for me.
The Pork Hock with Lotus Root at Kent’s consisted of largish chunks of Pork Hock and fresh Lotus Root in a very tasty brown sauce. I was surprised to discover there were no bones in the pieces of Hock I received. I don’t know if this was deliberate, or just happened to be the case in my portion. In any event, the meat was very tender, succulent and the skin unctuously soft.
I am not entirely sure the constituent’s of the braising sauce. It didn’t seem to be so heavy on Soy Sauce so as to make this a ‘red-cooked’ dish, unless the Pork was red-cooked separately and combined with the Lotus Root and Sauce later, but it was rich, and very tasty indeed.
It was the Lotus Root that was most interesting to me. Before this, my only experience of cooking with Lotus Root was the dried variety, which must be reconstituted by soaking before use. The fresh article, I have to say, is completely different and much more flavorful. It was very like fresh Bamboo Root in texture and the crisp bite contrasted well with the silky, slightly chewy consistency of the Pork. All in all, though simple and without frills, this dish was excellent.