Sichuan Preserved Vegetable Soup at the Jing Cheng Restaurant
I have previously mentioned the Jing Cheng restaurant in other posts, most notable the one featuring an appetizer I simply refer to as Killer Chicken at Jing Cheng. This little restaurant, now sadly gone, offered many dishes using ingredients not widely found elsewhere. The hearty soup you see pictured above was one of their specialties, and it was made with a Sichuanese Mustard Tuber Pickle you only rarely come across, even in most restaurants featuring Sichuan cuisine.
The menu at Jing Cheng described the soup as Preserved Sichuan Pickle Soup’, but further identified the specific pickle in Chinese characters as 榨菜 (zhàcài).
I have previously posted an introduction to to 四川榨菜, or Sichuan Preserved Vegetable, which you may wish to look at, but suffice it to say, for the purposes of this post, that the preserve is mustard tuber, fermented in brine with chili.
I almost regretted ordering the dish once it arrived as even the small size I selected turned out to be quite substantial and I did not want to fill myself up before I made my next order. The broth was fairly straight forward without a lot of depth on its own but the restaurant was exceptionally generous with the shredded pork, which actually came in equal amounts with the carrot and scallion.
As for the 榨菜, or Zhàcài, this was shredded quite finely and added in a fairly small amount (which is a bit surprising as it is generally quite cheap). It did leave a nice tang as a background to the other ingredients, but the soup was not quite as spicy hot as it might otherwise have been. Beyond that, there was a nice little touch of sesame oil adding some pleasant notes and, on the whole, I liked this soup course very much.