Taiwan Pickle at the Palais Imperial in Ottawa
I have had many different types of Chinese Pickled Cucumbers over the years. Most of which have been Sichuan style with chili included somewhere in the pickling mix. The ones you see pictured above were served to me at the Palais Imperial in Ottawa’s Byward Market and were considerably different than most. They were noel and interesting, and very tasty.
The dish, which appears on the Dim Sum Menu was identified simply as ‘Pickle Chinese Style’ in English, and the Chinese characters name had me briefly stymied. The last two characters were recognizable as meaning ‘Steeped Vegetable’, but it was only after I recognized the first character as being a phonetic, that I guessed at the meaning as being ‘Taiwan’. This later proved to be correct, so it seems that this little dish is a Taiwanese Pickle.
Anyway, the primary vegetable, in this case, was Cucumber cut into strips. These, along with everything else, had been macerated with Salt. The result was not overly salty, by any means, and there had obviously been some sugar included as well as the Pickle was very sweet. There wasn’t really much acidity detectable, so the ingredients had not been steeped enough to produce a Lactic Acid ferment, nor, I think was any Vinegar included, except as a mere few drops.
The red strips visible in the picture are red bell pepper but there was a slight spicy heat coming through with these so I think just a touch of ground chili must have been included as well. The other addition was Ginger cut into very large, thin slivers. This added a lovely flavor and another layer of sweetness.
It was this the relatively large pieces of Ginger that actually made this dish somewhat unique for me. The picture only shows the ends of a couple of them protruding out beneath the Cucumber, but they were much larger than one usually encounters. I might have expected that they would dominate the dish and be a bit overpowering, but the maceration, and inclusion of sugar, made them mellow and delicious. In any event, the Taiwan Pickle at Palais Imperial was a dish worth noting for inspiration at home.