Unfolding the secret of Gong Bao

4 Oct

Since I was born me and my family have been going to the same restaurant in Stockholm at least four times a year.

You may now ask yourself If I am not actually tired of it? No, the opposite. Why this is the case, I am about to tell you.

The name of the restaurant is Lao Wai. Me and Lao Wai have a special relationship.

This cosy minimalist vegan restaurant is actually the reason why I started to cook asian food and why the main influences in my crossover cooking is asian. I have my routines when it comes to this restaurant. At first, I always do not eat anything for a while before visiting in order to distinguish the different tastes better and not get full after the first bowl of rice. In addition, everytime I visit the restaurant I order the same three dishes; gong bau su ro, morning glory and soy chicken.

Already when I was small I wondered how they made these dishes. From our table we always could see the cook standing by the stove, twisting and turning the woks from which  flames arose due to the heat at the same time as the wonderful, typical Lao Wai smell filled the place. Full of curiosity, I always tried to enter the kitchen in order to see how the wonderful food was cooked, but the sourpuss chef won’t even let an innocent child into the kitchen. Everytime my try was neglected so after a few years I did not even think it was worth trying. And besides, I was not longer a sweet child.

I started to try a new strategy. Everytime we went to the restaurant, I really observed what he was doing in the kitchen and what he was using when he cooked our three dishes. Eventually, just by observing, I figured out how to make the morning glory and the soy chicken, but the secret of Gong Bao has been an unsolved puzzle all my life. At home I always tried to make the gong bao, but it never turned out as I wanted it to. Only one time, I felt I was pretty close. As you understand the gong bao sort of has haunted me. I think that in some way my Asian cooking actually has been a search for the secret of gong bao – and all the dishes I have made have been great by-products along the way. Sometimes I have been close and other times I have just completely gone astray.

If there is any city in the world where I would figure out the secret, I think it is here in New York – the greatest city of mankind.

Yesterday I went to Chinatown, Manhattan to look for the ingredients for the dish. The greatest food capital of the world should at least have something, I thought. My search was successful. On 213 Hester st I found the soy meat – called Gong Bao vegetarian chicken and in the inspiring and insanly cheap Hong Kong market on the same street number 137 I found the rest.

While eating and enjoying my dish I concluded that now I am pretty close, but not there yet. As you have understood, I am obsessed with this dish.

I know this might sound crazy, but it is true. When I can make the dish taste the same way as at Lao Wai, if not even better, my life will be complete… Ha ha.

Imitating gong Bao – I am close now

4 people

1/2 trumpet mushroom (chinese)

8 slices of aubergine

8 slices of zuchini

1/2 cup of peanuts

200 g gong bao vegetarian chicken

1 teaspoon hot soy bean paste

Sesame oil/cooking oil

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

4 sichuan peppers

1/4 spring onion, chopped

1/2 small glass of water

2 teaspoon black bean garlic sauce

1/2 onion

3 tablespoons soy sauce


1. Heat up cooking oil and sesame oil in a wok on the highest heat

2. Add the sichuan peppers and roast them for three minutes and then remove them

3. Add onion, eggplant, zucchini, garlic, trumpet mushroom and soy bean paste

4. Wok on high heat, then add the gong bao chicken

5.After five-six minutes, add the black bean sauce

6. Add the water and the soy sauce and mix properly..

7. Taste. If not salt enough, add soy sauce/black bean sauce as you want to.

8. Add spring onion, the roasted sichuan peppers and peanuts and serve with rice!!!!



7 Responses to “Unfolding the secret of Gong Bao”

  1. Trisha October 4, 2010 at 11:22 PM #

    You are such a good writer! enjoy reading your blog everyday!!

  2. Erin October 4, 2010 at 11:22 PM #

    Woow. Amazing story ha ha / L.A

  3. sherko October 5, 2010 at 7:15 AM #

    Will mos def try to make it, but maybe with real chicken since I’m an evil carnivore.

  4. Mike Alonyie October 5, 2010 at 4:51 PM #

    A friend of mine linked this site.
    Just wanted to say that everything is soo goood! Made the chickpea burgers the other day at a dinner party I had. Success is the least I can say.
    Please continue!


  5. Nancy October 5, 2010 at 4:51 PM #

    MMMMM Just made this!! Gooood as hell

  6. Hasse October 6, 2010 at 7:44 AM #

    Thank you! I’m deeply moved by your writing, I will certainly try this, instant success guaranteed!

  7. Amy October 6, 2010 at 10:31 PM #

    Great recipe. Thanks.

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