Peter Chang — Lunch on 28 June 2016

Today I ignored R.E.M.’s advice, and went back to Rockville.  I wanted to try Peter Chang’s newest restaurant.

Chang has had an amazing life, which was well chronicled in a fascinating Washington Post profile last year.

He was born in a remote Chinese village, and, at 10 years old, was put to work pulling weeds, for less than 10 cents a day. Chang had hoped to become an accountant someday, but the government sent him to a culinary school instead.   He graduated at the top of his class, and began a career that would eventually lead to the kitchens of five-star hotels.  Then he took the foreign service cooking test, where the higher the score, the better the embassy.

He got Washington.

And, near the end of his two-year contract, he and his family sneaked out of the embassy and went into hiding.  The Post story tells what happened next.

Cilantro Flounder Fish Rolls

Cilantro Flounder Fish Rolls

Crisp cilantro fish rolls are one of Chang’s signature dishes.  The fish was flounder, and the cilantro deserved equal billing.

Dry-fried Eggplant

Dry-fried Eggplant

Sensational!  Not surprisingly, the dry fried eggplant segments look like big French Fries, and the texture is similar, but the chilies and scallions and peppers made for a memorable dish.

Grandma's Steamed Ribs with Rice Flour

Grandma’s Steamed Ribs with Rice Flour

After two courses that lived up to the critical praise that Chang’s cooking has received, the final dish, Steamed Ribs with Rice Flour, just didn’t work for me.  The bone-in ribs were difficult to eat, and the payoff wasn’t worth the effort.  This was a disappointing ending to an otherwise v good meal.

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