MORE

Ask Mr. Gold

Q:Do you know any Chinese restaurants in L.A. that serve bitter melon (ku gua)? It's the weirdest-looking of all vegetables and, as the name suggests, profoundly bitter - a vegetable that seems to make its own vinegar. It's an acquired taste - indeed, even most Chinese people hate it; but some are seriously hooked. I had it in China, stir-fried with shredded beef, and the crisp texture, green flesh, and intense flavor have haunted me ever since.

—Frank Pettit

A:

Sautéed bitter gourd, as prepared at the splendid Taiwanese-style Nice Time Deli in San Gabriel Square, has the mephitic funk of the green beans they used to serve at your elementary school cafeteria, and the luscious succulence of ripe honeydew melon. Your first taste of the stuff, mellowed by the sweetness of shredded pork and the small pungency of fermented black beans, may remind you of braised celery . . . until the onset a second or two later of the aftertaste, a shocking, penetrating bitterness with all the subtlety of a tongue piercing; not chocolate bitter or even tea bitter, but cancer-medicine bitter, a bitterness that will still be with you four hours later. There is indeed something oddly appealing about it. Nice Time Deli, 140 Valley Blvd., San Gabriel, (626) 288-0149.

Got a burning culinary question? Try us:

askmrgold@laweekly.com

Use Current Location

Related Location

miles
Nice Time Deli

140 W. Valley Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91776-3760

626-288-0149


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >