A Single Pebble has an excellent wine list, but we are talking here about the sauces on your plate. In a Chinese restaurant, the sauce is the chef’s secret weapon. The right sauce can mean the difference between a good meal and a great meal. Chances are very good you’ll find the latter at A Single Pebble.
Many Asian restaurants use sauces we already know like soy sauce and Hoisin. We are familiar with these flavors – they are staples in most home kitchens. But it’s the proprietary sauces that separate the cooks from the chefs. A Single Pebble has a boat load of these distinguishing sauces. Some are made daily, others take as long as two weeks or a month to mature. Chef Chiuho Duval’s White BBQ sauce, for example, has to marinate for at least two weeks; her Tang An sauce has to mature for at least a month before it can become part of your meal.
In a recent conversation, Chiuho revealed some (but certainly not all) of the secrets to her secret sauces.
Kung Po – The origin of this sauce is much debated in and most Chinese restaurants create their own unique version of this complex salty, sweet, sour, spicy sauce. Chiuho’s contains soy, vinegar, sugar, garlic, ginger, and chilis. The sauce is matured for one week prior to serving.
Tan Tan – A simple peanut sauce with a mild, nutty flavor, Tan Tan is often mixed with other sauces. Ingredients in this sauce often include peanuts, rice vinegar, soy, sugar, garlic, ginger, sesame.
White BBQ Sauce – Consisting of crushed ginger, scallion, salt, peanut oil and Five Flavor Powder, Chiuho’s White BBQ sauce must marinate for at least two weeks before it is served.
La Yu – La Yu is a sauce used for cold salads, noodles and dumplings. It contains: tahini, garlic, chili oil, sugar, Sichuan peppercorn, scallions, soy sauce, sesame, and black pepper.
Sesame Sauce – This sauce is also used for cold salads, noodles and dumplings, but has a nuttier flavor than La Yu. Ingredients: sesame seed, peanut, ginger, scallion, soy, vinegar, sugar, chili sauce, and tahini.
Tang An – This pungent sauce has to mature for at least a month before it makes its way to the table. Ingredients include: light soy, sugar, cider vinegar, rice wine, fermented hot bean sauce and patience.
With a little exploration, you’ll find that these sauces make Chinese food so much more than what you’ll find in a thousand-page cook book or in that little white take-out box.