Philadelphia had a thing for food trucks long before they became all the rage. They've lined the streets of the city's college areas for years, providing inexpensive, quick meals to students, faculty, and hungry passers by alike. A stroll around the inner city campuses of Drexel and Penn will leave you with endless food truck options, from Indian and Mexican to crêpes, fruit salads, and some very good and very cheap Chinese home cooking.
These Beijing Hot Noodles adapted for Heather Shouse's Food Trucks come from Yue Kee, a Chinese food truck parked on 38th Street. An initial glance at the menu might not be too promising, with uninspired Chinese-American standards like chicken and broccoli—but further investigation of the menu reveals Cantonese, Sichuan, and Hunan classics all executed well.
While Yue Kee has a reputation for somewhat lacking customer service, the food is good enough to win it fans. This plate of lo mein noodles topped with a saucy combo of ground pork and tofu, finished with scattering of cool cucumbers, is incredibly satisfying and tastes homey even if your mom didn't specialize in regional Chinese cooking. Add to that the fact that a pint of these awesome noodles will only set you back $2.75, and it's easy to see why Yue Kee is a campus fixture.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Food Trucks to give away this week.
Adapted from Food Trucks by Heather Shouse. Copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
- 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 2 green onions, minced
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/4 cup ground bean sauce
- 1 (12-ounce) package firm tofu, drained and cubed
- 1 tablespoon chile oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
- 1 pound lo mein noodles, cooked
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
Heat the oil in a wok or heavy, deep sauté pan over high heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the green onions and ground pork and cook until the pork is browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the ground bean sauce, tofu, chile oil, salt, and sugar and toss to coat, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the sesame oil and pepper, stir, and turn off the heat.
Divide the lo mein noodles among individual plates, place the cucumber alongside, and top the noodles with the pork and tofu mixture. Serve immediately.