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I've eaten at Joe's a number of times now, and actually came searching through the boards to see if someone had experienced what I had and lo and behold, here was xcanuck's post.  Any dish I have at Joe's with szechuan peppercorns tastes unbearably salty to me.  Strangely, this seems to be limited to versions at Joe's.  Yesterday I had the Ma Po Tofu, a dish I've had many times at Sichuan Jin River, and I couldn't finish it because of the overwhelming salty taste.  In the past at Joe's, I've run across the same thing with the spicy and tasty tofu...so much so that I sent it back once.  To be clear, this isn't a spice level thing...I regularly enjoy the Lao hot at Bangkok Golden.  Nor is it a "numbing" thing, since the same dishes at Jin River don't cause the same reaction.

At this point, I guess I'll just stick to Jin River, or give HKP a try.  Has anyone other than Canuck and I had a similar experience?

I've had many a Ma Po Tofu, including at Hong Kong Palace, that had the perception of overwhelming saltiness. Maybe this is a "cilantro-soap" thing?

[Reminder to N00bs - click on the "snapback arrow" (top-right of quoted text) to snap back to the original conversation.]

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I don't think it would be a cilantro-type reaction (which, man...life sure would suck if I couldn't enjoy cilantro).  To see if maybe my taste buds have gone wacky in the past year, I just grabbed my szechuan peppercorns out of the spice rack and ate 5 by themselves.  Definite numbing and spice, no saltiness.

More research needs to be done, so I suppose I'll be going on a ma po tofu quest over the next few weeks...not that I mind.

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I would guess that the excessive saltiness comes from a heavy hand with the chili bean sauce (toban djan). According to my bottle in the fridge 1 teaspoon contains 280 mg of sodium.

I've had to ban Dame Edna from using black bean sauce in the stir-fries and such that he cooks for our dinners.  I just got tired of it absolutely ruining every dish he used it in--it's a salt bomb. I just don't get the point of that stuff.

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Once in a while, the Mapo Tofu at HKP is excessively salty, but it doesn't seem to be consistent. Same with the cumin lamb - usually it's heaven, and other times it is to the point where you get that fuzzy feeling on your tongue and can't taste anything but salt.

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