Sometimes I complain about Wikipedia. But there are areas where it really shines, like the Chinese food section. Been wondering what the heck the name means? Been wondering what those little doohickies are? You can find out.
The Chinese restaurant by me has some new items on the menu, so I went and looked up “sha cha“. Apparently, like mala chicken, this is one of those dishes named after the sauce. Sha cha sauce is pretty much soy and garlic and chilies, which sounds normal, and then a little bit of fish and shrimp stock, which was a bit of a puzzler. But apparently it’s a standard part of the cuisine in Fujian province, where most Chinese restaurant workers come from, so I figured it’d be okay.
The restaurant workers seemed surprised that I ordered it, but pleased. (I guess it takes people a little while to work up the courage to try new dishes in foreign-cuisine restaurants.)
It was really good. You can’t really taste the stock, per se; it’s just one of those flavors in back that make you wonder what you’re tasting but not worry about it being anything sinister. It was also one of those sauces that makes the food taste a little bit different all the time, with flavors coming up to meet you and then new flavors coming along.
Of course, if I didn’t know what was in it, I probably just would have thought “mildly spicy brown sauce – huh” and gone on. I’m not one of the great palates of the world, especially when recovering from all that sinus crud. :) (Next time I think I’ll get it with white rice, though.)
Btw, it seems that the Philippines keep coming up. (Enbrethilielian synchronicity?) I finally found out what those tasty translucent cube things are in the Chinese buffet fruit salad. (I was afraid to ask, in case it was some form of aspic.)