A Closer Look at Some of Bian Dang’s Other Offerings
Their menu also offers dishes like fishcake, snack platter, beef stew over rice, … and because someone has a sense of humor, sometimes a free spa on days over 90. Just go inside the truck and sweat out all your toxins…
The snack platter is white rice topped with their delicious crack-laced brown sauce over rice (for those who don’t have a sense of humor, it is NOT really laced with crack, but it IS crazy delicious), along with a tea egg, all for $4. It’s perfect for someone with a smaller appetite or even better… so you can order other things and eat more.
Like the pork buns they now also serve, three for $3. They’re on the small side, and perhaps a bit more bland white ‘bread’ than you expect with an inner meatwad that needs a little more salt, but dipped in their uncle’s homemade hot chili oil that they give you with every order – a great snack or a great add on to your meal… or an appetizer to split with a coworker.
They also frequently offer hand written specials taped to the window, so be sure to take a peek. The day I went, they had two specials: pork belly over rice and crispy salt&pepper chicken cutlet.
For $8 each platter, this is quite a lot of food.
The pork belly is a very standard dish that most people who are familiar with Taiwanese/Chinese food will recognize. I mentioned this in my post on Moo Shu Grill; I do not particularly care for this flavor profile. As I told my dining companion that day, “it tastes too Asian for me” but for those of you who like that combination of star anise, soy sauce, etc. – well, you’ll like this. They hit the nail on the head and the pork is fatty, tender, juicy. (The version I’ve made at home is star anise, cloves, soy sauce, Sriracha, brown sugar, rice wine and rice wine vinegar, etc.) He certainly seemed to like it just fine – even better after dumping an entire container of homemade chili sauce on it.
As for the salt&pepper chicken cutlet; whoa. First of all, this is served on top of the white rice with that delicious brown gravy pork sauce, which is awesome on its own already. Second, Bian Dang knows how to FRY THINGS PROPERLY. Extremely crisp on the outside from the panko crumbs, amazingly juicy on the inside… hello, beautiful chicken cutlet. Elevating this from a regular ol’ fried chicken cutlet, though, is the “salt & pepper” part of the cutlet. For those unfamiliar, the “pepper” part of the name actually refers to jalapenos or spicy peppers, not black pepper as might come to mind. Many Cantonese restaurants have this dish – salt&pepper squid or salt&pepper pork chops – but Bian Dang’s choice of a chicken cutlet is exactly the perfect foil. I find white meat tends to be rather bland, but the zip of the jalapeno here just gives it that ever so slight kick in the pants that it needs. I didn’t see any jalapenos, but the taste is definitely there in the very back – I wouldn’t even consider this heat. It’s almost as though they took jalapenos and either juiced them/soaked them in whatever mixture they used to bread the crumbs, or deep fried the jalapenos with the chicken cutlets to get the very slightest bit of heat in the background, but all of the jalapeno flavor. I thoroughly enjoyed this, and would not hesitate to order it again. GREAT special.
As far as I know, they are also still honoring the “porken” – as recently as in the past month, my brother said it worked for him. What’s that? If you ask for the “porken” they will give you both a fried chicken leg and a fried pork chop over rice with that amazing rich pork gravy… for the same price as just the pork chop or just the fried chicken leg. Yes, that’s right: $7.
Though they mostly park on 53rd and Park Avenue these days due to parking issues elsewhere around the city, check their Twitter before heading over as at least once or twice a week, they switch places with one of their fellow trucks (usually Moo Shu Grill). Whatever you do, don’t forget to include them in your lunch rotation!