As I draw near to the end of my college career, perspective clears away the haze of the past, and I begin to remember the roller-coaster ride of my undergraduate career. College has a way of transforming the things you love. As I reflect, very few of the passions, interests and “permanent” fixtures of my identity from when I started are still intact. It’s important to find your constants, the things that, regardless what phase of your education you’re in (read: 20-something development), will always stay the same.
Looking back, I can identify very few things that fit that ambitious construct of criteria. One of which is my wife, to whom I’m grateful for stability and love. My marriage, though wonderful, was a relatively late development in my time at Weber State. There is one constant that has floated me through the rigorous and often frustrating trials of college. With unbending consistency, fierce nostalgia and tasty crab wontons, Golden Jade has been a constant port in an academic storm.
Golden Jade is not on 25th Street. It is not a highbrow dining destination. It does not compete with Tona, P.F. Changs or even Panda Express. It is an entity unto itself.
One bite of their signature crab wontons and you’ll see why. Never have I tasted a wonton that was simultaneously balanced and potent. Chinese food devotees will know that balance is a difficult necessity to reach in Asian cuisine, and is the difference between good and great food. Rich cream cheese is sumptuously paired against crab in a perfectly palatable crispy shell.
Aside from their crab wontons, I’ve found that the Schezwan pork is among their best dishes. First, let’s talk sauce. Schezwan sauces are varied in their approaches due to the Indo-Chinese and Indian exchange needed for the sauce. Good Schezwan is about a good balance between darker tones and vinegar. Golden Jade’s version does just that. With impressive poise, the sauce delivers a kick of chili, garlic, ginger, soy and green onion that is as satisfying as it is complex. Pork is the perfect pairing, as the sweetness of the meat lends itself to the deep flavor of the sauce. Beef would be overpowering, chicken would get lost, but pork hits it on the head.
A common cold remedy from my early years is found in a bowl of house noodle soup. A rich miso-beef broth serves as the palette for shrimp, char-sil, beef, pork, chicken, bamboo, onion, ginger, mushrooms and noodles. This unreserved approach is surprisingly distinct in its flavor, melding all the flavors together but still managing to keep their individual qualities. This rich and spicy broth cured headaches for me, whether pathogenic or stress-induced.
Finding good food is an essential part of college. Food offers foundations for traditions, incense for ceremony and medicine for the emotions of the day. This will be the last Big Al’s Bites at The Signpost. It’s been a pleasure sharing my culinary crusades and discoveries. You can find my new blog at Algerrish.wordpress.com under the Gerrish Grubs title. Even though I’ve left, let adventure in your eating live on, for you know I will.
For more foodie chatter, as always, check me out at Algerrish.yelp.com, and now at Algerrish.wordpress.com.