When I told my colleague, Brad Vest, I was going to try the ribs at Mosa Asian Bistro, he said, "Just what this town needs. More ribs."
Well, Shanghai ribs aren't those hefty, smoky ribs slathered in thick barbecue sauce. They're savory, delicate with a hint of sweetness. "No way you can compare these to the Memphis style barbecue," said Alex Pao, one of Mosa's owners. "This is its own separate beast."
Pao described the pork baby back ribs, which they call "Shanghai ribs," as "Taiwanese Chinese comfort food at its finest. Rustic, but delicious."
Shanghai ribs are Mosa owner Eddie Pao's take on hong shao rou, which is "red cooked pork," but they're not anything like those ribs found on numerous Chinese restaurant buffets. "Dad put his spin on it," Alex said.
The ribs are cooked in a gravy with a soy garlic base. "They're slow cooked and braised in this giant wok for two and a half to three hours," Alex said.
They're served with a succotash made of beans sprouts, scallions, asparagus, potatoes and diced carrots. The succotash "complements the savory flavor of the ribs," Alex said.
The dish comes with a side of white or brown rice."We add a little of the rib gravy on top of it to give it flavor."The recipe was handed down from his mother's mother, Alex said. His mom served the ribs at family dinners at Thanksgiving. They found their way to Mosa's menu a week after Eddie brought them to the restaurant for a Thanksgiving feast for employees. They urged him to put them on the menu, said Mosa sous chef Richard Adams.
Mosa also serves beef or pork Asian Seoul Sliders. They come with cilantro and Asian slaw, which is made with daikon and pickled carrots, topped with aioli and served on a toasted challah bun from Ricki's Cookie Corner & Bakery. They're fabulous.
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