Monja is a Taiwanese comfort food emporium located in the City of Industry’s Seasons Place Shopping Center that Barbara Hansen first illuminated for LA Weekly. The small café from chef Paul Wang and wife Enya loosely captures the imagery from Taiwanese night markets, including a panoramic photo of a bright red temple, and equally colorful overhead lanterns. Another reminder of my 2012 trip through Taiwan was Monja’s liberal use of pork, and no dish better exemplified that porcine commitment than Monja’s Red Grain Pork Rice ($7.50).
This multifaceted rice plate included a dome of steamed white rice topped with a fatty cascade of stewed pork, which in Taiwan, luxuriates in soy sauce, rice wine and crystal sugar. This pork featured a similarly savory concoction, plus scallions. Crunchy, lightly pickled greens joined slices of red grain pork, which also goes by “red yeast pork” and was apparently inspired by a restaurant called Chao Chi Pork Porridge that’s been around for over 80 years. Unlike Chinese style char siu, these thin slices of juicy pork featured crisp edges, since the marinated pork’s coated in flour and fried. For pork lovers, this is a seriously satisfying serving.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.