Joy on York is a stylish Taiwanese spinoff from Pine & Crane owner Vivian Ku in Highland Park. The space touts brick and white walls sporting bamboo mats, spoons and a photo of Grandpa taken at Kaohsiung’s Pine Crane Noodle in 1965.
Joy on York’s menu is even more varied than at Pine & Crane, but I still suggest starting with Ku’s classic Mixed Pork on Rice ($7). “Minced pork is a super humble, very Taiwanese staple, usually served over rice,” she says. In Ku’s hands, Kurobuta shoulder and Salmon Creek pork belly are chopped, sautéed, and braised in a savory, slightly sweet mélange of rock sugar, rice wine, cinnamon, 5-spice, garlic, white pepper, and a multi-layered blend of soy sauces and pastes until the meat’s tender and infused with flavor. Yes, Ku includes fried shallots in her blend, saying, “Fried shallots really are key and are one of the fundamental ingredients that makes a dish ‘Taiwanese.'” Traditional Taiwanese recipes frequently call for pig skin, and while you won’t find any pig skin in Joy on York’s version, Ku certainly doesn’t skimp on oink.
Complementary toppings include a marinated hard-boiled egg, a scallion shower, and crunchy daikon radish sticks.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.