Denitrified Pork Leg at Dragon Garden in Monterey Park

In perusing thousands of Chinese restaurant menus over the years, one word I had never seen was denitrified. In fact I had never seen that word, period. But on the menu of the newly opened Dragon Garden in Monterey Park there it is, Denitrified Pork Leg for $24.99. I suspect that description was spit out by one of those translation machines that sometimes plucks out English language words that nobody uses in real life. And that’s certainly not something I could consume by myself. But the rest of the menu is eclectically interesting with Shanghainese and Taiwanese dishes, along with skewers, lunch specials and boba. The black bean fish I had contained a unique flavor I had not encountered in the dish–maybe a touch of salted fish? This restaurant seems to be related to Dragon Garden in East LA based on some stuff I saw lying around on a previous visit, even though the menus are completely different.

Even though they replaced the highly regarded Xi’an Tasty, Dragon Garden deserves props for opening up in a very difficult situation. The restaurant space itself is upstairs from the former Hong Kong Supermarket on Garfield near Garvey. Once upon a time some 35 years ago, this was the home of Deli World Cafe, sort of a mini-food court where you could order your food at the counter and sit and eat by giant glass windows that overlooked the supermarket below. Over the years a motley gang of Chinese restaurants subsequently occupied the space. Anyway, Dragon Garden is currently operating in the foyer area at the bottom of the stairway at the front entrance, with a table for ordering take out and a boba operation, which I suspect is sustaining them at the moment.


Did you order online through their website? I sometimes wonder if all of the online ordering options actually work at some of the smaller SGV restaurants.

No, I was there in person. And I do share your skepticism in such cases.

Another reference from way back in 2013 somewhere else -


Maybe they’re curing it with celery powder, like the so-called “uncured” meats.

Great sleuthing!

Mystery solved. This is a high end Taiwanese dish seldom seen in the US. The pork leg is fried such that the skin is crispy but the fat melts away, so the dish is not greasy. A better translation from the Chinese is no fat pork leg or walk-away pork leg. As the reply from Ns1 shows it’s served in a manner similar to Peking duck. Dragon Garden gives you the choice of steamed or fried buns.


Bizarre word choice, then. Denitrification is used in sewage processing.

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