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Hunanese-Style Leeks and Bacon
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thick-cut strips of bacon (about 8 oz), cut to 1-inch pieces on a bias
2 lg
leeks, toughest green shoots trimmed, halved lengthwise and cut to 1-inch pieces on a bias
cloves garlic, sliced
½ c
Chinese or Taiwanese clear cooking rice wine (michiu or mijiu) or dry sake
1 tsp
chile bean sauce (doubanjiang), or another chile sauce, such as chile crisp
Splash of light soy sauce to taste

Based on a popular home-style dish in China’s south-central Hunan province, this quick stir-fry traditionally employs a smoked, cured pork charcuterie called larou and slender green leeks. This version subs in smoked bacon for the larou; try to get the thickest-cut bacon you can buy, or better yet, a slab of bacon from a butcher shop, which you can slice yourself into thin, 1-inch pieces on a diagonal.


  1. Heat a well-seasoned wok over high heat (or if it's not well seasoned or you're using another type of large pan, add a scant amount of neutral oil). When smoking, add the bacon, stirring immediately and separating pieces from one another. Keep moving them around in the pan until crisped all over, about 2 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate, reserving the bacon fat.
  2. In the same wok or pan with the bacon fat, stir in the leeks. Reduce heat so that they don't scorch and add the sliced garlic. Stir occasionally for 1-2 minutes, until all the green parts have turned a slightly deeper shade of green and the white parts have become slightly more translucent.
  3. Return the bacon to the pan and add the rice wine. Bring it to a bubble while stirring, 1 minute. Add a dab of the chile sauce and stir to distribute evenly. Taste for seasoning and, if desired, add a splash of light soy sauce to taste (chile bean sauce can be quite salty, so you could just add more of that instead). Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy with rice.

Cathy Erway

Cathy Erway is the author of the cookbooks The Food of Taiwan and Sheet Pan Chicken, and the memoir The Art of Eating In. She co-wrote Win Son Presents: A Taiwanese American Cookbook. She hosts the podcast Self Evident, exploring Asian American stories. She has won a James Beard Award and IACP award for her writing at TASTE.