TACO BELL was great pre-90's formerly on ChowHound

The meal you cannot make at home!


YES ! And I do not know why. But I guess it is no different than Chinese spare ribs. Another food you cannot make at home. One nut I will never crack. Even my former Chinese technicians could not give me the secret. Problem is not just the ingredients and amounts but the processes involved.


I loved that place! It was a lunchtime favorite for my office.

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This has been a relatively unsuccessful quest of mine. I’ve gotten the taste profile pretty close, but on baby back ribs. I’ve been trying for decades. I agree it’s the roasting technique. There is a spice mix that Vanns makes called Beijing Rub that combined with a wee brush of Chinese barbecue sauce at the end makes the ribs very tasty.


The glaze happens because there’s sugar in the mix.

Vanns no longer operates an online store, and even among local stores that carry the brand, the rub has been MIA for years. Obviously, they still make it. Since they are local, I could of course call them and just drive over to their plant if they’d sell me some, ut that would be… too logical. Well, I’ll put it on my to do list.

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Agreed, but I have gotten close enough, I think with a serious eats recipe. As you said, way too many processes.

Different dish from what I never got enough of as a kid in New York, and I have not tried it, but I trust woks of life.

Husband is away, so Ill be experimenting with “fatty meat”!


I have been very happy with these. If any of you want the full recipe lemmeno and I’ll try and look it up.

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I will admit i use a kitchen torch on the ribs at the end.

I’ll check it out!

I just checked out Woks of Life for this recipe a couple of days ago … because I have a rack of ribs in the fridge waiting to be prepared/experimented upon.


Yummm! do share, at least pictures.

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I love Woks of Life.
Great site


I’ll have to remember before I eat them all!:joy_cat:

I Will admit i have this cookbook and have had it since the 1970s. I will check it out to see if it has anything about ribs. It has zero illustrations or pictures.

I will have to look into VANNS as you mentioned. But I can tell you that NOH Chinese Barbeque CHAR SIU gives a close color, but the flavor is OFF. I bought a whole case of that a while ago. Still have most of them. It gets you into the ballpark, but it is not quite right. I think there is five spice in it that does not belong. Five spice powder is NOT Chinese. That is an American assumption only. I dislike five spice.

Speaking of a kitchen torch LOL. I have used a regular propane torch to char my pork shoulders in the past. It works. Propane is propane. So you can use any torch with that gas. In fact a kitchen torch may use butane instead. And I believe propane is an approved fuel for cooking. Just like an outdoor grill.

Here is that powder that is not perfect:


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Oh and I just remembered another great seasoning that is GONE. It was one of Ron Popeil’s rubs. It was called either HICKORY SMOKED PINEAPPLE rub or SMOKED PINEAPPLE rub. Fantastic on a rotisserie chicken. Again my favorite of all his rubs. Everything I love disappears.

Ok, I am willing to be that guy. I have only spent 3 weeks in China on one trip and a little over 2 weeks on the next trip so I am no Sinophile or experienced Chinese food sort. But I have spent more than a month there and ate with the locals from Xishuangbanna to Kunming to Yangshuou, to Guilin, to Beijing, to Pingyao and then back to Beijing again.
And most of the time I liked American Chinese food better than the food that was recommended by the locals in China. And I was totally dumbstruck by this because I KNOW Chinese food is a collection of some of the best regional cuisines in the world.
And most of the time it was ok at best. I remember sitting at a table with 3 of my travel friends at a place that was known to the Chinese people we talked to as the Sick Duck, because it was the Peking Duck place closest to a big hospital. And we all were kind of surprised at how pedestrian the meal was. We later went to the Old Duck which was the restaurant that had been serving Peking Duck the longest. Spent way too much money and it was little better.
The worst part of it is, I had better meals in Beijing shopping mall food courts than I had in most cafes I went to in China. Maybe it was because I was not able to get good recommendations via HO, or ChowHound at the time. Or even by Google Maps because this was back in 2002 and 2004. But I ate a lot of mediocre Chinese food on those trips. I had better Chinese food in Bangkok than I did in Chinese cafes.

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My father pined for a Showtime rotisserie. Never hot one, though. I didn’t know there were Ronco spices. I will tell you the Vanns rub doesn’t taste heavily oh Chinese five spice powder. A hint, maybe but it’s got garlic in it.

Don’t see your rub there, though.

Five spice powder is Chinese.



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Hmmm imagine that. Well I worked with many Chinese electronic technicians over the years and can only go by what they told me. I was told by all of them that if you want excellent Chinese Food in America anyway… you NEED to go to a place that has verified HONG KONG trained cooks ! Those are the chefs that cook the best food. So, now I am only speculating here. Maybe just maybe you should have visited Hong Kong in China and ate there. The Chinese technicians told me that these chefs are trained for YEARS before they come to America and make food. This is not something you learn online or in months. And it goes without saying, that they must be Chinese. Not whites, but Chinese. Not sure if Hong Kong teachers would even train anyone other than Chinese. makes perfect sense and I agree with them. That is my two cents. And if you see anyone other than Chinese making your food in a Chinese restaurant - LEAVE ! Same thing goes for any food. P.S. THAI food is also wonderful. But again it depends on the chef. I had Thai here in Smithtown NY called the Thai House. Well to do part of town. Expensive too. And the food was only good for dogs. NO TASTE whatsoever. Bland as a cotton ball. So it was one and done for that place ! But I hear good things about Thai Green Leaf restaurant in Northport.

That flavor was discontinued. I used to have the label but the wife threw out the jar since it was almost empty. I have the Ronco Showtime from 2007. Digital timer. It is wonderful.

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