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China Inn
877 Hornblend Street,
Pacific Beach
(858) 483-6680

The secret to the excellence of the mandarin pork at China Inn is that Andy Kam, the owner, uses pork loin. This is a boneless piece, analogous to a filet mignon. Every bit of fat is trimmed from the loin, which is then cut into strips of three-quarters of an inch. These slices are pounded with a cleaver and then placed in a marinade of red wine and soy sauce for 45 minutes. When removed from the marinade, the pork is dipped into a mixture of beaten egg white and cornstarch. In a wok, oil is heated to a high temperature, and minced onions, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, and a few teaspoons of tomato sauce are added, along with brown sugar. When the mixture grows thick, the pork loin is placed inside the sauce for no more than one and a half minutes.

Each order contains about one pound of meat, which is always tender and mouthwatering. The cost is $8.75. Some diners call this dish barbecued pork, but its authentic name is Mandarin pork. Regulars have been dining here 20 years, and for good reason.

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