A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 23, 2018
Lake Tung Ting Shrimp (Chinese dish)

The Chinese dish of Lake Tung Ting shrimp is named after Dongting Lake in northeastern Hunan province. The dish was served at Manhattan’s Hunam restaurant (845 Second Avenue, near 45th Street) and was cited in Women’s Wear Daily (New York, NY) on May 19, 1972:

“The Lake Tung Ting Shrimp in white sauce are marinated with broccoli, ham, bamboo shoots and mushrooms, ...”

The white sauce is composed of egg whites and milk.


Wikipedia: Dongting Lake
Dongting Lake (Chinese: 洞庭湖) is a large, shallow lake in northeastern Hunan province, China. It is a flood basin of the Yangtze River. Hence the lake’s size depends on the season. The provinces of Hubei and Hunan are named after their location relative to the lake: Hubei means “North of the Lake” and Hunan, “South of the Lake”.

Dongting Lake is famous in Chinese culture as the place of origin of dragon boat racing. It is the site of Junshan Island and is a home to the Finless Porpoise, which is endangered in China.

19 May 1972, Women’s Wear Daily (New York, NY), “At Table” by Doris Tobias, pg. 13, col. 2:
(Hunam restaurant, 845 Second Avenue, near 45th Street.—ed.)
The Lake Tung Ting Shrimp in white sauce are marinated with broccoli, ham, bamboo shoots and mushrooms, but Neptune’s Platter, said to be an assortment of sea treasures, turned out to be mainly shrimp and scallops.

15 July 1973, Washington (DC) Post, “Szechuan Garden Restaurant—Some like it hot—but not lukewarm” by Donald Dresden, Potomac sec., pg. 30, cols. 2-3:
Under the main course specialties, a brief description of the dish comes in English, such as Lake Tung Ting shrimp being “marinated with broccoli, ham, bamboo shoots and mushrooms (served) in a white sauce...” This gets the red asterisk, but not the red triangle. The white sauce turned out to be a mixture of egg whites and milk with about the consistency of cottage cheese. The shrimp had been cooked properly, and the white sauce, with seasonings, but not hot ones, went well with the crustaceans.

25 August 1973, Newsday (Long Island, NY), “Subtle and spicy: the food of Hunan” by Barbara Rader, sec. 2, pg. 2A, col. 2:
(Hunam Inn, Great Neck.—ed.)
Lake Tung Ting shrimp, while bland, is a superb dish. Shrimp are steamed, combined with broccoli, ham and bamboo shoots and topped with frothy egg white. The result is the combination of textures and flavors that surprises the palate.

Google Books
1 October 1973, New York magazine, “Star Struck at Hunam” by Gael Greene, pg. 86, col. 2:
Crisp, almost raw, broccoli flowers grace the Lake Tung Ting shrimp ($4.75) , too bland and oil slick for me.

30 August 1974, Boston (MA) Globe, “Chinese cuisine” by Anthony Spinazzola, pg. 20, col. 2:
(Hunan restaurant, 700 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge.—ed.)
Which explains items like Lake Tung Ting shrimp, a dish with the white, fluffy look of chicken velvet containing shrimp, mushrooms, ham, bamboo shoots and broccoli in a light sauce. A delicate, well-made dish ($4.25).

28 February 1976, Saturday Times (Trenton, NJ), “The Happy Buddha—a four-star restaurant in a no-star setting” by Harvey Yavener, pg. B2, col. 6:
... while non-spice-lovers could try Lake Tung Ting Shrimp at $4.75, the giant shrimp marinated with broccoli, ham, bamboo shoots and, of course, mushrooms, in a white sauce.

New York Public Library (1984 menu from Hunan Balcony)
Lake Tung Ting Shrimp Jumbo Shrimp Marinated With Broccoli, Mushrooms, Ham And Bamboo Shoots In White Wine Sauce
Price
Low: $7.95 → High: $7.95
Date appearing
Earliest: 1984 → Latest: 1984

Google Books
Chop Suey:
A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States

By Andrew Coe
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
2009
Pg. 242:
In 1972, the Hunam restaurant introduced diners to the “hot-hot-hot” caisine of China’s Hunan province. General’s chicken and Lake Tung Ting Shrimp are now served by Chinese restaurants across the country.

Palatable Pastime
Lake Tung Ting Shrimp #FishFridayFoodies
DECEMBER 21, 2018 by palatablepastime
(...)
It hails from the Tom Hsu restaurant dynasty in St. Louis Missouri, of which I used to go to his place out on Hampton Avenue in the 1980’s called Hunan Cafe. He sold that one and moved out to West County where he has been ever since. And while Lake Tung Ting shrimp is a standard of Chinese cooking, this includes his selection of veggies as well as the particular prep on the shrimp that he did which I am not sure how many others do, but I share that here.

This is a Hunan recipe specifically- named after Lake Dongting in the northeastern province of Hunan in China.  The lake itself is a flood basin of the Yangtze River. And while shrimp are generally saltwater, I am wondering if the version over there was originally made with freshwater shrimp, but I can’t be certain. I do prefer saltwater shrimp if I have a choice, although you could use either.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Sunday, December 23, 2018 • Permalink