Lost in Translation

Dining_EggrollsI was craving egg rolls, or maybe wonderfully hot Chinese mustard, so I stopped by Kong’s Market which is nestled on a residential street near Pleasure Point. Stocking a small selection of household staples, it also houses a deli counter with sandwiches and pocket-like burritos to-go.

I chose Pork Egg Rolls ($1.40) over the vegetarian version and was quite surprised by their appearance. The crisply fried, long rectangles of dough stuffed with lightly seasoned ground pork were bumpy and blistered. The wrapper was thicker than that of any egg roll I had previously eaten. I asked for some sauce, and was presented with four bottles of condiments. Besides mustard, I chose a delicious chunky, salty, and spicy chili sauce, making these snacks best eaten in the parking lot.

I learned later that Kong’s apparently makes traditional Cantonese egg rolls, a spin-off from spring rolls.

Kong’s Market, 400 26th Ave., Santa Cruz, 479-4947.

At the elegant Dynasty Restaurant on Portola, the four cigar-shaped egg rolls ($4.95) were rolled tightly in layers of smooth, paper-thin wrappers and fried to golden crispness. Although I found no trace of shitake in the pale, crunchy cabbage interior, I sensed the distinctive flavor of fennel. In addition to hot mustard, the rolls were served with a plummy, vibrant crimson sweet and sour sauce.

Dynasty Restaurant, 3601 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz, 479-3388. Serving lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. daily. Visit chinadynastyrestaurant.com.

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