The stereotype for deep fry foods is an item that is crispy but soaked in oil, essentially a greasy mess, which certainly is not healthy. However it doesn’t have to be this way.
Like a lot things in cooking what appears to be easy is actually an artful combination of skill, experience and patience. A perfectly deep fried food is golden and crispy on the outside and moist on the inside without a trail of oil leaking from the item. To achieve a beautiful deep fry you have to:
- Heat and maintain the oil at the right temperature range
- Ensure you don’t use the same oil too many times or previous flavours can seep into what you are cooking now
- Fry in small batches so you don’t drop the temperature of the oil too much or else the oil will stat to soak into your food.
- Pull out the food when it’s got the right colour, desired crispiness and perfect cooked on the inside. Of course the timing depends on what you are cooking. Wait too long and your food can become burnt, dried out and greasy.
Sounds easy, right? Well I’m always very cautious when ordering deep-fried since I don’t like having that feeling that I drank a glass of oil that comes with poorly executed deep fry items. So when I heard there was a food cart that basically had a menu based on all things deep fry I was curious and apprehensive. This was either going to be really good or really awful.
Mogu is located on the corner of Howe and Dunsmuir, directly across/west of the Sephora in the Pacific Centre mall. Even though they were already shutting down for the day, the staff was nice enough to make my Kabocha burger.
I picked the Kabocha burger because I thought if there is one thing that will soak up oil like a sponge it would be mashed pumpkin. It would be a perfect item to test the deep fry skill of the cook. Thankfully, Mogu passed with flying colours and I was grateful I didn’t eat an oil ladden burger.
The Kabocha patty was crunchy on the outside, yet was fluffy on the inside and exhibited the natural flavours (sweet & earthy) of the kobacha squash nicely. It was a surprisingly filling meal.
I was impressed and decided to return to Mogu for a second lunch. I ordered the sake chowder and their Pork Miso Katsu (deep fried pork cutlet) burger.
They had a cute warning for their chowder; essentially it was please don’t drive after eating our chowder. It was a joke but you definitely smelt and tasted the sake in the chowder. The chowder was cream based (a la the New England tradition of chowders) and the sake helped make it less heavy. I liked the chowder but I still prefer the Le Tigre’s miso chowder out of all the food truck chowders I have tried. The chowder was a special so I’m not sure if it’s available everyday.
The Katsu cutlet was not bad. On the outside, the pork chop was a dark brown colour and crunchy. The pork itself was not as juicy as it could be but it was not dry either. Most importantly it was not greasy at all. The only improvement I would like to see is some seasoning for the meat before they bread and deep fry the cutlet. This burger relies on the condiments (red miso sauce & hot mustard) and the slaw to give it flavour.
I was impressed with the finesse and skill that the Mogu cooks had when it came to cooking the deep fried items on their menu. I would definitely return when I feel like something crunchy and look forward to trying their chicken karaage.
Since Mogu’s a street cart, here’s their website so you can better keep track of their whereabouts and menu offerings: http://www.eatmogu.com