Kung Pao Pastrami at Mission Chinese Food ($12)
Inspiration: Danny Bowien’s popular East-meets-West culinary mash-up, kung pao pastrami, is just one example of the mad-genius cookery that makes Mission Chinese Food famous. His smoky, meaty take on traditional kung pao chicken was inspired by the twice-cooked pork and peppers entree at Spices and the popular use of smoked ham in Hunan cuisine.
Technique: Bowien doesn’t make his own pastrami from scratch but he does much of the curing and smoking on-site. He brines the meat overnight to achieve his desired salinity, then coats it with a mustard-and-spice rub. Finally, he smokes it for eight hours at 215 F degrees.
The Twist: The final dish features slices of pastrami, stir-fried with potatoes, peanuts, celery, red bell pepper and several types of spicy chile peppers - for an incendiary finish.
Why It's a Bacon Threat: Bowien’s kung pao creation has been a hit on the menu since Mission Chinese Food opened in San Francisco in 2010. And you've gotta give him credit for the chutzpah it took to bring the dish to the Lower East Side, aka the pastrami capital of the world, where it was wildly received by the dining public as well as critics of the New York Times and New Yorker.