How to make?

barb_roselover_inJuly 19, 2014

Went to eat at a Chinese restaurant last night and they had something on their salad bar that intrigued me. It was somethng like a wilted lettuce but was the solid head of lettuce . It had a puckery, vinegar-like dressing. (not a balsamic or cider). Hit the spot with me and I went back for seconds. Didn't taste low sodium though. Does that sound familiar to anyone? Barb

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Salad bar in a Chinese restaurant? That's a new one to me!

A typical Chinese dressing would be simply a sweetened white rice vinegar.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 1:14AM
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How large was the solid head of lettuce?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 3:16PM
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It was one of those that has several different tables, one with salads, one with meat, one with desserts, etc, maybe it was Japanese. It is rather new here. It was chopped up, not a solid head but that kind of lettuce and not the romaine, iceberg, etc. I am rather sure it was a rice vinegar, but it was not sweet. If it doesn't sound familiar to anybody, I am sorry that I cannot be more explicit. Thanks anyway. Barb

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 3:47PM
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By saying it was the solid head of lettuce, I thought at first you meant that the whole head of lettuce was sitting there, intact! Now I think you mean that it was iceberg lettuce, chopped up, right?

I think that Sushipup is correct that it was probably a sweetened white rice vinegar on it. Could you ask the restaurant?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:23PM
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I figure that it was white rice vinegar with sugar and some salt, but it had an additional flavor that I could not put my finger on. I wonder if it could have been ginger? I read in the paper where the Dept of Health had found some things they did not like, so I don't feel like going in there and asking. I don't really feel they were too friendly either. Appreciate you taking the time to answer. Barb

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:46PM
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Oh! I thought you said it wasn't sweet, and sugar is a key component of the one I know (as in tastes weird without any), so I didn't say anything before.

There's a basic kind of Chinese dressing that's rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt, MSG (though you can leave it out), regular oil and Asian sesame oil. The thick dark pungent kind of sesame oil that you only use small amounts of for flavoring, rather than the golden kind you cook with.

This is a Chinese recipe I got from a Japanese friend, to give you proportions, but it's not a published recipe or anything. You could try it and see if it's anything close to what you had and adjust the proportions if it's on the right track. It's very sweet, though, so maybe try half the sugar. You can also try adding ginger if it isn't. Some form of this dressing is very popular for lettuce salads, so it might have the base ingredients of the one you liked and maybe just needs spices or something.

2 TBSP sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ajinoinoto (MSG)
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 TBSP Asian sesame oil
1/4 c. salad oil (e.g., Soybean or Canola)
3 TBSP rice wine vinegar

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 11:25PM
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(I am informed that Chinese buffet-type restaurants do have salad bars, so I learned something!)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 11:39PM
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Every Chinese buffet I've ever been to has had a salad bar.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 8:10AM
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(Just shows that my experience has been limited!)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 10:02AM
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Did it have just a tint of orange to it?

Makoto-Style Japanese Salad Dressing


o 1 piece peeled gingerroot
o 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
o 1 tablespoon chopped onions
o 1 tablespoon water
o 1/4 cup vegetable oil
o 1 teaspoon sesame oil
o 1 tablespoon tomato paste
o 1 pinch sugar
o 1 pinch salt
o 2 tablespoons soy sauce


  1. Combine ingredients in a blender and process until fairly smooth.
  2. Store in the refrigerator.
    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 10:14AM
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Angelaid, that sounds great! Thanks, I've saved it.

Q: That's the intense dark sesame oil, right?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 1:10PM
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I'm going to guess that it was chopped Napa cabbage (aka Chinese cabbage), rather than lettuce. If it was chopped and dressed and sat for a bit it would appear to be slightly wilted, I think. Just guessing. :)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 6:21PM
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