Hop Sing had a real life cookbook
Bonanza's Victor Sen Yung cooked on and off TV.
Have you ever watched Bonanza and thought "I wish I could eat like those Cartwright fellows." Especially that Hoss.
Well, it turns out that folks have been able to cook dinner the Ponderosa way ever since 1978. That's the year when Victor Sen Yung, the show's Hop Sing, released his "Great Wok Cookbook." The actor capitalized on Bonanza's popularity, and his profile as the show's chef character, to get his recipes into bookstores everywhere.
In a 1978 profile in the Lincoln Journal Star, Sen Yung detailed what made his recipes so special.
"There's no mystery to Chinese cooking," said Sen Yung. "It's as simple as frying an egg — the main thing is to try."
His goal in writing the book, according to Sen Yung was to "have a wok in every home" in the United States. A wok is, to him, a "very scientifically constructed" piece of kitchenware, and so he included a lot of info about care and maintenance.
Apparently, a common mistake made by new wok-owners is overcleaning. Once a wok has been properly cured, it's important not to scrub it too much. A hot water rinse, a light wipe-down, and a few drops of oil are all it takes to keep up a good wok. When the wok has taken on a black color like a cast iron skillet, it's reached its prime.
"That's when it's good," said Sen Yung. "Like an old friend."