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"You should use garlic with pork and ginger with beef and never vice versa."

This is coming from my dad who says that fact has been handed down from generations and generations of Chinese cooking. He says if I mix it (i.e. cook pork with ginger and beef with garlic), there will be an unpleasant taste. Maybe he's just exaggerating, I'm not sure. Do you think there is any truth to this saying?

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I've certainly never seen this in print; it sounds like some strange family tradition to me. – Aaronut Apr 22 '11 at 15:47
maybe it is just that Dad doesn't like it any other way ... – Debbie A Apr 22 '11 at 16:19
up vote 16 down vote accepted

Whether or not it's a good idea is subjective, but the Chinese seem to break that rule a lot! For example, Northeastern Chinese sweet and sour pork (guō bāo ròu) is characterized by an intense ginger flavor. The Sichuan classic twice cooked pork (huí guō ròu) calls for boiling the pork with ginger. A common condiment for beef dishes/sauces is black bean garlic paste (蒜蓉豆豉酱). Perhaps this saying is associated with a specific Chinese regional cuisine?

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Whenever I see never I feel uneasy and want to try it anyway :)

Beef + garlic works very well. It's often used in middle eastern and Japanese cuisine for example. Pork and ginger is a common combination in Chinese cooking.

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+1 for the first line. I may quote you on that. – Jolenealaska Dec 5 '13 at 23:21

It's a myth - look at the number of steakhouses that serve steaks with garlic butter sauces/dressings.

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I guess its up to your personal preference, there are a lot of beef dishes with garlic and one good example is beef and broccoli also with pork most of the Asian stir fries uses pork and ginger and they do taste great.

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The pork marinade we use in our family even combines the two: one part each of sesame oil, soy sauce and sherry, equal amounts of ginger&garlic.

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