Trade Secret: Black Magic

What's the secret ingredient behind the Myers + Chang flavor? Chinese black vinegar.
Photograph by Spencer Jones.

Photograph by Spencer Jones.

took over the kitchen at Asian eatery Myers + Chang, she knew she’d be cooking with a different flavor palette than the one that influenced her Mediterranean-style dishes at Via Matta and Oleana. But she had no idea how quickly she’d come to rely on a new ingredient: black vinegar. “The best Chinese black vinegars are produced in the province of Zhenjiang,” she says, “and lend a sweet, many-layered, almost smoky flavor.” The vinegar is her go-to for enhancing meat marinades, brightening hot-and-sour soup, and rounding out the fermented black bean vinaigrette atop her tea-smoked duck salad. “It’s my crush,” the chef says. “It picks up some of the same notes that balsamic vinegar picks up. It gives things a depth of flavor that you wouldn’t get from rice wine vinegar.” Want to try it at home? Grab a bottle at Asian markets like Ming’s in the South End or Hong Kong Supermarket in Allston, and try drizzling it over veggies or using it to perk up roast pork.