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Poached mussels on the half shell

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced fermented black beans
1 1/2 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine
1 teaspoon salt
24 mussels, scrubbed, "beard" removed
1/4 cup sweet red pepper, finely diced
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon sugar
2 scallions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved with an equal amount of cold water

1. Heat wok over highest possible heat until smoking-hot.
2. Add oil along with black beans, garlic, ginger, and red pepper. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.
3. Add stock, shaoxing, soy sauces, oyster sauce, sugar, salt, and white pepper.
4. Bring to a boil and allow to reduce for about 1 minute.
5. Thicken sauce by adding 1 tablespoon dissolved cornstarch until sauce returns to a boil and thickens. Add more cornstarch a teaspoon at a time until it reaches the consistency of oyster sauce.
6. Stir in scallions and take off heat; pour out of wok into a separate bowl and cool.
7. Meanwhile, bring a quart of salted water to a boil.
8. Add 4 or 5 mussels to boiling water. Watch closely; after a few seconds, they will begin to open. Using a slotted spoon, remove mussels as they open into a colander suspended over a bowl.
9. The mussels should be set and just heated through, almost raw in the center. If you want them more well-done, cook for an additional 10-20 seconds once they open.
10. Continue cooking the rest of the mussels, 4 or 5 at a time, until they all open; cool briefly.
11. To serve, discard the upper half of each shell, taking care to drain any liquid that may have accumulated.
12. Decoratively arrange mussels on a serving platter. Top each with a tablespoon of reserved sauce.
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