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Everything posted by HKDave

  1. The classic African Chicken was the version that used to be served at Henri's Galley restaurant in Macau - that's the recipe that Gourmet Magazine published years ago. I'm pretty sure this is it, I've cooked this and it came out just like I remembered: -------------------- African Chicken (Source: Henri's Galley, Macau) A 3 -3 1/2 lb. Chicken, halved, quartered or cut into pieces. Marinade for Chicken 1 teaspoon minced dried hot chile pepper 1 teaspoon minced garlic 2 tablespoons minced shallot 1 teaspoon paprika 2 teaspoon five-spice powder 2 teaspoon crumpled dried rosemary Salt & Pepper to taste. In a bowl mix all the above ingredients and rub into chicken and in a shallow dish let the chicken marinate, covered and chilled, for at least six hours or preferably overnight. Sauce 1 cup minced shallot 1/2 cup minced garlic 1 1/2 cups minced red bell pepper 1/2 cup corn oil 1/2 cup sweet paprika 1 cup grated coconut 1/2 cup natural style peanut butter 1 1/2 cups chicken broth 2 bay leaves (dry) 3 tablespoons corn oil 1 potato In a sauce pan cook the shallots, garlic and bell pepper in oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the bell peppers are softened. Stir in the parika, coconut, peanut butter, bay leaf and the chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes and then discard the bay leaves. In a large skillet heat the oil over moderately high heat and brown the chicken with the potato cut into one inch cubes. Transfer the chicken and potatoes into a baking dish, spoon 2 cups of the sauce over the chicken and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Add remaining sauce to obtain the right consistency and amount of sauce of your own choice and preference. ----------------- Ideally I would butterfly and grill the chicken until you get some charred bits, rather than just browning it as above - I'm pretty sure that's the way the restaurant did it. The version of African Chicken they serve at Henri's Galley today (well, as of a year or so ago, I haven't been there in a while) omits peanut butter, and uses coconut milk instead of grated coconut, but 10 years ago at the time of the Gourmet article they definitely had peanut butter and coconut in the sauce. I asked the current owner about the peanut butter and he didn't know what I was talking about, not a good sign. I should make trip there soon and see what it's like now. Many other restaurants in Macau have this dish on the menu, just ask if a) it's grilled and b) it has peanuts somewhere in the sauce (that's what makes it 'African') to make sure you're getting the real deal. Cheers, Hong Kong Dave
  2. Nope, Q uses the oil-based type of sauce. There are some sesame seeds in it, but they're not crushed. They serve the noodles and sauce in one bowl, and a broth (which looks like rice water with some green onion) in another. It's not fancy but the flavour is there. I didn't try the dan dan at Man Jiang Hong, but everything else there was good. Their prices are also very good by HK standards - more than 4 of us could eat, with 3 beer, for HK$600. Reserve a table early, they are busy. This week I copied Q's recipe at home using Shanghai noodles, their sauce, some ground pork, garnished with crushed peanuts and scallion, and it was the real deal. Use less of that sauce than you think.... good news is now I don't have to go to Wanchai or Whampoa (or the mainland) when I need a dan dan fix.
  3. ecr, thanks for the report, I'll definitely give Da Ping Huo another look - your experience sounds a lot better than others I've heard. BTW, you wouldn't happen to be foodfirst, would you? I saw a similar question to yours on another board. If so, thanks for that great addition to my Saigon post there.... On Saturday I went to both Q and Man Jiang Hong per Anniewood's post (thanks again, Annie!), above, and they're both authentic. Q is a great deal, HK$15 -20 for dan dan and variations thereof (and that's basically all they serve), Man Jiang Hong is a full menu Sichuan restaurant. I bought a jar of Q's 'special sauce' for $50 for making my own dan dan at home, then found basically the same thing 15 minutes later at the shop under Man Jiang Hong for $20 :-( The people sharing our table at Q recommended another (more upscale?) Sichuan place, which the Q people or their friends apparently own: Sijie Sichuan Dishes, Unit 289, 2/f Kowa Building, 285 Lockhart Road Wanchai, tel: 2802 2250. Haven't tried it out yet, but hope to soon. And now I must humbly apologize for saying above "I can't recommend anywhere for 'good homestyle' Sichuan food in HK " There definitely are some good options!
  4. Hi anniewood, I knew about 'Q' and that hotpot place, but not Man Jiang Hong - thanks for the suggestion! I love dumplings.... also good to know about that shop selling Sichuan ingredients. The best dan dan mein I've had in HK recently - this is going to sound strange - was in the Cathay Pacific business lounge at HK airport. They have a noodle bar in the lounge (there are 2 lounges, both have noodle bars), and the dan dan mein is great, as long as you spike it with a bit of extra chili oil. I'm trying to find out their recipe, it looks very simple to make but I haven't been able to re-create it.
  5. Yes, it's only been there for a couple of years. Gary, it's in the building basically on top of the Whampoa bus terminal, right beside the landlocked concrete boat. Same building as the UA cinema. Directions for visitors: Take bus No 8A from Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Bus Terminal, or take green minibus No 6 in Tsim Sha Tsui (Hankow Road), and alight at the last terminal. Whampoa Gourmet Place is adjacent to the terminal. Go up escalator to the 1st and 2nd floors.
  6. LittleSuperhero is right, chow mein isn't on many menus here in Hong Kong. You tend to find it at 'old school' type Cantonese restaurants. But just about any restaurant will make it on request. The usual prep here in HK for the popular seafood version is a base of crispy fried mein (the hint of smoke flavour discussed earlier is the thread is from some of the noodles on the bottom just stating to brown, not sesame oil. And yes, you do need a hot wok) with stir fried seafood (shrimp, squid, scallop and/or fish), a couple of slices of carrot and ginger, garnish with a couple pieces of blanched choi sum and a straw mushroom or two, and finish with a semi-clear sauce of cornstach-thickened stock. Red vinegar served on the side. Yung Kee does a good version. Funny thing is, it's always the first thing to be eaten whenever anyone orders it. It may not be a modern classy Chinese dish but everyone - Chinese or not - seems to like it! I find that even at swank banquet-style business meals, there may be leftover lobster or goose or steamed garoupa, but never leftover chow mein. The New York version Eddie is talking about is unknown to me - bean sprouts? celery? onion? Not usually found in Pacific-rim chow mein, at least in my experience. But probably delicious anyway. Purist chow mein is a contradiction in terms.
  7. It's going to be tough to pick just 5.... and I have a feeling this is going to be a looooong post. 1. Mid 1960s, the late 'Green Door' restaurant, in a junkie-infested alley off Main Street at the edge of Chinatown, Vancouver. I was a little kid, and my family didn't have much money. For a treat, we would go to cheap back-alley homestyle Cantonese restaurants, which existed to feed the gamblers at the mah jong parlours 'hidden' from the police in the front rooms. My brother and I were always terrified to go. The neighbourhood was rough and nobody spoke English. But the food left me with a taste for Cantonese home cooking that survives to this day. Most memorable dish was plain old stewed beef and turnips, just like Mom used to make if your Mom is Cantonese, which mine isn't. I ran into the very same dish on a ferry going from Hong Kong to Zhongshan a few weeks ago - I could smell what was for lunch as soon as they wheeled the big stew pot on board. 2. Late 70s, Yang's Restuarant, Vancouver. Taiwan-style spicy beef and home-made noodle soup, and long pan-fried pork and veg dumplings with a sweetened vinegar dipping sauce, served only on Sundays for breakfast. Some of the best food I've ever had anywhere. I've been living in Asia 13 years now and am still looking for the equal of this soup. The secret, I think, was that Mr Yang was not a very good noodle maker. His noodles were always thick (almost udon-sized) and irregular. In China the chefs are trained to make them thin and perfect. But spicy beef soup tasted better with Mr Yang's noodles. 3. Mid 80s, Dong Feng Hotel, Guangzhou. My first Official Chinese Government Banquet, complete with Mao-suited party cadres and toasts to Sino-Canadian friendship with mao tai liquor, and a wide eyed 25 year old on his first trip to China as part of a trade mission. First time for snake, for turtle and for whatever else Guangzhou could dream up. I can't say I enjoyed it, or any other formal Chinese banquet I've had since - give me home cooking any day, or at least the White Swan hotel instead of the Dong Feng! - but it sure was memorable. 4. 1990s, the duck rice place beside the coffin shop on Soi On Nut, Prawes area, Bangkok, Thailand. I moved to Bangkok in '89 and was doing business mostly with Thai Chinese factory owners. Eating (and drinking) was an important of business, especially if, like me, you were trying to be a good boy and not participate in all the other Thai business entertainment related activites. I got a thorough introduction to Thai Chinese food and Johnnie Walker Black Label, but my favorite (much to the disgust of my friends, who throught the place was totally low-class) was a non-aircon concrete shophouse only open for lunch that served roast duck on rice, and a couple of kinds of dim sum. That's it. It's still there, and I still go back when I'm in the area. 5. 1991, the Sichuan restaurant in the HuangPu Export Processing Zone, Guangzhou. I was now living in Hong Kong and was commuting to work in Guangzhou every week. One factory I was working with used to regularly take guests to this restaurant. My first taste of honest, firey, oily explosive Sichuan cooking. The place was filthy - no other way to describe it. Rats literally running across the floor. But the food was great. 'Ants climbing a tree' style bean thread noodles, mapo tofu swimming in bright red chili oil, boiled pork dumplings with soy and garlic dipping sauce (ok, more Northern style than Sichuan, but still memorable)..... I managed to talk the chef into selling me some of his spices so I could try (without success) to recreate the dishes at home in Hong Kong. Just this year I was in the neighbourhood and went back for old time's sake. They've cleaned the place up, and the food isn't as good as I remember - but that may just be because I've had so much Sichuan food since then. It's just down the street from the McDonalds, if you're in HuangPu. OK, that's 5 already, so I'll stop without telling you about dim sum at the Pink Pearl. Although I've lived in Asia 13 years now, my first stop direct from the airport in Vancouver is the Pink Pearl for dim sum - their nor mei gai is better than any you'll find in Asia. And we won't talk about any of the seafood places in Hong Kong or up the Pearl River. Or shark's fin at the late Sam Heng in Bangkok, politically incorrect as shark's fin may be these days. Or still-warm bbq pork and sausage from the Dollar Meat Store, back in Vancouver. Or....
  8. Wang Lai Yuen in Whampoa Gourmet is very well known for dan dan mein. Everyone I know that's been there, loves it. I've tried to go there a couple times but have always been deterred by long lineups (which are a good sign, I guess!) The owners ran the late great dan dan mein shack in Diamond Hill squatter area for 50 years, and haven't changed the recipe. Thanks for reminding me, I'll have to make another attempt to go there. I've been to other HK branches of two of the other restaurants there, Spicy Crab and Guangdong BBQ. Both are good but no need to make a special trip to Hung Hom to visit them. Link to all the restuarants at Whampoa Gourmet: http://www.whampoaworld.com/choi_e.htm
  9. I can't recommend anywhere for 'good homestyle' Sichuan food in HK - it's all watered down for local tastes, never enough chilies or oil or Sichuan pepper. If you want real Sichuan it's necessary to cross the border. There are great cheap homestyle Sichuan places in all every industrial town up and down the Pearl River. A couple I like in Guangzhou are: HuongGuaLiang Sichuan restaurant #472 TianHe Road Tel : 87514668 XiaoDuongTian Sichuan restaurant ChuongZhing Building , #76 LuongLingXia Road Tel : 87752091 My favorite: Small Sky Cave Sichuan Restaurant (I don't know the Chinese name/address, but this one actually has an English menu) Tel 87767856 All the above are about 1/5 the price of Hong Kong and far, far better foodwise. Some serious foodie friends of mine have been to the husband-wife-opera place you mention, and they have been generally unexcited with the food. It's more of a novelty than a great meal.
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