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Ben Hong

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Everything posted by Ben Hong

  1. Methinks bwv544 needs to get some life experience. Getting back to the original premise asserted by the bragging restaurant operator, every cuisine, art form, school of philosophy, national literature, etc. has it's simplistic forms and it's complicated constructs. Outwardly a piece of fish on a bit of sweet rice is easy to make, but it takes literally years to learn how to make good sushi.
  2. Pork stomach is the actual stomach, not belly pork. Best way to cook it (for me) is to long simmer it in "loo Sui", or master sauce.
  3. How to Cook and Eat in Chinese by Bu Wei Yang Chao was my bible almost 50 years ago when I was a peripatetic young adult who needed a Chinese food fix once in a while, and my elders weren't there to guide me. I will freely admit (confess) that I have a very extensive collection of Chinese cookbooks which are neatly shelved in my kitchen, but rarely used, Buwei is my "go to" girl if I ever need a reminder of a procedure or ingredient.
  4. Just a couple of observations on this excellent thread: ...arrowhead and arrowroot are two different plants ...the reduction method of thickening a dish will work, but only with those dishes (like Chris' originally mentioned dish) where the vast bulk of the ingredients will not deteriorate with the reduction process. For example, if you served me a dish of peashoots or water spinach thickened by the reduction method, I would be calling you all sorts of uncomplimentary names. The reduction method is not recommended for stir frying as it is contradictory to the whole idea of a quick, hot procedure yielding crisp results with good mouth feel. Buerre maniere in Chinese cooking? Another argument against the melting pot approach to a culturally inclusive society.
  5. I beg to differ from this view and I agree with Liuzhou. Ramen is from the northern Chinese' "la mein", or pulled noodles. You and liuzhou may disagree all you want, that is your prerogative. I always forget to use it, but let wikipedia be your friend: enter ramen, scroll down to the "history" chapter and it's there in black and white, second last sentence of the paragraph. In this case we are all correct in our own way, but maybe, just maybe, you should be more certain before you call an old geezer out. I suppose an apology from either of you would be out of the question.
  6. No they don't. Some Cantonese speakers do. There is an [r] sound in Mandarin. I've been living in China for 15 years and have met only one or two people who couldn't say [r]. No. It's much more likely to be a 'corruption' of "la mian" (拉面), something quite different. Speaking as a Toyshanese speaking almost 70 year old "loh wah kieu", I have fallen into that group's mindset that anyone who doesn't speak Toyshanese (or at least Cantonese) really isn't speaking Chinese at all!! As for the la mian vs lo mein topic, I will stick by my original explanation, as it was explained to me by one of my learned Japanese diplomat colleagues. If he was wrong then I am wrong, but what the hey, I prefer his side of things. But I like your certitude in correcting me. Me, I like to be a little more circumspect - the result of years training and working in a profession that deals in things which are much more nebulous and nuanced than some internet bulletin board .
  7. And how do you prepare yours? Heidih, "lo mein" means mixed noodles, which in all its permutations and interpretations is akin to the generic "fried rice" ie: there is no set recipe. Reduced to its basic connotations, it means stir fried noodles to me (and most people). But, there is always a "but" in any argument, interpretations can trump the standard orthodoxy of what we normally assume is the "correct" form and format. Like this: the Japanese term "ramen" is in fact the corruption of the Chinese term "lo mein". Most native bred Japanese cannot produce the "L" sound, just as most native Chinese speakers have trouble with the "R" sound. We all know of the various guises and forms that the humble "ramen" can assume. To answer your question, I would have to reply: "Whatever ingredients I have on hand would determine how I cook my meatless lo mein, or soy sauce noodles. Or, better still whatever my wife feels like having - dry-ish, moist, wet, or crisp. I hope that I have answered your question.
  8. This dish is nothing more than meatless lo mein.
  9. I doubt if 99 out of 100 people could detect the difference. Please excuse the cynicism...
  10. Ben Hong

    Pig head

    Mention a pig's head to a "real" gastronome of Chinese heritage and be ready to catch him as he swoons. I have sat at a table where the head was the featured (only) meat. Except for show at the beginning, we never saw the full head again, what we did see was about 20 different dishes using every constituent part of the head, in about 12 different cooking methods. Probably as good a meal as I have eaten anywhere.
  11. The absolute essential fermented ingredients in any Cantonese pantry are: fuyu, salt fish, ham ha, choong choi, and ja choi. There are no nor can be ,substitutes
  12. If you find that NY Chinese foods have a different taste than that of Singapore, you should keep in mind that Singapore and New York received Chinese people from different parts of China in the diaspora. New York Chinese back 75/100 years ago were mainly Toyshan people and the Singapore Chinese were of TeoChow, Fujian stock. Sometimes they have very different customs, styles and cuisines... The tray of goodies in the photo was most definitely lovingly made by a li'l ole popo from Toyshan. Delish!!
  13. Goodness Ling! With the culinary skills and beauty that you are endowed with, why are you eating alone?? (Please take this question as if it were from your very own aged Ben sook!) As for me, there is just my wife and I living in the country an hour away from Chinese friends and relatives...and it just so happened that there was a storm on the night we were to get together. Real bummer. With this unexpected change of plans, I thawed out some char siu, loo'ed a chicken and blanched some wilted gai lan. Delish.
  14. Tedious?? Let geometry be your friend. Cut 10 strips of 12"wide parchment paper 3" wide, stack the strips, double, cut, stack again, double and cut again. Presto ! 40 pieces of 3X3. Total time =3minutes. NOT EXPENSIVE!
  15. There can be no real cuisine in "Chinese Cuisine" without chicken feet. One cannot claim the appellation of "Chinese food gourmet" if one does not appreciate chicken feet, you would be only nibbling at the edges...so to speak! Now that the levity requirements for this topic has been met, let me say that chicken feet, or "Phoenix claws" has divided the foodie culture of China neatly (!) into two, half loving it and the other half unable to countenance the stuff. In Chinese cooking, chicken feet is used much like in other cuisines, but where Chinese cuisine trumps all others is in the dim sum restaurant. "Phoenix claws" slow braised in aromatic soy sauce redolent with star anise, Ginger, pepper, Szechan pepper corns, etc. till the gristle and sinews have been denatured into unctuous, velvety, aromatic lusciousness transcends the ugly English term that it has been cursed by. You have probably guessed which camp I fall in.
  16. Some people like pheasant, But I find that they can be tough when taken in the wild, much too much exercise from being so free ranging. My favorite game bird is the Hungarian or grey partridge taken off a Saskatchewan wheat stubble field where they have been loitering and fattening on grain. Ambrosia doesn't begin to describe it. I love your handle. Sounds a lot better than "nun's farts". It's one of my favorite desserts, where I live.
  17. I am veteran wingshooter, and I travel with my bird dogs pretty well all over North America...eastern Canada(ruffed grouse, woodcock),Saskatchewan (hungarian partridge, sharp tail grouse) Kansas, Nebraska(quail, pheasant) Manitoba(waterfowl) etc.Being a hunter has spoiled me, because there is nothing, no raised game bird , that will ever taste as good as the birds in my freezer. But my birds are costly, probably in the vicinity of $25.00 per ounce, factoring in gas, dog food, vet bills (porcupine quillage) airline tickets, guns and ammo, food and libations, license fees, accommodations, wear and tear on mechanical and human equipment, etc...etc...etc... As for cooking wild birds, I have found that the KISS method is best in most cases. If dry heat or frying is involved, the meat MUST be rare.
  18. Don't need no steenkin' holes, just 3" x 3" squares of parchment paper. Absolutely non-stick.
  19. Someone else mentioned the fact there is a difference between the doughs of steamed baos and the baked ones, there is also a difference in the doughs that go into different style baos. The dai bao or big bao generally is a bigger bao than the tea house dimsum variety...heavier, with a lot more filling etc., and generally made with yeast, although I add baking powder too. And, the whole thing is not sweet but savoury. The fou-fou dimsum variety is made with cake flour and baking powder. In these both the filling and dough are decidedly sweet. To eliminate the mis-shapened and pinched appearance of your baos, use enough fresh yeast (or baking powder), process and let rise twice, make baos and give them enough time to rise and get plump, eliminating the creases and pleats,
  20. Gung hei fat choi. I had to revive this thread on baozi simply because while making a batch of buns I made a very, very useful discovery. Instead of using waxed paper, lettuce(gaakk), tissue paper, etc. I used parchment paper as a substitute when I ran out of waxed paper. Eureka! No more peeling paper off the bottoms, parchment just doesn't stick.
  21. Ahhh, that is exactly my feeling. Proving once again that one should read a book before reviewing it! Cumin in "Chinese" cooking? Fill your boots!
  22. Ben Hong


    "Ho see sung". No Chinese New Year's dinner would be complete without this dish. Oysters, dried or fresh, is of the class of "good fortune foods" that is "de rigueur" at festive occasions.
  23. The beauty of Chinese cuisine lies in its flexibility and its openness to being adapted to individual interpretations. Individual cooks can and will do things slightly different than another person to produce the same dish, as long as he does not stray too far from the original recipe. For example, beef and broccoli is still beef and broccoli if you use a dash of soy sauce, a pinch of sugar and a smidgen of msg in place of a missing oyster sauce. My point is not to slavishly follow one author or another's recipes just so you can call the resultant dish authentic. Having said that, Grace Young's recipes are not my recipes, nor are they exactly the same as those of some of my "homeys" from my village region.I find that Young sometimes plays loose, and sometimes rather fast, with some of her interpretations of "standard" recipes, as familiar as they seem to be. Come on, sesame oil is very very rarely used, if at all, by home cooks of Toysan. Cumin? Ya gots to be kidding! I don't believe that her friends and relatives use those recipes when they are cooking for family (they are Toysanese I believe), and all that "dressing" up is gilding the recipes to make it look more complicated than it is (or should be)...inscrutable? BTW, the Cantonese term for oil blanching is goh yau, or "pass through the oil", and make that oil hot please, else the meat, fowl or fish would be oil soaked.
  24. In our restaurants a long time ago, no one makes yeungchow fried rice the same twice in a row. You use whatever is at hand, as long as the procedure and main ingredients are relatively similar in each production. Rice, egg, char siu, (or other bits of meat), green peas and carrot bits (right out of the freezer bag), chopped onions, scallions, seasonings (no oyster sauce) AND (drums please) a small handful of bean sprouts mixed in at the very end. It's the colours, momma, and the textures. Also, a bit of garlic never hurts. It seems that I have broken every caveat someone listed.
  25. Cloves have a tendency to overwhelm any dish so be very very judicious in its usage. The LKK Lo Shui is a waste of money and superfluous to this dish as a raincoat is for a duck. You already have all the flavour ingredients in the recipe, eg: 5-spice, chan pei, ginger, etc. etc. And while I am in the iconoclastic mood, I will say that beef shank or shin is best, but any cut of meat that has tendons, gristle and long muscle fibres would do...like short ribs. Unless of course you want to do a fancy dancy presentation of the meat as an appetizer.
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