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Ben Hong

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Everything posted by Ben Hong

  1. I may be confused in the English terms. In Chinese (Cantones), we say "zhou yau" (running through hot oil). We use that technique for most of the dishes. ← The Toisanese pronounce it "guo yau" or "(pass) through the oil". That is not velveting, it is oil blanching. Velveting is what Dejah described...to make the meat smoother, or velvety. Terminologies can be confusing.
  2. Ginger, black beans and garlic comprise the Holy Trinity for this type of dish. Ginger is so much a part of it that some better packages of black beans have some bits of ginger in them. Sugar is optional, but if you use it just add a hint of it. I do not like oyster sauce in a lot of dishes, as it clouds over and muddies up a lot of individual ingredient tastes. Oyster sauce has high sugar and msg. content. It is a shortcut... good or bad is up to you.
  3. Gastro-Mui, let me do a little long distance diagnosis here. Knowing a bit of your parent's background, I would hazard a guess that your mother would cook like mine did and I do - stripped down to the essentials. Nothing wrong with your procedures, although if I do, I only blanch the bitter melon for about 2 minutes as I like a bit of crunch and bitterness. I did not notice that you mentioned any quantities, but if you're only cooking one portion for yourself, I would use only a scant 1 Tbs of black bean/garlic mix. Even though the black beans is the main flavour, you still want the ting him of the meat to show through. My mother, aunts and others would not normally use sesame oil, 5-spice, wine in this dish, as it is considered a humble everyday dish not a festive one. If you want that depth of flavour, add one scant pinch of mei ding OR 1/3 tsp. sugar, just before plating, add some sectioned green onions. My essential ingredients for this dish would be (1 portion): 1 x 10 in. melon 4 oz. meat 1/2 tbs. mashed black bean, garlic and ginger. Soy sauce, Pinch of sugar OR msg. Optionals are 4 drops of sesame oil and green onions both used at the very end. Oh, and exercise liquid control...in the dish that is
  4. Kau yook is one of the very few dishes in our cuisine that uses three different types of cooking...boiling, deep frying and steaming, to accomplish. Well worth the effort.
  5. My mother had a saying, "so-so hai yeung yook", meaning a little bit of "so" characterises it as lamb, also meaning that the distinctive taste comes with the territory. Tepee, I made the identical kau yook when my kids were home for Christmas. Since then, my son has made it twice at his place.
  6. I had bitter melon boats last night...halves of the gourds stuffed with fish/pork paste panfried, steamed, then topped off with a very light black bean/garlic sauce and coriander bits. A few chunks of hum gai, and a quick bowl of watercress soup completed the meal for us.
  7. Not off-topic to me. Will let your fellow countrymen answer your question. ← Habeas, what you are contemplating is commendable as we all know the benefits accruing to learning another language, especially when ordering food. In my experience dealing with foreigners of all stripes, I have found that due to the nuances and non verbal communications that sometimes arise, leave any formal (legal in your profession) communications to the expert translators. It is nice though, to know enough of a language to "cross reference" the translation. Peony: The Toysanese come from Toysan or Taishan (Mandarin), a coastal region of GuangDong province, that is located about 60 miles west of Macau as the crow flies. The Toysanese started coming to North America during the California gold rush of 1849 (hence the name "Gam Shan" or Golden Mountain for that continent). The building of the transcontinental railroads in both Canada and the USA during the latter part of the 19th century brought another huge influx of my people. Most were voluntary, but a lot were semi-slaves, brought here via kidnappings, press gangs and as indentured labour. Up until the 1970s, 95% (maybe more) of the Chinese in North America were Toysanese, so their dialect was the lingua franca of all the Chinese in North America, regardless whether they came from Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing...People who did not speak Toysan hua were considered to be almost "NON Chinese" As has been noted before, my dialect is still spoken widely in the Chinatowns all over the continent. Seriously the Toysanese of North America constituted a very homogeneous group because of the small region of China where we originated, the "six degrees of separation" was in perception, and in fact, only 2 degrees. Everyone knew everyone else. If you read the old threads in this forum, you will see that our foods are slightly different (humble?), especially those made in the traditional ways by the popo's of the family. Sadly we were also the people who gave the world chop suey, sweet and sour chicken balls, egg drop soup , moogoo guy pan, etc., ad nauseam.
  8. I would have a tendency to title the book "Dejah's View, All Over Again".
  9. I believe Ben was saying "the village" (gah hing) dishes - dishes that are popular in the rural areas in China. His would be Toisanese/Cantonese village style dishes. ← Ah Leung is right and more specifically it means the household or home. Ergo: "homecookin'"
  10. Grasshopper, by comparison to the many experts in homecooking here you and I have only begun. Peony, Tepee, Dejah inter alia are showing me what I should have learned from my mother. Since she is gone and I don't have any sisters, I'll humbly watch and learn how to make all these gah hing dishes of from all of you ladies. Thanks girls.
  11. For the edification of our little Gastro-Mui; "Love letters" normally involve two people, no? (5 roasted suckling pigs and a basket of loh poh beng........)
  12. TP: how did you make the pork floss? ← You buy it ready made.
  13. If you are spending U$D, the affordable hotel selection should be very large. As for places to eat, things change so fast in certain cities of China, that what's hot one week may not be so a week later. Speaking of hot, if you are to eat street food (preferred) make sure that the food you buy comes right out of the cooker, or is really piping hot. Stay away from food that's been sitting too long, don't eat salads or drink any tap water. Read up on precautions before you go.
  14. Isn't galangal similar in taste to young ginger root?
  15. And it's cheaper than dirt. They are my favourite stock "bones".
  16. Ham sui gok as made by the Toysan womenfolk does not have sugar in the pastry wrapper. Those made by the dimsum houses do. I don't know why. I guess it's one of those inscrutable things done by those inscrutable ornamentals.
  17. Great first post Majra. I have almost the identical set-up, only I had steel legs welded on to the short legs of the wok burner. There is enough room to put the gas tank under the burner then so it does not take up space. No cement blocks to stub my toes on either. One caveat though, I had to move my bbq and burner out of the screened porch as the grease was collecting on the screens, which had to be replaced. Except for deep frying, cooking in the rain is not a problem, especially if you have a designated umbrella porter.
  18. Dejah, that's fascinating. As a married daughter you're not allowed to eat at your mother's on New Year's? Is this because you're meant to be hosting your own NY's table? Or should be at your Mother in Law's table? ← Akiko, your guesses are mostly on the money. The daughter-in-law usually spends CNY day with the husband's (her) family. The day after (day#2) she will return to her Mother's, usually with kids in tow but usually not with the husband, for more feasting and celebrations. As you can see, the CNY period is GREAT for kids. She can return home any time after that (her children are the arbiters of schedules ) For general information, the CNY period is probably the biggest movement of people in such a short period, on earth. Every dutiful son/daughter must do all in their power to return home.
  19. That would be a better method - just like slipping branches of rosemary under the skin when roasting a chicken. The flesh is not pierced, so the juice would stay in the chicken. ← Why go through all that at all? Sometimes subtlety is best with chicken. The taste of the marinading spices and flavours can overpower the delicate taste of the chicken flesh. "IF" one eats the marinade laced skin, that would be enough flavouring to contrast the pure taste of the meat. Gotta eat the skin, y'all.
  20. Sailorboi, sailorboi...when are you going to invite your old Ben Sook to supper. That picture of the pork is an astoundingly effective stimulus to the salivary glands. Good job.
  21. I agree with the spirit of the statement but that's not entirely true. The best of Hong Kong is still the best albeit more expensive, however if you pit the best 50 restos of HK vs. the top 50 in Vancouver, my money is on Vancouver.
  22. Gastro Girl, yeah, I'd eat it as is because it looks delish. I would think that 90 minutes cooking would make the meat more unctuously succulent though. (You got a nice Chinese boy to share it with??)
  23. Thanks Nishla. Your words and pictures recall some of my food adventures in the '90s when I traveled to Taiwan extensively on business. Unfortunately, I mostly ate alone so I did not get to sample the varieties of food that you were so fortunate to experience, (excepting the many banquets, of course). Taiwan is ranked very high on my favourite places list.
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