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Ben Hong

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Posts posted by Ben Hong

  1. That New Years dish is usually made with the gizzards,livers and hearts, of whatever New Years fowl we were having, all sliced very thin. Duck parts are the best, along with "set" ducks' or chicken blood, also thinly sliced. No garlic in it at our house, maybe a sprig or two of cilantro or scallions.

    To me lotus root was used mainly for the texture and the crunch. It's funny how I always associate lotus root with New Year, along with sei kou (corm of a type of hyacinthe I think). Sei kou , cured belly pork (Chinese Bacon),and scallions is a match made in heaven.

  2. I don't know if anyone here grew up in a pre-revolution village in China. But, one of my favourite food memories was coming home to lunch from school and seeing my mother dig a small crock out of the ashes of the wok lu (stove). That crock held a treasure that I have not enjoyed since those times - thick jook with salt fish and a bit of ginger slowed cooked in the embers of the stove for 3 hours. We called it "doh fut jook" or stove cavity jook.

    I miss my Mother.

  3. It's amazing that no one has mentioned ngow yuk jook, or niu rou chou. Thinly sliced tender beef marinated in soy sauce, a small pinch of sugar, sesame oil. Put over boiling hot bowlful of jook, add scallions, shredded iceberg lettuce and white pepper. Yummm.

    Jook cooking: 1 to 7 rice to water ratio. I use half long grain and half glutinous rice.

    Bring to boil, immediately turn down to low, low simmer. Add nothing, but stir a lot.

    Basic comfort: jook with raw salmon slices, scallions, ginger slivers, white pepper, mam nuoc. Or, just mam nuoc, scallions and white pepper.

    Fancy dancy toppings: pork tripe; or pork liver; or oysters and/or scallops; the latter is similar to sampan rice.

    Speaking of sampans, memories of eating on a gently rocking sampan in the middle of HK harbour, catered to by a boat girl (dang ga nui) who also operated the boat, in the early sixties.......mmmm

  4. Favourite childhood memory # 1021 : Lop yuk cooked on top of rice, then sliced thin and served to me on top of a heaping ricebowl by Mother . Sometime she tossed in some roasted peanuts.

    Lop yuk is easy enough to make, but why bother? Living in a small city where all the local butcher shops have been displaced by supermarkets , it is nigh on impossible to find rind-on belly pork.

    When rind-on belly pork is available, here was the procedure that I used:

    Cut pork belly into 1 inch wide strips. Marinate in a "heavy" marinade of :salt, dark soy, rum or other spirits, black pepper, sugar, and for safety's sake, a bit of saltpetre. String each piece and hang in an airy, cool dry, place until it attains the right feel. Store in a fridge.

  5. Guys, this "lo wah kiu" almost became "banana-ized", for there were years when I did not speak Chinese, for reasons of opportunity or choice. In mid life, I tried to catch up and recoup what I had lost. I will always feel indebted to my uncle (sook) and mother for their infinite patience in putting up with an adult asking childish questions. Sadly, I lost both of them a couple of years ago. But, I am still learning.

    I have never been called a banana, as I don't think that anyone would have dared to, given my former persona, even in jest. But I have been called "jook sing" as a matter of course by my grand uncles and other old farts. :blink:

  6. Except for Quebec and Newfoundland, until very recently most of Canada was in the grip of the presbyterian approach to food. Meat and potatoes. Spices and flavourings other than salt and pepper? Don't ask. There are regional nuances, but thank goodness for the immigrants.

  7. I work a lot with the diplomatic community in Toronto, especially the Taiwan, China and Hong Kong consular offices. One evening after a magnificent repast at a superb place in the "Burbs, I was quite shocked and pleased to hear the rave reviews given by some of these officials. They proclaimed that on an average basis, Toronto would rival Hong Kong in Chinese food quality and preparation. Of course, the BEST of Hong Kong is still unapproachably great. These comments came from people who know a thing or two about fine dining.

  8. "Tee doy" in Toishanese, or "tay jai" in Cantonese means the same thing...the broad category of litlle pastries. ("tee" or "tay" means pastries in the broad sense, "doy, or jai means small or little).Some are made with sweet glutinous rice dough, usually with a sweet peanut type stuffing, rolled in sesame seeds, blown up and deep fried. Others are savoury types suffed with meat and chung choy, etc., made with different types of dough are steamed, or can be panfried.

    "Tee" or "tay", generically means pastries, not in the french sense, but anything made for snacks. (I'm not doing a good job of conveying nuance here). But some dimsum, such as hum sui gok, wu tao gok, lobok gok, water chestnut "tee" are generically speaking "tee" or "tay".

  9. The ultimate cold weather dish is dog cooked in the style of the above mentioned mutton casserole. Way back in the mists of time when I was a child in the home village I remember missing a couple of favourite pets one winter. :biggrin: Now being a westernized dog lover (not to eat), I can't imagine the scenario.

    Of course my favourite alltime cold weather dish in Hong Kong and other parts of Guangdong province is snake soup. YUMMMMM

  10. "Kou yuk" or kow yuk, is boiled, deep fried and then steamed for a long time with red fermented bean curd, a little sugar, anise, etc. Lawdy it's lunch time, I gotta go and EAT a ham sandwich :raz:

  11. I may be slightly biased, but I do think that a good Chinese chef does a far superior job on all kinds of seafood than anyone else. There is no one other than a Chinese cook that can cook a shrimp to perfection where that proof of perfection is the luscious crispy crunch (not tough) as the shrimp pops with your bite.

    My favourite lobster dish? Split live 1.5 pound lobster longitudinally in half, place halves on a platter flesh side up, sprinkle with some finely julienned ginger and good light soy sauce and steam for 3 minutes at very high heat. When done sprinkle some julienned scallions on top and splatter with hot oil. Enjoy.

    Oh, I live in the province of New Brunswick where one of our major exports is shellfish, especially lobster. BUT you can find better prices in the Chinatowns ofToronto. Go figure. :hmmm:

  12. Halleluija, the masses have discovered our secret, now the pork belly futures will skyrocket :raz: Streaky belly pork is the ONLY cut of pork suitable to serve in some households before dat scary ole debil cholesterol raised its fat head. What took everybody so long to "discover" fatty pork belly????

    Dejah, you mentioned leftover roast pork belly with shrimp sauce, I like fresh fatty belly with shrimp sauce, sprinkled with ginger and scallion slivers. Eating it takes me back to cuddling in my mothers lap while being fed chopstickful by chopstickful. AAAAHHHHHH!!!

    The other great dish is kou yuk. But I mustn't forget lop yuk steamed on top of cooking rice.

  13. I guess that deep in the mists of my memory, our family rituals at the Wintewr Solstice mirrored Dejah's family affair somewhat. As a young man, I really paid no attention to those thing which were the province of women and girls. Now regrettably, almost all of my older female relatives have passed and the new generation has very little ambition to carry on with the old ways, if indeed they knew at all.

    BTW, I hated the sweet yuen, loved the savoury kind. Unfortunately, at that time, glutinous rice balls gave me long bouts of the "back door relays". :rolleyes:

  14. OK, stop it right now! It's not yet supper time and you are making me hungry. On the other hand you people just gave me ideas for supper. :biggrin:

    My wife is an English rose, born in England and has come to LOVE the more, ah, intense flavours of hum yu, fu yu, shrimp paste, etc. Shrimp paste fried rice with belly pork bits, ginger and scallions; hum yu fried rice; green beans or zucchini or cucumber with fu yu and pork; fish fillets steamed with shrimp paste, all are yummy and are favourites here at home.

    As for "medicinal" type soups, I personally like only a couple, as most of them require a lot of procedral driven cooking methods. I do enjoy them when someone else makes them though, eg: by a little old Chinese Popo (Grandma) who really does believe in the beneficial aspects of the dishes.

  15. I am not only Chinese, but can be classified as "lo wah kiu" from Taishan(Toyshaan). If you know anything of the Chinese immigrant experience in North America, I won't get into the significance of that here. Since my wife is not Chinese, she does not cook the stuff that I like, ie: some of the stuff you mentioned. However I do 99% of the cooking at home and I cook ALL the pungent, homey, "soulful" stuff all the time. My family (wife too) have grown to love all that stuff too. In fact they develop cravings for it. :rolleyes:

  16. Make your own hoisin sauce?? But WHY???

    Over the past 30 years I did the vast majority of cooking at home, almost all Chinese. I can honestly say that I use hoisin about 6 times a year, maybe. I don't even use it in char siu.

  17. I think Mr. Diggler is "bunged" up in his thinking. :rolleyes:

    A short story about the more tasty parts of the animal, esp. pig.

    In the last half of the nineteenth century, many Chinese coolies (de facto slaves) who worked on building the continental railways communicated back to China about how the evil and cruel white people abused the Chinese workers. The message was implicit in trying to dissuade young men from coming to Canada and suffering the same fate as some who have gone before have met.

    However, the lure of adventure and riches was great and a lot of young men came anyway. One young man wrote back home, puzzled as to why the white bosses got such a bad rap. Indeed, he said, they gave the Chinese labourers all the best parts of the pig...the entrails, liver, heart, head, tails, feet, hocks, ribs, etc..... :laugh:

  18. HKDave, great post. I remember the Green Door in Van. Went there as a guset back in 1963-64 (?). Not fancy, not great (in hindsight) but to a young Chinese Canadian Army Officer just coming off the field where he spent 3 weeks eating army chow out of mess tins, it was enough to bring tears of joy to his eyes.

    I've had many memorable and forgettable meals in Kwangchow, including wild game meals I would rather not remember. Always used to stay at the White Swan Hotel too.

    Memorable meals include one at a Taiwan government office where I was a guest of a mid level minister of the gov't. He had the in-house retaurant bring up "lunch" to his private dining room for 4 of us. Three hours later I came to the conclusion that the powerful do live better than us plebes :wink: What those cooks can do with eel, shrimp, fish, etc.!!

    Dave, you mentioned the term "trade mission", was that with the old "BC Trade" agency or was it DFAIT?

  19. Eric, no chance! I can only play chopsticks :biggrin: .

    Toad, you are absolutely right in that there are many style of cuisine in China. I was speaking about my own preferences...Cantonese and Shanghai. Sometimes I wonder about the necessity for strong flavours as used by the Hunan, Beijing schools, as compared to the eastern, ie. Shanghai and southern Cantonese schools. Did the former group use strong flavours to cover up deficiencies in freshness just as the Europeans used spices starting 400 years ago and, opposingly did the Shanghai and Cantonese schools find that they had no need to do so because they were blessed with a benevolent and long growing season and bountiful seas nearby to supply freshness year round? Hmmm. :hmmm:

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