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Ben Hong

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  1. Can't help you with Chinese characters, I will give a little etymological background. In Chinese (my Toisaan dialect) Korea is ChoSun (formally), but most people in common conversation would call Korea by the our regional dialect, Koh lai, which indeed sounds like Korea. There are two types of ginseng, the type originating from Korea (Koh Lai Tam) and the wild type from the US which is called "fah kei tam". Most Cantonese speakers would instantly recognize "fah kei" (flowery or colourful flag) as the colloquialism for the USA. "Tam" means tonic or beneficial root, I believe. Having spouted all that, I am not 100% sure that we are talking about ginseng - just my calculated and measured inference from toysangirl's posted question. The dark coloured stuff mentioned is the Korean variety, panax ginseng, which has been steamed, aged and dried. The American variety is normally just dried, so it is the "normal" light brown or golden coloured stuff one would commonly see. The American variety is panax cinquefolius, slightly different and is commercially grown extensively in BC, Ontario, Washington, Michigan and Oregon, etc. and hence is very affordable and available. Ginseng does not mean tonic to me but a huge headache for in my previous incarnation, I was consultant to one of the largest Ginseng companies in world and one of my projects almost brought down the local provincial government. Wheeewwww.
  2. A pinch of sugar to this dish is what I normally add, not enough to detect sweetness but it does serve to blunt the sharp saltiness of the dish and meld the flavours. "Goh lai" is ginseng.
  3. The texture of the meat patty will be different depending on whether you buy lean ground chuck or sirloin at the market, hand chop the meat or use a food processor. The preserved veg. that your mother uses is a salted preserved vegetable root and is called "choong choy". You may also use "Jah choy", the roundish knobby roots that come in a can and is all covered with a red chili powder. This is sometimes called Szechuan vegetable. Both are delicious in yook beng. 1/2 pound ground meat, 20% by volume of thinly sliced preserved veg. of either kind, a dash of thin soy, half teaspoon of cornstarch, mix well, pat out into a shallow dish, steam till done. You "may" want to add a couple of drops of sesame oil to it at the finish.
  4. Yes you are, but what the hay, dinner is dinner. It's Christmas Dinner too.
  5. Tur-key, or not tur-key, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The squash and yams of outrageous cookery, Or to take spoons to unctuous gravy, And by consuming it, end it? To dine, to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heartburn and the thousand gaseous burps That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consumption, Devoutly wished to be spurned.... (Great epicurian apologies to Will Shakespeare). As a member of a biracial household it is my fate to have to eat turkey at least once a year, though I would much prefer something less prosaic. What do the rest of you have for Christmas dinner? Oh, and a Merry Christmas to all.
  6. Fengyi, you did not upset me, I am the one who missed your "subtle" ironic humour.
  7. Hey, cut the guy some slack. Who knows, he may be onto a new dimsum, gnow gun ala francais, it could be every bit as popular as s&s spareribs.
  8. Like I said before, there is a segment of the Chinese population that do eat and drink dairy products, those of the northern and western parts of the country. China is such a vast country, mass shipments would be an almost insurmountable obstacle for perishables. (That is one of the main reasons for so many dried and dehydrated foods found in Chinese grocery stores, but that's another story). Other than the Mongolian Steppes, there is very little grassland in China that is used for grazing. Any type of arable land in the rest of China is intensively cultivated, and I mean really intensively!!! In the overall scheme of things, raising cattle is a tremendously inefficient (wasteful) use of resources.
  9. If you are referring to my post, please re-read what I wrote, to wit: that Northerners were probably milk consumers.
  10. Lactose intolerance is very real, and some (a lot) Asians have it. Some, like me, can and do overcome that with constant and long term exposure, allowing our gut time to develop the necessary microbial flora to process dairy products. As for dairy products in Chinese cuisines, I would tend to believe that its use is limited to certain dessert type dishes (mango puddings, dan tarts). But then, the north and northwest Chinese and Mongolians certainly were milk using societies as they were nomadic herdsmen. I would imagine that Old Genghis and Kublai and the hordes introduced a lot of their culinary preferences to their newly conquered land, China, and by osmosis over the centuries there would be some cross pollination. But what do I know, I come from the south of China and we have the idea that all those northerners are "furriners".
  11. A dollar? I pay $130 for the ones on 888 Dundas St. and the quality of their bao has gotten progressively poor. I am not sure what it is called if it is not filled with char siu? Filling is ground pork, salted egg, lap cheung and shiitake mushroom is called __ bao? ← Yep, a dollar! The place I go to is on the west side of Spadina run by a bunch of Chinese-Vietnamese women. My patronage is fairly constant so when I asked for the whole tray, they gave me a volume discount . Normally they are $1.25 each. As for the filling, it would be a mistake to expect any fancy variety as they only have one, and that's the type you described. I have no problem with the taste, quality nor the quantity...especially the quantity We ancient loh wah kieu like value!!
  12. Being an unapologetic carnivore myself, I like lots of haam. As for size and taste of the bao, the Vietnamese still make them like I remember from my boyhood in China. They are slightly smaller than a softball, weigh about 6 ounces and stuffed with a ginormous ball of chicken, mushrooms, scallion, etc. Last September on the way out to the Prairies of Dejah, I bought a dozen at $1.00 (?) ea, in Toronto's Old Chinatown and since my traveling companions did not like the taste of steamed dough I, ahem, "had" to eat the all by myself. Could someone please post a linky to Junehl's dough recipe?
  13. Nope, just an amateur lexicologist borne of a liberal arts education.
  14. Strictly speaking, a snack can be "anything" that you eat, but it generally implies informal or hurried setting, or food. Something less than a "full" meal eaten between the"normal" three. Hor fun would definitely fall into the snack category if I were to eat it late in the evening after theatre, or for a quick very late lunch. Depending on the time frame, you can can call it breakfast, lunch or dinner and no one would argue. (Growing up poor, us kids would sometimes call a bag of potato chips and a soda "supper"). It's all about context and circumstance. There is no loss in translation. Nuances, my dears, nuances.
  15. Beef tendons? You're on your own, Girl.
  16. Using bicarb on tough meats serves as a very effective tenderizer. I normally use it as an integral part of the marinade for tougher meats. It also gives that special sponginess to meats that is found in some Chinese restaurant stir fries. Just add it directly to the meat, about one half tsp to a pound is usually plenty. Too much bicarb will make the meat inedibly bitter. For the tripe recipe massage the bicarb into the tripe and let sit for an hour or so, then rinse off before cooking.
  17. Sue-On, make sure that it is the white, layered "frilly" type of tripe. I have made it once or twice before. Stew in a stripped down loo sui, that is one part light soy sauce, one part water, star anise , ginger, black pepper corns, a touch of sugar and, if wanted, garlic. Stew until palatably tender. A second step after stewing is finished, if desired, is to cut into bite size pieces, adjust seasoning if necessary, coarse grind black pepper over it, add back a little bit of the loo sui to it in a dish, mix in a smidgen of cornstarch and steam. The addition of cornstarch and steaming creates the baat or smooth texture. Oh...wash tripe before preparation. Hint: if you want to cut down on stewing times, let bicarb. be your friend.
  18. There is a reason for it to be called bitter melon, dontcha know . I have grown to love the bitter or leng taste.
  19. The "bad" ones can taste terrible, much akin to eating a rotten egg inside a horse barn redolent with ammonia. The good ones taste like nothing you've ever eaten before, but it's an acquired taste (took me most of my adult life to learn to like them, and I am old). Texturally, the yolk is soft and silky and the blackened whites have a bouncy feel. They are cheap, about 35-50 cents each or cheaper. Before eating the pei dan, I found that if I quarter them a half hour before, much of the ammonia stench will have dissipated.
  20. Hom sui gok is always fried and it is always made with glutinous rice flour...where I eat.
  21. There is a similar pomelo rind dish that I love. It's pomelo rind preserved in soy sauce. We slice the rind, mix with fatty pork and steam.
  22. Mea culpa. I really didn't know that! Killing the rare gentle giants is so counter intuitive and abhorrent, to me. Up to this point, 65 years, I relied on my own brain power and life experiences to formulate solutions and opinions. Now I guess it's time that I do like you younger folks and use Google for instant "knowledge".
  23. Good answer CommissionerLin. I think that the poster who first mentioned the whale shark either quoted from hearsay or from mis-translation, or mis-identification. Can I suggest Latin nomenclature ala Linnaeus?
  24. I prefer gas but if a gas range does not have a burner with at least 15,000 btu rating, I would prefer the large burner (coil type) on a domestic electric range. These burners are definitely more useful and hotter than the 10-12,000 btu burners found on a lot of domestic gas ranges. Don't discount the electrics They can be great for normal sized dishes. It's all in the technique.
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