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Makan King

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Everything posted by Makan King

  1. Hi Fengyi, by the fish and chips place, you mean the Fish Nation, with branches in Nanluoguxiang and Sanlitun, right? And I agree that the Tree, the pizza place in Sanlitun, has an excellent selection of Belgian beers, certainly wider than a number of pubs I've been to in Brussels. Morels has a nice but smaller selection as well. Having moved to London from Beijing, I find that I really like the Sainsbury's and Waitrose supermarkets here. The range of foodstuffs is fantastic, and the range of ready-prepared meals, including those at M&S, beats what is available in Beijing hands down, I think. Do you go regularly to any supermarkets in Beijing, such as Carrefour (I preferred the branch in Shuangjing), Bonjour, Wal-Mart, or the really nice ones in Pacific Century Place or the mall where Fauchon is located, or the local Jinkelong? Which is your favorite Peking duck restaurant? I was partial to Made in China at the Grand Hyatt and the branch of Da Dong in Nanxincang, as well as Liqun for its hutong atmosphere. Have you been to Tianjin Bai Jiao Yuan for jiaozi (dumplings)? Their crab roe jiaozi are one of my all-time favorite eats in Beijing! And finally, have you noticed any changes in the attitudes of Beijingers towards wine? When I first arrived, they served local red wine automatically mixed with Sprite or 7-Up!
  2. Hi Fengyi, I am looking forward to your blog! I lived in Beijing for three years before moving to London last September. In which neighbourhood do you live in Beijing? I was at Jianwai Soho, just across from Guomao (World Trade Centre). I have really fond memories of eating in Beijing and look forward to reliving the experiences viscerally through your blog! Speaking of yoghurt, have you tried the chilled milk desserts in Nanluoguxiang, prepared by the decendants of dessert cooks in the imperial palace? They come in different flavours and are light, smooth and yummy, especially on a hot summer's day!
  3. Oh my god, kaya! I love kaya! It's used as a spread in Singapore - spread thickly on a slice of airy toasted white bread (a thick pat of butter optional), and accompanied with a cup of strong tea or coffee, it's a wonderful breakfast or tea-time snack. There are coffeeshop chains in Singapore that have grown on the basis of the quality of its kaya (eg. Ya Kun Kaya Toast, as well as more recent trendy imitators). My grandmother used to make kaya from scratch. I remember helping her stir the pot, perched over a charcoal fire, for hours and hours. Then when it was ready, family members would gather magically and devour it with many rounds of toast and baguettes. It doesn't keep too well, due to the coconut milk, but it vanishes very quickly anyway. My family still reminisces about my grandmother's homemade kaya to this day. And by the way, Tampopo must be neatest, most organized Asian grocery store I have seen anyway in the world.
  4. The meat in the photo looks to me for all the world like barbecued brisket -- there's that pink smoke ring around the edge. But the only term above that I recognize is "Peking duck," and this certainly isn't that. What are chia siu, fa chong/tsong, and fo lam? Are any of them slow-smoked? And which of these is pictured here? ← I think I can answer this on his behalf - the meat in the photo is char siu, or roasted pork. The marinade includes sugar or honey. Red food colouring is sometimes used, hence the pinkish-reddish ring around the edge. Char siu (or cha shao in Chinese) is one of the popular roasted meats in southern China, Hong Kong and Singapore, together with roasted goose, roast pork belly, etc. Mmmmm!
  5. Now, see---I would have ordinarily just read this for the content, salivated on cue, and gone on to the next post. But I've been buried in the throes of translating some Old English for a few days, and I didn't bat an eye, just accepted that as Chicken Chow Mein. Translated perfectly in the phonetic. ← To me, Tjaumin is a phonetic translation of the term in Cantonese, and Chow Mein is a translation of the term in Chinese (both meaning fried noodles). This is a great blog! And I really like your living space.
  6. Laksa is indeed Malaysian. ← Yes, Laksa is Malaysian, and based on your description, I would say you had Penang Laksa, as compared to Nonya Laksa. Penang Laksa is based on a spicy, sourish fish stock, whereas Nonya Laksa is rich with coconut milk and has no fish in its base. You're really lucky to spend all this wonderful time with your family!
  7. This is quite true. My Chinese tutor and many people I speak with in Beijing do not believe that the original report is fake. There is also a plausible basis for the original report, since the price of pork has been rising steadily in China, and vendors have been known to resort to all sorts of ways to cut costs. The staff cafeteria in the building where I work has just raised the price of a meat bun from RMB 1.5 to RMB 1.8; the actual amount of the increase appears small, but that's a 20% price hike!
  8. Hotpots are very popular in Beijing. And there are different varieties, such as mala, shuang yang (or mutton), Taiwanese etc. One of the very popular chains in Beijing, Hai Di Lao, even offer manicures and free snacks to patrons who have to wait in line for a table. This chain is pretty good - inexpensive, very cheerful service and a guy who spins and stretches fresh noodles before your table on request! One of my favorites is a porridge hotpot served in a restaurant in an alley opposite the Yuyang Hotel. The base is thin gruel that gets thicker and more flavorsome as the ingredients get cooked in it. Interesting that no one has mentioned the dips so far. Hotpot restaurants here in Beijing, especially the Taiwanese ones, have a lot of choices. The best have a whole array of condiments for you to create your own dips - sesame paste, chili oil, sesame oil, chopped cilantro, chopped spring onions, minced garlic, soya sauce etc, sa cha sauce, etc. It's not my favorite thing to eat, but it is really fun to eat hotpot with a big group of family members/friends.
  9. What is interesting to me is that the two caesar salads look quite different (Hong Kong to Singapore, and Singapore to Frankfurt). They were obviously prepared by different catering companies, but I had imagined that SQ would want to make the same dishes appear similar no matter which kitchen prepared them. Was there one that you prefer? I was also surprised by the untidy appearance of many of the dishes. For first class, where there are fewer passengers to serve, I would imagine that it would be easier to present a prettier plate. Perhaps a problem is that some of the plates appear to big for the dishes, especially the fruit salad. Thanks for the vicarious experience! What a great way to fly. (Sorry, couldn't resist!) edited for missing words and punctuation
  10. Ditto, but with the addition of diced tomato and with the exclusion of the romaine lettuce. Perhaps sturdy white bread in place of whole-wheat sourdough. Mmmm!
  11. Randi, thanks so much for sharing a week in your life with us. It has been a wonderful peek, and I admire you for taking on three jobs, and especially since two of them involve good causes. I have a question about the wedding cake. Having so painstakingly assembled all the layers, what was the process like to clear the table of the fruity and then dis-assemble the layers to cut and plate the cake??? Thanks again! Enjoy the day at Lake Huron. You truly truly deserve it!
  12. But you are a revenue stream. Restaurants are businesses too.
  13. that's what my friend instructed me to do! I'm glad that will work! She was at the 'lapjesmarkt', the market on Noordermarkt. On Saturday they hold the farmer's market there, and on Mondays it's clothes, fabrics and secondhand stuff. And this lady with the asparagus! She was sort of selling the vegetables from a truck, so I don't think she's a regular there. I have 2 logs of cookie dough chilling in the fridge, and I now have to go and do some other, non foodrelated stuff. Meanwhile, a question: who knows what this is? It will feature in tonight's dinner. I have never bought it or cooked it, though I have eaten it. The cuisine it belongs to is one I hardly ever cook from! ← Just a guess, but are these petai? Wonderful blog and lovely pictures!
  14. Or you can just avoid the dimsum in Manhattan's Chinatown and head for Henry's Evergreen on 1st Avenue (I think it's between 61st and 62nd). It's been several years since I've been there, but I had very good dim sum each time I was there in the early 2000's, or at least better than the dim sum 'palaces' in Chinatown. I think the owner speaks English too! And I agree with the other posters that it would be quite difficult to convey your desire for freshly fried, hot and crispy items to the servers if you don't actually speak Mandarin or Cantonese! And even if you could, there is no guarantee that your wishes will be fulfilled. This reminds me a little of Calvin Trillin's frustration with the handwritten signs pasted on the walls of Chinatown eateries. He couldn't read them but was convinced that they advertised all the best and tastiest dishes.
  15. Two favorites from a Singapore childhood: 1. An otah sandwich. Otah is fish paste mixed with chili and coconut milk and grilled. Layered between two slices of lightly toasted and buttered white bread. Yummy! 2. A pork floss sandwich. Pork floss (I'm not quite sure how to describe this - it's called Bak Hu in the Hokkien dialect, and I think it is dessicated dried pork) also layered between two slices of lightly buttered white bread. Mmm.
  16. Actually, I think it is pronounced "xi fan" in Mandarin (xi - first tone, fan - fourth tone), or at least that is how they pronounce it in Beijing. This is a great blog. I'm loving it!
  17. Dumplings are more of a northen China tradition. In Beijing, for example, families will eat dumplings (or jiaozi) at midnight as the last day of the previous year becomes the first day of the new year. I'm also born in the year of the pig! So, what element are you? (in a sneaky attempt to discover your age!) Gongxi Facai! Or Kiong Hee Huat Chye! (in the Hokkien dialect)
  18. Happy Chinese New Year, Ah Leung! 新年快乐,万事如意! It's already the first day of the year of the pig in Singapore, and we completed our reunion dinner several hours ago. We went to a restaurant this year and both seatings were completely packed. As is a tradition in Singapore, we started with the yu sheng (or raw fish salad) that you toss as high as possible. The other dishes included a shark fins soup, steamed whole fish, sauteed prawns and scallops served in a hollowed out pineapple that was flambed table-side, flattened almond chicken pieces served with egg crepes, braised eight-treasure vegetables (included carrots, corn, mushrooms, cabbage and lotus seeds), crabs sauteed in a light curry sauce, fried noodles, and mashed yam and pumpkin dessert (a quintessentially Chaozhou dessert). I look forward eagerly to your reunion dinner and the rest of your dining experiences this week!
  19. One of my favorite dumpling restaurants in Beijing is called Tianjin Bai Jiao Yuan, or the Tianjin Garden of a Hundred Dumplings. It really seems to have over a hundred varieties of dumplings. There are all sorts of combinations of pork, chicken, duck, beef, lamb and even donkey meat, with various types of veggies and seafood. My all-time favorites are the crab roe dumplings (Xie Huang Jiaozi), the pork and lotus root (Zhu Rou Lian-o), and the duck and mushroom (Xiang Gu Ya Rou). It's a pretty big restaurant (three levels) located in a small street called Xin Wen Hua Jie, directly opposite the Marco Polo Hotel, in the Xidan area (not far from the Xidan subway stop). Happy eating!
  20. Water chestnut puree sounds like it will go well with ROCK SUGAR to make a refreshing drink, so ROCK SUGAR.
  21. French fries and steamed mussels, as in a moule frite, so Steamed mussels!
  22. I think we were last at chicken soup? Chicken soup and shitake mushrooms!
  23. Gramercy Tavern (either the more casual tavern upfront or the formal dining room behind) Pearl's Oyster Bar Fleur de Sel Oliva very late night dining at Blue Ribbon and/or Florent Breads and/or flat pizzas from Sullivan Street Bakery Breads and coconut cream cake from Amy's Bakery Triple chocolate mousse cake from Black Hound Tiramisu and hazelnut gelato from Caffe Dante Chikalicious How to decide??? Happy planning!
  24. Actually, there's a recent article in the New York Times by the late R.W. Apple Jr. on this topic: NYT Times article There are quite a lot of interesting restaurants and cafes in Singapore now, in terms of location, decor etc. Examples include the Rochester Park cluster (colonial black and white bungalows housing a tapas bar and several restaurants, including a Da Paolo outpost and a Min Jiang outpost); PS Cafe along Harding Road in the bucolic Dempsey Road area; the Greenwood Avenue restaurant cluster; Il Lido on Sentosa island etc. There's even a small Italian restaurant deep in the Rifle Range Road area (off Bukit Timah). Happy exploring.
  25. Thanks for sharing your eating adventures with us! Just a correction on the address of Tong Fu Lin Roast Duck House. The correct address is 26 Dongzhimen Wai Da Jie, Chaoyang District. The telephone number is correct. It is in a little lane off Dongzhimen Wai Da Jie, across from the Australian Embassy.
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