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Everything posted by tonkichi

  1. Gyukuru is the most amazing tea I've ever tasted. It is a seasonal item, and limited quantities are produced every year. In the past only the royal family had access to it. Very costly. A small cup is enough. The first time I had it, my friend served me a tiny cup and I thought "how stingy", but the one tiny cup was incredibly potent and the flavour explosive. The initial taste was not tea-like at all, more like seaweed and a smokey yet fresh green aroma. The second cup was lighter in taste and still richer and more complex than ordinary green tea.
  2. Today at a Japanese restaurant I had a steamed dish of daikon slices with a piece of goose liver in the middle and melted cheese on top. The whole thing was steamed in a covered bowl with some stock. The sweet radish was complemented very well with the rich liver. Surprisingly light tasting. Too bad the cheese was tasteless and its stringiness got in the way.
  3. tonkichi

    Pork Belly

    This is our favourite way to cook pork belly. 1. Cut pork belly into 0.5mm slices. Season with s&p +/- cooking wine. 2. Heat a wok. No need to add oil as oil from pork is sufficient. 3. When wok is hot, add the pork. Keep stirring until the meat cooks and the fatty part becomes crispy. At the final stage, more salt may be added. Tastes like bacon, and is great with plain rice or congee.
  4. I think the oil is actually lard, no? regards, trillium oh yes, the traditional recipe calls for lard. sadly, oil is considered the healthier alternative so most places have abandoned lard.
  5. We call it yam. Savoury dish: 1. Teochew style- diced and cooked with rice and soya sauce to go with Teochew braised duck. 2. Layer slices of taro and belly pork in a claypot and braise with fermented bean curd (home style dish, not usually found in restaurants) Sweet (besides ice cream):a very rich Teochew dessert called "orh-nee". Finely grated yam is cooked with plenty of oil and syrup and then steamed into a thick sticky pudding. Garnished with gingko nuts and pumpkin. Very sweet, very rich, very fattening. Also very good.
  6. What floors should I avoid ? ??? Floors, or you may know it as storeys.
  7. Where are you located/talking about? I am in Singapore. Actually I am a Malaysian, but am more or less permanently settled in Singapore. My favourite Cantonese restaurant in Singapore (other than fancy Golden Peony in Conrad hotel) is Lei Garden on the 9th flr of the Orchard Plaza building. The other restaurant that serves Teochew braised goose is East Ocean restaurant, the mothership outlet is on the 2nd flr of the Shaw building on Scott's Rd. Coincidentally, East Ocean and Lei Garden are well known restaurant names in HK, so these are the overseas branches.
  8. I love roast goose, when I can get it. Teochew style goose braised in soy sauce, cloves, 5 spice powder etc is available in some restaurants, but roast goose is harder to come by. My favourite Cantonese restaurant calls me whenver they have deliveries of geese and my (even more preferred) favourite pigeons- apparently the birds travel as hand luggage, so there is usually only 10 pigeons and even fewer geese each time. I don't know why roast goose is not more commonly found. It may be that it is more fatty and gamy than duck. I know some people have problems with duck so goose would be unthinkable for them.
  9. When we were in London last October we had lunch with a friend at J Sheekeys. My friend was early, and while waiting, the service staff made her comfortable with a copy of the paper and a nice G&T. We had a great time, the food was unassuming yet very well executed and tasty. I enjoyed my salmon cakes and quince tarts very much. Nice booth seating, could just about spy Salman Rushdie in another room.
  10. Our typical place setting at home would be a rice bowl in the middle, with a side plate at about "1 o'clock" and chopsticks (with chopstick rest) and porcelain spoon (for soup) on the right. The use of side plate is not universal; my mum thinks it is more "genteel". Dishes are served in a communal style. We never use the chopstick to pick food from the common dishes; would instead place a spoon in the dishes, and people would use that to serve themselves. This is another long-ingrained habit to minimise spread of infection. ( as an aside, Asian habit of dipping chopsticks into communal dishes is thought to be a risk factor for h.pylori infection (precursor to gastric ulcers) and Hepatitis B ). Again, not every family has this practice, when I am with friends who don't practise this, we would usually go along with them rather than insist that extra spoons be brought out. In more fancy restaurants, each place setting would include individual serving spoons, differentiated from the soup spoon by being long and made from metal and usually plated with gold or chrome. Back to the place setting, the side plate is for the dishes. we would pick up say a spoon of this dish, place it on the side plate, and transfer the food from side plate to the rice bowl; occasionally we would also bypass the plate and spoon directly into the bowl- there is no hard and fast rule; the first method is good if you do not want to mix up all the flavours , the second is great when there is a big bowl of braised pork-knuckle and you want to make sure all the tasty gravy soaks into your rice. When we eat, the bowl is held in the left hand for the duration of the meal. We use chopstick to scoop rice to the mouth. Some people lift the bowl to the lips and "shovels" the rice in- this is common in rice lovers, like my husband. During the pauses in the meal, we place the bowl on the table and the chopsticks on chopstick rests. Chopstick rests come in such cute designs. If there is no c. rests, we would place the chosticks on top of the bowl. We would never stick the chopstick into the bowl- it is considered bad luck and disrespectful as it reminds some of incense stuck into pots on the ancestral altar. Sometimes we don't use chopsticks at all. We would eat from a plate, and use a spoon and fork. Sometimes we would also eat say fried rice, in a big bowl and just use spoons. Back to main topic of Korean dining etiquette, we eat at Korean restaurants and the main difference that I can see is that 1. the chopsticks are placed horizontally close to the diner, rather than vertically on the right. Same goes for Japanese places. 2. The metal bowls and chopsticks are usually made of metal. It is hard to hold the bowl esp when it is hot, so we tend to leave it on the table. Same problem with the chopstick. I almost always hold the chopstick gingerly and pick the cooler foods. The spoon is more handy in this instance.
  11. we use the pandan leaves so much there is a pot of it on the balcony. most commonly, we knot a few leaves of it and dump into the pot to impart fragrance to sweet soups (tong-sui) like black glutinous rice porrige (bubur hitam), green bean soup (tau suan) and a wheat like porridge ( bubur terigu). In other types of dessert like grass-jelly (chin chow) we throw the knotted leaves into the syrup that will sweeten the chin chow. the juice is used as a natural colouring and is commonly found in egg custard (kaya) and pandan sponge cakes. There is also pandan kaya cake which is a combination of the cake and kaya. a savoury use would be the pandan-wrapped chicken found in Thai restaurants, but I don't know how to cook this at home. the pandan leaves also come in useful in a non-food sense. people leave it in the back of cars to repel flies, mosquitoes and other insects. Also results in the car smelling of tong-sui LOL.
  12. croquette (potato, or curry) ebi tempura kaki-age kaki (oyster) furai adegashi tofu pumpkin tempura lotus root tempura
  13. remember to stir water into the egg mixture before steaming.. otherwise the dish will be dry.
  14. this is an interesting thread. we've never heard of this dish in Malaysia and Singapore.
  15. i would also like to add that traditionally, the eggs were preserved in horse urine. Nowadays horses are not common, so they may have just substituted an ammonia-containing solution.
  16. i don't remember the smell of ammonia, but usually someone does the cooking, i just enjoy the end result.
  17. i love nasi kunyit. it is so fragrant and the glutinous rice with curry is a most perfect combination.
  18. I like the "po-lo" /pineapple char-siew buns if I can get it. It is char-siew filling in a mildly sweet bun, and this bun "wears" a crispy eggy cap. Like "po-lo" buns, usually the filling is custard or "nai-yao"; imagine the char-siew substituting for custard. there is no pineapple in this bun, the crunchy cap has a lattice pattern like a pineapple.
  19. Soba has described my favorite method for sampling preserved ducks' eggs. In the congee, an optional additional ingredient might be salted pork (sometimes with a sheddy-type texture). The simplicity of the congee base facilitates a sampling of the gelantinous-type texture of the egg "white" portion (the color is not white, of course). another optional ingredient is the "pei tan" or century egg. I think the black and white colours of the salted and century egg are so appealing.
  20. Ouch !!!! an Excellent soup in Hyatt Grand; HKG was x6 times this year ('03) -- So do they add one comb ? Am I getting cheated if we order for two ? orDo I get two combs ? Could you shed some light ?
  21. as previously mentioned, the grade is an important factor. Currently I have three types of bird's nest at home, as I eat the stuff at least once a month. Now you can guess I am female!! All are the whitish type; apparently the red in blood nest comes from the swallow's blood so that puts me off slightly. The first is about USD20 per comb, which I bought for myself. The second is a higher grade specimen which husband bought for me at USD 34 per comb. The third is somewhere in between in terms of price and quality. Appearance wise, it is difficult to tell which type is better. The more expensive one came in a nice package, and appeared cleaner. Colour ranged from light brown to pale cream. Experts talk about how closely packed the weave is- apparently if a comb looks pristine white and has a nice uniform weave, it is probably a fake specimen. All are prepared in the double-boiled style:one comb per serving. each comb is soaked for an hour, and double-boil with rock sugar and maybe a chinese red date for 3-4 hours. Served hot or cold. Occasionally add a little ginseng for a more herbal taste, this step apparently also ups the restorative and medicinal quality. The difference comes through with the cooked nest. The expensive ones seem not to require much soaking and has a smooth velvety texture, the strips are almost melted but still has a nice bite. The soup is also noticeably more fragrant and complex. The cheapest ones require more soaking, and even with prolonged soaking, the strands give a harder bite, reminding me of agar strips. The soup is slightly flat, tasting sweet but with only a hint of the nest aroma. All these are still better than the bottled versions- here I have doubts that real nest is used, as there is only a handful of strands and the sweet soup is too metallic tasting.
  22. Some Shanghainese restaurants have fresh river prawns in a creamy salted-egg sauce. Lovely...
  23. It is not at all unusual to use it as a sweet. In Singapore, HK et al, it is most commonly cooked as a dessert, usually as a double-boiled sweet soup (tong-sui) with rock sugar. Sometimes it is used in puddings and combined with custard filling in egg tarts. Bottled bird's nest soup is available in retail outlets. It is very expensive, a comb of the uncooked nest is about USD30 for a medium-grade nest; in restaurants the price is easily tripled. A little goes a long way. The birds nest in caves in the mountains, and it is a dangerous job to harvest them- people actually build makeshift wooden scaffolding and climb with ropes, ladders and minimal safety equipment to pick off the nests by hand. It is popular among females, it is believed to render the complexion smooth and fair. Pregnant women consume even more of the stuff as (it is believed) the good effects will even get to the unborn baby.
  24. Some favourite home-style ways to cook with tofu. 1. Silken tofu: a)good in clear soups. garnish with scallions. b)Alternatively, steam the tofu for 5 minutes, discard the water at the base of the steaming dish. In another pan, brown shallots, garlic and chilli slices (deseeded for less heat) in some sesame + canola oil. When done, add some soya sauce, and turn off heat. Pour contents over the steamed tofu. The fragrant oil/soya flavours the tofu. 2. Hard tofu (tau-kwa in Singapore): a) slice. marinate in teriyaki sauce and pan-fried. b) slice or cube. deep fry. serve with chilli sauce c) cook ma-po tofu d) cube. toss in wok with preserved cabbage, roasted panuts and diced long beans. 3. egg-tofu ( yellow with a cylindrical shape): not my favourite, so i don't cook this at all. 4. Bean curd sheet: a) make a sweet soup with barley, gingko nuts and rock sugar b) make lo-han vegetarian dish. Deep fry and put aside. Braise with wood ear fungus, shitake, cabbage and rice vermicelli in a fermented bean curd sauce (equal parts red "nam-yee" and yellow Fu-yee pastes)
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