Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Duvel

Tales from the Fragrant Harbour

Recommended Posts

“… and so it begins!”

 
Welcome to “Tales from the Fragrant Harbour”!

In the next couple of days I am hoping to take you to a little excursion to Hong Kong to explore the local food and food culture as well as maybe a little bit more about my personal culinary background. I hope I can give you a good impression of what life is like on this side of the globe and am looking very forward to answering questions, engaging in spirited discussions and just can share a bit of my everyday life with you. Before starting with the regular revealing shots of my fridge’s content and some more information on myself, I’d like to start this blog and a slightly different place.

For today's night, I ‘d like to report back from Chiba city, close to Tokyo, Japan. It’s my last day of a three day business trip and it’s a special day here in Japan: “Doyou no ushi no hi”. The “midsummer day of the ox”, which is actually one of the earlier (successful) attempts of a clever marketing stunt.  As sales of the traditional winter dish “Unagi” (grilled eel with sweet soy sauce) plummeted in summer, a clever merchant took advantage of the folk tale that food items starting with the letter “U” (like ume = sour plum and uri = gourd) dispel the summer heat, so he introduced “Unagi” as a new dish best enjoyed on this day. It was successful, and even in the supermarkets the sell Unagi-Don and related foods. Of course, I could not resist to take advantage and requested tonight dinner featuring eel. Thnaks to our kind production plant colleagues, I had what I was craving …

(of course the rest of the food was not half as bad)

WP_20170725_18_13_35_Rich.thumb.jpg.9c942b2bd2c549e025b0cef824574519.jpg

Todays suggestion: Unagi (grilled eel) and the fitting Sake !

 

WP_20170725_18_15_54_Rich.thumb.jpg.d6377fb8c5aee72132b20a95b22ad06a.jpg

For starters: Seeweed (upper left), raw baby mackerel with ginger (upper right) and sea snails. I did not care for the algae, but the little fishes were very tasty.

 

WP_20170725_18_17_03_Rich.thumb.jpg.4be324f069edb124c9ceae03a7329809.jpg

Sahimi: Sea bream, Tuna and clam ...

 

WP_20170725_18_18_48_Rich.thumb.jpg.c0b27d4bc7a297ec9ce412dd74e74cbf.jpg

Tempura: Shrimp, Okra, Cod and Mioga (young pickled ginger sprouts).

 

WP_20170725_18_30_14_Rich.thumb.jpg.1f3fd19d986ff85d64baecfe61cffe76.jpg

Shioyaki Ayu: salt-grilled river fish. I like this one a lot. I particularly enjoy the fixed shape mimicking the swimming motion. The best was the tail fin :)

 

WP_20170725_18_44_24_Rich.thumb.jpg.3fd6f16f8166d0843a7571673b8ddecf.jpg

Wagyu: "nuff said ...

 

WP_20170725_18_57_29_Rich.thumb.jpg.10facce1445c5640286aa6424c4fcfe3.jpg

Gourd. With a kind of jellied Oden stock. Nice !

 

WP_20170725_18_59_33_Rich.thumb.jpg.da066b93c901030e27d80457cbf8e750.jpg

Unagi with Sansho (mountain pepper) :D

 

WP_20170725_19_03_27_Rich.thumb.jpg.af448a17dc46794460f0f641749159cc.jpg

So, so good. Rich and fat and sweet and smoky. I could eat a looooot of that ...

 

WP_20170725_19_14_46_Rich.thumb.jpg.642d079dc65c738ca6e64cfa41472b01.jpg

Chawan Mushi:steamed egg custard. A bit overcooked. My Japanese hosts very surprised when I told them that I find it to be cooked at to high temperatures (causing the custard to loose it's silkiness), but they agreed.

 

WP_20170725_19_15_02_Rich.thumb.jpg.3b94467cc22d93ef3323c319a2e3ea17.jpg

Part of the experience was of course the Sake. I enjoyed it a lot but whether this is the one to augment the taste of the Unagi I could not tell ...

 

WP_20170725_19_46_54_Rich.thumb.jpg.00ed7e44979a3b889ff23c965f23148e.jpg

More Unagi (hey it's only twice per year) ...

 

WP_20170725_19_49_24_Rich.thumb.jpg.8c50f5267e49b68a9b52ea8070dda0d7.jpg

Miso soup with clams ...

 

WP_20170725_20_01_39_Rich.thumb.jpg.0ce06cea40125f3dab0847c642075128.jpg

Tiramisu.

 

WP_20170725_20_32_07_Rich.thumb.jpg.0d783f77c082a5ecf49a2c7a03487ce5.jpg

Outside view of the restaurant. Very casual!

On the way home I enjoyed a local IPA. Craft beer is a big thing in Japan at the moment (as probably anywhere else in the world), so at 29 oC in front of the train station I had this. Very fruity …

WP_20170725_22_06_22_Rich.thumb.jpg.84126f8b2c65cb769267fb2a4e267c4e.jpg

 

When I came back to the hotel, the turn down service had made my bed and placed a little Origami crane on my pillow. You just have to love this attention to detail.

WP_20170725_21_22_56_Pro.thumb.jpg.a7dfccc2f4b763ca22ecacbc2e03fddc.jpg

  • Like 19

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On a completely different note: I found this Uji Matcha tea capsules at the little supermarket at the Chiba Minato station. As I do own a Nescafe Dolce Gusto, I am very curious how that tea does compare to the real thing. Will report back in due time …

WP_20170725_22_45_38_Pro.thumb.jpg.878c9bb6ec26937cff854bb3981ebded.jpg

 

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love smoked eel but it does not return the favor so it is a rare treat. The eel you are eating looks delicious. The food presentation of the Japanese is always something that captures my heart.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for taking the time and effort to share your fantastic travels and delights with us. 

 

Curious, were there many bones in the eel (hard to tell from the photo).  I love eel, but after an incident as a child with a fish bone caught in my throat and a trip to the ER, those little elusive calcium needles have always frightened me!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The amount of detail given to the food presentation, starting by selecting the right dishes to present, followed by the right (complementary or augmenting) color, texture, taste of the different items and the coorect order in which they are served was something that has drawn me to Japanese food from the very beginning.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, TicTac said:

Thank you for taking the time and effort to share your fantastic travels and delights with us. 

 

Curious, were there many bones in the eel (hard to tell from the photo).  I love eel, but after an incident as a child with a fish bone caught in my throat and a trip to the ER, those little elusive calcium needles have always frightened me!

No bones whatsoever, just the fillet. The Japanese conger eel Anago (actually a different species) has plenty of bones, but even for that little critter the chef usually takes the time to remove them. You could call it a labour of love, but then again you would not have seen how they gut and skin them :$


Edited by Duvel Spelling (log)
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aooni IPA is from Nagano. You're right that the craft beer scene in Japan has exploded since the laws  changed. And that's why I went there for 6 weeks just to drink beer (mostly).

 

I had many good beers in Japan but also many many bad ones. Their "beer culture" is still very much in its infancy and needs to look to other countries to learn and improve. Serving all beers in a Weissbier glass in a craft beer bar is odd. Some places do that.

 

OK, never mind. Let's get back to your HK topic.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amazing.  I adore eel.  I would adore it even more if there were no bones!

 

Also, those bay Mackerel....unreal.  Never seen those before.  Can only imagine!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Duvel 

 

what a fine start !

 

such superb looking food .

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Duvel said:

The amount of detail given to the food presentation, starting by selecting the right dishes to present, followed by the right (complementary or augmenting) color, texture, taste of the different items and the coorect order in which they are served was something that has drawn me to Japanese food from the very beginning.

I'm looking forward to taking this tour (it's probably the only way I'll get to the far east!); given the above comment I have to say I was a bit surprised at the tiramisu! Are Western desserts often served after such a carefully ordered meal? (Just wondering, not judging. I'm a dessert person.) The origami crane is beautiful, I used to do origami, but never with such precision. I've seen people use tweezers to get perfect folds! (Just hanging out in Japan a while longer until we get to Hong Kong.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, cakewalk said:

I'm looking forward to taking this tour (it's probably the only way I'll get to the far east!); given the above comment I have to say I was a bit surprised at the tiramisu! Are Western desserts often served after such a carefully ordered meal? (Just wondering, not judging. I'm a dessert person.) The origami crane is beautiful, I used to do origami, but never with such precision. I've seen people use tweezers to get perfect folds! (Just hanging out in Japan a while longer until we get to Hong Kong.)

In more traditional places you would have classic desserts such as fruit, bean jellies (yokan) or glutinous rice products (omochi). Despite how nice the food actually looked (and tasted), this was a casual restaurant and western style desserts are most welcome in these places (being maybe more exciting to the average customer) ...

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aaahhhh. Makes me SO want to go back to Japan. I loved the food, the presentation, the ceremonious service in even the casual restaurants. I loved the country, as a whole.

 

I have had the tiny mackerel, just didn't know they were mackarel. Very good. I loved the food courts in the train stations and the array of food vendors outside the baseball stadium (buy your dinner/snacks, AND beer, and take them inside! Not to mention draft beer in the stands, courtesy of vendors with pony kegs strapped to their backs!).

 

I would go back tomorrow, given a choice.

 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a great appetizer to your HK trip! Looking at your meal photos when I've skipped breakfast is making me wish I hadn't.

 

I am really looking forward to your adventures in HK, as I'm planning a trip there next year. Haven't been there in 30 yrs, so I'm eager to see what's changed (a whole lot, I'm sure!) and what you'll be eating.  Will be taking notes!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Beebs I don't know what @Duvel has in store for us, but there was a big discussion of dim sum and cantonese restaurants that really helped me plan my trip in 2011 here:

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good morning from Tokyo Haneda airport. My day started rather early today, as I had to commute from Chiba city in the east of Tokyo bay to Haneda in the south-west. It rains cats and dogs today and I shared one train (out of three this morning) with a group of slightly disappointed younger girls – all dressed up in colorful Hawaiian shirts and some sort of jeans dress – heading out for Tokyo Disneyland, still hoping for the rain to clear on the 40 min ride. Unfortunately, it still goes on …

Commuting at this time of the day guarantees for the “full japanese experience”, as everyone tries to squish into the trains. Filling grade reaches maximum very fast – lucky are those who catch a sitting place in one of the origin stations, as some of the poor guys need to stay in the local trains for far more than one hour.

WP_20170726_07_31_45_Rich.thumb.jpg.c6de3826d615f069943d9486fd69d182.jpg

 

Arriving at Haneda I headed out for buying the ususal “Omiyage” or small gifts you present to your family and coworkers upon arrival from travels. I choose cookies from Kyoto, made from brown rice flour and flavoured with cinnamon, then dipped in chocolate of your choice (green tea / strawberry – I do prefer the former). They will make some people very happy :)

WP_20170726_09_27_41_Rich.thumb.jpg.0f44bbb3c3c9a3604157e40b31d0e5ed.jpg

 

The Cathay lounge in Haneda is one of the finest they have, only surpassed by the newer ones in Hong Kong. Usually I’d go for a Japanese whiskey from their very extensive selection, but given the time in the morning I opted for the Japanese breakfast set and an extra bowl of Dan Dan Mian (the latter of course just for the purpose of this blog).

WP_20170726_09_04_38_Rich.thumb.jpg.71f5921016c6c1b972e2002118863e25.jpg

From the right lower corner (counterclockwise): Salted dried Kombu, Wakame, Miso soup, rice with Umeboshi (pickeled plum), Tamagoyaki (egg), some sort of root pickle, picledDaikon (radish), broiled salmon in the middle. And a bowl of Cathay's Dan Dan Mian as an innocent bystander on the very left. 

 

I am heading out now for the Gate and will report back from Hong Kong in some hours …

WP_20170726_09_04_20_Rich.thumb.jpg.79efe639c25beb5f9dfa1d82ebe5f7a1.jpg

  • Like 16

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This blog already promises to enlarge my culinary world.  What would be the protocol for eating the breakfast you show above?  Would one eat a small bit of each dish (except the miso soup) using the chopsticks, alternating among the various dishes?  Would one mix them?  Add them to the dan dan mian? Why are the eggs square?  It all looks fascinating to me, but if I were presented such a meal I'd be looking furtively around in hopes of seeing how someone else ate it.

 

The yasuhatchi boxes are charming.  I'd be delighted to receive a gift like that, even if the cookies turned out to be abysmal. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for writing this blog.  As others have said, this will give me a glimpse into a world I know little about.  I look forward to reading further posts.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Smithy said:

This blog already promises to enlarge my culinary world.  What would be the protocol for eating the breakfast you show above?  Would one eat a small bit of each dish (except the miso soup) using the chopsticks, alternating among the various dishes?  Would one mix them?  Add them to the dan dan mian? Why are the eggs square?  It all looks fascinating to me, but if I were presented such a meal I'd be looking furtively around in hopes of seeing how someone else ate it.

 

The yasuhatchi boxes are charming.  I'd be delighted to receive a gift like that, even if the cookies turned out to be abysmal. 

Yes, normally you would eat the pickles and/or the protein always alternating with the rice. For the Japanese it's actually the rice as the main dish and all the other components are optional (but not less welcome, of course). The Dan Dan Mian has nothing to do with the rest of the ensemble. I am just having a bowl of it basically everytime I use their lounges - kind of tasty tradition ...

The egg derives it's shape from being made in a small square pan and rolled up in it a couple of times. As a coincidence I bought a new Tamagoyaki pan on Sunday in Tokyo and will post a picture later with the other spoils of war I got ...

And finally: I do like the boxes too - they are very cute and make great presents. But the cookies inside are even better. Maybe I just open one later ... for quality control 9_9

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The train commute is mirroring the current commute into Manhattan thanks to closed tracks. 

  I don't envy you or my husband! Are the trains equipped with A/C? 

 

Have a a safe flight! 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, MetsFan5 said:

The train commute is mirroring the current commute into Manhattan thanks to closed tracks. 

  I don't envy you or my husband! Are the trains equipped with A/C? 

 

Have a a safe flight! 

 

 

Yes, all of them have A/C. And rightnow, with 30 oCand more outside, it's definitely necessary ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The flight from Tokyo back to Hong Kong was quite pleasant. Unlike the flight to Japan, where we passed a minor typhoon and had a very bumpy experience, this one was smooth sailing. I was hoping for an upgrade, but no. Lunch was decent: Zaru somen (cold noodles with soy/dashi), salmon roll with rice and icecream …

WP_20170726_12_38_36_Rich.thumb.jpg.fc929723c57ef337376a2cad24e0cfd3.jpg

 

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I am back now to my apartment, let me welcome you all to Hong Kong, where we will spend most of the upcoming week !

Maybe first just a tiny bit of personal background: I am a German guy in my early forties, married to a lovely catalan wife and we have a fantastic, almost 4 year old son. About two years ago I got the offer to run a part of the operations / technology for our company in Asia Pacific, so I moved from Germany to Hong Kong. Beside for professional reasons, part of the decision was the prospect to experience all the different cultures that are now at our finger tips. Both my wife and me have already lived in Japan for 2.5 years some while ago at the end of my academic career, so that very positive experience was a big decision  as well to return to Asia.

Hong Kong is ideally located to visit both East Asia as well as South East Asia. In my job I need to travel a lot, mainly to Mainland China, Japan, Korea and Malaysia. Privately, we do have a long list as well, that we diligently work on and so have visited Vietnam, Japan, Singapore, Cambodia and China in the last 18 months. Experiencing the food in these places has always been a big motivator, if not the biggest …

Complying with eG food blog tradition, I’d like to show you my kitchen first:

WP_20170726_16_46_47_Rich.thumb.jpg.db4dbadc3cb11acf025771d3cb4f7e93.jpgWP_20170726_16_47_30_Rich.thumb.jpg.b3bc2c81f1331b44ffdbc789cccfc5e3.jpg

 

I have a 5 burner gas range, and a decent oven. I do like to make bread and pizza and I can’t complain at all about my set-up.

WP_20170726_16_48_17_Rich.thumb.jpg.c82dfedefa4ca5cd985465d6d0e4f65d.jpg

 

The obligatory fridge shot(s).

WP_20170726_16_48_35_Rich.thumb.jpg.d14e1bca6013b94fc21b17cdc1e3be62.jpg

WP_20170726_16_48_41_Rich.thumb.jpg.8f10a1fa9d7742d50dbb30f735b50725.jpg

 

Don't judge :$

WP_20170726_16_48_48_Rich.thumb.jpg.5d682dc8b4318f8a2d0272e05d7d6c12.jpg

 

 Freezer. Mostly meat, frozen stock, Gyoza and Gin ...

WP_20170726_16_49_04_Rich.thumb.jpg.d6ec917d6175e7284ce6f8755affab1f.jpg

 

Spices !

WP_20170726_16_49_21_Rich.thumb.jpg.ac3eb8fda2963cec48318bc23907e405.jpgWP_20170726_16_49_39_Rich.thumb.jpg.86f95d0743eee73243fa38aa7b2f5d28.jpg

 

Baking ingredients ...

WP_20170726_16_49_59_Rich.thumb.jpg.982b5d236b4ff375b77e5f4f808e280f.jpg

 

Shelves in the storage room ...

WP_20170726_16_50_20_Rich.thumb.jpg.f8b3afcd00057b4a8fd1df87a1e0b7e4.jpgWP_20170726_16_50_41_Rich.thumb.jpg.10eead1b7e6dd21bb048450c9e0c3bdd.jpg

 

My (limited) booze collection.

WP_20170726_17_42_38_Rich.thumb.jpg.7a33aa9730d8ad4d1bbf59b063260100.jpg

 

Cookbooks. I could only take a fraction when we moved, but have successfully replenished the ranks …

WP_20170726_17_42_50_Rich.thumb.jpg.dd808a7508f941b987caea110e153b7e.jpgWP_20170726_17_42_58_Rich.thumb.jpg.e624315136d6278a6e2b08625cfc3907.jpg

 

Tomorrow I show you around the place where I live on Lantau Island (you’ve seen the beach in the teaser pictures already) and we have a deeper look inside a supermarket …

WP_20170726_16_47_43_Rich.jpg

  • Like 17

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And as promised: the spoils of war from my shopping trip last Sunday at Kappabashi in Tokyo, where all the restaurant suppliers are located. Took me 45 min to gather :$ ...

 

WP_20170726_17_54_30_Rich.thumb.jpg.2dba365bae3830d3686fb26b51671fb2.jpgWP_20170726_17_54_40_Rich.thumb.jpg.3c3352a9d72431dc698226a8d79a7b7b.jpg

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would you say that the kitchen of yours is of typical size in HK?  I've always heard that HK apartments are very small, but your kitchen is huge!  Do you live on Lantau all the time, or is it a weekend place?  If there all the time, what is your commute like - I assume you work in Central?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are those Japanese curry cubes in the yellow package?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and lead us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known  for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      AFter lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our seranade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
       
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
       
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.


       
      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
       
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.
       

       
      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:
       

       
      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
       
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.
       

       
      The children don't get spared either
       

       
      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
       
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.
       

       

       
      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Yea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs.
      We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
    • By sartoric
      We’ve just returned from a fun filled 16 days on the beautiful island of Sri Lanka. The food was fantastic, the people friendly, the markets chaotic, the temples serene, the mountains breathtaking, the wildlife plentiful and the weather ? Well, you can’t have everything, it was mostly hot, and at times very wet. 
       
      Why Sri Lanka ? We loved time spent earlier this year in southern India, especially the food. Sri Lanka lies just off the southern tip of India and has been influenced over time by various invading Indian dynasties.  Often referred to as the spice Island, it’s been an important trading post for centuries. Other countries have also played their part in shaping Sri Lankan cuisine. The Portuguese arrived in the early part of the 16th century, the Dutch gained control in the 17th century, the British had control by 1815, and independence was proclaimed in 1948. Throughout these years, Chinese traders also contributed to the evolution of Sri Lanka. 
       
      So, what’s the food like ? Delicious !
       
      Our first night was spent at a homestay in the coastal city of Negombo. All day the rain bucketed down. It was difficult to go anywhere else, so we asked our hosts to provide dinner. Good move ! 
       
      The rain let up long enough for a quick quick visit to the fish market, the first of several we’d see.

       
       
      Our hostess made 10 different dishes including a mango curry where I watched her pluck the fruit from the tree in the front yard. There was sour fish curry,  chicken curry, dal, several veggie curries, chutney, two rice and roti bread. The meal cost 900 rupees pp, or about $6. Gosh it was good. Lousy photo, some better ones to come.

       
    • By liuzhou
      These have been mentioned a couple of times recently on different threads and I felt they deserved one of their own. After all, they did keep me alive when I lived in Xi'an.
       
      Rou jia mo (ròu jiá mò; literally "Meat Sandwich") are Chinese sandwiches which originated in Shaanxi Province, but can be found all over China. Away from their point of origin, they tend to be made with long stewed pork belly. However in Xi'an (capital of Shaanxi), there is a large Muslim population so the meat of choice is more usually beef. In nearby Gansu Province, lamb or mutton is more likely.
       
      When I was living in Xi'an in 1996-1997, I lived on these. I was living on campus in North-West University (西北大学) and right outside the school gate was a street lined with cheap food joints, most of which would serve you one. I had one favourite place which I still head to when I visit. First thing I do when I get off the train.
       
      What I eat is Cumin Beef Jia Mo (孜然牛肉夹馍 zī rán niú ròu jiá mò). The beef is stir fried or BBQd with cumin and mild green peppers. It is also given a bit of a kick with red chill flakes.
       
      Here is a recipe wrested from the owner of my Xi'an favourite. So simple, yet so delicious.
       

      Lean Beef
       
      Fairly lean beef is cut into slivers
       

      Chopped Beef (sorry about the picture quality - I don't know what happened)
       

      Chopped garlic
       
      I use this single clove garlic from Sichuan, but regular garlic does just fine.
       
      The beef and garlic are mixed in a bowl and generously sprinkled with ground cumin. This is then moistened with a little light soy sauce. You don't want to flood it. Set aside for as long as you can.
       

      Mild Green Chilli Pepper
       
      Take one or two mild green peppers and crush with the back of a knife, then slice roughly. You could de-seed if you prefer. I don't bother.
       

      Chopped Green Pepper
       
      Fire up the wok, add oil (I use rice bran oil) and stir fry the meat mixture until the meat is just done. 
       

      Frying Tonight
       
      Then add the green peppers and fry until they are as you prefer them. I tend to like them still with a bit of crunch, so slightly under-cook them
       

      In with the peppers
       
      You will, of course, have prepared the bread. The sandwiches are made with a type of flat bread known as 白吉饼 (bái jí bǐng; literally "white lucky cake-shape"). The ones here are store bought but I often make them. Recipe below.
       

      Bai Ji Bing
       
      Take one and split it. Test the seasoning of the filling, adding salt if necessary. It may not need it because of the soy sauce. 
       

      Nearly there
       
      Cover to make a sandwich  and enjoy. You will see that I have used a bunch of kitchen paper to hold the sandwich and to soak up any escaping juices. But it should be fairly dry.
       

      The final product.
       
      Note: I usually cook the meat and pepper in batches. Enough for one sandwich per person at a time. If we need another (and we usually do) I start the next batch. 
       
       
      Bread Recipe
       
       
      350g plain flour
      140ml water
      1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

      Mix the yeast with the flour and stir in the water. Continue stirring until a dough forms. Knead until smooth. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and leave to rise by about one third. (maybe 30-40 minutes).
       
      Knead again to remove any air then roll the dough into a log shape around 5cm in diameter, then cut into six portions. Press these into a circle shape using a rolling pin. You want to end up with 1.5cm thick buns. 
       
      Preheat oven to 190C/370F.
       
      Dry fry the buns in a skillet until they take on some colour about a minute or less on each side, then finish in the oven for ten minutes. Allow to cool before using.
    • By Chris Hennes
      I just got a copy of Grace Young's "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge"—I enjoyed cooking from "Breath of a Wok" and wanted to continue on that path. Does anyone else have this book? Have you cooked anything from it?

      Here was dinner tonight:

      Spicy Dry-Fried Beef (p. 70)

      I undercooked the beef just a bit due to a waning propane supply (I use an outdoor propane-powered wok burner), but there's nothing to complain about here. It's a relatively mild dish that lets the flavors of the ingredients (and the wok) speak. Overall I liked it, at will probably make it again (hopefully with a full tank of gas).


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×