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Chinese New Year 2006


aznsailorboi
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Bitter melon (fu gua) is a definite no-no.

is it coz its bitter(im thinking represents bitter life or something??)...or any other reason for it being in the no-no food list

...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

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Po-Po insists on fu jook tong with dried oysters, fun see with dried baby shrimp, siu jook, dong goo, steamed chicken, Buddah's Delight (with fat choi, dow lam, dow see, roasted soya beans, fun see, fried tofu, siew choi - so good wrapped in lettuce leaves  :wub: ), sesame glutinous rice flour balls, steamed rice flour cake, etc, etc. My s-i-l does all this for my Mom. I don't get to partake as I can't visit until the second day of the new year, so I will have to cook my own... :rolleyes:

The most important dishes at my Mom's table are the chicken with head and feet intact, siu yook, and good temperment!

Hey, that's everything that my own dearly departed Mother would cook. But, she would also make "ho see sung".

CNY was always special when we were veryyoung back in the village. Lots of new clothes, great foods (the youngest two would always get the goose drumsticks), toys, firecrackers and hung bao. What was especially appreciated was that for a few days everyone was encouraged not to think angry thoughts, say negative words or gossip about anyone negatively. Having those kinds of proscriptions imposed on us by the grandfather/head of the household also meant that we got a free ride...no scoldings, spankings or hurt feelings for us kids :biggrin::smile:

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HI GUYSSS :laugh: I started doing test runs for CNY yesterday, I tried the Buddha's Delight and steamed whole carp yesterday and BOY!!! it was yummy!!!

Deja I followed your suggestions of adding more veggies to it like bamboo shoots, straw mushrooms, wood ear and snow peas to it.....although I was missing the nam yu, i just added 3 pieces of fried tofu in it. does the nam yu make a big difference in the flavor?

the Steamed Carp, bought a dead one :hmmm: (I'd buy a live one for CNY)...but basically scored the fish three times on each side, had a mixture of salt and sugar, equal parts rub all over the fish, making sure that the scores and the inside get seasoned as well, slice(not smash) garlic thinly, about half a garlic and 2-3 inches of ginger finely julienned( I mean really really thin ). on the plate where the fish is gonna be cooked and served make a thin bed for the fish out of ginger and garlic slices place the fish on top then slip some of the G&G slices inside and on top. splash some xiaoshing wine, then steam for about 20 min or until fish is just done. mean while, heat four tbsp of peanut oil and when smoking hot already add 1tbsp sesame oil. then pour on top of the fish, dash a little bit of light soy sauce for the fish, just for that soy flavor not really for its saltiness. serve with chopped green scallions.

I will post pics of it when I make it for CNY.

...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

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Here in Korea, I'm hoping to wrangle an invite to my boss's place.[...]

nakji: Welcome to eGullet! Boy... my back is soar from bowing to newcomers in the past 2 days! :wink:

Is Chinese New Year (lunar new year) still called Chinese New Year in Korea? Or it is called Korea New Year? (Or just Lunar New Year)? :smile:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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here's the recipe for the 8 treasure stuffed chicken

1 medium chicken, deboned (be careful not to damage the skin), set bones aside

1 c. sticky rice, soaked for at least 4 hours

6 chinese dried mushroom, wash and soak

6 dried chestnuts, wash and soak

6 chinese sausage(lap cheung), sliced 1/4 in thick diagonally

12 lotus seeds, wash and soak

half a handful of small dried shrimps, rinse and rehydrate in 4T. water

5 medium shallots, chopped

4 pieces star anise

1/4 c. mushroom soy sauce

1/2 c. Xiaoshing wine

2 c. water

pepper

4 T. oil

prepare stock from bones:

bones from chicken

1/4 c. Xiaoshing wine

6 c. water

2 T. Kikkoman light soy sauce (this brand is a must for this specific stock)

1 inch ginger, smashed

5 whole green onions

1.5 T salt

1 T. sugar

1 T. MSG *optional (hehe I know its bad, but it makes food taste better so I put it anyway.)

Slowly boil stock until 2/3 of original content is left. keep in a slow simmer, you will need this while cooking the rice part of this recipe.

Wash chicken thoroughly, then pat dry. Pour mushroom soy sauce over chicken and rub it well, making sure that the chicken is painted with the soy sauce good. add the Xiaoshing wine and pepper, marinate for 2 hrs, but no longer than 6 hrs, the alcohol seems to toughen the chix, you don't want that while stuffing it, will easily tear the skin and some meat.

Soak mushrooms at least 2 hrs and the lotus and chestnuts for at least 4, to make sure they absorb as much liquid as they can. Trim and discard the mushroom stems slice in half or quarters put back in soaking liquid, check the lotus seeds for the green part in the middle(embryo), pinch them off coz they are bitter. and remove the remaining skins on the groves of the chestnuts.

Heat oil in a big wok or pan, saute shallots till almost transluscent and fragrant. add 2 star anise fry for another minute to release the flavor, add in the rehydrated dried shrimps, brown it a little, then the sausage, mushrooms, chestnuts and lotus seeds, tossing the mixture untill all the ingredients are covered with the oil. making sure the stove is on high heat, finally add the soy sauce/xiaoshing mixture from the chicken. let it boil once then add sticky rice, then turn heat on low to medium. At this point you want to toss the rice as often as possible so the bottom doesnt get cooked. your main goal is to semi-cook the rice to shorten the cooking time while its inside the chicken. once all the soy sauce and wine mixture gets absorbed slowly add water 1 cup at a time till all the water is absorbed. let mixture cool.

Set the chicken up for stuffing. sew the head/neck cavity by locating the flap of skin usually from the neck and sew it close to the breast, if there's enough loose skin, just sew the skin close and tuck it in the cavit. proceed in stuffing the chicken, dont fill the chicken all the way to the top, coz the rice will still expand causing ur seams or parts of the chicken to burst open while cooking. stuff to about 3/4 full of the cavity. Sew the other end of the chicken close. there are two ways of cooking this, one is through the oven and another is by using those big oval crockpots that arent very deep.

oven method:

In a big enough pan, arrange some cut up leeks as a bed for the chicken, place the chicken on the bed breast up. add more veggies more leeks, mushrooms, rehydrated chinese mushrooms and cloud ears. a slice or two of ginger around the chicken. then ladle some stock on the chicken about 1.5 cups. cover with aluminum foil then bake in a 375 deg preheated oven. with a pan of water at the lower rack, replenishing with hot water every so often. bake for 45 minutes then check. the chicken should look steamed, and plump coz the rice is pressing on the sides of the chicken and you will be able to tell that its almost ready when you see beads of sticky liquid on the chicken skin, this is from the liquids from the sticky rice pushing its way out. remove the chicken from the oven but leave the oven on, collect the liquids from the bottom of the pan including the loose veggies, then return chicken back in the oven with foil. Boil 2 cups of prepared stock, add the pan drippings, add 3 T. oyster sauce, 1.5 T. sugar, more soy sauce as needed, and use the light kind, so the sauce doesnt darken further, let boil for 5 minutes then add the veggies back, you can add some more veggies at this point like snow peas and whole young corn cut in half, fresh button mushrooms etc. *no celery, this kinda alters the flavors pretty significantly. then add a slurry of 1T. cornstarch and 4 T.water to thicken the sauce. stir constantly untill slightly thickened add a teaspoon of sesame oil. pour over chicken in the oven and cook for another 45 min. again cover with aluminum foil. at this point the chicken is so tender it will melt in your mouth and the rice is completely cooked have absorbed some of the sauce. serve.

crock pot method:

make a bed of cut leeks for the chicken, add chicken, veggies and 2 cups of stock. cover then set on high to boil, once it boils set it onto slow cook for the next 4 hrs. Collect the liquid and do the same precedure to make the sauce with the oven method. but this time you will not have to add more than 1 c of stock. once you have the sauce ready pour over the chicken then cook further for another 2 hrs. serve.

This is a very time consuming dish, but totally worth it. :smile:

...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

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Azn, thank you, what a complicated recipe. Hopefully I will get to try it soon (when I have the time and patience to make it).

Questions: How do you debone the chicken while leaving the chicken intact (whole)? Was that what you meant? Also, are you referring to chestnuts in the shells or is there a way of buying them without shells and in dry form?

This looks like a professional level dish or very time-consuming home-cooked dish made by someone with a lot of love for the family to spend this kind of time and energy!

Wish you well with your CNY dinner. It looks like it is shaping up very well! Love the fish and the vegetarian dish! Will likely make these first before the 8 treasure chicken because they are not as complicated. Again, thanks for passing down the recipe. :smile:

Edited by rlr222 (log)
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Deja I followed your suggestions of adding more veggies to it like bamboo shoots, straw mushrooms, wood ear and snow peas to it.....although I was missing the nam yu, i just added 3 pieces of fried tofu in it. does the nam yu make a big difference in the flavor?

Hi Azn,

I have never put nam yu in my recipe...fried tofu puffs, yes.

rlr: I have never boned a whole chicken, but I have seen many illustrations and demonstrations. From what I've seen, the wings and the drum sticks were usually left bone in.

Maybe Azn will have a secret method. :smile:

Edited by Dejah (log)

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Azn, thank you, what a complicated recipe.  Hopefully I will get to try it soon (when I have the time and patience to make it).

Questions:  How do you debone the chicken while leaving the chicken intact (whole)?  Was that what you meant?  Also, are you referring to chestnuts in the shells or is there a way of buying them without shells and in dry form? 

Thank you too Azn for the recipe - I really want to try and make it for this CNY!!

I also have a question about the chestnuts - you don't happen to be able to write the Chinese characters for them, do you? I don't recall seeing them - but maybe with the UK/US english difference, they're called something else here in the UK.

Also (sorry another question!), some of the people I have coming over for CNY are allergic to seafood. Is it OK to miss out the dried shrimp? Is there something you would recommend for a substitute?

Thanks again!

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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Hmmm... I don't actually know--I just drop by to say hi and take off. All the people crowding makes me crazy.

But I do know what's a must:

Preserved vegetable soup with abalone

Pig's innards soup

A shredded vegetable dish consisting of turnip, mushroom and cuttlefish (other stuff too, but I don't know what)

Roast piglet

According to my mom, when her dad was still alive, CNY's Eve was a production. He would start preparing weeks in advance--he was a chef, and sadly, it seems nobody learnt from him. And he had 14 kids!!!

My dad's family is more casual, as you can probably tell from the menu.

Really, I'm only interested in the sweet stuff anyway. I've already started CNY baking. :laugh:

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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Sorry - my bad!

I phrased my question in a particularly obtuse and foolish fashion...what I meant is to ask if there were special characters for the dried form (kind of like when shrimps become 海米 or scallops become 瑤珠).

I thought it might be something esoteric like that because I don't recall seeing 乾栗子 on the shelves...but, heck! the local Asian supermarket isn't that organized so it's probably my inability to see the wood for the trees (or maybe just the 'wood ears!' :biggrin: )

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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Also (sorry another question!), some of the people I have coming over for CNY are allergic to seafood. Is it OK to miss out the dried shrimp? Is there something you would recommend for a substitute?

Thanks again!

In place of dried shrimp, you can use ham choi (salty turnip). Just soak a piece in water for a few minutes, rinse off and dice into small peices.

Really, there are so many flavours already, I don't think the shrimp will be missed.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Ti Kuan Yin (鐵觀音) and Oolong (烏龍) are 2 different types of teas.  Ti Kuan Yin, or some calls it "Kung Fu" tea, is typically very strong and bitter.  It is kind of like Espresso in the tea world.  Drunk in very small tea cups with concentrated dose.  Oolong is less as strong.

Nuh-uh. Sorry.

Ti Kuan Yin is an oolong, and can be used in kung fu tea, but doesn't have to be. It's an oolong in that it is partially oxidized (in between black and green). It is a specialty of Anxi (Fújiàn province). Oolong just describes that in between state of oxidation, and there are many, many different kinds, not just one or even four (think Si Da Ming Cong). The lightest ones that are the least oxidized get called pouchongs, and they're mostly grown in Taiwan these days.

Just for you, I found some characters to go along with what I'm saying, but since I can't read, I hope they're actually correct! Kung fu tea, the Fujian tea ceramony, is usually done with oolongs (any kind) and a Yixing teapot set (宜兴) , although at our house, if we're having bat kut teh, it has to be done with bo-lay/pu-erh (普洱茶) and our set is probably a fake, it was cheap.

Fengyi, I see dried chestnuts on the same shelf with the dried lotus seeds and various dates. Maybe you'll see them there?

regards,

trillium

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I was born in Malaysia, and I always used to look forward to "yee sang" (Cantonese) or "yusheng" (Mandarin). In Cantonese, the name puns on "a life of plenty."

The way it's served in Malaysia, yee sang comes as a platter with separate mounds of raw fish slices (salmon is fashionable nowadays), shredded crunchy vegetables such as carrot and radish, fried crackers, crushed roasted peanuts and a sour plum dressing. White pepper and five spice powder were charmingly presented in hongbao (red packets) for the guests to sprinkle on the dish.

When all the family was assembled around the table, we would all dip our chopsticks in and toss the food together into a glorious painterly mess. The symbolism, apart from the family being together and performing the act, was in the technique: the grasping of food in the chopstick and raising it during the mixing action represented the "rise" of one's good fortune.

And there you have it: a visually stunning, wonderfully messy dish. Vibrant oranges, whites, browns and reds commingling in one gargantuan platter of joy. Eating it was the final, and IMHO the greatest, pleasure of all. You have the contrasting textures and fresh tastes of fish and vegetables, smoky sweetness from the peanuts, the crunch of delightfully crispy crackers. The spices and the sour plum dressing round off one of the most appetising and unique dishes to celebrate the New Year.

This dish is pretty much the sine qua non of Malaysian and Singaporean CNY specialities. It has become so popular that restaurants and cafes start offering the dish even before CNY (traditionally, it is eaten on the 7th day), and even professional workplaces, where there would be a good proportion of Malay and Indian employees, have offered yee sang to their employees to herald good fortune for the coming year.

Julian's Eating - Tales of Food and Drink
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Thanks for the tips, Dejah, Trillium!! I will look much harder at the dried (and for the turnip, salted) foods section in the store - and keep my eyes WIDE open! :smile:

And Julian - your description made me SO hungry (and it's only 8:30 am for me!!!).....thanks!

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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yes that description of strong and bitter and concentrated dose preceded by Tiekuanyin (Tieguanyin) doesn't do the stuff justice!! Though some Dimsum places give you a pretty poor rendition of TGY. As far as oolong teas go, it is actually less oxidized or 'strong' than the majority of oolongs. But avoid drinking it on too empty a stomach since it will make your head spin a bit.

but we like that...

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WoW, all these responses got me reading earlier today hehehe, I've been so busy this weekend I haven't visited my favorite site at all.

As for deboning the chix.....the only bone parts need to be removed is the remaining neck, ribcage, the spine area, and those thing that connect the hip bones to the spine, plus the only part you need to be careful with is the outside surface of the chicken, the inside part will be damaged no matter what, when you debone it. There's really no easy way of doing this, if you want the chicken deboned, getting icky is kinda required. and for the faint of heart....yes, there will be some bones that need to be snapped. I apologize coz I dont have an illustration on how to do this....hmm maybe I will whenever I make the chicken for CNY.

The easiest way to do this is to locate the backbone. Find the middle of the vertebrae, place your thumb on the skin side and position 2 fingers inside through the neck end cavity, then snap the backbone inward, a swift forceful motion gives you a cleaner break. Start pulling the backbones, once these are out turn the chicken over breast side up, then find the wishbone by the neck cavity. when you get to it, break it inward again, and pull it out from the inside. With the breast side still up, use your palm to push down on the breast area to split the sternum ( thats the front bone/cartilage that connects the left and right hemisphere of the ribcage ), once thats broken, its gonna be very easy pulling the bones out from this point, because all the connective bones have been severed. pull the ribcage out carefully, actually a few ribs at a time works since you have more control of what gets torn inside. See, inside damage is ok, but less damage is better. once the ribcage is out, the chicken will look deflated except for the lower half. With both hands grip the chicken by both thighs, "fold" the chicken like closing a book to snap the hip plate in half, dislodge the thigh bone from the "ball and socket" of the hip plate, then you can completely take them out......end scene.. hehe

Now you have a deboned chicken, just rinse it out in warm water to drain more blood that comes out and pat it dry with tons of paper towel....WARM WATER?!? :shock: you guys probably think I'm crazy, bacteria will want to bloom in it!?!? ......only if you let it sit in room temp. after you wash it. But remember you will have to soak it in the soy sauce and alcohol mixture, and let it chill in the fridge later, so dont worry. :wink: everything will be just fine.

The dried shrimp can definitely be left out, it imparts flavor, but only to a point of guessing whats missing if you do leave it out. You can add salty chinese ham instead of the shrimp as well if your being considerate for those allergic to seafood, they both have that salty and musty flavor, so if you decide to use salty chinese ham, just use the same amount as you would with the dried shrimp and make sure to rinse it as well to wash off some of the excess saltiness and mustiness, not alot are accustomed to that smell and flavor, its almost an acquired taste.

Here in the US, I found a very very close substitute for this type of ham, its called Virginia ham, you can purchase it online from

http://www.smithfieldhams.com/smithfieldham/

its under the product name "Smithfield Country Ham, uncooked"....dunno if I'm allowed to do that :unsure: just trying to help. This is a salt cured ham, so like I said you have to wash it some before cooking it. It comes with a little recipe book with instructions on how to prepare the ham, if you're using it for "holiday" purposes. We usually don't, and most of the time, we just hack it up in to smaller portions for easier storage... as my mom adds it to most stuff for its salt content and flavor, like hot and sour soup, or she puts a few slices on top of the rice and cooks the rice, the water boils and disperses the salt and flavor, and when the rice cooks, the steam softens the meat, same concept when cooking lap cheung or lap ngap on top of the rice.

...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

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Ti Kuan Yin (鐵觀音) and Oolong (烏龍) are 2 different types of teas.  Ti Kuan Yin, or some calls it "Kung Fu" tea, is typically very strong and bitter.  It is kind of like Espresso in the tea world.  Drunk in very small tea cups with concentrated dose.  Oolong is less as strong.

Nuh-uh. Sorry.

Ti Kuan Yin is an oolong, and can be used in kung fu tea, but doesn't have to be. It's an oolong in that it is partially oxidized (in between black and green). It is a specialty of Anxi (Fújiàn province). Oolong just describes that in between state of oxidation, and there are many, many different kinds, not just one or even four (think Si Da Ming Cong). The lightest ones that are the least oxidized get called pouchongs, and they're mostly grown in Taiwan these days.

Just for you, I found some characters to go along with what I'm saying, but since I can't read, I hope they're actually correct! Kung fu tea, the Fujian tea ceramony, is usually done with oolongs (any kind) and a Yixing teapot set (宜兴) , although at our house, if we're having bat kut teh, it has to be done with bo-lay/pu-erh (普洱茶) and our set is probably a fake, it was cheap.

Fengyi, I see dried chestnuts on the same shelf with the dried lotus seeds and various dates. Maybe you'll see them there?

regards,

trillium

thanks Trillium, I'm not very particular about tea, but thats what my mom called it, and its exactly how we drink it, in small concentrated doses. I like it only with mooncake or any dessert with sweet bean paste or lotus paste inside, coz the bitterness counters the excessive sweetness of the dessert. I like strong jasmine tea with sweet desserts as well.

...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

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This google page has a few links and pictorials on boning a chicken:

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navc...oning+a+chicken

I've never done a chicken, but I did do duck, and as I remember, the most important thing was a good, short sharp paring knife. The hardest part was separating the skin a flesh from the backbone and keeping the skin intact But I did it!

I love Ti Kuan Yin -- but the way I like it is probably sacriligeous. I like it light. Even tho I've had it in the YiXing pot, I still like it steeped lightly and I like the second steep even better.

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This google page has a few links and pictorials on boning a chicken:

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navc...oning+a+chicken

I've never done a chicken, but I did do duck, and as I remember, the most important thing was a good, short sharp paring knife. The hardest part was separating the skin a flesh from the backbone and keeping the skin intact But I did it!

I love Ti Kuan Yin -- but the way I like it is probably sacriligeous. I like it light.  Even tho I've had it in the YiXing pot, I still like it steeped lightly and I like the second steep even better.

I agree with you jo-mel that part by the backbone is the hardest part coz the ducks barely got meat on their backs so its a thin layer of meat then skin.

I have only deboned 1 duck before.....and never again. Too many sharp bones, and I ended up with scratches on my hand..(it looked like I wrestled the duck first LOL), that but then again I dont use any knives or shears when deboning. So the second time I used duck I just left the bones in, and let my family suffer, figured it was good enough to eat....I should add a level of difficulty in eating it. bwahahahaha

I've used turkey as well for the 8 treasures recipe....ahh, well of course it was my asian rendition of turkey for thanksgiving. obviously its easier to debone, the only downside is making sure the turkey is well done without overcooking the rice. my solution to the problem, don't soak the rice, then i just sauteed what needs to be sauteed, like the shallots, shrimps(optional), sausage, mushrooms, star anise, and then once the flavors all melded, turn off heat, set aside to cool. when cool enough stir in the rice, chestnuts, and lotus seeds, pour in the soy sauce/wine mixture and all the other seasonings and then ready to stuff the turkey. the only method that seem to work while keeping the turkey very moist is through the crock pot method overnight. This is soo good, first time I ate turkey thats melt in your mouth, super duper moist, and full of flavor, y'all should try this sometime.

...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

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doesn't sound too sacriligeous. The best tieguanyin starts off strong and unbalanced, with a perfect second cup, and then gradually becomes very subtle.. eventually very sweet. And a good tieguanyin is not bitter at all. OK, maybe occasionally a hint of bitterness, but not much more than any green tea. mmm now i will go have some.

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doesn't sound too sacriligeous. The best tieguanyin starts off strong and unbalanced, with a perfect second cup, and then gradually becomes very subtle.. eventually very sweet. And a good tieguanyin is not bitter at all. OK, maybe occasionally a hint of bitterness, but not much more than any green tea. mmm now i will go have some.

we usually never get to the second cup, as my mom steals the pot off to the living room while she watches her chinese opera on betamax.... aiya! :hmmm: and one cup combined with sugar from the mooncake or other sweets is enough to keep us kids up and running about for hours.

...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

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