Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Wu Sek Spare Rib (無鍚肉骨頭)

The first time I made this dish was at my age of 18, after I tried it in a Shanghai restaurant near my home.  I then guess what should be put inside.  Of course, at that time, my cooking experience was very shallow and didn't know what to put.  Then luckily just at the same time I watched a TV special by Mrs. Lee Tsang Pang Chin - I learned so much from her about various dishes.  She even told some basic skills which the other chefs didn't - just hot wok cool oil!  At that time, she already knew hot oil is not good for body - trans fat!  Isn't it something?  OK, since then I made this dish for my family as it's very good for eating rice.  Also at that time frozen spare ribs was not expensive.  Like the portion (around 1 kg) was just HK$10 (US$1.25).  Now it's not expensive either HK$41 (US$5.4) for 1kg something as shown on the above left photo.  Actually nowadays it's quite hard to find a whole uncut spare ribs.  I was so glad that the shop's lady opened a fresh box of spare ribs (and it's from Austria) and she also chose a lean one for me, but this one should be at least with some fat; otherwise it's not with the fat aroma (酥香).  So the first step is to pan fry the spare ribs (a whole one or at least cut into 2-3 big pieces, because this way it will store the juice inside when shimmered).  Note no oil in the pan - in Chinese we call this step White Wok (白鑊) - that means nothing in the wok but heat it.  Then you will see the outer part turn brown.  Put 1 litre of water or water to cover most of the spare ribs, 2-3 cloves of star anise, 2 soup spoons of soy sauce, 1.5 soup spoons of oyster sauce, 1.5 soup spoons of Shiu Hin Wine (Chinese Yellow wine).  Then shimmer it for 50 minutes to 1 hour at low heat.  Then check if the sauce is left about 300 - 400 ml left (about 1.5 - 2 bowls).   If not, shimmer it until it's there.   Then put out the spare ribs.  This time I will slightly cut the big bones surface and take out the bone one by one.   Then cut the meat in smaller pieces (about 1.25 to 1.5 inches in length) - keep the soft bones within the meat - as that one tastes so good.   Then put back in the sauce.  Take out the star anise.  Put 1/3  to 1/4 cane sugar bar (片糖) and 2-3 soup spoons of Chun Jiang Vinegar (鎮江醋).  Anyway, at that time you need to taste the sauce to your preference but allow the sauce to be a bit not too strong in taste because it still needs to shimmer for another 10 minutes as the vinegar will soften the meat.  Then check if the sauce is thick enough.  If not thicken it with some cornstarch, but don't make it too thick.  Actually originally it needs to put some dark soy sauce but I don't have it and I don't feel like putting it either.  Done - as on the right photo!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sun Kee Restaurant, Wanchai, Hong Kong

This restaurant used to be in Jardine Street, Causeway Bay, loved by the students for its hot plate sizzling steak, pork chops...etc., as it is really cheap (HK$30)(US$4).  It is now moved to Wanchai, next to 198 game mall on Wanchai Road.  We ordered a chicken plus 2 dishes set with 2 drinks at HK$108 (US$13.5).  The chicken is pretty nice.  The stir fried egg with shrimp is a bit too well done, but still ok.  Then the mixed vegetable casserole is also pretty nice.  So considering HK$108, it's quite a good treat.  Nice time I will try the hot plate sizzling steak!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

double boiled soup by Keung Kee, Wanchai, Hong Kong

All right, as this restaurant acclaimed itself with their double boiled soup and roasted goose, we should try these.  The soup is pretty nice with lots of ingredients.  I ordered the beef with longan and goji berries.  The soup has been double boiled for a very long time as I could tell from the texture of the beef.  Somehow the taste is a bit stronger to me.  Then for the goose, it just reminded me of the old time taste - very strong and quite salty.  Then it's the same for the broccoli with squid/chicken.  I think for those who wanna recall the old taste of some local Cantonese dishes, this one may be the one.  While taking our dinner, we saw a couple of westerners bringing a bottle of chilled champaign.  They ordered a BBQ pork to accompany their champaign - kind of cool as compared to the other table another locals taking beer with BBQ pork. 

Keung Kee Restaurant, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Passed by this restaurant at Tin Lok Lane (where the South Pacific Hotel is or the South Pacific was (probably 20-30 years ago)) several times but didn't go in.  So this evening why not for a try!  So I found out one thing which I have never seen in the menu in the HK style restaurant.  Check on the first photo and find out yourself, and see if you find the same as I did.  At least my friend found the same as I did.  Then after the dinner, we turned to the corner of Bowrington Street market (you may not recognise what this name is in English, but if I said "Goose Neck Street (鵝頸橋)", then you wouldn't feel unfamiliar.  Don't know why it's named as Goose Neck Street whereas it should have its original name), then we paid HK$6 (US$0.8) for a nice peach juice and it's pretty nice with no sugar added though it's with some added ice and water).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Pawn (and the hip), Wanchai, Hong Kong

Passed by this marvelous mansion.  Was a very established pawn shop in Wanchai on Johnston Road, but now it's a hip place for the trendy to hang out.  I waited for quite a long time to take these photos as you can see almost no people in the photos.  However, the fact is that they have a lot of customers coming in and out.

Fat Angelo's, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Tried something new.  It's linguine scampi in truffle sauce.  The shrimp was very fresh and the truffle sauce was excellent!  Then another surprisingly good main dish is the risotto in mushroom sauce.  The sauce is very special and detailed.  By the way, I often forgot taking photos of their big big bread, because I just ate it when I saw it!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cathay Pacific inflight meal

At my friend's request, I took some photos of the meal service by Cathay Pacific.  Interesting that I enjoyed the fresh fruit, bread and the ice cream.  The main course fillet with mushroom sauce was pretty good but just it's my problem for taking food with less sauce.

the kids playing in Big Wave Bay

Have been thinking about these 2 brothers playing with Jason for quite some time since last December when we went to Big Wave Bay for a nice afternoon chill-out.  The big kid (in blue t-shirt) is a very thoughtful and educated kid.  He played with the others with fun but with rules to respect each other.  He even blamed another kid for not throwing the sand to Jason's face, as he saw Jason run away from that kid.  I haven't seen such a sensible kid as him for a very long time - precious.

French meal at Cannes

I read an article about how the seafood is eaten in the western way.   The critics mentioned whatever seafood is served, it always comes with lemon.  Then when I browsed my photos, it's quite true.  Whether it's a live oyster or grilled seafood or deep fried, it is always with lemon - look at the above photos.  

Cafe de Coral, Admiralty, Hong Kong

The fast food shops in Hong Kong have recently picked up a lot with their image and food quality.  So tonight I ordered a BBQ veal with chicken thigh and sausage on sizzling hot plate in black pepper sauce (I didn't put the sauce in it), followed with an ice cream with fresh fruit and red bean drink.  Just HK$47(US$6).  The taste is average but what much can we expect when paying this money.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

my drunken chicken wing

Today the weather station issued an "extreme" hot signal - 34 degree. It's time for a cold dish and I made this drunken chicken wing for my lunch tomorrow in the office. Noted I used the Chinese (sweet bitter) grass (甘草) (as shown on the chicken wing). So first rinse the chicken wings and then rub them with rock salt (2 lbs with 2 table spoons). Then prepare the wine soaking soup. First boil the (sweet bitter) grass (about a few slices) and one star anise with one cup of water for about 3-5 minutes. Then pour in 1 litre of chicken broth, and half bottle of Chinese Siu Hing Wine (I used the "Pagoda" brand). Then boil it. Prepare a large amount of tap cold water in the basin. Then after the soup is boiled, add 1 table spoon of rock salt, or taste the soup to your preference. Put the whole pot into the cold water for immediate cooling. After it's close to room temperature (taking about 15-20 min.). Then put the soup into the freezer (yes, the icy cold freezing compartment) for about 40 min. to 1 hour. Meanwhile, put a large amount of water into the wok and add a few slices of ginger. Then bring it to boil. add 2-3 table spoons of Siu Hing Wine into the water. Put the chicken wings into the boiling water. boil them for about 10 minutes (or until you see the water boiled again) and don't let them boil too much. After it's boiled, turn the heat to low. Then take out the chilled soup from the fridge. Drain the chicken wings from the wok and put them into the chilled soup. Stir them a bit in the chilled soup, and then put the remaining half bottle of wine in it, and put it back to the fridge (not the freezer part this time). So this process of sudden chilling will give the chicken wings' skin very chewy. Better soak the wings for overnight or 2 nights for better taste.

So why I use the (sweet bitter) grass is that it will give the sweet taste in the soup and the wine aroma will come out in a nice match with that sweet taste, esp. in the summer time. You can keep the soup for next time, but better take away the oil on the surface before you freeze the soup (yes, I put the soup in the freezer for future use). But then for the next time, you need to add more wine after you put the chicken wings in the chilled soup.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My oyster omelette and abalone

So at the encore of my niece, I made this oyster omelette this evening besides the steamed fish, fried vegetable, boiled snails and chicken...etc.  However, this time the oysters were a bit too big though it still tasted good.  So for one catty of oyster, I used 6 eggs and the 4 oz of "yam" powder (which aborbs the fluid of oyster), some salt, sugar, slight white pepper powder, sesame oil and a half bowl of chopped pasley (pasley is important as it will make the whole omelette smell so good).  The first I rinse the oyster with a lot of cornstarch (2-3 oz).  This way it will take away the oyster smell and it will softly cleanse the dirt of oyster.  For the big oyster, add some over-night rice in it and rinse it in one direction because oyster is too soft to be broken easily.  For me, I don't "fly" water (put it into the boiling water for about 30 seconds).  I think if we clean it with corn starch thoroughly, and then drain the oyster well.  No need to do that step to take away the original sweet flavour of oyster and the nutrition.  Then batter the egg with all the seasoning mentioned above (the chopped pasley should be put at the last).  Then use a filter to take away the unmelted yam powder to make it smoother.  Put the drained oyster into the egg and the pasley and stir it evenly.  Then time to pan fry it.  Normally when you see there's some hot steam coming out from the middle of the oyster, you can turn over it but you need to do it skillfully.  Don't break the omelette.  Then pan fry the other side until it got a bit brown.  

Then for the second photo, it's fresh abalone.  Pretty good price - HK$120 (US$15) for ten and they are all quite big.  So after cleansing the skirt and the bottom of the abalone.  Dry them all with clean towel.  Put them evenly on a flat plate.  Soak some Chinese (old time) dried tangerine peel an hour before.  Use a spoon to wipe away those white tissue one the peel's inside part (that part is important because those white tissue would smell not good and that it is "hot wet" for Chinese herbal medication).  Then cut it in thin slices and put them evenly on the abalone.  Steam it for 8 minutes for this size at high heat.  Don't steam too long as it would make the abalone hard to chew.  Meanwhile, prepare some scallion slices (cut vertically to make it look like flower shape; not about the beautiful shape as it will let the scallion aroma release more when later on we put the boiling hot oil on it).  After the abalone is done.  Put the scallion slices on the abalone evenly.  Then in another wok, heat some oil and carefully and evenly pour in the hot oil and make the scallion slices sizzling.  Then put a few drops of soy sauce over the abalone.  Done!

South Horizons to Lamma Island

Never felt so close to Lamma Island on the Hong Kong Island, especially on such a clear sunny day where we have the Southern wind from the South China Sea.  The first photo is to the northern part of Lamma Island.  The second one is to the southern part, deep inside that big mountain is Sok Ku Wan, where I posted the photo about the sea food village - my favourite place too!  Then the third and fourth ones are the apartment buildings of South Horizons - it's quite a nice residential area.  Suddenly found out the warm scene of my sister holding an umbrella to shelter my father when walking up on the stairs.  

Friday, June 20, 2008

HK style western food

For whose who have been a high school student in Hong Kong, they wouldn't find this plate a stranger.  Red soup (Borscht soup) or white soup (mushroom or corn cream soup) first, then steak in black pepper sauce on rice.  That's what we call lunch or dinner of the Day.  Nowadays, the restaurants have made it a bit more with duck breast and chicken wings...etc.  So this whole set with coffee/tea is at HK$35-40 (US$4.4-5.2).  It didn't taste good to me, but I took it all simply because I missed something in high school.  Do you miss it?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Yellow Fish Soup, by Crystal Jade, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Felt like finding some dishes I haven't tried at Crystal Jade.  Here are the minced sauce on noodle, yellow fish soup and the typical Shanghai stir fried sticky rice cake.  The food is expectedly good and we don't expect anything more.  About the soup, they first used some fish to boil the soup as we can tell from the color of the soup.  Then the yellow fish was pan fried and then put back to the soup.  When we ate the fish, it is still a bit salty.  I think for Shanghai style, they often marinate the yellow fish with salt to make the texture harder.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lung Moon Restaurant (龍門酒樓), Wanchai, Hong Kong

Haven't been to this restaurant for quite a long time.  The last time the experience wasn't good and it was almost 2 years ago.  So this evening suddenly passed by this restaurant and felt like for a BBQ Goose, as this restaurant used charcoal for grilling.  Then we ordered one (photo 2).  The goose is quite ok but the skin is not crispy enough.  Then the 2nd dish is bitter gourd with silver tiny fish.  A bit disappointed as the dish was not hot enough.  Immediately my friend and I knew what went wrong.  They prepared all the stuff and put them aside.  When there is an order, they just mixed those done food into a dish.  This is the worst cooking technique.  Don't they know food cooked and put aside for a long time is losing their original flavour.  Then the third one is the bell pepper, pickled vegetable stir fried with Squid.  Again, they have the same problem!  So then when we looked at what are around us, almost all of the tables empty.  OK, back to the photo 1, Steamed rice on a beggar's bowl (yes we call it as beggar's bowl in Cinese.).  This restaurant is very constant.  I think it might be just one single incident, but it's not!