Food

May 2013: 1 week in Malaysia

As usual everytime I go back to Malaysia, I will try to meet up with my friends as many as I could. Asians love food and so all my meetups were during breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. As age caught up with me, I couldn’t quite last till supper time.

It seems that Yuzu Japanese restaurant at The Gardens, Mid Valley. This was the 2nd time, although I have heard about it even before I first visited the restaurant in my last visit in Feb. My husband went there before me when he met up with his ex-boss who ordered a big fish and a boat of sushi amongst other things listed on the menu. The final bill was a whopping MYR600! I couldn’t quite fathom the reason of such a high bill.

My husband had to go there 2 days in a row when I met-up with my school best friend.

Going there again with another group of friend and bigger group of friends allowed me to sample more food than the first time. We ordered mixed maki but to share out with 6 people, I don’t think that were quite enough maki.

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The highlight for me is the fresh catch of the day, mixed sashimi of 5 fishes. Salmon, Ember Jack which we all made fun as Amber Chia, thanks to a member of the staff who couldn’t quite pronounce it correctly, tuna, yellow fin, and finally salmon belly. The sashimi and the wasabi were really fresh.

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My fellow Malaysian friends weren’t very enthusiastic when I suggested to order a side salad. Thankfully there were 2 of them who appreciated it and so I happily ordered the avocado, ichijiku (figs) and octopus salad with miso salad dressing. I enjoyed the salad the most.

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Back to my hometown, Ipoh. I always think Ipoh is famous for many other food although most of non-Ipohan flock to Ipoh to eat beansprouts chicken, eat the most expensive taufu fah you could ever find in Ipoh and take away salt baked chickens. For example, the following “kuih” is a little jewel I uncovered in my trip home this time. The top layer is sago or tapioca (green coloured) followed by cassava (yellow colour) and at the bottom, sweet potato (purple). No colouring or flavouring added as the aroma of the cassava complementing the soft texture of the sweet potato and tapioca. Yums! And that is just for MYR2! All home made by the seller. Honest food!

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Another highlight for me in Ipoh was this Seremban Grilled Crab at The Crab House Restaurant, Ipoh in Ipoh Garden East  (32, Laluan Perajurit 1, Taman Ipoh Timur, 31400 Ipoh, Perak). Thanks to my younger brother for treating us this delicious meal and took the effort to book a table in advance, even during a week day dinner. The claws of the crabs were as big as my palm. Meaty and deliciously marinated, it was definitely joy in heaven. Crabs of the crabs! The last time I had such meaty crabs were when I was in Singapore in Feb when my friend took my husband and I to a crab place in Ang Mo Kio. We queued for about 30 mins, even though we were there fairly early at 5 pm! For dinner!! Ok, it was a Sat so definitely it was busy. But I didn’t expect to be THAT busy even at 5 pm! Now that I found this place, I have no reason to go to Singapore to queue for that crabs! And really I think these crabs were made beautifully and better than Singapore.

We ordered two ways of crabs, one was marmite, and another one was Seremban Grilled Crabs. In fact, I thought it wasn’t enough with one Seremban Grilled Crabs that I ordered another one after we had the first one.

This is Marmite Crab, unlike most of restaurants tend to make this rather sweet, Crab House Restaurant actually retains most of the marmite taste, salty but not overly salty. In fact for the first time I could taste marmite.

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This is the Seremban Grilled Crab. At first I thought this was marmite as mentioned earlier, it looked sweeter and like any other marmite crabs I have had before. It turned out their signature crab is better than marmite although their marmite crab is commendable too.

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Each crab cost about MYR80. Expensive? Nay, if you see the size and taste it. I think it worths the price!

Hope I’ll be able to go and try this again next time I go home and they will retain the same level of quality!

 

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Categories: Food, Malaysia | Leave a comment

Shoryu Ramen – A Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen Specialist

I went out with my high school friend, Cathy, who is also my regular hangout mate in London, last Thurs to register as an election voter for our home country. She suggested after the registration we should go to a newly opened Japanese restaurant in London, which she found out on an article in a newspaper few days ago. What captured her attention was the broth. The broth is not only cooked with pork bones, but also with an added and to some, perhaps an unusual ingredient, pig heads with brains intact. Accordingly, brains will melt in the soup and hence thicken the broth further. I tried to look online for quotation of this claim, but failed to do so. So I think I’ll just keep it as pork bones broth.

When I first looked at the menu, everything seems to end with tonkatsu. However a second look at the menu, I realised that it is actually tonkotsu, with an “o” between k and t istead of an “a”. Tonkotsu is broth made with pork bones. On the menu, there is an introduction of where Hakata is and the main selling point of this restaurant and noodles.

Hakata is a district in Fukuoka City, and Japanese centre has purposely hired a chef from the region to bring authentic Hakata tonkotsu taste to London. Well I wouldn’t know if that is indeed the authentic taste of Fukuoka as the ingredients would be sourced locally if freshness is one of their top agenda.  However the fact that they bring in a chef who is borned and raised in Hakata would definitely be able to maintain the authenticity of the taste. So despite the fact that I haven’t been to Hakata, I can only use the ruler of my usual taste preference as an Ipoh girl and some knowledge from my passion for cooking.

The drink

Let’s start with the drink we ordered, i.e. soba cha tea or buckwheat tea. A decaffeinated tea, served in a pot with 2 small oriental tea cups. Just the way how I like my tea instead of teabag in a cup. The teapot is interesting, almost like chinese pot to boil chinees medicine or herbs.

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I am also curious as to what exactly buckwheat tea looks like, and so here’s a picture of what is inside the tea pot. It is indeed a pot full of buckwheat instead of the normal tea leaves.

The first sip was almost like eating buckwheat, nutty and wheaty yet aromatic. It reminds me of brown rice tea, less the roasting taste. Overall I prefer buckwheat than brown rice tea.

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The starter

We agreed to order Kimchi as our starter/ side dish, however I was speechless for few seconds when I ordered this. I didn’t expect to be asked wehther I would like to have just kimchi as topping or served with tofu. And Cathy has stepped away to the ladies. So, considering that Cathy is pregnant and requires calcium, so I took the liberty to order with tofu. Which I am glad I did so as I never thought of combining these two delightful dishes. The tofu is soft and full of soya taste , though bland in taste, it just goes perfectly well with the spicy kimchi. The kimchi is slightly skewered towards the salty radar rather than sour but again it marries well with the bland but aromatic tofu. Though I am quite happy to just eat the tofu.

On the menu, you can find this under side dishes/ starter as Kimchi Kinugoshi Tofu sold at £4.50 per serving. Kimchi as topping is sold at £2.50 per serving, which can be found under Extra Topping on the menu.

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The mains

While we were happily tucking away in our starter, soon the first main dish was served (although the waiter did make a mistake by serving us two bowls of Dracula Tonkotsu). Cathy ordered Shoryu signature ramen, i.e. Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu whilst I ordered its recommended Dracula Tonkotsu.

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Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu, as narrated on the menu, is ramen in tonkotsu and miso broth, with added spinach and garlic. From my experience of boiling pork bones soup, I roughly know what to expect, at least the colour of the broth. So the first look of the colour of broth didn’t surprise me, i.e. milky white. I couldn’t wait to taste the broth to determine whether is is boiled with a lot of pork bones or just enhanced with MSG. The colour test has passed, milky white to be concluded that it is boiled with a lot of bones and that other secret ingredients. The next test would be the taste. I was expecting heavy pork smell as I do find that porks in England has some smell that I don’t find it in Malaysia pork. I can’t quite describe how is that different to Malaysia pork but I supposed it lies in the food they eat.

The taste of this broth is totally different to the soup I made using just pork bones I bought from Chinese or local supermarkets. It doesn’t have that distinctive smell and taste I found in porks sold in England. And unlike pork noodles soup I had in Malaysia, this broth is sweeter and to be honest, I am more than happy to just drink the broth than eating the noodle. Most of Malaysian pork noodles soup are heavy handed with MSG and since I have lived in England, I can’t drink the soup of any soup-based noodle anymore. Otherwise, I find myself full by drinking water before I can finish my bowl of noodles. Or my tongue will be numb by too much MSG. That will also be the ultimate test of this tonkotsu ramen.

We have also unwillingly opted out the half boiled egg since I don’t take runny yolks and Cathy is not supposed to eat anything that is raw or half cooked. We tried to convince the waitress to hard-boil the eggs, but she refused to as the eggs are pre-cooked, and they can’t change it.

Now my order of Dracula Tonkotsu, it looks somewhat similar to the signature dish. From the first glance, the only difference seems to be the pickled ginger, the pinkish-purplish strips on top of the noodle. The colour of the broth is somewhat similar to Ganso tonkotsu, creamy white broth. The dish is further apart when we took the first taste of the broth.

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Whilst Ganso tonkotsu is sweet from the pork bones, Dracula Tonkotsu is slightly sourish. My best bet was because of the pickled ginger. A read of the menu again “deep roasted tones from caramelised black garlic mayu, balsamic vinegar and garlic chips”. So the sourish taste of the broth is more than just pickled ginger but also balsamic vinegar. It definitey suits my tastebud than Ganso tonkotsu as the sourish taste cut through the heavy milky broth and it makes me want to drink more and more of the broth. Again I am happy to just drink the soup than eating the noodles.

Another difference both Cathy and I noted was the cuts of the porks served in the noodles. In the Dracula tonkotsu, each slice of pork consists of 5 layers of meat and fat. I think it is pork belly. As for Ganso tonkotsu, we noted that only 10% of the pork is fat and the rest is meat. It must be either pork shoulder or loin to go with the dish. I will definitely validate this in my next visit to Shoryu Ramen. Accordingly those who knows how to eat will appreciate the 5 layers of meat and fat, however as I am conscious of my waste line, to certain extent, I only ate the meat layer, leaving the fat layers on a side plate. I can hear “tsk, tsk, tsk” upon reading the last sentence!

The ramen noodles – well I am not an expert in ramen noodles, however I was expecting someting more springy or al-dente. The noodles are rather soft and “doughier” than I would like my noodle to be. This makes me want to drink the soup only rather than eating the noodle.

Here’s a another snapshot of what have been served on our table:

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The dessert

We ended our lunch with a slice of Cheese Soufle Cake. It is cheesecake ultimately and it is light and fluffy, just what you would have expected for a souffle texture. I however was quite full and conscious that I shouldn’t take too much dairy based food, so I let Cathy finished the cake. She on the other hand, needs a lot of calcium for herself and baby in her tummy. I have forgotten to take a picture of the cake as when it was served, I was on the phone and Cathy couldn’t wait for me and helped herself to it.

How to get there:

The restaurant is tucked in the heart of London strategically by the Piccadilly Circus Station, exit number 3, if my memory serves me right. It should be the exit opposite LilyWhite, the big digital advertisement boad, and you should be able to see a Pizza Hut upon exiting the underground station. There is also a Tesco along the way and it is actually located in between The Flight Centre and Ryman Stationery shop. The predecessor of this restaurant was a Spanish Tapas restaurant. There is also map on the website and it is quite accurate.  All you have to do is to look up for no 9!

http://www.shoryuramen.com/

The Final Test

Well, as mentioned, I am particular with food seasoned with MSG. A hint of it will leave my mouth taste funny wanting to drink water. So does Shoryu Ramen pass the test? I didn’t verify with the chefs or anyone who works in the restaurant but only relying on my tongue. After finishing my bowl of Dracula Tonkotsu, it first left my mouth with garlic taste, as it is with garlic chips. Brilliant! Then I did feel the urge wanting to drink water, probably about 10-15 mins after finished my bowl of noodle. It is the thirst due to MSG. So I think they do put MSG in the broth but not a lot.

Will I go back and eat again? I will but not for the same dish anymore. I am curious of the Fire and Ice Salmon Tsukemen and there are other questions as mentioned above, that I would like to ask the waitresses or waiters to validate my guesses.I just hope they wouldn’t mind to give me an answer!

Categories: Food, Japanese, London | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Steamed Vegetable Dumpling

Steamed vegetable dumpling or known as “chai kueh” is one of my favourite nyonya food. Nyonya is the term for women descendants of the Malay-Chinese.

This dish is a simple dish with just few ingredients, i.e. chinese turnips or mooli as it labelled in Tesco, carrots, dried shrimps available in most of Chinese supermarkets in London, wheat starch and tapioca flour, boiling water and oil. I referred to my favourite blog of a Bee, Malaysian Nyonya food website:

http://nyonyafood.rasamalaysia.com/chai-kueh-steamed-vegetable-dumplings/2/

I like to eat the dumplings with fried garlic and chili sauce.

Ingredients

Fillings:

400 g mooli or Chinese Turnip (available at Tesco or Chinese supermarkets), julienne

100 g carrots, julienne

2-3 stalks of spring onions, julienne

1 bulb of garlic, chopped

2-3 tbsp dried shrimps, wash and soak for 10-15 mins (available at most Chinese supermarkets)

oyster sauce

salt and pepper

Skin:

165 g wheat starch flour (or “tang min fun” 澄麵粉)

85 g tapioca flour (or 樹薯粉)

420 ml boiling water

5 tbsp oil

Instructions:

1. Heat up 4-5 Tbsp oil and stir in half of the chopped garlic till fragrant. Add in dried prawns and fry till fragrant.

2. Add in carrots and Stir fry for about 5 minutes or till fragrant. Then add mooli and spring onion stir for another 4-5 mins till cooked. Add in salt, oyster sauce and pepper to taste. Season slightly more considering the skin is bland.

3. Leave it to cool.

4. In the meantime, prepare the steamer and if you are not going to use the Chinese simmer but 3 tier  vegetable steamer, I used the steaming bowl/ containers to put the dumplings. Oil the containers so that the dumplings won’t stick on it later on.

5. Moving on to the skin, first sift the flours and mix it. Then add a third of the boiling water and stir the flours and water with a wooden spoon. Add another third once the flour is mixed and finally the final third and mix it till a soft dough formed.

6. You need to knead the dough, but not immediately as it is too hot now. So let it rest for about 5-10 mins or at least when it is not too hot to handle.

7. Before kneading the dough, add tbsp of oil to the dough and knead. Continue to add oil if you can still see lumps in the dough. Knead till it is smooth looking.

8. Then roll it and divide into 30 pieces or so. Roll out a piece till about the size of your palm and put the fillings in the middle. Fold it and “pleat” the edge.

9. Put the finished dumpling in a container/ steamer/ steaming bowl and continue with the rest. Once it is all filled up, steam for 15-20 mins or when the dumpling is translucent.

10. Fried the chopped garlic so that you can sprinkle on top of the dumplings and don’t forget the chili sauce.

Categories: Food, Life, Recipe | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

“Mantau” Recipe

300 g all purpose flour (plain flour)

3 teaspoons baking powder

110g superfine sugar (caster)

1/2 cup or 125 ml milk

1/3 cup or 90 ml water

1/4 cup or 60 ml vegetable oil.

Instructions

1. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and add sugar.

2. Gradually add combined milk and water and mixing to form a soft dough.

3. Add oil 1 tsp and knead it on a work surface. Add another tsp of oil and knead till the dough is smooth.  Another cue is when there is no more lumps in the dough can be seen.

4. Wrap dough with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for an hour.

5. Meanwhile, cut 16 squares parchment or baking paper to place the buns later.

6. After an hour, take the dough out from the fridge and roll dough into a sausage shape, roundabout 16 inches long.

7. Cut into 16 pieces and roll each into a ball.

8. As this is mantou, therefore no fillings and these balls can be put on the parchment or baking papers.

9. Use a steamer to steam the mantou for about 15-18 mins.

Categories: Food, Life, Recipe | Leave a comment

Chocolate Fondant

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This is the 2nd attempt of my chocolate fondant. I didn’t take the picture of the first one I baked yesterday but I followed the instruction to only put the cake in the oven set to 200 degree Celcius for 10-12 minutes. I followed it but when I removed it out from its mould, only half of it cooked. Not the middle where the gooey  part should  be but the whole bottom part of the cake.

So I extended the time for the 2nd attempt to probably up to 25 – 30 minutes. I just want to make sure the bottom is cooked and not liquid. The bottom was ok, but so was the middle part. There is no chocolate oozing out as it should be. The middle is still a bit wet but taste good. The picture is a bit blur as I was wrestling with my husband to take the picture while he was busy helping himself with the cake.

The 3rd attempt, I shall only bake for 18-20 mins. The results will be updated.

Recipe (From BBC Gordon Ramsay)

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/8168/chocolate-fondant

  • 50g melted butter , for brushing
  • cocoa powder , for dusting
  • 200g good-quality dark chocolate , chopped into small pieces
  • 200g butter , in small pieces
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • eggs and 4 yolks
  • 200g plain flour

Instructions:

  1. First get your moulds ready. Using upward strokes, heavily brush the melted butter all over the inside of the pudding mould. Place the mould in the fridge or freezer. Brush more melted butter over the chilled butter, then add a good spoonful of cocoa powder into the mould. Tip the mould so the powder completely coats the butter. Tap any excess cocoa back into the jar, then repeat with 1 the next mould.
  2. Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, then slowly melt the chocolate and butter together. Remove bowl from the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for about 10 mins.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and yolks together with the sugar until thick and pale and the whisk leaves a trail; use an electric whisk if you want. Sift the flour into the eggs, then beat together.
  4. Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture in thirds, beating well between each addition, until all the chocolate is added and the mixture is completely combined to a loose cake batter.
  5. Tip the fondant batter into a jug, then evenly divide between the moulds. The fondants can now be frozen for up to a month and cooked from frozen. Chill for at least 20 mins or up to the night before. To bake from frozen, simply carry on as stated, adding 5 mins more to the cooking time.
  6. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Place the fondants on a baking tray, then cook for 10-12 mins until the tops have formed a crust and they are starting to come away from the sides of their moulds. Remove from the oven, then leave to sit for 1 min before turning out.
  7. Loosen the fondants by moving the tops very gently so they come away from the sides, easing them out of the moulds. Tip each fondant slightly onto your hand so you know it has come away, then tip back into the mould ready to plate up.
  8. Starting from the middle of each plate, squeeze a spiral of caramel sauce – do all the plates you need before you go on to the next stage. (I skipped this part as not a big fan of caramel)
  9. Sit a fondant in the middle of each plate. Using a large spoon dipped in hot water, scoop a ‘quenelle’ of ice cream.
  10. Carefully place the ice cream on top of the fondant, then serve immediately. Repeat with the rest of the fondants. (I used yogurt instead).
Categories: Food, Recipe | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Tofulogy – An experiment to make tofu fa at home!

I am an avid fan of tofu, be it eaten as dessert or savoury dishes.  It is not hard to make your own tofu fa. The hardest would be how to make it silky smooth, soft but not too watery. But aside from that, my main dillema is the magic ingredient to turn the soya bean milk to bean curd, which is addressed as coagulation process.

All tofu starts from soya beans to my best knowledge. Back in the olden days, soya beans are grinded with millstones to obtain the soyamilk. This is still in practice nowadays and delightfully, we managed to find a few dessert shops in Hong Kong that are still using this method (which I have forgotten the name of the dessert shop we went and validated that they use stone mill to grind soya beans and others such as sesame, hazelnuts, etc). We also went to 石磨坊 (Shek Mo Fong), which literally means “stone mill”, which I hope they really are using this method to grind the soya beans in Kowloon.

It is a hard labour to use the stone mill or can be substituted with grain grinder. In the absence of these tools, blender has come to my rescue. I used the normal blender to blend the soya beans, with added water.

To start with, the soya beans needed to be soaked overnight preferrably, in hot water, in order to remove the skins. Once that is done, put the soya beans into the blender and water. Unless you have those blenders that separate the residuals and water, otherwise, use cheese cloth to separate them. How?? Just pour whatever in the blender onto the cloth, with a big bowl as the catchment of the soyamilk. The residuals or pulps should be on top of the cloth and wrap it up, and press the pulps to the last drop of soya milk that you could get. Put the pulps in another big bowl and continue with the rest of what you have in the blender.

Once that is all done, pour some water over the bowl which contains the residuals and repeat the steps again to squeeze the added water to the soya milk. Don’t waste!

Now that you have soya milk, next is to make the tofu! Pour the soya milk into a big pot and simmer it till boiling. While simmering it, a layer of curd will formed, and that is officially a beancurd sheet made!

The “magic” ingredient to turn the soy milk to bean curd or known as coagulation  is gypsum, which is claimed to have calcium, and apparently have been approvced by US Food & Drug Administration. As a Chinese descendant, I always knew that gypsum is used to make tofu. But only recently I found out that there are other coagulation ingredients. There are some parts of Korea and Japan use seawater/ sea salt to solidify tofu.

Now, the main question is, wouldn’t the seawater makes the tofu salty? It’ll be fine if tofu is prepared as a savoury dish, but how about if we want to make tofu pudding, which is a kind of dessert? I need to put this into a test.

As an alternative, similar concept to making ginger milk curd, can I use ginger juice to make tofu as well? Again, my main challenge is how to reduce the gingery and hotness? As this is a dessert that I want to make, therefore I can still add sugar to the soyamilk before curdling to tofu. This should solved the problem. I don’t even use ginger sugar syrup!

This will be something I’ll explore next weekend!

Update: 

Since this posting, I did make tofu at home, but more of soya milk curd using ginger sugar syrup. It works, for sure as I have tried many times. But the biggest revelation I found was gypsum was not a bad thing afterall. In fact, it has some medicinal effect in accordance to Traditional Chinese Medicine. I haven’t managed to find gypsum in the UK yet so I haven’t managed to try to make tofu using gypsum. Nor the sea water or sea salt from Japanese or Korean stores. I’m still curious whether the Japanese sea salt will make the tofu salty. Or is it other type of sea salt and not the natural one.

Categories: Chinese, Food, Recipe | 2 Comments

Hong Kong Trip! – A Tribute to Food

In my previous posting “ Hong Kong trip – The Prelude“, food have been the guidance to my virgin trip to Hong Kong. However knowing what type of food to savour is inadequate as Hong Kong is well known for thousands of eateries and I will definitely lost in this concrete jungle.  There is a chinese phrase “路在口邊” or literally translated as “ask your way around”. Well not quite lost yet, but better to ask around first for recommendations before I really get drowned with the eateries. Obviously my biggest worries would be my quota will be wasted on disappointing or average food in HK. There will be no room for errors in this food hunting mission!

And nothing beats the locals and those who have been to the country. Apart from that, there are tons of TVB variety shows which introduce the latest fads/ craze of places to go for food. (Yes can’t quite run away from TVB!). And so, a list was compiled before I left to Hong Kong.  Not forget to mention the one single important site, which contains the details of the eateries including address, phone number, signature or popular or must-try dishes, and reviews. It is by far the most uninamously recommended site by all friends http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/index.htm.

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to try all of them as the list is rather long and I had to divide them by regions, i.e. New Territories, Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and of course the outlying island. I will only share those that I have tried and only those that I think I will go back again. However if you’d like the list, please do not hesitate to let me know, I shall “pm” you! 🙂

Wan Ton Noodles (wan ton is somewhat similar to ravioli)

 The texture of the wanton noodle I like must be al dente, chewy, and not too soft (over-cooked).  For those of you who are familiar with how wanton noodles should be cooked, it must first be spread over a strainer and cooked in boiling hot water, for only a minute or so (well this is not quite a standard guideline, but how I like to do it). After that it should be quickly put in cold water, which is commonly known as “過冷荷”.  Obviously good wanton noodle is not only down to the way how it is cooked, but also the ingredients and the way how the noodles are made. I used to make wanton noodles with my mom when I was young. Her wise advice is to use duck eggs, and good strength to “punch” the dough! Well, knead the dough. That’s what Hong Kong is famous for, using a bamboo stick to knead.  Cooking is an art but there is also scientific approach to it.  Hah, this is the secret for the good texture, so I was told by my mom, which is kind of proven! How?? The difference was notable when my dad kneads the dough as compared to when my mom or me knead it.

As for the wanton, nothing can go wrong with fresh prawns with mixture of minced pork. The broth itself should not be too overpowering with a hint of good quality sesame oil and MSG free so that I can have the last drop of it .

Hong Kong is not only famous with its wanton noodles prepared using a bamboo stick, but also the size of the bowl is another signature. “細蓉” , as shown in the picture above is served in a small bowl. History has it that 細蓉 is luxurious and only those who can afford can have 細蓉, back in the ancient days. The labourers will go for the big bowl sometimes just the noodles without wanton. Till today, 細蓉 is expensive compared to the normal size. We had this at Mak’s Noodles at Kowloon, twice. We found this place accidentally, but loved the first bite of it. I don’t mind the size, as this carried the tradition and story. Another 細蓉 characteristic is the way how the noodle is being assembled. The spoon must be put in the bowl first, followed by the wonton and the noodle on the surface. The broth will be poured to cover everything but only surface the noodle. This is to ensure the chewiness of the noodle remains, until the one who savour it start to mix everything. I don’t normally take wanton noodle in soup because the soup will soften the noodle. But with this way, the noodle texture is maintained at its best and as the serving is small, it won’t have time to soak in the noodle and get soft. 細蓉 may not be economical, but this is one of the things that you wouldn’t mind to pay extra for the long lasting flavour, and texture in your mouth and memory.

Tofu fa (beancurd jelly)

This is perhaps the one thing that I had most in Hong Kong! I have tried at various locations.  The first place I went was in Sham Shui Po, 公和荳品廠 or Kung Wo Dou Bun Chong, thanks to a friend, Pei San, who took me there. Then David found another shop in Shau Kei Wan wet market. The tofu is really smooth with gingery sugar syrup. Hong Kong people like to eat tofu fa with brown sugar. We tried it but still prefer with ginger sugar syrup. The trip won’t be complete without trying 山水豆腐花, which is literally translated as tofu fa made with water from the mountain. I am not too sure if that is still the case, but the tofu fa is silky smooth. We also had it at Lantau Island, Tak Kee Tofu fa (德記山水豆腐花) which the stall is just before the staircase to the Big Buddha. 益昌小食店 at Tai O, which not only the tofu jelly is good, the black sesame paste dessert, is also smooth and aromatic. We couldn’t help ourself but to order another bowl of the sesame paste. Tai-O is also famous for its har cheong (shrimp paste). At Lamma Island, we started our hiking from Yung Shue Wan to Sok Kwu Wan. There is a tofu fa stall, Kin Hing Tofu Dessert,  in the middle of the hiking trail. I remember I have seen this stall featured in the TV, therefore we stopped by to have a bowl. However, I wouldn’t quite recommend to go to this stall, as the tofu is quite hard and couldn’t really taste the ginger in the syrup. The winner to me is none other than the picture shown, which we bought from a vegetarian shop, located across the apartment we stayed in Wan Chai. Unfortunately I have forgotten the name of the shop. It is located at around 222, Wan Chai Road, HK.

After a some sweaty search, I managed to find the restaurant 珍豆漿豆腐花專門店 and the address is G/F, 181A Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai.

At the very same vegetarian shop, we also bought the sticky rice roll.  Sticky rice roll is made with glutinous rice with filling such as fried dough, meat floss and pickled/ preserved turnip. However as we bought it from a vegetarian shop, therefore there’s no meat floss, but replaced with something similar.

These are my top 3 favourite food I had in Hong Kong.  There will be more write-ups on other food, such as the street snack, teochew noodles, sampan porridge, roast pigeon, infamous HK style crabs (chili crabs) and many more!

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