Thursday, June 30, 2011

Buddha Jumps Over The Wall

An interesting name, isn’t it? It is a Chinese soup, a famous Cantonese cuisine. Unlike the western nutrition standard, Chinese believe that soups cooked under small fire for long hours are the best for our bodies. So my brother bought this for our birthday dinner.In fact, my two brothers and I were all born in the 4th week of June. Therefore we usually have joint birthday dinner. This year, it was my brother’s treat. The restaurant had a very special dinner trio - lobster with noodle, steam fish and one whole deep fried chicken - Only HK$318 ($298 on weekdays). We were all happy to enjoy our favourite foods at a good price. The lobster balls were really al dente. My brother ordered the Buddha soup which was very delicious. A very important Cantonese culinary culture is not only to drink the soup, but eat the ingredients as well. As we believe those are the essences of nutrition.
The soup had many ingredients and had an original meaning of fortune, longevity and wealth. People usually serve this for their important guests. Since it is so delicious, it tastes good and smells so great that the Buddha next door would want to jump over the wall and join the dinner. Hence the name.

Of course there are classes in almost anything in life. If you buy a car, there are Rolls Royce, Mercedes and Toyoto. Likewise, when you order the Buddha soup, the money you pay will determine the ingredients in it, or vice versa. The one we had cost HK$188. I believe it is a Toyoto. I didn’t find expensive items such as abalone, shark fin or scallops. Instead, I found sea cucumber, fish maw, ham, pork tendon, mushroom, chicken feet, chicken thigh and pork. Some recipes suggest adding wine, but I didn’t realize it. Even so, we are all happy with the very yummy and delicious Buddha soup. Unfortunately there wasn’t a Buddha eating next door, or we may witnessed “Buddha Jumps Over The Wall”!

One Whole Deep Fried Chicken - very crispy. We all love it!

Lobster with Noodle and Truffle Sauce - The Lobster Balls are really al dente! Yummy yummy!

Restaurant: Cuisine Royale
Address: 7/F Hopewell Centre, 183 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Telephone: 852 2804 1300

Hong Kong Food Blog - Buddha Jumps Over The Wall

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sticky Rice Dumplings at Tuen Ng Festival

Dragon Boat Festival – the 5th day of May in the Chinese calendar, falls on the 6th day of June in 2011. It is an important festival in Chinese tradition. In Hong Kong, the two most important traditions are the eating of Rice Dumplings and Dragon Boat Races.

Unlike other festival foods, rice dumplings are available in restaurants throughout the year. Of course, most people would love to eat them around Tuen Ng Festival. Some people made them at home, some choose to eat at restaurants. I am someone in between. I bought them as take-away and eat at home. Here were the default dumplings that I ate at home yesterday, which was the day of the Dragon Boat Festival.
I like to eat with soy sauce, my sister in law likes to go with sugar. It all depend on your personal taste. But both sugar and soy sauce are both served if you eat at a restaurant.

Default Dumplings (咸肉糉)

If you were a food lover, you may want to know that there are three major categories of sticky rice dumplings to be eaten at Tuen Ng Festival, which is also known as the Dragon Boat Festival. The default dumplings (咸肉糉) were generally made of sticky rice, boiled green bean with stuffing of stewed pork and typically a salty egg yolk. The grand dumplings (裏蒸糉) are usually larger in size and have more stuffing like mushrooms, chicken and many others. The sweet dumplings are named alkaline water dumplings (碱水糉) in Chinese, usually with some lotus seed paste as stuffing. They are generally longer and slimmer in shape.

Grand Dumplings (裏蒸糉)

Sweet Dumplings (碱水糉) (right hand side, yellow in color) Click here to find out how rice dumplings are madeClick here to find out about Dragon Boat Race in Hong Kong

Origin of the Dragon Boat Festival

It is a festival in memory of the patriot poet Qu Yuan who committed death exhortation to the emperor by drowning himself in 277 BC. The origin of rice dumplings were meant to be thrown into the water so fishes eat the dumplings and won’t eat the body of Qu Yuan. Likewise, the dragon boats were there to create noises to scare away the fishes.

Hong Kong Food Blog - Sticky Rice Dumplings at Dragon Boat Festival

Friday, June 3, 2011

Shanghainese Drunk Chicken

Drunk Chicken is a signature Shangainese dish. In fact it is one of my must-haves when I visit any Shaghainese restaurant.

Haven’t eaten at Xiao Nan Guo for some time. My office moved to Causeway Bay, so I started to go to their restaurant at the Times Square again. Wow, looking at the menu, I noticed great inflation. If you notice something new or being upgraded, there are high chances that you have to pay more. No wonder I had new table clothes, new cutleries, new menu and of course new prices. My bill ended up to be HK$150 per person, which was 50% higher than a year ago.

Enough complaints. Let’s take a look at my favourite drunk chicken. The gojiberries were believed to be good for the eyes and work exceptionally well with wine. So we always find it served together with drunk chicken. The soup was really delicious though it made me drunk for a few moments.

Drunk Chicken HK$68 (US$8.7) 醉雞
Dan Dan Noodle is my other favourite dish. Shanghainese dan dan noodle differs from those from Chengdu in SiChuan, but equally delicious.

Shanghai Dan Dan Noodle 担担面

The pan fried juicy bun did have a lot of juice inside. We had to take extra care in order not to waste any juice. The way they do it was to cook some meat and had them frozen. The meat then became jelly like and was inserted into the bun. When the buns were pan fried, the meat jelly melt and became a juicy stuffing. (Notice the new embriodered table cloth?)

Pan Fried Juicy Buns 生煎包

Lunch date: May 28, 2011
Occasion: Casual lunch
Number of People: Two
Cost: HK$284 (US$36.4), inclusive of 10% service charge
Restaurant name: Shanghai Xiao Nan Guo
Restaurant address: 12/F Time Square, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Restaurant telephone: 852-2874-8899

Hong Kong Food Blog - Shanghainese Drunk Chicken