September 21, 2010

The great northwest

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It's been a while since I last met up with my Taiwanese colleagues from my banking career, and I was glad to catch up with them.  Qin Restaurant (秦味舘) is close to the office, and I welcomed the chance to revisit the place.  Not surprisingly we ordered up a storm...

Hot and sour shredded potato (酸嗆土豆絲) - pretty typical of the region.

Crispy lamb (香酥羊塊) - very yummy with lots of spices like cumin.  Felt like I was back in Xinjiang (新疆).

Rice with egg in Qin style (秦味蛋飯) - pretty good, and I managed to have only one bowl while others had three...  Rice is mixed with fried egg, sauce and lard.  No wonder it's so popular...  We ended up ordering another portion, which I did not partake...

Lamb hotpot (羊骨鍋子) - this was very, yummy...and I had 3 bowls of this instead of the rice.  Lots of chopped lamb parts with meat, skin and fat.  Thrown together with spices and lots of veggies and tofu.

Tossed flat noodle (油潑麵) - the noodles were flat and wide, and tossed simply with some oil, sauce, sesame seeds and chopped spring onions.

Dumplings (一兩元寳) - not bad.

Baked pork ribs (炙子骨牌) - this chunk of ribs was marinated, steamed, fried and baked...  The result is a soft and moist interior and crispy on the outside.  Done with lots of different spices, so flavors are a little similar to the lamb we had earlier.

Braised tiger skin (虎皮燴) - OK, so this isn't really the skin of the tiger... just a braised tofu dish.

Spicy pork tendons (椒麻蹄筋) - these were really nice... just the right balance between soft and a little bit chewy, while there's a nice little kick thanks to the chili.

Stir-fried cabbage with pork (嗆肉高麗) - cabbage is good with anything...

We ordered their specialty dessert - deep-fried Mongolian milky tofu (蒙古炸奶豆腐).  Basically this is like a sopapilla that's filled with cheese inside, and sprinkled with caster sugar.  Pretty good...

There's dessert, and then there's after-dessert.  I dropped by Le Salon de The de Joël Robuchon in the afternoon to pick up some nibbles - after nibbling a little something first at Pâtisserie Sadaharu Aoki Paris (パティスリー・サダハル・アオキ・パリ)...  Anyway, since I still haven't had the opportunity to sample Big Mac's canelés, I decided to buy some for us to try.  Big mistake.  While the big canelés looked perfect on the outside - consistent color all over, and dark brown enough to be almost purple - biting into one revealed it to be a total failure.  The thing was mushy!  The outer layer is supposed to be a little hard and chewy, but this was totally soft and squeezable... The texture inside was also a little too mushy and creamy.  Sigh...

I also picked up some macarons, since I really enjoyed Chef Kazu's macarons on my previous visits to the restaurant.  I dunno what the heck happened, but these were sorry excuses for macarons...  Admittedly I like my macarons to be a little soft, like the way Pierre Hermé does them.  But this was way overboard!  And what's with the filling?!  It was so liquid that any pressure on the outside practically squished it all out like ketchup from a burger!

Well, I did have a really good evening, as dinner was tasty and reasonably-priced.  I still wonder what happened to the pastries at Robuchon, though... and wonder how an establishment like that could have failed so badly...

2 comments:

Max said...

There is a sister place called 勺勺客 at 金山南路 though i got no idea what is the relationship between the two.

Your comments on caneles are totaly right but the macarons are quite ok to me...

Big Max

Peech said...

I believe 勺勺客 was the original and a family member split off to open 秦味舘...

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