March 26, 2011

Fish market feast

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For the second time (and both times within a week) I joined the movable feast.  This time it was lunch at a very interesting venue - inside the Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market (香港仔魚類批發市場).  We ate in the building that is normally the breakfast canteen for people who work at the market, which by lunch time transforms itself into a seafood restaurant.

Once again there were four large tables, and the organizer had set up a wonderful feast with the freshest seafood available from the market.  It's not everyday that someone goes through the trouble of picking out the best catch for your meal...

House specialty fish soup (魚市場老火湯) - this was a HUGE pot of soup, and the staff used a big ladle to fill our bowls. A few seconds after the lid was removed, the wonderful fragrance reached my nostrils and a smile started to form on my face. The first bowl contained pretty clear broth, which was surprisingly delicate in flavor. You knew that a ton of seafood and other ingredients had gone into the pot, but it didn't pack the same punch as a bouillabaisse normally would. Absolutely delicious.

As we refilled our bowls a stern warning came from the staff regarding fish bones in the soup.  The soup also got cloudier as we got closer to the bottom of the pot.

Blanched prawns (白灼海中蝦) - pretty nice, and as always I picked the smaller ones for their juicy and succulent texture.  Check out those really, really long whiskers...

Steamed humpback grouper (清蒸老鼠斑) - we were apparently lucky enough to be served wild humpback groupers which were caught from the sea, not the farmed ones which are commonly found at restaurants around town.  Not exactly the most environmentally friendly choice, I must say...  The fish was pretty big, and the chef did a very decent job of steaming it.  The flesh was tender yet retained a level of bouncy bite.  I'm glad I got to have this, but probably won't be having this again in the future.

Deep-fried squid (椒鹽鮮魷) - this was actually very delicious and much better than the average dish found in other places.  I thought the batter was pretty perfect, and the quality of the squid was good.

Deep-fried abalone (椒鹽鮑魚) - this was soooo yummy.  The seasoning was perfect, and the flesh of the abalone had just the right bite... not too chewy and not too soft and flabby.  I was tempted to grab a second one...

Steamed local lobster (清蒸開邊本地龍蝦) - apparently local lobsters are also a bit of a rarity due to the abundance of imports from Australia, so it was interesting to try them.  The lobster meat tasted OK, sweet with a slight bitter finish, perhaps carried over by the tomalley.  Speaking of tomalley... I was surprised at how tasty it was, and wished my half of the lobster had a lot more of it.  Yummy!

Sweet and sour pork (菠蘿咕嚕肉) - having had this dish twice during the week, this was clearly inferior to what I had 3 days ago.  The batter wasn't as good, nor was the choice of the cut.  Ribs with lots of fat and cartilage just don't cut it for me.

Steamed Bengal sergeant (清蒸鹹鮮魚) - this has got to be my favorite dish today.  These little fishies - called 石刹婆locally - were tiny but oh-so-delicious.  I was fortunate enough to have gotten two females with roe, and the roe was sooo soft and silky.  I absolutely loved it.  The flesh was tender and extremely tasty, although the bones were a bit of a pain at times.

I picked these up with my hands and just gnawed on them, getting fish skin stuck on my fingers and under my finger nails.  For a couple of hours afterwards, I relished the smell on my finger tips...  I didn't catch all of the explanation but I believe these were caught yesterday, and somehow are in a semi-dried state between being fresh and dried/salted.

Seafood fried rice (海鮮炒飯) - I'm not really used to fried rice being so wet and soggy, but taste-wise it was actually pretty good.

Stir-fried noodles in soy sauce (豉油王炒麵) - this was pretty good, and I couldn't resist having seconds.

Stir-fried crabs (薑蔥炒大花蟹) - can't believe this came at the end of the meal when I was already stuffed... but I just had to have some.  Crab meat was very sweet and delicious.

For the second time, I was seated at a table of non-drinkers...  For the first part of lunch, my bottle was the only one on the table... and people were actually shy about pouring themselves a glass!  Well, not that there was any stemware at this place... As I couldn't be bothered to bring my own glasses, I ended up drinking out of the same glasses being used for tea.

2007 Cloudy Bay Te Koko - I've always been happy drinking this wine, and I was glad I brought it. Trademark pipi de chat, flint, muscat, lemon and toasty oak. Very rich and full-bodied.

2009 Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc - light-bodied and slightly more acidic, with lemon notes. Ripe and acidic finish. More of a food wine.

What a wonderful way to spend my Saturday... especially since this meant I was able to avoid the crowd that's in town for the rugby sevens!  I must come back for another lunch soon!

1 comment:

e_ting said...

damn that sounds awesome. i really have to check KC's events more often


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