A fellow food lover from another continent reached out to me a few weeks ago, wondering if I'd be interested in meeting up while he's in town. It's not my usual practice to meet up with complete strangers, but as we seem to have a couple of mutual friends, I kinda said to myself... "why the hell not?!" As I found out tonight, I actually completely ignored an earlier request to meet up... some 5 years ago!
After some discussion, we decided to meet up at The Chairman (大班樓). As there were only two of us, it would have been tough to do dinner at most Chinese restaurants. I remembered that this place has a set menu designed for two, so here we are.
I was a little surprised that the chef decided to lead off with this... While the original intention may have been to stimulate our taste buds with the first course, the chili lit my tastebuds on fire, while the Szechuan peppercorns simultaneously numbed my tongue. Yes, the lamb was fatty and crispy the way I like it, but wouldn't this have been better towards the end?!
Besides the delicious crab, the story of this dish lies in the sauce made with aged Huadiao wine and chicken fat. Very fragrant and with a tinge of bitterness on the finish, I eagerly ladled an increasing amount of it over the rice noodles. If there was one perennial wish, it would be for the chef to add more chicken fat in the sauce... the way it was done at my beloved Manor Seafood Restaurant (富瑤海鮮酒家). But maybe my visitor was right... the chef did it this way was out of concern for our health.