June 10, 2017

Stuffed like a pig

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A friend is in town from Seoul, and we arranged to meet up with her for dinner tonight.  Naturally, Cantonese food was in order, and rather than going back to one of our usual suspects, I suggested that we have dinner at Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine (御寶軒).  I've been trying to find an opportunity to check the place out ever since I saw pictures of a particular dish which left me salivating, so we made a reservation and pre-ordered the dish - over the objections of restaurant staff.

When I was chatting with Da Jam this afternoon, he had mentioned his not-so-happy experience while dining here - starting with the restaurant not finding his reservation and having to wait for a table, to the excruciatingly slow service which saw a dinner with 4 dishes stretching over 2 hours.  I was obviously hoping that nothing of the sort would happen to us.

Given that there were only four of us after a couple of others dropped out, and the fact that we were saving stomach space for the main event, we took it pretty easy when it came to ordering...  One mistake we made, though, was that we didn't order any dishes which would considered a starter.  This meant that we didn't get anything to eat for quite a while... and some of us were starving.

Pan-fried omelette with silver fish (白飯魚煎蛋) - a pretty simple dish.  I've always loved whitebait, and putting them in an omelette is a pretty common way of consuming these little fishies.

The next dish took a long time to arrive, because it needed at least half an hour to cook.  For some reason, though, the restaurant decided not to send us either of the two other dishes we ordered until after we've had the main event... which meant that after a few nibbles of the omelette, we would have to wait a long time to get another bite...

Roasted boneless suckling pig with glutinous rice (糯米釀脆皮乳豬) - yes, we ordered one whole suckling pig, stuffed full of glutinous rice.  We probably would have had a good chance of finishing it had we been a table of 6, but thankfully this was something we could pack up and take home.  Unlike our former favorite stuffed pig at the Kimberley Restaurant (君怡閣), or the equally-delicious pig at The Eight (8餐廳), this pig did not come as one cylindrical tube but as 24 smaller slices.

They're smaller than the pieces at Kimberley, but essentially served the same way.  A deliciously crunchy layer of crackling, with a nice layer of yummy fat underneath.  Then the chunk of glutinous rice, here flavored with Cantonese preserved sausage (臘腸), shiitake mushrooms, and dried shrimps.  Pretty damn delicious for sure, but I wish they had added some spring onions for extra fragrance and flavors.

We each nibbled on one of the piggy's legs, which were unfortunately woefully under-seasoned and served cold.  Since no one wanted it, I ended up taking the head and chomped off the cheeks.  Slurp.

In case anyone was wondering... NO, the four of us didn't finish the pig.  We took down half of it and decided to let our friend pack the rest to bring home to her parents.

Poached seasonal vegetable with assorted eggs (金銀蛋浸時蔬) - we got leafy amaranth (莧菜) tonight, and I thought they did a very good job with the century eggs and salted duck eggs.

Deep fried squid with salted egg yolk (黃金焗鮮魷) - the Great One liked this dish from her previous visit, and wanted to have it again.  This was indeed very delicious, with a nice, crispy batter around each piece of squid that was completely coated in salted egg yolk.  Very, very heavy in terms of flavor.  In fact, these were so heavy in terms of flavor that they felt like bricks sitting in my stomach.  I was completely defeated after just two pieces...

Sweetened mango sago with pomelo (楊枝甘露) - this was disappointing, because it was just too bland.  Not enough mango here...

2003 Françoise Bedel L'Âme de la Terre, dégorgée en Août 2012 - initially served a little warm, so showed a little bitterness on the finish.  Full-bodied, with a nice, caramelized nose with marmalade notes.

Glad to have come and checked out the pig tonight, although I wish we could have tried a few more dishes.  Service was generally friendly, but the kitchen had problems delivering dishes in a timely manner - which was what Da Jam had warned me about.  Good thing they didn't charge us corkage...

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