February 6, 2009

Birthday feast for a two year old

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Changunnie turned two today. I had been planning to introduce her parents to my favorite pig at the Kimberley Restaurant (君怡閣) for some time, and when the dinner was set for Changunnie's birthday, the whole family (including grandparents) came out to celebrate.

We started with a few small dishes to kick off the meal. The braised beef shank with five spice (五香牛腱) was done pretty nicely, and it's a dish I should learn from mom so that I could make it at home. The pig trotters (鹵水豬腳) were also pretty yummy, and there were only little bits of bone attached.

Finally there was the deep-fried salmon skin, which we put in front of the birthday girl and told her it was a cracker. It was light and not too oily, and she absolutely loved it.

The waiter brought in a giant claypot which contained the clear ox bone soup (清燉牛骨湯). This was done with radish and sprinkled with lots of spring onions. The Korean contingent at the table - which was in the majority - got pretty excited since this was similar to the way beef soup is done in Korea. The broth was pretty rich from the extended cooking, and very sweet thank to the radish. The spring onions provided a nice pickup of flavors. The meat was very, very tender as were the tendons around the bones. There were smiling faces all around, and many of us had seconds.

The pan-fried tiger prawns in soy sauce (頭抽煎老虎蝦) was as good as I had expected. The restaurant had some tiger prawns and suggested that we use these instead of the regular prawns. Lots of flavor here, and I eagerly licked the shells clean and sucked the head dry. What a wonderful dish.

The goose web braised with pomelo skin (柚皮炆鵝掌) was a novelty to some, as many people didn't realize you could cook with pomelo skin. Someone who's never had goose web before asked whether it was "basically just a giant chicken's feet"... Well, yeah...

Of course the real reason we are here is the roast suckling pig stuffed with glutinous rice (金陵全豬烤金苗). It's my favorite pig in Hong Kong, and it was delicious as usual. If I had to be critical, I'd say that the rice was a bit soggier than usual. But that doesn't detract from the flavors and everyone loved it. Even our little birthday girl was chomping on one of the ears with a big smile on her face.

We finished with some pea sprouts stir-fried with garlic (蒜茸炒豆苗) as the veggie is still in season.

The birthday cake was brought out, along with some fruits and Chinese desserts. Everyone had a great time, especially the birthday girl. I'm happy to have introduced another set of friends to my favorite pig...

Some final words about the wines I brought along:

2006 Selbach-Oster Riesling Kabinett "Fish" - a pretty straight-forward Riesling, with nose of petrol and minerals. Only slightly ripe and sweet because it's a Kabinett.

1996 Artadi Viña El Pisón Reserva - powerful medicinal nose with brett and smoke. Colors are still very deep ruby. Concentrated yet smooth on the palate.

2001 Fisher Coach Insignia - nose of sweet red fruits, caramel, mint, smoked meats and coffee. Still pretty tannic and should probably be cellared for a few more years.


Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

That was one of the best meals I've had in ages. I loved everything, especially the soup and pig, they were memorably delicious.
Oh, Robuchon a Galera is still excellent (went there for lunch on Saturday) - you must try it again soon.

see you soon,

Changunnie said...

We ate more of that pig over the weekend. Changunnie took the legs and I ate HER leftover...

Anonymous said...

went there weeks ago, when i made reservation i asked about crockage, they said their policy changed now, $200 each, so i didnt bring any wine...

Peech said...

To be honest I think it is fair for restaurants to charge corkage, because they are losing revenue by not selling you any wine or alcohol. I think $200 is fair although obviously the less the better! Restaurants who know me will not charge me any corkage, because they know that I give them enough business on food.


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