April 7, 2010

Tycoons' fraternity

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Tonight the gathering of foodies took place at Shun Tak Fraternal Association (順德聯誼總會).  We had heard about this place from a friend and decided to check it out.  As one enters, there is a wall of photographs showing prominent members, and we see the familiar likenesses of two of the city's wealthiest tycoons who hail from the region.  Somehow I doubt that these guys come here to eat these days...

Interestingly, there was a table next door consisting of a bunch of lady foodies we know.   What a funny coincidence!  We pre-ordered a bunch of dishes, which were supposed to be their greatest hits:

Stir-fried shark's fin (桂花翅) - a few of us (including yours truly) do not eat shark's fin for environmental reasons, so we asked the kitchen to do this with fake fin - essentially gelatin strands.  I don't mind the consistency of the gelatin, but I thought the scrambled eggs were overcooked and too dry.  A little disappointed.

Pig's lung soup (豬肺湯) - the soup looked green, so we asked the waiter if they added almond cream in it.  You should have seen the reaction (both verbal and the look of disdain) from the waiter as he ladled soup into the bowls...and spilling it on the table in the process.  Yes, they used almonds...the waiter scoffed at us as if we were a bunch of clueless babies who didn't know our food.  The reality is that the use of watercress in the soup overpowered any scent of almonds.

Fried and baked fish head (燒焗魚咀) - we think they used cutlassfish, but whatever it was, it was delicious.  I'm not an expert at eating fish heads, but I was happily sucking away trying to get as much as I could out of every little crevice...

Braised pomelo skin with shrimp roe (蝦籽柚皮) - pretty nicely done here.  Lots of yummy flavors from the shrimp roe.  I also liked the bok choy (白菜仔) that came along with the pomelo.

Stir-fried milk (大良炒鮮奶) - kinda disappointed.  The milk was stir-fried with slices of button mushrooms, pine nuts plus some shredded pork, and served over a bed of deep-fried vermicelli.  It was just too salty for me.

Fried pigeon (炸乳鴿) - excellent.  Very juicy on the inside while the skin was wonderfully crispy.  I was tempted to have more than one piece, but thought I should control my intake...

Pan-fried prawns in superior soy (豉油皇煎大蝦) - these were pretty big prawns...and they were butterflied so the outside was a little dry.  But the full flavors from the soy were very nice.  Personally I prefer my prawns to be smaller, as they tend to be more tender to the bite.

Braised pork hock with mustard green (肘子扒芥膽) - the lean portion of the pork was a little dry, but that layer of skin and fat was not bad.

Stir-fried glutinous rice (生炒糯米飯) - kinda wet but not quite to the point of being soggy.  They used both kinds of Cantonese sausages, which was interesting.  Still think Fook Lam Moon (福臨門) does the best version, but this was not bad.

For dessert there was almond cream (杏仁茶), without egg white tonight.  This was much thicker and had lots of fine almond grinds which gave it more texture, but unfortunately stuck to the back of my throat and annoyed me.

We also had homemade whoopie pie shaped like owls.  The elves had baked them in both large and small sizes, and I chose a small one for myself.  Polished it off in one bite.  The filling was made with peanuts, and we detected some spices and wondered if there was ginger or nutmeg.  Pretty nice.

For wines we started with a bottle of 2006 Hokkaido Wine Yukitsumi Kerner (北海道ワイン雪摘みケルナー) brought by a friend.  I remember visiting a winery in Hokkaido 10 years ago but don't remember if this was the one.  I've also never had Kerner (nor heard of it) even though it's one of the most-planted varietals in Germany.  Anyway, this is basically like eiswein...where the grapes are harvested after snow has fallen and the grapes have been frozen.  Nose of muscat and green apple.  Sweet on the palate but slightly tart on the finish.  Can't say I was very impressed, but very interesting to drink something from Hokkaido.

2006 Selbach Riesling Kabinett "Fish" - I was bringing a couple of bottles of this home, so I thought I'd crack one open during dinner.  Minerals in the nose, with medium acidity balancing out the slightly sweet palate.  It's a cheap wine that's very quaffable.

There were a few let-downs tonight, but for the price we paid it was a very decent meal with some real winners.  If only the setting were a little nicer and the waiters more customer friendly...but then again, if they count the tycoons as their customers then we're practically nobodies, so why should we expect good service?


Anonymous said...

I've been to this place a few times, and the waiters do expect tips during the dinner!

Anonymous said...

How does one become a member to dine here?

Peech said...

No need for membership...


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