October 14, 2015

A Great birthday

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A few of us got together and celebrated the Great One's birthday tonight.  Instead of the usual suspects, someone suggested we do Chiuchow cuisine for a change.  None of us had been to Chiu Chow Chuen (潮州邨), but it seemed promising with the Worm Supplier stopped by a couple of days ago to check the place out.  I left the ordering to the experts...

Black mullet in Chiu Chow style served cold (潮式凍魚飯 - 烏魚) - apparently this black mullet was wild-caught and even came with a little gift in its belly.  Very tender flesh.

Marinated goose liver (滷水鵝肝) - the liver was very tender, with a heavier flavor profile thanks to being marinated in soy sauce for some time.  But this tasted a little more jelly-like, and I'll disagree with ILove Lubutin and say that I prefer the goose liver at Chiu Tang (潮廳) because of the more creamy, pâté-like texture.  The marinated tofu underneath was heavenly.

Marinated goose sliced (滷水鵝片) - this was OK, but we thought that the tofu that came with the goose was actually inferior to the pieces which came with the goose liver...

Marinated bean curd (滷水豆腐) - so we wanted more tofu, and more tofu was what we got.

A closer look at the slices shows that, much to my surprise, these were "spotted" tofu!  Sooooo yum!

Pearl oysters pancake (潮式蠔仔烙) - can't do without this Chiuchow classic, which is much better than the cheaper alternatives favored by my fellow countrymen in Taiwan.

The edges were very crispy, and the little oysters were tasty.

Stir-fried goose jelly and leek flowers (韮菜花炒鵝紅) - this got people oohing and aahing, because we don't see goose blood often.  The leeks were also pretty young and slim.  Stir-fried with thinly shredded mushroom.  Sauce was a little heavy-handed.

Fish maw with loofah and minced pork (絲瓜肉碎煮魚鰾) - loved the fish maw, which came with pieces of loofah, mushroom, Chinese celery, and minced pork.  Very nice.

Stir-fried rice noodle with goose intestine in black bean sauce (豉椒鵝腸炒河) - the Great One was very happy to see this dish, and could hardly wait to have a taste.  The kitchen asked if we wanted this a little charred, and the reply was an unequivocal "YES"...  Crunchy intestines with flat rice noodles stir-fried at high heat, along with onions, green peppers, and black beans.  Very yum.

Chive rice cake (韮菜粿) - these pan-fried dumplings were pretty nice.  The wrapper was nice and browned, and the chive filling was certainly tasty.

Sweeten taro paste with gingko (福果芋泥) - sweet taro mash is another Chiuchow classic, and best when it's made with plenty of lard.  Texture-wise it could be a little smoother...  This came with some ginkgo nuts.

Sweeten taro sticks (反沙芋條) - fried taro sticks also feature in Taiwanese cuisine, but I've never had 'em like this.  The sugar crust on the outside can be a little much at times, but the kicker was the chopped spring onions mixed in with the caster sugar.  You'll be munching on a chunk of sweetness when, all of a sudden, a little dose of savory deliciousness hits you.  What a nice surprise!

Ginkgo and jelly sweet soup (清心丸福果豆爽) - once we saw this on the menu, we knew we had to order it... After all, we needed to record that the Worm Supplier actually "ate himself"...  To be honest, I don't get why 清心丸 is even a thing...  It's got no flavor and is interesting only because of its chewy texture - and I think nata de coco is better in that respect.

I brought these dark chocolate-covered Tabasco flavored jelly beans when I visited Jelly Belly last month, and wanted the gang to try.  Maybe it's the contrast from the chocolate that you taste first, but the centers of these beans taste even spicier than the "plain" Tabasco flavored jelly beans.

I brought a lonely bottle of bubbly to dinner to help celebrate the occasion, knowing that this isn't a real drinking crowd...

Françoise Bedel L'Âme de la Terre - ripe on the palate, with a nice and caramelized nose.

Halfway through dinner, we realized that Via Tokyo was only a few minutes away on foot, and this being a Wednesday means that they are serving our favorite flavor - houjicha (ほうじ茶)!  So the gang moved over after dinner...

Houjicha soft serve (ほうじ茶ソフトクリーム) - it's been a while since I last had this, and I have been missing this dearly.  Wonderful, rich flavors here... and love that smooth, silky texture.  And you know the damn thing is good when, minutes later, you burp and you still like the smell of it coming back up...

Unfortunately this filled up my stomach, so I decided that I wasn't gonna go for the next dessert, which would have been a stinky durian ice pop at ISee iSee nearby.  Next time!

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