November 20, 2017

More reptiles for dinner

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The City Foodsters are swinging through Hong Kong for a day, and Chef DaRC arranged to take them to our favorite private dining facility.  He very graciously asked me to come along so that we could catch up a couple of months after our adventures in Korea, and I was only too happy to come along for some of my favorite snake soup!

But I have been indulging a little too much over the last couple of months, so I told myself that I was going to be a little restrained tonight, and just nibble at some of the dishes.

Barbecued Kurobuta pork (黑毛豬叉燒) - it's been way too long since I last had a taste of this delicious pork, made without the typical honey glaze.

The pork belly was understandably fatty, and I loved the texture.  Flavor-wise the soy sauce delivered much deeper flavors.  But I did limit myself to just two slices...

Steamed crab claw with winter melon (冬瓜蒸蟹鉗) - I've always had the deep-fried crab claws here, and this was the first time having them steamed. 

Naturally the crab was very, very fresh and sweet.  Winter melon is a classic pairing, and the deep-fried minced garlic just made it so much better.

Stir-fried soft-shell turtle shell (鳳城炒水魚裙) - happy to have this dish again.

Tonight the chef provided us with an extra bowl of those toasty and fragrant Indian almonds (欖仁), which I wasted no time in sprinkling on top.  The gelatinous strips of the skirt of soft-shell turtle were really nice, as were the combination of Chinese celery, spring onions, peppers, and deep-fried vermicelli.

Pan-fried medallions with birds' nest (琵琶燕窩餅) - always an elegant dish, these savory madeleines made of egg white, crab meat, and bird's nest have a nice bouncy texture.  I asked for 2 instead of 3 of these.

Imperial scholar's five-snake soup (太史五蛇羹) - it's hard to be satisfied with snake soup made by someone else once you've had this one. 

The knife work; the depth of flavors that can only come from broth made with the snake bones; the sticky coat of collagen covering one's lips from the fish maw that has been breaking down; the fragrance of the aged dried mandarin peel; and the fresher, wonderful fragrance of the kaffir lime leaf chiffonade that one can choose to add to the bowl.

I saved my second bowl and took it home to Hello Kitty.  She can enjoy the leftovers and save me from putting more calories into my system...

Steamed sole (清蒸海方利) - two very nice and wild soles.

Tonight the execution was perfect.  The back of the dish wasn't over-steamed at all.

Crispy chicken (脆皮炸子雞) - I normally find this the least interesting of the chicken preparations, but tonight this chicken was simply fantastic!  The crispy skin seemed to have much more flavor than before, and the same could be said of the meat.  Very yum!  Too bad I only allowed myself a couple of pieces.

Stir-fried pea shoots with liver sausage (膶腸炒豆苗) - it's been almost a year since I last had this dish, and I couldn't be happier.  Rich and decadent, smothering young, tender pea shoots with mashed Cantonese liver sausage it's nothing short of sinful.

Fried glutinous rice with preserved meats (生炒糯米飯) - and with winter come Cantonese preserved sausages, and this dish which is made by stir-frying uncooked rice that has been soaked in water for a few hours.  Sooooo, soooo delicious.

Almond cream with lotus seeds and egg white (蓮子蛋白杏仁茶)

We brought a few bottles along, as usual...

2004 Kistler Chardonnay McCrea Vineyard - still plenty of flint and minerals here, along with toast.  Surprisingly fresh and vibrant.

2004 Henri Giraud Argonne - savory minerals, a little salted plum.

2002 Ruinart Rosé - sweeter and more fruity.

2013 Ganevat Grusse en Billat - a little flinty with lemon notes.

1998 Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses - opened for 3 hours prior to serving.  Sweeter on palate than expected, although not quite jammy.  Nice fruit.

1989 Grand-Puy-Lacoste - unfortunately corked.

1997 Joseph Phelps Insignia, from magnum - minty, a little coconut, smoky with grilled meats.  Drinking beautifully.  Smooth and well-balanced on the palate.

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