February 7, 2018

Big bowls, big pots, big bottles

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A little over one week after my last visit, I was back at my favorite private dining space tonight.  The Hungry Tourist was back in town, and we arranged for a group of local and visiting foodies for another feast.  A couple of us, though, had already had many of the same dishes here last week...

Barbecued kurobuta pork (黑毛豬叉燒) - the still very good. 

The kurobuta (黒豚) from Kagoshima (鹿児島) had enough delicious fat that had been caramelized and charred.

Baked stuffed crab shell (焗釀鮮蟹蓋) - it has been a long, long time since I last had this prepared by the chef.

The panko (パン粉) looked a little brown tonight, and methinks the chef baked for a little too long.  There was plenty of crab meat here, and there's enough seasoning to render Worcestershire sauce unnecessary, but somehow this just wasn't as satisfying as I remembered...

Stir-fried tripe with mixed vegetables (七彩炒肚尖) - the execution tonight was far short of what we had last week.  The dish was overcooked.  The pig's stomach tip was a little on the soft side and not chewy enough, while other ingredients were limp.  There was too much liquid at the bottom of my bowl.  Taste-wise all the ingredients were still fine, but the textures were certainly off.

Traditional Buddha jumps over the wall (古法佛跳牆) - I was always hesitant about serving this to visitors - especially non-Asians, because this pot would be all kinds of 'fuck no' to people who have issues with texture.

The abalone aside, the sea cucumber, the fish maw, the pig trotter tendons, and perhaps the bamboo piths would have posed issues.  But then you hit the mother lode - the goose web...  At least the winter bamboo shoots and the pork belly would be more palatable.

As for me?  Loved this.

Imperial scholar's five-snake soup (太史五蛇羹) - so happy to be back here having my favorite snake soup.  Yes, this is still my favorite.  The flavors are heavier, but it's by no means over-seasoned. 

All the ingredients were just as finely shredded and chiffonade as ever, although tonight we only got the fragrance of 30-year-old aged mandarin peel...  Still delicious, though!

Braised garoupa fin in traditional style (古法炆斑翅) - this was also as delicious as ever. 

Under a blanket of garlic slices, shredded mushrooms, and aged mandarin peel were dorsal fins of giant groupers - which had been pan-fried before braising.  The knife work on the lettuce still displayed the chef's attention to detail.

Braised hundred-treasure duck (百寶炆大鴨) - hands down the best version of the dish.  I always love seeing this come to the table.

This is a perfect dish for winter, with chestnuts, salted egg yolk, lotus seeds, pearl barley, shiitake mushroom, as well as duck meat stuffed inside the skin of the duck.  Pretty heavy and hearty.

Stir-fried pea shoots with liver sausage (膶腸炒豆苗) - speaking of hearty... when you decide to add preserved duck liver sausage to a plate of young and tender pea shoots...  DAYAM!

Fried glutinous rice with preserved meats (生炒糯米飯) - so happy we finished with this!  Arguably my favorite version of this dish, too!  And I only get to have it a few months in the year.  Nice flavors with decent wok hei (鑊氣) thanks to the high cooking temperature.  I especially like the fact that preserved liver sausage somewhat disintegrates during cooking, and little bits of it get all over the rice grains.

Red bean purée with aged mandarin peel (陳皮紅豆沙) - I dunno about the others, but the purée in my bowl tonight was considerably more diluted compared to the bowl I got last week.  But the fragrance of 30-year-old aged mandarin peel was still very lovely and enjoyable.

We had a few bottles of wine tonight - far less than I had expected - including a few magnums...

2011 Joh.Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese, from magnum - a little pungent with polyurethane notes, giving way to some white flowers.  Nice balance between acidity and sweetness.

2009 Dame de Montrose, en magnum - initially muted and flat, then smoky, fruity, minty, with pencil lead.

2007 Henri Boillot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Mouchere - nice lemon citrus and good acidity, with some lovely toast.

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