October 5, 2018

Dad's bday 2018: familiar flavors

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When I dined at Xin Rong Ji (新榮記) in Hong Kong for the first time, I was struck by how familiar some of those flavors were.  Some of this reminded me of dishes mom cooked when I was a kid, and I probably haven't tasted those in more than 3 decades. So I figured it would be interesting to bring the Parental Units here while they're in town.

With only the four of us, I just picked out a few simple dishes for mom to try.  We were first presented with this pomegranate, whose acidity worked well to whet our appetites.

Seaweed tossed with baby dried shrimps (頭水紫菜拌芒種蝦皮) - this was kinda refreshing, with acidity balancing out the umami from the seaweed.

Deep-fried baby pigeon (紅燒妙齡乳鴿) - the Parental Units and I were kinda shocked at the size of these pigeons... which were apparently around 14 days' old.  The flavors are kinda milky, and certainly tender for sure, and curiously seasoned with a hint of cumin.  But the Parental Units weren't quite happy about how skinny they were... and the fact that the necks are missing.

Rich soup stock braised fish with rice cakes (家燒黃衫魚配年糕) - I was originally going to order a pomfret, but the staff recommended 黃衫魚 instead.  It's not exactly a yellow croaker (黃魚), but I suppose it's a decent cheaper substitute.  Dad and I split the head, and I could see he was pretty happy. I still love the sauce, and in fact the Parental Units lamented that we didn't order a bowl of rice for it.  Come to think of it, why is the restaurant so stingy and only offers each person one lousy piece of rice cake??!!

Stir-fried fine slices of bamboo shoots (家燒江南筍衣) - these were, in fact, not fresh slices of bamboo sheath... as they had been marinated.  Served with a milky sauce and slices of salted pork belly (家鄉肉).

Braised sea anemones with sweet potato noodles (沙蒜豆麵) - ordered this again so that mom could try it.  Very heavy in terms of flavor, and very oily.

Braised tofu with preserved pork and black fungus (刀板香藏木耳燒鹽滷豆腐) - I've always loved these tofu for their intense smoky flavors, but having grown up in a different generation, mom wasn't as easily impressed.  I did really like the preserved pork belly (刀板香), but I'm not sure I could appreciate the tiny little black fungus from Tibet, though...

This was more than enough food for us, but overall I think the Parental Units liked what we had.

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