January 17, 2019

Crabby birthday

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Mrs. White T-shirt is celebrating her 18th birthday, and very kindly invited Hello Kitty and I to dinner. Unfortunately Hello Kitty was having some trouble with chewing food, but I nevertheless agreed to keep The Man in White T-shirt company.

When I saw the menu for the evening at The Sports Club (五陵會), I knew we were in for a feast.

Apparently one of the guests brought these green radish, which were so sweet and crunchy!

Shrimp paste encased in string beans (百花煎釀豆角) - this was very good, and I love that they "braided" the string beans and used them as the base.

Deep-fried shrimp toast (沙律蝦多士) - this is one of my favorite Cantonese snacks, and when it's done well, that crispy toast at the bottom can be incredibly satisfying.

Pan-fried pork chops with preserved Chinese black olives (欖角煎豬扒) - the others around the table were yelping with ecstasy after taking bites of this, and I gotta say... the flavors from those preserved Chinese black olives (欖角) were really fragrant and amazing.

Fish soup with coriander, century eggs, and pork (芫茜皮蛋肉片滾魚湯) - this was an incredible pile of dregs (湯渣), and actually pretty tasty since the fish they used was garoupa.  Enough that The Man in White T-shirt inhaled two bowls of the dregs - in addition to the soup - while others also eagerly partook throughout the dinner.

The milky soup had plenty of white pepper, and wonderful fragrance from aged tangerine peel.

The main event tonight were these two Alaskan king crabs, which were still moving around while many of us took turns taking pictures with them.  The crabs would come served three ways:

Steamed Alaskan king crab with Huadiao wine and egg white (花雕蛋白蒸亞拉斯加蟹) - serving crabs with a sauce made with Huadiao wine (花雕酒) is now commonplace, and it's also nice when you've got some egg white for texture.  This seemed to be the crowd favorite at my table.

Baked Alaskan king crab with ginger, spring onions, and white pepper (薑蔥白胡椒焗亞拉斯加蟹) - the other way is the more common preparation with ginger and spring onions.  This was pretty nice, too.

Crab tomalley soufflé (砵仔焗蟹王) - this was pretty interesting, although truth be told I didn't pick up much flavor from the tomalley, as it had been overpowered by white pepper and coriander.

Next came brown-marbled grouper (老虎斑) served two ways:

Deep-fried garoupa head and fins with salt and pepper (椒鹽焗班頭腩) - deep-fried anything is bound to be good, especially when it comes seasoned.  Absolutely no complaints here!  Very light and fluffy.

Deep-fried garoupa filet (吉列老虎班球) - The Man in White T-shirt had opined that this version was the best one that he's had in Hong Kong, which is certainly high praise for something that's so commonly available at cha chaan tengs (茶餐廳) across town.

This came with two sauces on the side.  The corn sauce is the most obvious, making this into 栗米斑球 - except that this was no ordinary frozen fish filet!  I gotta say that The Man in White T-shirt was right... this was FUCKING GOOD!  And I can't remember the last time I had it so good.  The texture of the fish was very fluffy and tender, while the batter was crispy and light.

There was sweet and sour sauce, which was also pretty good.

Later on our hostess suggested that I should try combining the two sauces together for the best experience.  Maybe next time...

Steamed salted goose Hakka style (客家蒸咸鵝) - made with soy sauce-less master stock (白滷水).  Very tasty with good depth of flavors, although the skin on some parts was a little too salty for me.

Blanched young choy sum with fresh tofu skin and wolfberries (鮮竹杞子浸菜心苗) - the choy sum (菜心) was very, very sweet.

Braised young pigeon (紅燒妙齡乳鴿) - these were pretty damn tasty, and certainly the flavors of the spices were a little stronger than usual. 

Longevity noodles tossed in crab sauce (蟹汁撈長壽麵) - the 粗麵 came with plenty of alkali flavors that even the heavy presence of ginger could not eradicate.

Fried rice with barbecued pork and shrimp (薑米叉燒蝦粒炒飯) - pretty good lah...

Traditional steamed sponge cake (古法馬拉糕)

Almond cream with egg white (蛋白杏仁茶) - very viscous...

There was a ton of wine, but I took it easy tonight...

2009 Pol Roger - good acidity, some ripeness, very lively on the palate.

1995 Krug, ID 109095, en magnum - lovely acidity and slightly lean.  Notes of straw with a little toasty oak.  Beautiful and elegant on the nose.  Later on the acidity got pretty high, with a lot of depth on the palate.  Plenty of salted plum, too.

2002 Champy Mazis-Chambertin, en jeroboam - nice, with a little ripe and stewed black fruits, along with leather and eucalyptus.

2014 Roulot Bourgogne Aligoté - very toasty. Lean and acidic.

Many thanks to our host and hostess for a wonderful evening. We hope to be back next year for the 19th birthday!

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