August 3, 2019

Macau quickie: another 3-hour lunch

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I woke up early this morning, even though I was sleeping in a large and comfortable bed in a hotel.  Surprisingly my stomach growled at this early hour.  Loudly.  This was puzzling given the dinner we had last night.  But perhaps because we didn't have any carbs, the meal wasn't as filling as I expected.

It was past 10 a.m. when we headed to Sei Kee Cafe (世紀咖啡快餐) in Nam Van (南灣).  Ever since my friend KC recommended it, Hello Kitty and I have wanted to come and try the signature sandwich.  But since this place only opens at 10 a.m. on a Saturday and closes on Sundays, and we always have big meals whenever we come, it's just never been in the cards.  Until today.  Today I needed this sandwich, come hell or high water.

So the two of us took one order of egg and luncheon meat on toast (午餐肉厚蛋多士).  After all, we were less than 2 hours away from starting lunch.

The single slice of thick toast was cut in half, and came with a reasonably thick slice of luncheon meat and a very thick slab of scrambled eggs.  And what a chunk of scrambled eggs it was!  It was just so fluffy, like how Japanese would make omelettes.  Hello Kitty was very happy, and thought it was even better than the scrambled eggs at Australian Dairy Company (澳洲牛奶公司), especially as it was not greasy.

Oh, and the signature clay pot coffee (燒瓦煲咖啡) here was very strong, and very good.

We went back to the Cotai side, checked out of our hotel, and slowly walked over to our lunch appointment at Jade Dragon (譽瓏軒).  Mr. Christmas wanted to come and check it out, and requested that we sit in the main dining room instead of one of the private rooms.  This would be a first for me...

The visitors wanted to try out the dim sum items, so we ordered up a bunch... then supplemented with a few signature dishes.

First, we got ourselves a cup of welcome tea - served by pouring the warm tea out of a sniffing up (聞香杯).  Today the blend consists of Longjing (龍井茶) from Zhejiang Province (浙江省), jasmine, rose petals, and osmanthus flowers.  Very floral and elegant.  It was so soothing that we decided to order this to accompany our meal.

Then came the amuse bouche:

Deep-fried shrimp ball with mandarin oil - the citrus fragrance was very faint as it got overpowered by the shichimi (七味) powder.

Pickled radish - with a tiny bit of lime zest.

The procession of dim sum began:

Jade Dragon dumpling (翡翠玉龍餃) - always a favorite due to its beautiful emerald hue coming from Chinese chives.  Of course, it just wouldn't be the same without that little dab of gold foil...  Of course, the filling using a combination of homard bleu and Japanese tiger prawns delivered a very nice and springy texture.

Steamed kegani crabmeat dumpling (灌湯日本毛蟹小籠包) - pretty good lah...

Baked Australian M8 wagyu beef puff (黑椒燒汁一口和牛酥) - always a good choice, and probably the crowd favorite.  Came out piping hot as expected, and just look at those layers!  Black pepper just goes so well with beef...

Steamed elm fungus and vegetable crystal dumpling (榆耳上素粉果) - many crunchy bits inside.

Crispy sea clam roll with X.O. sauce (X.O.醬桂花蚌長春卷) - the filling didn't taste like clam at all... but rather springy like either shrimp paste or lobster.  We also didn't taste any X.O. sauce... so we wondered whether the kitchen actually sent what we had ordered.  It turns out they did... and Chef Au Yeung later came out to apologize for our confusion.

Baked turnip puffs with Yunnan ham (金腿法國蘿蔔絲酥) - another perennial favorite, for obvious reasons.  The piping hot filling can easily burn one's tongue, but it's just soooo tasty!  All those crispy layers and crunchy sesame seeds don't hurt.  But we were told that the ham inside was jamón ibérico...

Steamed green tea flavors glutinous rice dumpling with sakura shrimp (櫻花蝦綠茶果) - a real pleasant surprise.  Stuffed with a variety of dried shrimp, preserved radish, spring onions, diced pork, and topped with some peanuts and dried sakura shrimp (桜海老).

We were talking about fresh made cheung fun (腸粉) last night, and they've got it on the menu.  Being able to order different combinations of rice flour rolls and fillings was even better.  Hello Kitty and I decided to leave these to the visitors, as it's the only item where there weren't enough pieces for each person.

Jade Dragon prime-cut barbecue Iberico pork pluma (譽瓏蜜汁西班牙黑豚叉燒) - DAMN this was good!  More fatty compared to what we had last night, and the honey glaze was noticeably sweeter.

Traditional "Shunde" fish soup with julienne vegetables (順德家鄉拆魚羮) - this is always a good call.  We've got what seemed to be garoupa or snapper with fish maw, wood ear, bamboo shoots, glass vermicelli, and loofah (勝瓜).

Fried baby pigeon with osmanthus and preserved beancurd (桂花南乳炸妙齡鴿) - this was OK as it was a bit more dry than I normally prefer.  The fragrance on osmanthus flowers on top of smokiness was interesting, but I found it a tad salty thanks to the fermented bean curd sauce (南乳).

Of course, we need to keep the green and gold theme...

Suckling pig filled with pilaf (金陵乳豬飯) - by Mr. Christmas' request.  Initially we asked for just half a pig, given there were only 5 of us.  Then we suggested that we order the whole pig, anyway, and the visitors can take the leftovers and eat it on the plane.

As a guy known to be picky (even though I don't think I'm THAT picky, most of the time...) I do have to say that the pieces today look a little off in terms of presentation.  The crackling became detached from the glutinous rice on a number of them, so the resulting pictures we took no longer looked as pretty and impressive.

As I noticed on my last visit, the crackling nowadays is a little more charred and dry, which meant it was no longer tightly fused with the rice ball.  I would have preferred a little bit of fat underneath the crackling so that the fat could ooze out and get into the rice.  However, this was still a delicious dish, and Mr. Christmas was happy.

Given we have two French chefs at the table, they were naturally curious about how this was done.  We had debates about whether the individual pieces of 'maki' were cut before or after roasting.  We did ask Chef Au Yeung at the end, and he said that the piglet was made into two long rolls, tied with butcher's twine (hence the curvature of the crackling), then roasted before being cut into pieces.

Chef Au Yeung also organized some desserts for us:

Double-boiled Hawaii papaya with peach gum in whole coconut (椰皇桃膠燉萬壽果) - very strong coconut flavors here.

Chinese almond crème brûlée with bird's nest and honey (瓏皇杏汁燕窩焦糖布甸) - no surprise that a French chef kept digging into this...

Baked traditional egg tart (懷舊酥皮蛋撻) - inhaled.

Milk tea and strawberry ice cream - needless to say, I let the visitors take the milk tea cones while I slurped on one with strawberry...

Petits fours - the jellies were made with salted plums (話梅), and the pandan macarons came with kaya in the middle.

This was a damn long lunch... stretching over 3 hours.  We were the only table left (no surprise) and they even turned off the lights in most of the restaurant.  I was pretty happy, and I hope the visitors were, too!

P.S. On our way out, we passed by the roast meat station where two geese were hung inside the brick oven being roasted with (lychee?) wood.  I'm sure Chef Tam misses it...

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