November 29, 2020

Delicate dishes for a Sunday night

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It has been much, much too long since my first visit to Yong Fu (甬府), so when it was suggested that we visit another restaurant with a somewhat repertoire, I figured we should come here instead.  After all, my meal here was filled with so many highlights I should have returned earlier.

Once again, we asked the manager to help put together a menu with the fresh and seasonal ingredients for the 4 of us.

Hello Kitty and I nibbled on the amuses bouches while we waited for Mr and Mrs Film Buff to arrive.  The marinated wood ear fungus was pretty nice.

Pickled cauliflower stems (泡制花菜梗) - spicy and sour, and the flavors were just right.  So simple.  So satisfying.

Stewed colza, Ningbo style (寧波烤菜) - there was a little of the characteristic bitterness, but overall this was a little on the sweet side, with a hint of smokiness.  Somehow this really appealed to me.

Sliced whelk with chili and peppers (醬椒螺片) - the whelk was nice and springy.  Flavors were spicy with green chili sauce, and I wondered if there was Sichuan green peppercorns (青藤椒) in the mix.  We also had little grilled small green peppers at the bottom which tasted like shishito pepper (獅子唐辛子).  A really tasty dish.

Soaked iced crayfish in rice wine (冰鎮花雕小龍蝦) - if I were in China I'd be a little apprehensive about eating crayfish, but I had no hesitation tonight knowing how carefully they source ingredients here.  This was very, very tasty.  The crayfish tails were sweet from the marinade, but the best part was the tomalley.  It was literally like ice cream.  Like sea urchin tongues marinated with alcohol and sugar, just a little more dense.  I was really happy spooning that stuff into my mouth.

Sautéed freshwater eel Ningbo style (寧式鱔糊) - I haven't had good shredded eel (鱔糊) in a while, and it's something I grew up eating with my maternal grandfather.  Besides the eel, we also had ginger, chives, yellowed chives, and what I thought was preserved leafy mustard stem (榨菜).  Pretty nostalgic flavors.

East sea silvery pomfret with leafy mustard (雪菜燒東海白鱗鯧) - nothing but love for this beautiful silver pomfret.  And the cooking was, again, similar to the way mom used to do it... although mom didn't used to add preserved leafy mustard (雪裡蕻).  A pity that no one chose to tackle the head...

Stir-fried fish noodles with hairy crab roe (蟹粉扒魚絲) - the "noodles" were made of stir-fried shredded mi-iuy croaker (米魚), and topped with hairy crab roe and some sugar snap peas.  Very nice and delicate.

Baked frog legs with chickpeas (鷹嘴豆烤棉地田雞) - this arrived and a lovely fragrance quickly spread around the table.  Interesting to see chickpeas being used along with the sugar snap peas.

But these frog legs!  These were so tiny!  Apparently they live in cotton fields in Zhejiang and Fujian provinces.  Needless to say these were very tender, and the seasoning was strong but nice.

Radish simmered in fisherman's broth (漁家湯煨水蘿卜) - this gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling, because it tasted so much like something mom would make since I was young.  Instead of dried shrimp, though, we now had fresh shrimp with the radish.  Hello Kitty was a fan of the dish, and now wanted to learn how to make this at home.

Stir-fried purple caitai (清炒菜苔) - I don't think I've ever had purple caitai (紫菜苔) before, and this came from Hunan Province.

Chef's signature shepherd's purse and pork dumpling (主廚手工水餃) - these were still as delicate and delicious as I remembered, but tonight I think the kitchen overcooked them so the wrappers were just a tad on the mushy side.  

Ningbo sesame glutinous rice balls (寧波湯圓) - really, really good.  That black sesame filling was incredibly fragrant.
Seeing as it was a Sunday evening, we were pretty civilized in terms of wine consumption...

1995 Maximin Grünhauser Abstberg Spâtlese - nose of white flowers, flint, lemon polyurethane, and petrol.

1996 Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Ried Achleiten - a lot more floral notes, especially white flowers, stone fruits like peach, and a little acetone.
There was, honestly, way too much food for the four of us. But everything was pretty delicious, and certainly brought back childhood memories for me. I really should come back more often...

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