November 24, 2020

Peanuts for everyone

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The Peanut Gang needed one more gathering before the end of this shit year, and this time we finally made it to our original scheduled venue for our last dinner together.  Ren Ren Heping Restaurant (人人和平小飯店) is, surprisingly, within walking distance of my apartment.  Somehow I never got around to visiting this neighborhood restaurant after 10 months of living in the area.  

Since we came with two VIPs - one of whom actually had a VIP discount card for the restaurant - I knew we were in good hands.  They know exactly what to order.

Award-winning honey char siu (本地蜂蜜叉燒) - wow, this was pretty damn good!  The exterior was relatively dry and not at all like many of the caramelized, honey-glazed versions around, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that the center would be tough and dry.  But the middle was surprisingly tender, although it was by no means succulent.  The candied mung beans on the side were nice.

Lychee wood chargrilled goose in Xinhui Gujing style (荔枝柴燒新會古井燒鵝) - very happy that we got to order up a whole goose, because this was really good!  Definitely loved the smoky flavors, and the skin was very crispy without any fat underneath.  Great with some masterstock (滷水).

Double-boiled soup with agaricus blazei and abalones (意大利礦泉水姬松茸螺頭燉鮑魚湯) - being the Arrogant Prick, I just had to ask the bosses what type of Italian mineral water they used to make the soup.  Turns out they imported Angelica from Nocera Umbra Fonti Storiche.  I can't say that my palate is refined enough to taste the difference, but this was a nice bowl of soup.

Nostalgic "money chicken" (和平金錢雞) - YEAH, BABY, YEAH!!!!  I fucking LOOOOVE "gold coin chicken (金錢雞)", and this just looked totally awesome!  Instead of a slice of bun this came on a thick chunk of rice crispies (窩巴).

And it WAS fucking awesome!  OK, I didn't care for the thin slice of pickled ginger on top... as I didn't need anything to balance out the sinful richness.  But man!  The two layers of roasted chicken liver on top, with a layer of char siu (叉燒), then a nice, chicken layer of pork lard (冰肉)... Any excess honey glaze or liquefied fat just dripped down and got absorbed by the deep-fried rice crispies.  

This wasn't the best I've ever had - that honor belongs to a restaurant which no longer exists - but I was very, very happy eating this.  I even contemplated taking down a second piece, but decided to take it home instead.

Traditional braised lamb belly in clay pot with chrysanthemum greens (古法扣炆羊腩煲跟茼蒿) - DAYAM!!!  This was really, really good!  The lamb belly was nice and fatty, and very tender.  The tofu skin (腐竹) was great, and I loved the bamboo shoots, shiitake, and water chestnuts.  The chrysanthemum greens (茼蒿) that came on the side was a nice touch, and the restaurant made sure that we knew they were using preserved beancurd from Liu Ma Kee (廖孖記) for dipping.

For the price that they were charging, this was a real steal.

Deep-fried shrimp on toast (懷舊芝麻蝦多士) - these were pretty good, too.  Shoot, what's not to like about deep-fried toast?!

Preserved goose liver sausage (鵝肝腸) - these were complimentary from the bosses, but honestly I found it way, waaaay too salty.

Casserole of fried rice in goose sauce (砂窩鵝汁炒飯) - this was incredibly sinful, and incredibly delicious.  When you add that much goose sauce (and goose fat) to make flied lice, it's guaranteed to taste great.  And the price for a big casserole of this was lower than what some other place in town would charge for a single bowl of flied lice.

I figure it would taste better with goose liver sausage and goose.  Slurp.

I didn't have anything suitable at home for this dinner, so I picked up a couple of bottles of bongwater...

Boisel Brut Réserve, dégorgée en novembre 2019 

2018 Anne et Jean-François Ganevat Poulprix - pungent and stinky to start, with some fruitiness and some sweetness on the palate.  Improved a little with time.

2018 Anne et Jean-François Ganevat De Toute Beauté - a hint of that pungent nose but more elegant, with more leather and bacon fat.  Slightly higher acidity.

This was a great dinner. The food was generally of very high quality, and the price was more than reasonable. There wasn't as much peanuts being dropped on the floor this time around, but nevertheless it did turn out to be a very memorable meal...

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