June 6, 2021

New guy on Sunday

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It's Sunday night and a bunch of us have made the trek from the Island up north for dinner.  Our destination is Sun Hon Kee Restaurant (新漢記), a restaurant in Fanling serving up Hakka cuisine.  The Man in White T-shirt had made the suggestion and helped make arrangements with Chef So Wai Hon (蘇偉漢).

Hakka is not a cuisine I am very familiar with, so coming all the way here was certainly something I looked forward to.  Chef So did tell us, though, that the menu he put together for us tonight wasn't entirely Hakka...

Pork tendon with shallot oil and soy dipping sauce (白烚豬前腿筋) - when this is the first plate that arrives, and you've got tender pork with tendons that melt in the mouth, you know this is gonna be a great dinner.

Slow-cooked goose in 5 spice marinade sauce (客家慢煮滷鵝) - very nice and tender. A little more flavorful than the Chiuchow-style goose.

Pig intestine with shallot oil and soy dipping sauce (白烚豬生腸) - well... not exactly intestine but the uterine horns/fallopian tubes. Much more crunchy than intestines.

Pan-fried whiting fish cake (自家製九棍魚餅) - made from lizard fish (九棍魚), which I don't think I've ever had before. Very nice.

Stir-fried river shrimp with Chinese chives (韭菜炒河蝦) - these were almost like the sakura shrimps (桜海老), with pretty intense flavors. Loved the combination with Chinese chives.

Steamed capon (大扇雞) - everyone was excited about this, as it's not often that we get to taste local capons. Sankala was particularly happy, as she finally got to have a chicken that tasted of chicken... in her opinion.

Sun-dried whitebait with chili pepper in soy sauce (尖椒醬油焗山坑魚乾) - the green chili peppers were baked with dried river fish (河魚乾), which are made with so-called 山坑魚 found in unpolluted waters in the hills. The dried fishies were delicious, and the chilies were pretty spicy. The gang happily let Sankala sweet up the peppers.

Cuttlefish balls (自家製鮮墨丸) - Chef So told us that he made these by hand without the use of starch, and added some 30-year-old tangerine peel. Wonderfully soft texture, and I've loved cuttlefish balls since I was a kid.

Stir-fried diamond shells (辣炒鑽石貝) - these New Zealand diamond shells were OK, and stir-fried with some basil.

Stir-fried crab in spicy sauce (香辣蟹) - this was kinda spicy but I did OK. Surprised at the noodles under the crab, which soaked up all the spicy sauce.

Deep fried marble goby with sweet soy sauce (油浸本地水塘大筍殼) - I LOOOOOVE marble goby (筍殼魚)! Been a childhood favorite since the first of my three stays in Singapore. I just looove how crispy the fish gets on the outside. I could have easily taken down half of this fish myself if there weren't so many other dishes.

Stir-fried baby squid with red onion (紅蔥爆連墨汁鮮吊桶) - these squid were amazing. Incredibly fresh and tender, and full of tasty ink.

Sun Hon Kee special fried fish noodle (自家製手打一品鮮魚麵) - another seemingly simple dish which requires a lot of skill, as the noodles are made of fish. Love these old school dishes.

Stir-fried peanut seedling in spicy sauce (回窩花生苗) - always happy to eat peanut sprouts. Love the taste.

Stir-fried lotus stem (炒藕帶) - now this was new to most of us. These are the young shoots which may eventually grow to form lotus roots, which explains why they have the same structure with big holes in them. Very crisp and crunchy.

Steamed black sugar pudding (自家製黑蔗糖蜂巢糕) - I was giddy with happiness when this showed up at the table. I LOOOOOOVE black sugar sponge cake, and I was so happy to see it tonight. Love the flavors emanating from the warm cake. So fragrant, rich, and sinful. I limited myself to just two pieces - taking Sankala's quota.

Deep-fried glutinous sesame balls with taro (芋頭煎堆) - the surprise of the evening was this, which turned out to be a crowd favorite thanks to the filling of taro purée and custard. The couple leftovers were promptly packed away to take home.

With the Candidate and the Film Buff around, we could always count on having more bottles than our headcount.

2000 Duval Leroy Femme de Champagne - nice ripeness, with good savory and mineral notes.

2011 Chateau-Grillet - not floral at all despite viognier. Good acidity balance.

2004 Bass Philip Pinot Noir Premium - good acidity with nice fruit like strawberries. Color was pretty light and cloudy.

2016 Frédéric Cossard Vosne-Romanée Les Champs Perdrix - very young, very fruity, but a little pungent. It is, after all, bongwater.

2010 Felettig Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Combottes - still kinda grippy on the palate. A little lean with forest notes. Not bad lah.

2004 Giaconda Shiraz Warner Vineyard - served after 2 hours in the eto decanter. Definitely more Rhône-like than your typical Aussie shiraz. Eucalyptus and floral, soapy notes. Drinking nicely.

1994 Trimbach Pinot Gris Sélection de Grains Nobles, en demi-bouteille - a hint of savory notes on the nose, with honey, honeydew melon, and orange blossom water. Nice and sweet on the palate.

2004 Ponsot Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru Cuvée des Alouettes - leather, a little farmy, pungent, and savory.

This was such an enjoyable dinner! Chef So came to tell us about many of the dishes, and you can see the amount of effort behind them. Simple flavors that delivery plenty of pleasure. Really looking forward to coming back, and it probably wouldn't take long before my next visit.

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