April 21, 2022

Same same, but different

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Tonight Hong Kong goes back out for dinner after 3½ months. We weren't initially in a rush to go and dine out when we knew many people would be out and about, but during our lunch at Nikushou on Monday, we were told that a shipment of sansho flowers (花山椒) was on its way, and there were still tables available for tonight. So we quickly rounded up the Birdiegolfs for a hot pot dinner.

But just like 3 days ago, I showed up early at the restaurant to pick up a takeout order. Winnie the Chew is quarantining in another hotel nearby, so I offered to deliver some delicious food that they wouldn't be able to get from either their hotel or a food delivery service. Because I pre-ordered the day before, they got to have mackerel bozushi (鯖棒鮨) in addition to the wagyu katsu sando, eel kappayaki (鰻蒲焼き), firefly squid with spring vegetables, and green salad. More satisfied customers for FoodPeechi.

Since we've already been here this week and tasted the "regular" menu, RAW Yeah made our dishes tonight had slightly different ingredients.

Spring mountain vegetables and seafood with mustard vinegar miso (桜鱒 春山菜 黄身酢味噌) - the boss switched to cherry salmon (桜鱒) for us since we had the firefly squid earlier. This was lightly torched for that smoky flavor. We didn't get the bamboo shoots tonight, but we still had French white asparagus, canola flower, and a block of jelly made with hyuganatsu (日向夏).

Grilled freshwater eel with sansho pepper sauce (うなぎ 山椒焼き) - same as the other day, but with some sansho flowers on top. At least we got more of the flowers tonight compared to this dinner last year... Unfortunately, the flowers themselves got overpowered by the sansho sauce with the actual peppercorns...

Oyster with sea lettuce sauce (真牡蠣昆布じめ  青さのり餡) - kinda interesting.

Japanese green sea urchin with Chinese yam marinated with sakura (馬糞雲丹 山芋桜漬け) - the marinated Chinese yam (山芋) added a hint of acidity and a little saltiness, which contrasted with the sweet and creamy sea urchin.

Bamboo shoots with butterbur bud miso (筍 蕗の薹味噌) - unfortunately once again, the little bit of sansho flowers got overpowered by the strong flavors of the butterbur bud (蕗の薹) miso. This was my substitute for the fish cum that they know I don't swallow.

Firefly squid kakiage (蛍烏賊かき揚げ) - another ingredient change for us. Gone are the abalone and we got firefly squid () on top instead, along with sakura shrimp, asparagus, and broad beans. I really didn't understand that last ingredient, since the skin got kinda tough and not pleasant to chew on after deep-frying.

Glass shrimp with tomato and water shield (白海老 トマト 蓴菜) - with sanbaizu (三杯酢).

Then the little bowl of sansho flowers (花山椒) came. We were all really excited...

...especially when they were dunked in hot pot with some Japanese beef!

Hida A5 ribeye center (A5飛騨牛 特選芯ロース) - with flowers which had been blanched.

Hida A5 chuck flap (A5飛騨牛 ザブトン) - with some of the blanched flowers and some fresh ones.

Sirloin (サーロイン) - from Kumamoto Prefecture (熊本県). With more of them little flowers.

Congee (雑炊) - the congee was made with the broth which the beef and sansho flowers had cooked in, along with some eggs, and more flowers. Very, very happy. Someone didn't want her bowl and I ended up with a second serving.


Warabi mochi (蕨餅) - with nice muscovado syrup (黒蜜). I also took a second portion because someone else didn't want theirs...

Of course we had a few bottles... but someone was already slurring before dinner started...

1996 Tarlant Saga, dégorgée en novembre 2004 - the nose was so oxidized I loved it. So savory and mineral, very very much like Chinese salted plum. Good acidity on the palate despite how ripe this was. So rich. Very, very nice.

2018 Blanc de Lynch-Bages - drank 1 hour after opening. Green apple, a hint of pipi de chat, flint minerals. A little oily with good depth on the palate.

2015 Sine Qua Non Entre Chien et Loup - 44% chardonnay, 40% roussanne, 8% petite manseng, 8% viognier. 15.2% alcohol. Drank 40 minutes after decanting. HUGE nose of toast, with vanilla and marzipan. Really open and fragrant after 1½ hours in the decanter, showing toasty corn and toasted nuts and buttery notes. A little straw, too. Just beautiful!

2001 Guigal La Turque - drank 2 hours after decanting. Acidity was higher than expected. Smoke and grilled meats on the nose, but what happened to the fruit and floral notes? After 2 hours and 15 minutes it showed some cooked fruits like stewed prunes. Some 3½ hours after decanting this showed some lead pencil. So disappointing.

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