July 23, 2023

Goh go Hon

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Goh-san's in town on a layover, and a few of us had the privilege of spending some time with him. The Man in White T-shirt has made the executive decision to take him all the way to Sun Hon Kee Restaurant (新漢記) for some Hakka cuisine, so the bunch of us made the long trip out in anticipation of a great meal.

The restaurant has quickly become one of Foursheets' favorites over the last 2 years, as the Hakka flavors and the simple, honest cooking of Brother Hon struck a cord with her. We have made visits there whenever we are in the vincinity for simple meals, but we know that when either the Man in White T-shirt or RAW Yeah is in the house, Brother Hon will pull out all the stops. And so it was tonight.

Traditional deep fried tofu (炸古早味鹽水豆腐) - this was pretty amazing, as the Puning tofu (普寧豆腐) was so soft and fluffy that it broke apart into pieces as I tried to pick it up with chopsticks. Inside the texture was like almond tofu (杏仁豆腐) or deep-fried milk.

Stir-fried lotus stem (炒藕帶) - I haven't had this since my first visit here, and I do love the crunchy texture and the "green" flavors.

Stir-fried river shrimp with Chinese chives (韭菜炒河蝦) - OMG, I really miss these tiny shrimp! Packing so much flavor! Perfect with chives.

Pork tendon with shallot oil and soy dipping sauce (白烚豬前腿筋) - I shan't ever tire of this... So, so, soooooo tender. Melt-in-your-mouth collagen from the tendons. I'm a man of simple tastes, and all I need is a plate of this and a bowl of steamed rice.

Slow-cooked goose in 5 spice marinade sauce (客家慢煮滷鵝) - goose is always a good idea.

Stir-fried water chestnuts (炒馬蹄) - these were pretty small water chesnuts so they were really nice. I can just imagine the amount of work that went into peeling them, though...

Deep-fried shrimp ball (蝦棗) - not quite the Chiuchow-style, this was more fluffy. In fact, it was a little similar to Taiwanese-style tempura (甜不辣).

Pig intestine pot in 3-cup sauce (三杯焗新鮮豬腸) - I looooove pig intestines, and doing it with the 3 cup sauce (soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine) is perfect for me as the flavors are just so familiar.

Sun-dried whitebait with chili pepper in soy sauce (尖椒醬油焗山坑魚乾) - this is a dish that I always order when I'm here, and tonight some of the chilis were actually spicy! So much so that I immediately started hiccuping after chomping on a fiery one...

Stir-fried cucumber seedling with bean paste (豆醬炒青瓜苗) - I love these baby cucumbers, and this seemed novel to Goh-san... who asked whether something like this is common and prevalent in restaurants. I guess we've seen them around a few places, but often as garnishes at fine dining European restaurants instead of having a whole plate of them.

Braised trotters and fallopian tubes (炆豬手生腸) - interesting combo. The marinade was a combination of dried flat fish (大地魚), red wine, and fermented bean curd sauce (南乳).

Stir-fried bitter melon, eggplant with pork lard (豬油渣生炒涼瓜茄子) - Brother Hon served this to go with the red wine I brought, and I must say that they did pair well together.

Pork ribs in shrimp paste (金牌蝦醬骨) - damn, this was so tasty. The pork was marinated with shrimp paste, soy sauce, and rice wine. I think Goh-san really liked this and wanted to know more about the shrimp paste.

Giant grouper tripe (龍躉扣) - that's some big fish with a big stomach! It did taste a little fishy, though... Apparently the choy sum (菜心) was pretty good.

Braised beef cheek (炆牛面頰) - apparently this was cooked the same way that Hakka people cook dog meat... but of course there wouldn't be dog meat served at the restaurant. The beef cheek was very, very tender, and the sauce was really fragrant thanks to the use of lemon leaves.

Stir-fried brown marble grouper fillet (炒黃皮老虎斑球) - the fillets were stir-fried at high heat (180°C) for one minute, then removed from the wok. Then the other ingredients such as spring onions, fermented bean sauce, and eggplant are stir-fried, before the fish was added back and reheated slowly. No salt or stock was used in the cooking, and the seasoning comes solely from the bean sauce. Very, very delish.

This plate carried "everything else" from the brown marble grouper, including all the fins and head. Really tasty, too.

Salted baked crab (金牌鹽焗奄仔蟹) - so once again, I'm dining with the Great One when virgin crabs are served. No jokes about virgins tonight, though...

I really loved the amount of roe in the crab. So tasty.

Steamed pork in shrimp paste sauce (蝦醬蒸新鮮豬肉青) - Brother Hon had given a new "ball" of shrimp paste to Goh-san, but he still needed to show how this could be used... and as a result, we got an extra dish where the shrimp paste was used to season steamed pork. Very heavy taste, but really delicious.

We needed some rice to go with the pork, so I made a little nigiri sushi out of the combination.

Deep-fried glutinous sesame balls with taro (芋頭煎堆) - duo filling of taro mash and custard. So delicious. And the crispy shell with all the sesame seeds was so, so satisfying.

We brought a little bit of wine with us:

2020 Nicolas Joly Clos de la Coulée de Serrant - much more ripe on the palate than expected, much softer on the palate. Where is the acidity??!! What happened to this wine?! Well... only at the end was there a little bit of acidity I had expected.

2005 Shafer Hillside Select, from magnum - double-decanted and stoppered for an hour, served more than 2 hours after decanting. Such a typical Cali cab, with lots of vanilla, coconut butter, together with plenty of sweet cassis and black cherries. The extended aeration plus the aging have managed to soften up the palate considerably, and the wine was now silky smooth.

Shinsei Zenryo Iwai Junmai Daiginjo (神聖  全量祝  純米大吟醸), 2015 - it's been aged a few years so the oxidation has taken place, and it totally smells and tastes like a koshu, with fermented and savory notes. Very rounded and viscous on the palate, and actually pretty sweet, too.

Well, there wasn't nearly enough alcohol for our group, so Brother Hon gave RAW Yeah permission to raid his cabinet, which was where we found this bottle of brandy from Georgia, among other things.

This was a ton of food, but so much fun! It's so good being back here, and I'm so happy to spend more time with Goh-san. Hope to see him again, soon.

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