March 5, 2024

No classics

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I'm back at the Chairman (大班樓) tonight, entertaining both fans of the restaurant as well as naysayers. A year ago today, My Birdbrain Cousin was a no-show despite the fact that I had booked a table for her birthday. Well, she finally showed up tonight on less than a day's notice. I guess that counts for something...

As I know most people haven't tried the restaurant's newer dishes, I made the decision to pick out a few dishes I had already tried recently, so that the others could get the chance to taste them. I didn't pick many of the "classics" tonight...

Ginger and vinegar pig trotter terrine (甜醋子薑豬手豬耳凍) - this is fast becoming my favorite appetizer here. I have always loved the classic Cantonese dish of braised pig trotters in vinegar and ginger (豬腳薑), and this terrine form is just a fantastic bite. I love the sweet vinegary flavor, and wish I could have 3 pieces to myself, or maybe more.

Pickled rose buds with lily bulb and lotus root (荼薇百合藕片) - so grateful that Danny always so kindly remembers to send this out even when I haven't ordered it. The raw lily bulbs are always refreshingly crunchy, full of sugary starch. The pickled centifola roses (荼薇) always bring with them that wonderfully elegant fragrance which lingers on in the mouth.

Char grill sun cured pigeon in soybean BBQ sauce (醬燒生晒臘乳鴿) - this was a new dish I just had to try. My family has always loved the classic cured duck (臘鴨) that is sun-dried, so I was really curious how that would work on a pigeon. Well... the flavors were pretty punchy thanks to the marinade, but it was definitely up my alley. How I wish I could bring one home to the Parental Units in Taipei! But with a potential fine of TWD 30,000 by the customs department at the airport, that would probably make it the most expensive pigeon in the world...

Thick cut Chairman style char siu (炭火厚切叉燒) - this has always been very enjoyable, and tonight it was no exception. Love, love, love the fatty part and the charring on the outside. Soooo tender.

Cleansing soup (一口湯) - the soup today was made with arrowroot, mud carp, and ricebeans (粉葛鯪魚赤小豆).

Wok seared mud crab with premium soy, preserved black beans and preserved olive greens (豉油王豆豉欖菜煎泥蟹) - a "new" crab dish! At least, one I haven't had before. Must try, try, lah! I thought this was pretty good, as I really liked the dried out bits of preserved olive greens (欖菜) and the flavors from the premium soy sauce.

Crispy skin chicken with red bean curd marinate (南乳麵醬炸子雞) - I enjoyed this dish very much on my last visit, and thought the others might find it interesting, too. I do love the flavors from the red fermented bean curd (南乳麵醬).

Sweet and sour pig tails (菠蘿咕嚕豬尾) - there were a few lovers of sweet and sour pork at the table, but not everyone liked the texture of the tails. But I don't care... because I love it.

Stir fried seasonal vegetables with XO sauce (XO醬炒時菜) - this is always a good choice, and today we have purple choy sum (紫菜心)。

Crispy aged eel and salted pork belly claypot rice (瑤柱咸肉燒鱔煲仔飯) - I have been introducing this to my friends on each of my last visits here, since so many of them have never tasted the aged and fermented eel.

I really do love the depth of flavors in the eel, but why are they so stingy and only give us one measly piece of very thin cured pork belly???

Always love these rice crispies.

There's a second serving with this clay pot, where the remainder of the rice goes back to the kitchen and get soup added to it.

I do love that they always add clams to this soup.

Desserts trio (甜品三味):

Almond cream (杏仁茶)

Adzuki bean cake (豆沙糕)

Puff rice cracker with aged mandarin peel (陳皮米通) - love how we get the savory notes from aged mandarin peel, plus that fermented citrus fragrance.

I tried to order some wines off the restaurant's wine list as prices are relatively reasonable, but alas, two of the wines I originally wanted were sold out!

2018 Vincent Dureuil-Janthial Rully Blanc - initially served a little too cold, but big toasty notes were already evident. Then the wine opened up really nicely, with more popcorn than buttery notes. Good acidity on the palate here, especially on the finish.

2010 Hospices de Beaune Beaune 1er Cru Cuvée Rousseau-Deslandes, mis en bouteille par Lucien Le Moine pour MNSC - still showing lots of toasty notes from the barrel, but they are more integrated now and more elegant. Smoother on the palate these days. That nose was really, really big... soooo fragrant and fruity, and of course really toasty!

1976 Sterling Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - drank after decanting for an hour. This was, unfortunately, lightly corked and showing obvious notes of wet cardboard and grassy notes. Later on the wine opened up and the nose became smoky and showed some graphite. The tannins are still here.

2016 Andremily Syrah No. 5 - this was decanted for maybe an hour, but of course the nose was really ripe and jammy, and also typically metallic. A very lovely wine, but pretty tannic, too.

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