Dim sum with Jason

This is Jason:

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Jason and I met on our very first day as Williams students, and he plays a noteworthy role in many of my fondest college memories. While we’ve definitely walked separate paths and led different social lives, he’s always been dear to me and we’ve accumulated some good times over the years. Whether enduring upper level bio classes or road tripping or sharing our latest reads, we manage to find ways to reconnect, so I guess it’s no surprise that he’s on my turf here in Hong Kong.¬† We recently caught up over dim sum, and while the meal was good, it didn’t match the waves of comfort, nolstagia, and joy that accompanied his presence ūüėÄ

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diiiiim suuuuum i heart you

Until my recent trip to China, I didn’t think it was possible to eat dim sum three days in a row.¬† Well, that’s one more thing I can check off my to-do list for life.

And I was sort of right…it certainly wasn’t possible to gorge on dim sum¬†for three consecutive days.¬† I noticed myself eating considerably less at each subsequent meal, such that by the third, I realized¬†I¬†probably hadn’t overeaten at a dim sum meal for the first time in…probably forever.¬† I’m sure even when I was a babe, my parents were spoonfeeding me mushed up pork dumplings and steamed rice rolls¬†to shape me into the giant poofball that I was (and arguably still am ;)).

Some of the highlights:

Tea preparation:
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Best chicken feet ever:
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Fish heads with spicy peppers and garlic with SERIOUS YUM FACTOR.  My first time having fish heads prepared this way, and I loved the way the entire fish head, even the bones, were infused with this intensely hot, garlicky flavor.  Plus, I got to relive my childhood by eating some eyeballs.  I hope I still have friends after that comment.
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Roast goose for the first time!  It looks pretty similar to duck, and is a bit tougher in texture but still pretty darn good.  Thinking about roast meats makes me salivate sometimes.
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Siu mai — the porkiest siu mai I’ve ever tasted, with unbelievable girth:
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Plump, juicy haw gao bursting with nicely-sized, flavorful shrimp chunks.  The shrimp was not overcooked and the skin was just the right chewiness, making it a mouthful to remember:
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Amazin cha xiu bao straight from the oven — do not be deceived by the sweet milk topping. One bite through the warm tender bun revealed a saucy, sweet-yet-salty¬†center of cha xiu filling.
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Awesome, awesome beef tripe with daikon and my favorite — pan-fried daikon cakes studded with bits of chinese sausage. I almost never fail to get these whenever I have dim sum:
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Sigh…I almost instinctively associate dim sum with family, which is why no matter how bad the food could get, it always manages to bring a smile to my face (or a grimace, whenever the end of the meal comes and they start jumping on top of each other to pay the bill).

Week of 7 July 2008

Food-wise, a quite eventful week — a nice way to kick off this blog. A barbeque with the fam provided the perfect occasion for me to debut my balsamic and olive oil-marinated, inside-out cheeseburgers with sundried tomatoes, onion, and basil. I came up with the sumptious idea while lounging on the beach with a friend a few days before, and I could literally feel my stomach gnawing away inside me at the thought of them. I used Monterey Jack for my inside-out cheese, and the spiciness of the cheese cut through the burger and definitely added a pleasant kick to all the beefiness. Speaking of beef, these were ginormous burgers, though unfortunately, I failed to capture the girth of these bad boys. Here was mine, in all it’s glory:

I grilled some ciabatta for the carbs, and the bread complemented the burger well — I loved the crunch and the overall bready goodness. In addition, I also made a zucchini tort, the recipe for which I found in a Mexican cookbook. A relatively simple dish: just zucchini and onions seasoned and baked with some eggs and a bit of flour to provide the “tort” aspect. A dash of Mexican chili powder gave the dish some kick, although taste-wise, I was a bit disappointed with the results.

Dad also baked some sausages and served them with an Asian peppers and onions sauce on some whole wheat tortillas, but they all disappeared while I was manning the grill, so I didn’t get any shots of them (not a taste either).

The next day, a friend of my mom’s stopped by for the express purpose of teaching me how to make my favorite dim sum dish: loh bahk goh (turnip cake). i absolutely adore this dish — every time I go to the dim sum place where my uncle works, he always makes sure to grab me at least 2 or 3 plates of these suckers. The ingredient list went as follows: cured pork, a couple Chinese sausages, dried shrimp, shredded turnips, scallions, and the binding ingredient, which was something that literally translates into “wet flour,” though I was told that you must buy this ingredient and cannot just make it by combining water + flour. After chopping, shredding, stirring, and seasoning with some soy sauce, oyster sauce, and salt, we steamed the resulting product to achieve this:

I previously thought turnip cakes were relatively healthy, but as you probably guessed, they really aren’t. I’m not entirely sure what inspired such a thought in the first place. Regardless, I don’t think that will stop me from gorging on them when I get the chance. I suppose I could always try to make my own healthy version, but that would just ruin all the fun, wouldn’t it?

Mom’s friend and I also made some wonton and dumplings, which came out super delicious. Nothing but some ground pork, mushrooms, chive-like greens, and a handful of water chestnuts. Here’s a shot of our filling:

Our wonton, pre-boiled:

Dumplings, post-boiled:

Dumpling innards, cooked:

She also brought over a traditional Chinese dessert with which we ended the meal, a heavenly coconut milk-spiked cross between a custard and jello.