February 25, 2013

Chinese Jinhua Ham 金華火腿

chinese jinhua jin hua ham

Published: 2013-02-25
This is the best cured ham in the world:  Chinese Jinhua ham, or 金華火腿.  Isn't it beautiful?  Look at that beautiful ruby color!  But wait til you taste it!  Wow! Kazaam!  There's nothing quite like it: dense, chewy, bursting with layers of subtle flavors behind the first hit of salty/sweetness.  We find it in our humble opinion to be even tastier than jamon iberico , that also very delectable and worldwide famous ham from Spain.  Alas the Chinese give up their secret culinary treasures with so much reluctance, even to their own people, as it is very easy to buy Jinhua Ham but much much more difficult to buy quality Jinhua Ham.  As it is with so many Chinese things, you just have to "know" or you have to "know somebody who knows".  Or you can also do it like we do: the time wasting way (according to the Chinese), in other words by a series of trial and error.  There's nothing better to inform you of food quality than your own tongue as long as your palate is in good working order!

chinese jinhua jin hua ham

I would suggest to start looking in your local wet market for a good source.  Just ask around and the vendors will point your way.  Don't go for the supermarket Jinhua hams, I can tell you already that they are only very so-so.  One easy way to tell so-so Jinhua Ham is this:  if the ham is just very salty then it's not very good.  Quality Jin hau Ham is  salty only on the first level (and not too salty at that) and then there are many layers of flavor after the saltiness.There are also some restaurants that sell the whole hock just like in the picture above.  I have seen a whole wall of Jinhua hams at the grand ol' Yung Kee restaurant in Central but haven't tried it as it was too overpriced expensive and also space consuming to buy the whole ham.  I have also seen the Jinhua hams in stores that specialize in the local dried meats like lap cheong , etc. that you can still find in the older neighborhoods around town (you know, where they haven't torn down everything to build monster sized shopping malls and 50 story luxury residence towers).

Once you have good supply, use it for enriching soups and stocks, adding an extra layer of flavour to stir fries, etc.  We also eat the shavings plain to go with a bit o' beer or wine and sometimes between two slices of bread.

Hopefully we'll have posts on some Jinhua Ham dishes soon!  In the meanwhile good Jinhua Ham hunting and eating!

More Local Foods at The Hong Kong Cookery:

chinese, steamed chicken, lotus leaf, tou tou koi, macau, recipeLotus Leaf Steamed Chicken 荷葉蒸雞

Steamed Salted Sun Dried Fish, salted fish, sun dried fish, 蒸南倉鹽鮮魚Steamed Salted Sun Dried Fish 蒸南倉鹽鮮魚

chinese, preserved duck, salted duck, chinese preserved duckSteamed Chinese Preserved Duck Leg 蒸臘鴨腿 Google

February 19, 2013

Drunken Crab with Chinese Rose Essence Wine 玫瑰露醉蟹

Drunken Crab with Chinese Rose Essence Wine 玫瑰露醉蟹

chinese drunken crab recipe
By Published: 2013-02-19
When people talk of 鮮甜, or the fresh sweetness, of seafood, they might just have had this dish, Drunken Crab with Chinese Rose Essence Wine 玫瑰露醉蟹, in mind.  Wonderfully fresh ocean flavor matched only by the incredible rose scented sweetness of the delectable crab flesh.  Ummm, just thinking about is making me drool.  We, the family, have just now (after digging out these photos from the last time we had this dish) voted to have this dish tomorrow again, yeah!  These crabs are so yummy that I don't even mind the drudgery of getting the darn crab flesh out of the shells (which I usually do mind very much!)  And it's really simple and fabulously dramatic to make!


February 11, 2013

Chinese Tea Eggs 茶葉蛋 - Egg Art

Chinese Tea Eggs 茶葉蛋 - Egg Art

Chinese Tea Eggs recipe
By Published: 2013-02-11
If you love eggs and you love art, surely you will love making and eating Chinese Tea Eggs.  What other food could provide such a deep artistic satisfaction while at the same providing an eggy snack that is really delicious, filling and unique in taste.  You can find tea eggs in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and anywhere there are chinese people as the age old folksy 'go to' snack for the traveler or the person on the go.  In Hong Kong they even sell them mostly at the convenience stores now.  How ironic yet fitting in a way.  But really, buying a Tea Egg is missing the point.  It is so simple and fun to make your own.

Note: this is a repost because I seemed to have killed the original post in one of my 'coding' experiments.
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