January 29, 2014

Little Chicken Eggs Gai Daan Jai 雞蛋仔

hong kong, street food, street hawker, food, little chicken eggs, gai daan jai, 雞蛋仔
Published: 2014-01-29
Alert, all food lovers! Street food hawkers coming out in force just in time for the Chinese New Year!  Yeah!  Yummy street food for all!  Hurry, hurry!

But wait...we should explain first.  Hong Kong used to be a wonderland for eating street food about a decade or so ago.  But then the Hong Kong government decided to shut down phase out pretty much all the hawkers and late night food stalls.

Nowadays there's nary a street hawker in sight and man, I gotta tell you, it's booooooring!  No more sudden savory scents drifting your way as you rush down  busy Hong Kong streets, no more stopping for a quick bite here and there, no more standing at street corners with sauce dripping skewers held carefully out and away from your clothes, no more turning a dark alley corner to a cheery scene of fragrant steam rising up in the midst of fold out tables under hand strung lightbulbs.  Why, I ask you, why take away something that speaks to the essence of Hong Kong?  But I digress...

January 27, 2014

Chinese New Year Tray of Togetherness 中國新年攢盒

candied fruit, chinese new year, festival, sweets, tray of togetherness, treats, 攢盒
Published: 2014-01-27
It's that time of the year for the most important Chinese Festival of the whole year:  Chinese New Year, or 中國農曆新年!  A festive time filled with wintery skies, red packets (紅包), relatives (and more relatives!), feasts (and more feasts!), the all important color Red and visiting old friends.  Yay!!  

We are already starting to do our preparations including a favorite ritual of mine, the Chinese New Year Tray of Togetherness!   The Tray of Togetherness, or 攢盒, is a lovely (red!) chinese candy box with compartments that you fill up with all different kind of chinese new year candies, all of which have symbolically lucky meanings.  Then when your Chinese New Year visitors come a'calling, you can offer them some lucky nibbles.

January 22, 2014

Belly Button Biscuits 肚臍餅

iced gem biscuits, belly button biscuits, 肚臍餅, 花佔餅, hong kong sweets
Published: 2014-01-22
Dear readers, do you remember these candies?  Does it not bring you right back to playgrounds and playing all day and dirty hands and mommy's tender kisses?  These adorable biscuit candies are officially called Iced Gem Biscuits, or 花佔餅, but my favorite name for them is the local nickname for them: Belly Button Biscuits, or 肚臍餅.  What a cute name!  Only the Cantonese, who are fanatical about giving everything a nickname or two, could think of a name like that!  

These tiny sweet biscuits have been a favorite of children for many generations now in Hong Kong.  Kids and their mommys and daddys are all fans of the Belly Button Biscuits! How cool is that!

January 14, 2014

Chinese Style Coarse Liver Pâté 中式雞肝醬

chinese, liver, chicken liver, pate, pâté, chinese style, recipe, homemade, 中式, 雞肝醬

I love pate.  Or Pâté.  Or liver paste.  Or edible brown stuff.  Ah!  How yummy it all is, whatever the name!  For those in the know, liver is to be loved.  And yet, while I too love pâté, it is unfortunately too expensive (for me, anyways) to buy on a regular basis.  So one fine day, having made a delicious loaf of bread, I decided, enough is enough!  I must have some pâté!  To go with my delicious bread!  Life is too short to not have pâté!

So it was thus that I began to make my own pâté.  With a chinese twist, of course...and so we present to you a Chinese Style Coarse Liver Pâté, or 中式雞肝醬.

January 13, 2014

Lotus Leaf Steamed Chicken 荷葉蒸雞

chicken, lotus leaf, wrapped, macau, recipe, steamed, 蒸雞, 荷葉

We love Macau, the Real Macau that is. Not the new fake cardboard Macau that has appeared, Quite literally, out of the blue sea these murky past few years, the gracious but rather charming old city that has survived by crook and nook for over 400 years. This is the Macau that began as a Portuguese colony and first major European settlement port and trade in Asia. What an incredible richness of history is implied! And you can feel it when you walk through the old streets in Macau which, thank goodness, have been left largely untouched: the secrets, the hidden stories in the twists and turns, surprises around every corner.

And, a-hum, most importantly for us, the food in Macau is fantastic! Our favorite Chinese Restaurant, Tou Tou Koi 陶陶居**,  is in Macau. We go to Macau and eat, eat, eat!  Yumm! And then eat some more!!  Psst...at Tou Tou Koi the dim sum is something else too!  This time upon returning to Hong Kong after a short trip to Macau we came down with the 'food blues'.   So...to help heal our blues and as an ode to Tou Tou Koi's wonderful traditional Chinese food, we decided to make our own version of Tou Tou Koi's Lotus Leaf Steamed Chicken, or steamed lotus leaf which is soooo delicious!

Ahhh...I miss Macau already...

January 5, 2014

Chinese Salted Egg 鹹鴨蛋

chinese, salted egg, duck egg, salted duck egg, recipe, homemade, 鹹鴨蛋

You want to know why homemade food is worth your time and effort?  Because it tastes so incredible, that's why!  Since we have started making more and more things from scratch I have discovered that it's not really about money saving, but about super taste!  Which is great if you love food and eating like we do.  Very consistently homemade foods taste waaaay better than than the crappy commercial stuff you pay for.  

We recently tried making our own Chinese Salted Egg and 'Wow!' were we happy with the results!  The bright orange yolk was lusciously greedily oily while the egg whites were salty, yes, but also permeated with the scents of star anise, cinnamon and szechuan pepper used in the brine. Chinese Salted Egg is super easy to make, you just have to find a source for fresh duck eggs (chicken eggs can be substituted, I've heard), brine the eggs and then wait for 20-30 days.  What?! So long you say!  All good things come to those who wait...we promise!