H belongs to a Chinese benevolent society club and two or three times a year we get to profit thereby in the form of a lavish banquet.
Last night was one such event.
We had such a good dinner that I thought I would blog it…
The dinner’s always feature at least nine dishes(this is traditional) and even the types of dishes tend to be quite traditional. Over the years though I have noticed there are less red meat dishes and even pork is taking a minor role compared to even 10 years ago. This reflects the members need to eat a bit more healthily…
For those who have never been to such a meal; the dishes are brought out seperately(but this is NOT western chinese food; no “sweet and sour pork” is ever featured nor either of these two ubiquitous western palate favourites; “lemon chicken” or even worse, “chop suey”)
We started with a cold plate that had several appetizers;
my favourite amongst these is a lovely little egg pasta, “package” ,that contains a savory piece of “chinese or shitake mushroom”. They are JUST big enough for a mouthful. Yum..
Also on the plate was Jellyfish, another universal favourite; crunchy and a bit chewy with a lovely mild flavour similar to abalone.
Closely following behind the appetizer platter was the soup. Sometimes it is birdsnest, other times sharks fin,(which due to ethical concerns has actually disappeared from most restuarants offerings)
but tonight it was fish maw. The fish maw is combined with crab and is a very delicious soup.
After the soup(and after every one has put their used bowl into the larger soup bowl so that the servers may remove it, thus making space for dishes to come) arrives
the delicately roasted and tiny quail legs..VERY tender, and very moist and surprisingly very low fat…
Next to arrive is one of the stars of the evening,
the lobster. It is steamed with ginger and when presented is nicely cracked so one doesn’t have to wrestle with the shells…
The servers passed around hand towels at this point; after eating lobster and the quail ones hands got quite messy..lol.
NEXT arrived the Prawns which are served with sugar snap peas and candied walnuts. The peas are lovely; so crunchy and the prawns also have just the right amount of crunch but are not too chewy..
Next comes a nice dish which I particurlay like;
fish with tofu (this is EXACTLY what it looked like; interesting that the tofu is japanese… These are yummy little parcels , about a two bite size; succulent with a lovely sauce.
NEXT(more??) camea dish which ALSO featured tofu but this time a dried version served on a bed of young baby bok choy.
Then, another star of any chinese cuisine the Crispy skinned chicken.
Finally the penultimate dish; a sweet and sour fish(panned fried with a sweet and sour sauce poured over)
Lastly, but not least came the fried rice. This was the only dish that wasn’t very good, perhaps the poor cooks were tired after cooking so many dishes for so many at once(as the restuarant had regular patrons as WELL as our club) so I am only going to say that fried rice is a hard dish to get JUST right. This one was sprinkled with FISH ROE and it was yukky (but probably not cheap)
After such a repast were we rolling on the ground in agony? Not at all! In fact in is very similar to eating good french food; one comes away feeling comfortable but never bloated.