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Posts Tagged ‘chicken’

It’s Chinese New Year (CNY) a couple of weeks ago, and us Chinese know how to celebrate — eat, feast, and repeat. Of course, there are many regional Chinese New Year traditions throughout China, and being from HK, the HK tradition is what I’m most familiar with. On New Year’s Eve I was invited to a feast with food expert Lee Man, and it just heightened my appreciation for my culture.

Calling it a feast, obviously it was a multi-course dinner with an abundance of food. We are all about good meanings 意頭 when it comes to choosing the dishes or even naming them for CNY. On Instagram I showed a glimpse of what that means with the CNY dinner made by Mama Lam this year. It’s being realized here once again at Golden Paramount in Richmond.

Food

“Togetherness” is one of the main reasons for CNY celebrations so families often take the opportunity to gather together and dine out during CNY. For that, the restaurant was hustling and bustling and it’s just full of energy! It was a late dinner for us (7:45pm start) and the room was still full and more were being seated as our dinner progressed. And here’s our menu, some background about them, and what they symbolize:
Pan Fried Oysters – Oysters are a homonym for “good”, indicating good luck for the upcoming year. Traditionally we eat dried oysters because it means “good business” 好市 but it does have a more distinctive fishy taste to it and not everyone likes it. This was a Chinese Restaurant Award winner.

Pan Fried Oysters
Pepah Tofu – Fried food is usually in a golden colour so it symbolizes gold and fortune. The tofu here is shaped into a Chinese lute, Pipa. Fun fact: I learned to play the Pipa when I was in middle school in HK. Not easy to master but it was fun to play. This was later extended to my involvement with the Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble.

Pepah Tofu
Crab Meat and Fish Maw Soup – At a CNY feast you would want to serve some luxurious items.

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In Richmond, you will never run out of ideas for Chinese food: seafood restaurant, Hong Kong cafe, noodle house, Shanghainese, etc. There are many long-standing restaurants, but new ones also pop up all over the city. Recently, a soup house was opened on Alexandra Road, specialized in hearty soups without the use of MSG. I took the soup expert, aka Mama Lam, along with Papa Lam and Mr., to give them a try.

Zhao's Soup House

Food

Of course we had to try their soups. The small size, which serves up 3 bowls of soup, costs $12 each; some soup items are available in a bigger size for $48. To allow us to try more, we ordered two small soups. The Dried Vegetable, Almonds & Lung Soup brought nostalgic feelings to us as my grandparents used to make it for us when we were living in HK. You can taste a hint of sweetness from the dried bok choy and meaty flavours from the pig’s lung. The lung is soft and mushy yet spongy, not at all an unpleasant texture (for me anyway, non-Chinese may think otherwise). I quite liked eating it.

Dried Vegetable, Almonds & Lung Soup

The elegant clay soup pot was piping hot when it arrived at the table and we must leave it to the trained server to pour out the soup, to avoid burning our hands. And as advertised, it’s not heavily salted (borderline under-seasoned) nor do you feel thirsty afterwards (the common side effect of eating a lot of MSG). I was convinced that they didn’t use MSG in their soups.

Dried Vegetable, Almonds & Lung Soup

The second one was the Zhao’s Free-Range Chicken Soup. It’s named after the restaurant so I would assume it’s their signature soup. (more…)

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Please say hello to our guest writer Peter, a friend of mine from Toronto. He has been promising me a post about the Turducken he made over Christmas. Finally here it is – perfect for Easter! It’s a simpler version than the traditional form, so give it a shot if you want to wow your guests at your next party.

Recipe: The Turducken Simplified

Traditionally a turducken consists of a fully deboned turkey, stuffed with a deboned duck that is stuffed with a deboned chicken. The entire thing is roasted and a rather over-the-top meal of bird-within-a-bird-within-a-bird is the delicious result. Of course, finding and assembling such an item for your dinner can be costly and/or a helluva lot of work. But equally tasty results can be had with a bit of simplification.

This idea began to take shape on or around December 23rd, when the phrase “let’s have turducken for Christmas” suddenly became popular in my family. Not wanting to spend an entire day of my holidays deboning and not able to find a suitable ready-to-cook turducken at the eleventh hour in local grocery stores, we decided on the following simplification:

  • 2 turkey breasts
  • 2 duck breasts
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • Plus pork sausage meat for stuffing and bacon to wrap

The end result was amazing and provided more than enough turducken for a family dinner for five people. And it was much easier to make!

Turducken - Sliced

Turducken - Sliced

Step 1 – Prepare poultry pieces

Ideally, you should be able to find boneless turkey and duck breasts and chicken thighs ready to go in the grocery store. If not, it is still considerably less work to debone a few breasts and thighs then three entire birds. At this point you will also need to butterfly the pieces. You’ll end up with thinner, wider pieces of meat that will roll up more easily as well as result in a better shaped turducken. (more…)

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