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Posts Tagged ‘Chinese Food’

Have you had Asian chickens before? When it comes to whole chickens, my family and I have always chosen Asian chickens. Here in British Columbia, you can find different types of specialty Asian chickens that are raised locally. Our go-to has been the Loong Kong Chicken 龍崗雞. They are free-run chicken, and they’re more yellow in appearance than your typical chicken. They remind me of the chickens I grew up eating in Hong Kong. We find the meat firmer yet tender, more flavourful, and skin bouncier, and definitely more suitable for preparing Asian style dishes.

Did you know?

No hormones or steroids are fed to BC chickens and all BC chickens are allowed to roam in the barns and are considered “free run”.

When it comes to enjoying fresh Loong Kong Chicken, my family simply steams it. By steaming it, you will also extract some chicken broth full of the chicken essence. Mama Lam takes it to the next level by making a sauce with the chicken broth, pour it back onto the steamed chicken so it absorbs all the flavours. Here is the recipe:

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Just a week ago we celebrated Chinese New Year, welcoming the Year of the Ox. And like every other CNY, it’s the perfect the opportunity for us to cook and eat a lot of good food and observe our cultural traditions.

This year, Mama Lam made a Poon Choi / Pancai / Big Bowl Feast / 盤菜. According to Mama Lam, the concept of this giant feast was originated from the late Song Dynasty when Emperor Bing fled to Hong Kong to escape the attack of Mongolians. The villagers in HK hosting the emperor pulled together everything they could find and cook, and due to the lack of serving vessels, they resorted to washing basins to be able to hold all the food. And this village tradition has been passed on and modified to the current form, typically being served for celebrations and special occasions.

How many layers do you think there are in this Poon Choi that Mama Lam made?

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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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Being Chinese, make stir-fry is in our blood. Stir-fry dishes are always on our dinner table. For our family, we’re not traditionalists, so we often incorporate ingredients and flavours from other cuisines.

This time, we had a pack of Johnsonville Italiano Sausage Meat. It’s most expected to be a pizza topping, or being made into meatballs. Because we also got some fresh snow peas out of my mother-in-law’s garden, we decided to make a stir-fry.

Johnsonville Sausage Snow Peas Stirfry

The sausage meat is basically ground pork seasoned with Italian style herbs and spices. It’s like a hack for not having to season your meat. It also means that you have to watch how much additional seasoning you’re putting in this dish – it could get salty.

Ingredients

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Gung Hay Fat Choy!!

For those who have tried my mom’s cooking, or have seen pictures of her cooking, you know how good of a cook she is. That’s why I don’t need to be a good cook. In fact, I just need to know my food and know how to appreciate her cooking. This Chinese New Year, she put together an awesome menu, making 7 out of the 8 dishes we had:

2013 Chinese New Year Dinner

2013 Chinese New Year Dinner

For Chinese new year, it’s quite normal in Cantonese food culture to make dishes that have special meanings. (more…)

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