Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Dim Sum Diaries (Part IV - Noodles and Rice and some noodling around)

The carbo dishes in Hong Kong seemed far superior. Perhaps, like the foods of Waverley Root's France, Chinese food can be regionalised not by geography but by the oil/fat used in the cooking. The lard used in so much Singaporean Chinese food is heavy and weighs you down in the hot and muggy air here. Hong Kong Chinese food is more qing. The vegetable oil and crisp air make eating a much less ponderous and tiring affair.

Wonton Noodles
Mak Ngan Kay
Wellington Street
Noodles were thin and smooth. Stock was rich. Wonton skin was velvety, meat was succulent.

The wonton soup at Yung Kee was delicious as well. Cooked in stock made from the geese sold there.

Beef Brisket Noodles
Yuan Kee
18 Granville Road
Slow-stewed beef melted in the mouth.

Fried Rice
Fung Shing Restaurant
62-68 Java Road, North Point; 749 Nathan Road, Mongkok
Wonderful "Rich Boy Fried Rice". Rice fried with chopped spring onion and scallop, tomato, scrambled egg and prawns, flash-wrapped with wok hei. Shiok. It was apparently invented some 50 years ago for rich playboys to tank up for the long energetic night ahead.

Celebrated with this dish after an exhibition of Chao Shao-An's paintings at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. While alive, he was one of the great propagators of the Ling-Nan school, making trips around Asia, America and Europe with all the fervour of an evangelist. While Tan Kian Por sat in his wife's studio worrying about money and not selling his paintings, yet to be conferred the recognition of the Cultural Medellion, Chao Shao-An's art blazed like the epitome of beauty for me. So I approached the exhibition with the trepidation of one returning to his favourite restaurant back in his hometown after decades abroad, unsure of what he will find, uncertain if his memory has elevated the past to a pedestal that present reality can never fulfil. I feared unnecessarily. The masterworks looked just as, better...than when we last met years ago. Over lunch, I toasted a grubby cup to Chao Shao-An, and wondered, sadly, for all his kindness and humility, if we would ever meet under the new heaven, on the new earth.

The Manets, Monets and Renoirs cobbled together from the Musee d'Orsay and put on show at the Hong Kong Museum of Art were nice but too politely bland after that.

The Dim Sum Diaries (Part II - Dim Sum)
The Dim Sum Diaries (Part III - Birds and Pigs)
The Dim Sum Diaries (Part V - Snacks)

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