1)Freshness of ingredients
2) Quality of the stock
1 small chicken
4-5 no of chicken bones, better to parboil them to rid smell and blood if any
2-3 no of pork big bones , better to parboil them to rid smell and blood if any
Red dates (not too much, otherwise the stock will be a little sweet)
Thornberry (Gou zhi)
Solomon's seal (yu zhu)
Yam Root (huai san)
Dried longan meat (cut down by half, otherwise the stock will be on the sweet side)
Mit Zhoa (honey date)
2 stalks of leeks
1) Boil water in the big pot. Add ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for at least 6 hours. I normally cook the night before and continue simmering for about 6 hours before serving.
2) Sift before using.
Raw ingredients to be cooked:
The balls series ~ Fish, prawn, pork and beef are our favourite. Always do your own fish balls and prawn balls. Nothing beats it.
Our must have also. It's called the sandwich, available in most wet market.
Our favourite is this fish cake called Sweet Not Spicy which Joyce brought from Melbourne. Locally this is close but still not as good.
The yong tofu series, which is really good homemade.
The sliced beef, lamb and port shabu-shabu style. These never fail. Without them, steamboat is just not good enough. They need to be pre-ordered at Choice and Butcher's Deli.
Seafood series like mussels, oysters, fresh fish slices and huge prawns.
The mushroom series ~ oyste mushrooms, abalone mushrooms, needle mushroom, black fungus
The seaweeds and beancurd sticks and tofu.
The vegies series ~ QQ chai, chinese wombok, sweet corn.
The sauce ~ my favourite is soya with cut chillis and the chilli garlic sauce. Greg's favourite egg with some Taiwanese sauce Al introduced him called Sha Cha Jiang which is available at Ta Kiong.
Once everything is clean and washed, get ready the carbonated drinks and beer and we are all ready to swish-swash. Everyone cooks their own favourite food while the conversation get louder and louder and at the end of it, everyone falls flat on the floor, rubbing their tummies. To us, with good company, it is a meal that never fails.
But please be very careful with quantity. I am really bad that. I always have a bad habit of going overboard. A little of this, a little of that and KABOOM! we have have a whole ten seater table full of food.