Friday, April 4, 2008

U'ng Chow Chicken

This is a very well-known Sarawakian Foochow dish which is usually home cooked. For some reason, you don't usually find this in restaurants. U'ng Chow chicken uses the lees (U'ng Chow) which are the residues from the Foochow Red Wine (U'ng Chew) making process.

I cook this dish very much like how some people do with soya chicken. The chicken blends well with the U'ng Chow which gives off a wonderful aroma. The sweet taste of the U'ng Chow can be very addictive. But maybe for some, it is an acquired taste.

And very coincidentally today, Suzanne actually talked about missing Uang Chow and this dish. So here is the recipe:

1/2 no of med-large or 1 small no of free range chicken
1 heaped tbsp of U'ng chow
1 teasp of salt
1 tbsp of sesame oil + 1 tbsp of vegie oil
3-4 slices of ginger, at the length of a thumb
1 tbsp of minced garlic
3 tbsp of light soya
3 tbsp of sugar
1/2 cup of Foochow Red Wine

1) Clean and chop chicken to smaller pieces. Season with U'ng Chow and salt for at least 3 hours.

2) Heat your wok with oil. Stir fry ginger and garlic til fragrant.

3) Add chicken and stir fry till chicken are coated with oil and garlic and ginger. When chicken pieces are slightly shrinking, add light soya and 1/2 of the Red wine and 1/4 cup of water.
(Tips: Add the 1/4 cup of water to the bowl where you seasoned the chicken and wash out any leftover U'ng Chow in there.)
Close lid and let it simmer at med-small fire for til soft.

4) Add sugar and stir. Turn up fire and let juice boil till half the original amount and sticky. Boil to reduced slightly only if you like more sauce to go with the rice. Right before turning off the fire, add rest of red wine.

Serve with rice.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Chinese Fire Pot - What?!!

Contrary to what a kitchen-challenged person like Greg would think, Chinese Fire Pot is not a secret Kung Fu technique.
An illustration of Greg's over-imagination.

Chinese Fire Pot, or it's less dramatic name Steam Boat, is something rather common that you can find in any restaurant in Hong Kong. It's basically a meal where you dump fresh edible ingredients into a hot, sweet & steaming soup which is cooking right in the middle of the table. One way of looking at it is that it's a form of communal cooking. Fundamentally, you pay to cook on your own.

Look at the horse power!

Steamboats are nothing uncommon. You can find it everywhere in Kuching, Malaysia, or in any other parts of Asia. But, having spent many years watching steamboat meals in the TVB drama serials, I couldn't help but to think that there might be something special with Hong Kong steamboats. So naturally when we were in Hong Kong, it was on my list of must-do.

According to our food bible, there's this place aptly called Yaw Guet Hei which literally meant Got Bone Smell, which explains why they gave us this.

In Hong Kong restaurants, they really make you do the work before you order.

Basically that meant Greg, being a banana, is out of the picture. Which left me (a half-baked handicapped reader trying to recall chinese characters from TVB subtitles) & CK who knows enough Mandarin to order the whole menu.

Choices for the soup bases ranges from the traditional soup bone with fresh corn and vegie, tom yam, chicken with wine and another more extensive version of traditional one.

Sww-eeeet! Where in the world did these corns come from?
They were one of the best that I've ever had.

Prices for soup base range from HKD99 to 189. This is a one off price. You order one pot to be shared and the soup refill comes at no additional charges. We went for the Eat-all you-want HKD89/person package which included an extensive list of items on the menu:


meat slices

fish & meat balls

fish slices

This menu also included interesting dim sums, both sweet and savoury. And we dumped them in.

Quite an impressive line-up of items. For HKD89, this place is not scrimping at all. Well, for that price, it'd better not be.

However, there will always be a BUT - Drinks are not included. And there is an extra charge of HKD10 for soya sauce.

From watching steamboat meals in HK restaurants in TVB series, now I was eating steamboat in a HK restaurant while watching TVB series. I knew I was in heavenly bliss.

I have completed the circle of life. I was finally where the stars were.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Everyone's on Holiday in Serikin

This is Part 2 of the road trip that we took during the long holidays. It didn't turn out so well.

After filling up our guts (which is always our number one priority) at Pekan Tondong, we headed further up towards a place called Serikin. It's just a very short drive from Bau.

It's nice to be able to see mountains when you're on the road. This is not an unusual site as all the major towns & cities in Sarawak including Kuching is quite flat, & you can actually see the mountains in the backdrop. But compared to Mount Kinabalu, this mountain looks more like an acne.

And before Nee could say 'I wanna go home liao', we were there.

Serikin, the town near the Indonesian border to Kalimantan. Again, images of the lone gunman riding into a cowboy ghost town flashed across my mind...

It was so quite that you could almost hear the gravel talking to each other.

Uhh, hello. We're tourists, & we have money to spend.

We're city folks. We got cash. Somebody sell us something already.

Hello? Big city folks = $$$

Uncle, itu tanah mau jual ka?

And as fast as we did Tondong, we were done with Serikin...

If we'd stayed on a little bit longer, we would have seen a tumbleweed rolling by.

No, we didn't see one. This is just for illustration purposes only.

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