Archive for the 'Eating out in Asia' Category

Amazing pork belly – Shanghai

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

CIMG3256 (Small).JPG This could possibly be the best thing I’ve ever eaten.  It is definitely not the healthiest thing I’ve ever eaten, but for the moment that the sweet and sticky meat was in my mouth and tummy – it didn’t matter.  Sadly, I have no idea what it’s called, or how it’s made. So if you do, please let me know!!  The meat was flaky and tender. The fat was (well I don’t know as I couldn’t bring myself to eat it). I could only describe the flavour as similar to teriyaki – definitely soy, potentially hoisin or char siu sauce.  A slight hint of aniseed or master stock? We debated as to whether it was first fried or sauteed before it was simmered in its sauce, rendering the meat to be melt in your mouth and the fat gelatinous and smooth. Surprisingly, it didn’t leave an oily after taste in your mouth (unlike many of the other restaurants we went to!)

Crazy birthday candle

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

CIMG3120 (Small).JPGCIMG3122 (Small).JPG This is a weird and wacky birthday cake that delighted us all and is a demonstration of the strange novelties that you can buy in China! The cake itself almost looked fake, such was the perfection of the decorations! But the highlight was absolutely the birthday candle.  Far left – you see what looks like a tulip, lit up and exploding with a flame with the ferocity of a blowtorch. Then, when you’re over the pyrotechnic shock; it opens up into a pretty rose with petals which are each a lovely dainty candle – and starts singing happy birthday!! We all wanted to buy one to take home, but I think that customs may have disallowed it on the basis of flammable material!

Vegetarian Meal in Xian

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

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Look closely – what is it? Sweet and sour pork? Stir fried pork strips with preserved salty vegetables? NOPE! What you see here is some amazing handiwork of dedicated vegetarian master chefs – creating amazing dishes that trick your mind and taste buds! The “pork” is instead fresh battered bamboo shoots; and the pork strips – gluten!  This amazing restaurant was such a treat in Xian, the city known for the Terracotta Warriors. Why go to all this trouble? Well, vegetarian banquets were reserved for only the highest ranking monks. You can eat vegetarian meals at many buddhist temples around Asia, but nothing like this place.

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We then feasted (our eyes!) on “meatballs” in soup flavoured with star anise, dried fungus and other chinese herbs; and a “whole fish” – shaped of gluten, topped with a sauce of capsicum, coriander.  Slightly oily, but hey something has to give it some taste right?

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“Chicken” and mushroom stir fry was served on a hot plate, and was again gluten. Boy does it look real! And dessert was a kind of chinese flat donut cake – deep fried (too oily for my liking) and covered in sesame, with a spongy middle and red bean paste.  Also popular were the black sticky rice dumplings served in foil cases with sprinkles to top it off.

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Dumpling Dinner – Xian

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

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16 course dumpling dinner. A$20 (160 Yuan) each gets you 1 each of 16 different types of dumplings.  Course number one – pan fried (open) dumplings with pork and shallots.  Yum. Number 2 – clear pumpkin dumplings. A bit weird because of its sweetness – I couldn’t tell whether it’s meant to be dessert or savoury! But looked great with their clear skins.

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Four coloured siu mai and fried rice dumplings (in the shape of money bags) came next.

CIMG2928 (Small).JPG  And the most interesting looking novelty one – the walnut dumplings. It was filled with meat and crushed walnuts. Not my favourite as teh walnut was slightly bitter against the savoury meat and skin, and the textures clashed – crunchy vs chewy. (more…)