Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Hong Kong Street Takeout

He's the last of us three to be sitting for his 'O' Levels.
The little brother has been out and about on study dates.
Time is of the essence.
And we won't be eating out in peace knowing that he would be hungry till we got home.
When we eat, we eat together as a family. Whenever possible :)
And good food need not be waited for personally.
So we sent our dad out for this:

Not our usual takeout order of a  虾酱鸡 Shrimp/ Prawn Paste Chicken.
Did you know that this popular 'local' dish originated a neighbouring country? 
Vietnam, in fact. This paste is a pinkish-grey coloured condiment made from fermented sea shrimps which accounts for its pungent smell and a distinctly salty seafood flavour. The chicken was crispy on the outside but remained moist on the inside. One bite releases the steam and flavoursome juices from within. Burns your tongue but you just can't stop at one :)

There must be some milk in there somewhere correct?
This is one of the few branches of the Hong Kong Street Franchise that does it without milk.
So pray tell where this milky white colour comes from?
I find that I've come to appreciate food more when I know more about them. 
Culinary tidbit sharing coming right up!
It seems that the authentic versions of this Cantonese-style soup dish involves some culinary science.
 The fish pieces are first deep fried. After which, the oil is drained off. Then at very high wok heat, ginger stock is slowly poured in. Only at such high temperatures can the stock form a milky emulsion with the remaining oil.
Who needs carnation milk when you have kitchen magic? :)
Just a note though, if you've been drinking soups with carnation milk, your tastebuds will need to adjust accordingly. Cantonese-style soups are particularly light in taste.
It takes more than just a spoon of soup to appreciate the subtle flavours within.
It was a delicate, almost milky aroma of sang yee Cantonese: snake fish) inside a light, cloudy stock that was fragrant with wok hei. The sang yee was thick sliced, succulent and delicious.
Judge not by first spoon.

What makes good fried rice then?

Leftover rice. That's a definite. How would you justify paying $10 for leftover rice?
Unlike freshly cooked rice, leftover rice stored in the fridge gets rid of excess moisture, giving you firm grains that instinctly separate themselves grain-wise in the wok. If you're cook with freshly cooked rice then you'll probably end up with something akin to fried porridge. Hmm.
High heat. Not just for the wok hei but the simple fact that a layer of oil on a hot surface will form a non-stick coating for you to fry rice perfectly without sticky grain business. 
What's left?
Ingredients. That are entirely up to you. But keep those ingredients 'dry', anything wet will prevent the rice grains from heating up thoroughly and you don't really want to end up with fried mush.
So $10, portions for three with 6 prawns, diced chinese sausages, charsiew, eggs and scallions.
Simple but ohsogood.
And the fact that it came in an opeh leaf just made it even more worth the price. :)

Takeout that doesn't make dinner look nor taste any less appetizing.

Hong Kong Street Chun Kee Restaurant 香港街珍記
Block 151, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5, #01-3030
Singapore 560151

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