Yay for the weekend! That means my cousin Harry is off from school and can join me for my food and fun. :3 I grew up with this little beast and it’s always sentimental coming back and seeing how much he’s matured. Even though he’s only like 2 years younger than me ahaha.. We had an awesome childhood of playing and fighting together, I basically treat him as my own brother.
It was breakfast for four today! We had Guilin rice noodles (桂林米粉), which has rice noodles, extra fatty pork, beef, and a bit of Chinese pickled mustard, scallions, and fried peas. It was delicious but I definitely noticed the heavy load of MSG.. I think I drank down a gallon of water afterwards. 😛
When Aunt Gina returned from grocery shopping for the family, she brought back some homemade dimsum that her mom (so my Harry’s other grandma) made. These are called “little leaf” (叶仔), a Zhongshan snack. With a dumpling concept, these have fillings inside a wrap made of glutinous rice flour, then are encased in a banana leaf. The fillings can be savoury or sweet, the ones Harry’s grandma made have chopped meat and veggies.
For lunch today, I treated my Aunt Gina, Uncle Chubs and Harry out to hotpot! (火锅)
We got a two-flavour soup base (鸳鸯锅) , with the original flavoured broth and a spicy one, best of both worlds! As for the ingredients, we had plates of lamb, beef, beef offals..
These are pan-fried golden cakes (金丝饼), so crispy and stringy!
We also got a cold appetizer (凉菜). This is a salad esk dish with shredded potatoes, carrots, tofu curd, cilantro, tossed in a spicy dressing of chilli oil and vinegar (凉拌三丝), super refreshing.
The rest of the family may be meat lovers, but I demanded for some vegetables. I selected napa cabbage, lettuce, enoki, tofu skin, daikon, and black fungus. Personally, the best part of hotpot is when the veggies soak up all the (spicy) flavour from the soup base.
Aunt Gina got a new oven recently and she’s in a passionate experimenting phase right now..
Here are some cranberry shortbread cookies she baked today.
And some yummy egg tarts (蛋挞).
Oh, and I snacked on this extremely exotic fruit. At least I don’t think I’ve ever tried or seen it before. They’re custard apples (凤梨释迦), imported from Taiwan.
Harry’s aunt invited us out for dinner, and guess what, it’s hotpot again! It’s not traditional Mongolian hotpot like earlier, however, it is similar in a sense that you cook all your ingredients in a pot. However, instead of a MSG saturated broth, the base here is a hearty soup with some potential health benefits.
This restaurant specializes in coconut chicken soup (椰子鸡), which is quite nutritious and so aromatic! Once the water starts boiling, we throw in this plate of ingredients, and let it simmer like you normally would when cooking soup.
Here are the appetizers we got- cucumbers salad (凉拌青瓜) and marinated chicken feet (卤水鸡脚).
The ingredients we selected to add are pigeon meat, beef meatballs, some sort of Asian veggie that I do not know the English name of (皇帝菜, translating to “emperor vegetable”), shiitake mushrooms, and Chinese yam (淮山).
You can create your own soy sauce dip here with the juice from these little lime-like things, chili pepper, and garlic ginger.
We got an order of pigeon claypot rice as well. (乳鸽砂锅饭) This was a tad too greasy but the animal fat actually made it significantly flavourful. (You can see the arising conflict of my inner foodie and health conscious side here.)
Pretty lights that we passed by returning home.
The whole house is still snoozing away but I can’t really sleep past 7. I went to bed at 10 and 9 hours is sufficient for me.. With most of my assignments done, I needed a way to kill some time before breakfast.
Currently reading Super Immunity.
But I got hungry so I snacked on an almond cookie (our Zhongshan specialty, remember?), how ironic. The cookie is made from ground green bean powder, so texture wise it is very crumbly and powdery. It sort of just melts in your mouth, then you get crunchy bits of almonds and peanuts, yumm.
Other variations have pork, pork floss, and sesame in them.
Aunt Gina suggested a Western styled breakfast at a cafe, so again, along with Harry and Uncle Chubs we headed out for food. 😛
Recently, a lot of cafes opened in Zhongshan, and this one is a chain store called “Hi Coffee”. Honestly, all of these I see as wannabe cafes. I do see their effort in integrating Western elements into their food but um nope.. just nope.. 😛
Harry ordered a pork chop bun (猪扒包), which I believe is a Macau specialty.
Here is their take on an English breakfast that Uncle Chubs got. There’s fried eggs, sausages, pork chop, bacon, toast squares, tomato and baked beans, and a little side salad.
Aunt Gina ordered another breakfast plate. This one comes with scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, stir-fry red onions and beef, and a fruit salad.
And a cup of black coffee.
For myself, I went for a stuffed bun, which has scrambled eggs and bacon inside.
I got an iced lemon tea to go with that. I was super sleepy after this meal.. I blame the white bread. ):
After breakfast, we went for a quick stroll in Zhongshan Park. Walking aids digestion. (;
It was nice to get in some form of exercise too, I seriously miss my workouts ahaha.
And some not-so-fresh fresh air. You can see the pollution from the depressingly grey sky, sigh..
But yay for greens and plants.
Harry treated us out at a conveyor belt sushi restaurant for today’s lunch.
It may be true that the sushi in Vancouver has better quality, fresher seafood, but it’s not nearly as common to find conveyor belt sushi there.
Each plate of sushi was 9 RMB, rounding to about $2 CAD. There were mostly nigiris, and some rolls.
Super decorative, and the combination of ingredients are quite unique as well.
Harry cringed at the growing number of empty plates, and ordered a huge plate of fried rice for himself. Poor thing, we were ripping him off. x’D
Uncle Chubs had to go to work after, so he dropped Aunt Gina, Harry and I off at the mall. After walking around for a while, we went for afternoon tea. (下午茶）
The place is called “Dainty and Dessert” and the venue is indeed very dainty.
Aunt Gina had a coupon for a dessert set that they called “芒不了”, it’s a Chinese (Cantonese) pun so I’m not even gonna try to explain it haha.. Anyways, it comes with 3 desserts and a cup of black tea. The first is a slice of chocolate spongecake, which has cute biscuits spelling out “LOVE”, and an excessively thick layer of whipped cream.. O_O My cousin had this, and I think he enjoyed it. My aunt ate the mango stuffed pancake (芒果班戟). The outside layer has the a crepe-like texture, but the inside is filled with whipped cream and chunks of mangoes. The dessert I helped myself to was a parfait. The bottom layer had coconut flavoured shaved ice, followed by a scoop of mango sorbet, along with some watermelon, dragonfruit, melon and apple on top.
We also got a hot dessert. This is coconut cream tapioca with black sticky rice and mangoes (芒果椰汁西米黑糯米).
Dinner tonight! Lettuce and bok choy, steamed Bombay duck (九吐鱼) again, and black pepper spare ribs.
They were nice and eggy, but deflated way too quickly. D:
Our midnight snack was quite a splurge, and Aunt Gina joined us this time. We had basically a water snake (水蛇) feast!
These small, busy, outdoor restaurants are known as “da pai dang” (大排档). A lot of the times, they are the places where you can find the best tasting and most authentic foods in, usually for relatively inexpensive prices too. Offering a wide variety of restaurant and street food and often opening late at night, they’re the go-to places for night owls to hang out, perfect for midnight snacks. I’ve already been to a number of these “da pai dang”so far during my stay.
Viewer’s discretion is advised, for the following images.. Here is a water snake congee (水蛇粥).
These are salt and pepper fried water snake (椒盐水蛇), one of my mom’s all time favourite dishes which in turn, became one of my own favourites. Like mother like daughter. 😛