Chinese Cuisine

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Restaurant Review – Hang Ah Dim Sum (San Francisco)

Published April 24, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening Bloggy friends, well today I managed to wake up around morning time rather than sleeping till afternoon and I decided to go grocery shopping after been locked and quarantined at home for 3 whole days I was eager to go out for the fresh air and sunshine. Anyways, I managed to buy some groceries and got home and bring in the crispy dry clothes and had some pumpkin porridge for lunch. I had just enough time to rest for a bit and head towards church for Children Ministry Training. I’m awaiting to watch for an episode of Iron Chef.

Anyways, as I’ve mentioned earlier San Francisco have one of US’s largest China Town. So we decided to have some dim sum for lunch, to be honest there were so many dim sum restaurants we were contemplating which one we should go. Then suddenly this elderly lady gave us a flyer and asked us to try out at Hang Ah Dim Sum – she said ‘please go and try very delicious!!’ I read through the menu flyer seems like the typical Dim Sum menu. Anyways, I asked her whereabouts it is, she pointed towards the up hill side of a street all the way up the top. I was thinking, I really couldn’t be bothered walking all the way up hill to a dim sum restaurant. But the elderly lady insisted on taking us there, I felt a bit bad anyways – we decided to try it. It was a bit of a climb I was amazed the elderly lady was so fit walking faster than us, I was struggling to follow her.

Now when we got there, it was on a weekend so we were expecting the whole restaurant to be fully packed. But there were still some empty tables, plus not many Asians in the restaurants – I was whispering to Pandabear – I’m regretting of coming to this restaurant. The restaurant had one waitress and she seemed tired and impatient, handed us the menu and walked away. Can’t blame her, she was the only one working as a waitress and cashiering as well. Thankfully, both Pandabear and I weren’t that hungry so we spotted their dim sum special – which consists of special fried rice, 1 x prawn dumpling, 1 x pork buns, 1 x Pork dumpling, 1 x pan fried dumpling and Pandabear felt like radish cake. When we received our plate of dim sum, I was like wow the bun is round instead of the usual pointy shape, all the dim sum was warm not hot. After we ate our dim sum, we waited and asked when is our fried rice coming? Apparently they forgotten about our fried rice. When it came, I stared at it and whispered to Pandabear it looks like home style fried rice instead of restaurant style fried rice. We didn’t finish, cos the taste was bland.

Dim Sum Combo

Dim Sum Combo

Radish Cake

Radish Cake

Fried Rice

Fried Rice

Here’s my rating:

Dining Experience: 3 star
Food Experience: 3 star
Would I recommend it? NO!

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Restaurant Review – Chen Fu Ji

Published April 13, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello Bloggy friends, I tell you what after having some awesome food in the US & Canada – coming back home for some home cooking meal certainly was a shock to the system. I’m starting to run out of food ideas of what to cook and my inspirations. So anyways, few days ago I decided to make a roast – not just any roast but one that was marinated differently. I always use rosemary & garlic they are my favourite. But I wanted to try something exciting. So I came across Curtis Stone’s easy to do roast – the marinate sauces were mustard & strawberry jam. Yup, you heard me mustard & strawberry jam. I generally don’t like to mix my savouries with sweets – but combining mustard & strawberry jam was bizarre!!

Anyways, I decided to be brave and gave it a shot and guess what – it taste great! The sweetness of the strawberry jam complimented the sourness of the mustard seeds. So there you go, be bold and brave when it comes to mixing different sauces. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos – but one of these days I will make it again 🙂

Ok I’m getting side tracked here, so here we are well rested at the pay in lounge – now we are extremely hungry so we started hunting for some food and came across this food court. Now we all know food in the airport are over priced and often don’t taste that good. So I had low expectation, now what caught my attention was this particular shop which was well-known for it’s hand pulled noodles. On the mirror show case, there was the cook hand pulling noodles from a blob of dough. How amusing so I stood there staring at the cook making hand pulled noodles and he saw me and gave me a smile, so I whipped out my camera and took a shot.

Chen Fu Ji

Chen Fu Ji

After being entertained with the hand-pulled noodles we decided to order some hand-pulled noodles. Both Pandabear and I ordered the pork minced ramen that came with a soup and for our drinks we had the authentic Hong Kong Iced Milk Tea. The noodle was fantastic, chewy, slippery – great texture. Now the sauce was kind of not what I expected a little bit sweet for my liking but it was still tasty.

Pork Mince Ramen

Pork Mince Ramen

Hong Kong Iced Milk Tea

Hong Kong Iced Milk Tea

After finishing our meal I came across these interesting doughy looking thing which reminded me of ‘Hum Jim Beng’ – which literally translated as salty pan fried biscuit. Savoury doughy bread. So I asked Pandabear to grab me one. They cut it in quarters I thought that was thoughtful, it tasted ok – a little bit too doughy for my liking feels like you’re chewy a whole mouthful of dough with no fillings. Anyways, it was a dessert for me 🙂

Savoury Doughy Bread

Savoury Doughy Bread

Ok here’s my rating:

Food experience: 4 star
Dining experience: well being at the air port extra points for fast food service 4 star
Would I recommend: YES

Restaurant Review – Hong Kong BBQ

Published March 6, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening Bloggy Friends, after coming back from dinner at Hong Kong BBQ and then followed by Icey Ice I was definitely tummy satisfied and adventurous about making some restaurant review post on Hong Kong BBQ which is situated on Francis Street Northbridge. This Chinese restaurant is one of my favourite in Perth. The produce is fresh, food waiting time is short and pretty good service.

They have recently been refurbished so there’s an upstairs to the restaurant, and we sat upstairs tonight. It was packed as usual. But to our expectation, the food was served straight away upon our order, 10 minutes later dishes after dishes came to our table. The presentation was immaculate, however the portion wise was a little disappointing. We had about 9 people tonight and would have preferred the serving to be a little bit bigger. The taste was however excellent, well cooked – in terms of colour, taste, flavour and the amount of salt added was perfect.

When you walk in straight away you see the live lobsters, live mud crabs and live cod…as you know I love animals to see them in these tight little tanks kinda puts me off from ordering them.

live mud crabs

live mud crabs

The stir fry fish with snow peas was nicely cooked, the fish was tender and snow peas was still crunchy and not too salty just right. Except the serving was too small

Stir fry fish with snow peas

Stir fry fish with snow peas

Honey King prawns was definitely well cooked, nicely deep fried and coated with honey. Except I find the taste of the prawns once you bite into it has a soapy taste for some reason. I’ve had this dish a few times, just to make sure I’m not going crazy but every time I bite into the prawns it has a soapy taste and I don’t know why? Maybe they have soaked the prawns into something else to make it tasty??

Honey King Prawns

Honey King Prawns

Hong Kong BBQ is well known for it’s roast – which includes bbq pork, roast pork and roast duck. They are all nicely done, the roast pork is my favourite as it has hardly any bones and the crackling is always crispy which gives it a good texture when you eat the whole piece together. Roast duck is also roasted to perfection with a crispy skin.

Roast Combination

Roast Combination

Sizzling Japanese Tofu with sweet chilli sauce is delicious as well, I love it how they pour the sauce when they placed the hot plate of tofu infront of you and it makes that nice sizzling sound…

Sizzling Japanese Tofu With Sweet Chilli Sauce

Sizzling Japanese Tofu With Sweet Chilli Sauce

The black peper beef stir fry was pretty nice too, except I find there’s a lot of onion pieces and not enough beef pieces. Even the beef pieces were quite small. So they should increase the serving size.

Black Pepper Beef Stir Fry

Black Pepper Beef Stir Fry

Overall, we were pretty happy with our meal – it would have been perfect if the serving was bigger. Otherwise food waiting time was only 10-15 minutes for all the dishes to come out. The waiters/waitress came and refill our teapot except we have to ask for it every time. We also had a fried crab meat Yee Mein, which was pretty plain and tasteless – so the down fall is the fried Yee Mein – not much taste. I think if you go there it’s best to order the Lobster Yee Mein as it gives more flavour.

Here’s my rating:

Dining Experience: 4 star
Food Experience: 4 star
Would I recommend: Yes!

Chinese New Year – Photos

Published February 16, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello Bloggy Friends – yes this is your new nickname now, apart from naming all my soft toys I also give people nicknames as well. 🙂 so now I will show you the list of dishes my mother in law cooked for Chinese New Year.

Enjoy…

Deep fried Nien Gao

Deep fried Nien Gao

Roast Duck

Roast Duck

My Stewed Beef with potatoes & carrots

My Stewed Beef with potatoes & carrots

Mushroom Chicken with Broccoli

Mushroom Chicken with Broccoli

Tomato based Mussels & Squids stew

Tomato based Mussels & Squids stew

Panfried Fish

Panfried Fish

Vegetarian mushrooms, fungus & vermicilli

Vegetarian mushrooms, fungus & vermicilli

Deep Fried Quails

Deep Fried Quails

Okies, I think I’ve finally finished uploading the photos – it was like watching paint dry. There were so much food that night I felt like I’ve gained another 2 kgs…but hey, it’s Chinese New Year – you’ve gotta enjoy some great food. 🙂

Chinese New Year

Published February 14, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello Everyone, blessed Chinese New Year & Happy Valentines day… this year is the year of Tiger, really in Perth you can’t feel the atmosphere of Chinese New Year unless you are in Northbridge which is kind of like Perth’s China Town. There will be lion dance and fire crackers going, but apart from that nothing special happens in Perth it’s just another day. At this time in Taiwan, there will be lots of red packets, family dinner, lion dance and people celebrating Chinese New Year on the streets and shops crowded with people buying things. Last night Pandabear and I went to my in laws for a family dinner to celebrate Chinese New Year. Now my mother in law is a great Malaysian cook, she often whip up meals like within 30 minutes. Yesterday, when we arrive at 5pm she was close to finishing everything off. She always stir fries her vegies last as it doesn’t taste too good when they go cold. I brought along stewed gravy beef with potatoes and carrots and my sister in law made some home made mango pudding and baked a chocolate mud cake. We also had some close family friends over as well and they brought some roast duck/bbq pork/roast pork along with home made “An Gu Guey” – Red and turtle looking starchy glutonese rice flour with yellow bean filling (very tasty!!)

My mother in law is a typical housewife her life revolves around looking after her family and making sure they get fed and the house is functional – clean & nice. I have since then learn’t a few dishes from her. My Chinese cooking is different from my mother in law’s cooking as most of my Chinese dishes I’ve learnt from my mum and hence my mum’s cooking is more Taiwanese where is my mother in law’s cooking is more Malaysian so I have the best of both worlds 🙂 I really enjoyed the scrumptious meal my mother in law whipped up, I think we had more dishes than it’s needed to feed everyone – but it’s always good to have more than not enough. So my mother in law ended up packing some take away containers for me 🙂 I love meeting up with my father in law, he’s into planting organic vegetable garden. Mine is nothing compared to his. He’s planted these fantastic long string beans that are so sweet you can just eat them raw. All his vegetable plants and fruits are growing so well that when it came to harvest time they bare so much fruits and vegies that sometimes they don’t know what to do with them. He has fig tree, persimmons, bitter melon, string beans, oranges, sweet potato leaves, Chinese Gang Kong, lettuce, spring onion and the list goes on… Cos I love those sweet string beans, I’ve asked my father in law to give me some seeds and he kindly offered me some seeds that he has harvested & dried and also some long string beans to take home 🙂 Yay!!

Dinner was delicious, my mother in law made some deep fried Nien Gao – deep fried sweet potatoes with glutenous cake – it’s a traditional dish for Chinese New Year. They are so addictive once you have one you would want another one and another one until you feel pretty full. She also made some spring rolls (they are not deep fried) wrapped inside are some cabbages, home grown string beans, vermicelli, carrots and sweet chilli sauce – they were really tasty. She even made some without the chilli sauce for Pandabear cos he doesn’t eat any spicy food (how thoughtful). We also had some mushroom chicken served with broccoli – the key to this dish is not to over cook the chicken breast otherwise it will be dry and flaky. But the chicken breast was done perfectly, it’s juicy and tender 🙂 I think my mother in law also attempt to make something western, a tomato based chilli mussels with some squid rings. There were also some pan fried fish with soya sauce, a vegetarian dish that consists of stir fried black fungus, mushrooms and vermicelli – I love that dish. We also had some deep fried Quail. So there were lots of food to go around. I was so full!!

When it came to dessert time, we had my sister in law’s mango pudding & chocolate mud cake they were delicious and also some fruits with “An Gu Guey” – by that time my tummy was to the point of exploding and had to take a break to go and watch the episode of Iron Chef – more about food. Tonight, I will be celebrating Chinese New Year with my own family at Mum’s place we are having steamed boat and I’m looking forward to it 🙂 I’ve been having problems uploading some photos…so sorry no photos on this post till next time!

Food at Melbourne

Published February 6, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello People, since we’re on the topic of restaurants in Melbourne – I decided to write about food at Melbourne. I’ve had the opportunity of traveling to Melbourne for my honeymoon. That was my first time to Melbourne and I love it. There’s literally food shops and restaurants everywhere and it’s open till late at night so if you are hungry for some late night supper, not to worry head down to China Town and there’s bound to be century eggs with pork porridge there waiting for you. It’s what I would call Aussie land of food hehehe… now for our honeymoon trip we decided to be spontaneous, just rock up to places and choose to dine at what ever. Oh yeah, besides from booking the Rockpool place we basically roam around and just dine anywhere that ranged from Food court up to the higher end of the market Rockpool.

The food is considerably cheaper in Melbourne compared to Perth. Especially at the food court, there’s so much variety that I find myself lost in deciding what to eat. Fortunately, I nailed it down to Japanese food – yes I love Sushi I could eat it everyday and not get sick of it. Pandabear had a large bowl of udon soup and you can also order some bubble tea along with it as well..bargain 🙂 We got around Melbourne Central with trams, I love trams they are so cool you don’t get them in Perth 😦 they basically are like little buses that runs on rails on the road kinda like mix between a little train and a bus – quite comfy too. A whole day pass would get you around Melbourne Central to all the popular places you want to go. I got really excited when I come across BreadTop, yes we don’t have it in Perth we only have a small bread shop that sells asian breads, nothing compared to Melbourne’s BreadTop – full of Asian breads reminds me of the bread shops in Taiwan 🙂 so we bought it for our snacks and brekkie – so yummy you just wanna go back and buy more.

Night time, head down to China Town there’s loads of restaurants there – it’s hard finding which one to dine, but I always make sure the ones that are filled with Asians, it must be good. So that’s generally how I go about choosing Chinese Restaurants. They even do the dumplings similar to Ding Tai Fung. Night time when you are after some great coffee – which I’m not really into, I’m more like a hot chocolate person. Coffee gives me the shakes and makes me so hyperactive that I can’t sleep 😦 The cafes in Melbourne are awesome, not only they do great drinks they also do great desserts and I’m sure to do a restaurant review on one of the cafes I dine in Melbourne that’s worth mentioning. Morning time, there’s lots of cafes that does brekkie – we decided to just dine in one of them. Reasonably priced and good service 🙂 what more can you ask for?

Now if you are in Melbourne don’t forget to check out the markets place. It’s got loads of cool gadgets, jeweleries, clothes, souvenirs and loads more. Sort of like our flea markets in Fremantle but a way bigger version of it. We even got this China man to draw a cartoon version of Pandabear and myself that was really cool. I could spend hours and hours checking things out at the markets. The produce is so fresh, I just felt like buying all the fresh ingredients and rush back to the hotel to whip up some meal. Unfortunately this was not possible, no kitchen in our hotel. But really, Melbourne is not all about the Food..the shopping is great over there. There’s DFOs which is similar to our Harbor Town in Perth but 10 times bigger. There’s streets which basically just sell clothes, lots of little boutique shops worth checking out. There’s just lots to do in Melbourne and you would never go bored 🙂

Taro Bread from Bread Top

Taro Bread from Bread Top

dumplings from China Town

dumplings from China Town

Seafood noodles from China Town

Seafood noodles from China Town

One of the cool cafes

One of the cool cafes

Market Food

Market Food

The portrait drawing place

The portrait drawing place

Comfort Food Recipe – Chicken Rice

Published January 30, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello People, hope you guys are doing well – who ever is reading my blog 🙂 I have come to a realisation some days you just don’t feel like cooking, tonight is one of those nights I have no energy for cooking. This week has been a tiring week, being emotionally upset with someone and work is busy… sometimes when I feel upset my food turns out to be miserable too, bland and tasteless – might as well call it a blob. So it just goes to show that when you cook you need to add a special ingredient into it and it’s ‘LOVE’ So tonight I will still cook my dinner and let you guys know how it turns out 🙂

Anyways, this particular recipe is very simple – there’s quite a few variation to the chicken rice recipe. I’ve recently found this packet of Hainanese Chicken rice pre-mix sauce that makes awesome chicken rice – it’s for a night when I feel lazy. Anyways, my recipe is still quite simple – I still go with my own motto ‘anyone can cook if you put your heart to it’

Here it is…

Maryann’s Chicken Rice

Ingredients

3-4 pieces of chicken thighs
1 small ginger
4 sprigs of spring onions
2-3 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoon of soya sauce
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 cup of rice

Instructions

1. To prepare for the rice part – you must heat up the pan with some oil and add in minced garlic, chopped spring onion, large pieces of ginger and stir fry it until you can smell the aroma and add in the rice and stir fry it for a few more minutes. Chuck the rice into the rice cooker and if you like it’s optional You can tie up some spring onions into knots and chuck them in 🙂

2. Now the chicken part – heat up the pan with some oil and add in exactly the same ingredients for preparing the rice part except this time you add in some sesame oil and soya sauce for extra fragrance. Take out the sauce put it aside and start browning the chicken thighs. Now traditionally chicken rice are made out from whole chicken, but if you’re lazy like me just use thighs they taste just as good and quicker to cook.

3. When the chicken thighs are golden brown, pop in the sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes until the thigh soaks up the goodness of the sauce. Make sure you keep some table spoon worth of sauce for plating.

4. Now it’s plating time, usually I would serve my chicken rice with some Chinese vegies – Gai Lan is my favourite with chicken rice. And ofcourse pour the remainder sauce over the chicken to keep it saucy and garnish with red hot chillies or coriander and you’re laughing!!

Enjoy…

Chicken Rice

Chicken Rice