Tuesday 22 June 2010

Chiu Chow Cuisine, Hong Kong

Aside from dumplings at dim sum packed with peanuts, Chiu Chow cuisine isn't one I remember trying. Dad was excited about the prospect - "goose blood!" which filled me with a slight apprehension.

Sheung Hing restaurant is a no-frills affair but reputedly very good for this cuisine. Typically of the cuisine, little thimble-sized cups of tea are served as we sat down. We kicked off with the dumplings, fried, which were perfectly nice. The goose blood with pieces of squid turned up; annoyingly, I forgot to take a photo of it. It had the texture of soft silken tofu, and the flavour, slightly iron-rich was mild. I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would.

The dishes then arrived in quick succession and our table groaned under the weight of it all. Baby oyster congee was very different to Cantonese congee; rather than thick and slightly gloopy, it was more of a rice soup, some of the grains still intact. Little baby oysters along with minced pork bobbed around and gave the soup a subtle seafood flavour and were sweet in the mouth.

Steamed goose, resting atop cubes of fried tofu was excellent. Moist, tender and a flavourful strip of fat, dribbling all its juices onto the sponge-like tofu underneath.

Surf clams were served in their shell. The flesh was sweet and chewy, coated lightly with a black bean sauce. It was a shame more shells were empty than I'd have liked.

A soup of skinned mung beans, on the house, was hot, sweet and slightly bland.

These taro sticks, coated in sugar and deep fried were intensely sweet. I really dislike taro as a dessert but stuffed one down in politeness. My teeth ached a bit afterwards.

Far more to my taste were these crystal balls, also served hot and filled with either yellow bean paste or red bean paste. They were little squidgy balls of joy.

This was one of the best meals we ate in Hong Kong; that baby oyster congee was such a great balance of meatiness, tastes of the sea and light in flavour. Now, where can I find Chiu Chow in London?

Sheung Hing Chiu Chow Restaurant

29 Queen's Road West,
Hong Kong


Fillyerboots said...

Would be good to find Chiew Chow in London. Bet we couldn't get goose blood though.

Su-Lin said...

Ah, so it turns out Chiu Chow is the same as Teochew. My mother used to cook some teochew things - her/our rice porridge is just as you describe - and it's still what I cook at home. I remember Tommy of Notes by Naive found the porridge at a little place in Chinatown.

Great wikipedia article to it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teochew_cuisine

Ohhhh...bak kut teh! You can get the spice bags to make that at home. Oh my goodness, this list is starting to read like a list from home: kueh chap, mee pok, kway teow tng, chwee kueh. Honestly, if you go to Singapore, you can get all of these things!

I'm curious about those crystal ball things. What is the outside made of?

Su-Lin said...

Oh, that reminds me - I saw lumps of what I think was congealed pork blood at a seafood places in one of Chinatown's alleys. Maybe you could ask them about goose blood?

Hollow Legs said...

Fillyerboots - You never know... I shall research.

Su-lin - The crystal balls were, I think, rice flour pastry, much like mochi. I had a look at that Wikipedia link, very interesting indeed! I'll look out for the goose blood too, thanks for the advice.

Mr Noodles said...

Sadly, I know of no dedicated Chiu Chow/Teochew places in London. If you can find someone who reads Chinese, you might find it on the Chinese menu, as I'm sure my Dad has ordered some Chiu Chow dishes before.

AdLand Suit said...

Still with the tofu, Mabbott? Really? That aside, it looks amazing...

noodlecapricciosa said...

Sheung Hing is also really good for hotpots, they have the best cuts of beef for dipping into hotpots. Is odd how London is overloaded with Sichuan restaurants but no Shanghainese or Chiu Chow!

Unknown said...

I don't like taro either but love the sound of the baby oyster congee - just love the words "baby oyster"!

Hollow Legs said...

Nr Noodles - Oh, how I wish I could read Chinese.

ALS - Oh hello! Yes, still with the tofu. It's here to stay.

Noodle - oh really? I didn't see anyone having one, but it was the middle of summer I suppose. I imagine the difficulties in getting goose makes it hard for Chiu Chow restaurants to spring up.

GC - I like taro in those minced meat croquettes, just not for dessert. Weird floury texture. I wonder where you could get hold of baby oysters...?

smooth n rippled.... said...

this is a lovely food blog Lizzie & the pictures are so vibrant! :) keep at it.