Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Forgotten Recipes

It’s pure coincidence that I ended up with another outstanding Cantonese meal within the same week after our dinner at the Seventh Son just a couple of days ago. I was delighted to tag along with a small group of media people for the tasting of the special menu at Ming Court at Cordis Hong Kong. For the next couple of months, Chef Mango Tsang introduced a series called "The Forgotten Recipe", with "new" dishes based on classic Cantonese recipes and offered them in addition to the regular a la carte menu.

At our dinner based on a customized menu, we began with a trio of appetizers, some of them Ming Court’s signature dishes. First was their barbecued pork loin char-siu. We did a blind tasting on the best char siu in town last year and the one from Ming Court came out as one of the winners, so no surprise the ones we had tonight came out top too – perfect texture, good crust and balanced honey glaze brushed on top. The pan-seared egg custard has a delicate flavor with conpoy and picked crab meat mixed in, and I also love the contrast of the thin slices of chilled silky tofu with the rich, sweet and sour Chinese “Yan Nim” olive sauce 仁棯醬, rounding up the appetizer platter served in individual portion.

With the cool weather still lingering, I thought it’s particularly comforting with the double-boiled soup with big chunks of eel wrapped in pickled cabbages and salted plum, again, served in individual portion. The pickled cabbages reminded me of those typical Chiuchow soup and it has such complex flavor with a bit of saltiness, acidity and a hint of the earthy Chinese herbs.

Another nostalgic dish arrived, which was the mandarin fish roll. It’s a crafty dish with thin slices of mandarin fish fillet rolled with julienned Yunnan ham and bamboo shoots, then dipped in a light batter and deep-fried. It’s then served on a bed of sautéed sweet peas. It was enjoyable, and while oyster sauce is the usual condiments for the dish, I found the combination with the sweet soy paste an interesting one too, giving the fish roll a different dimension of taste.

Two "main courses" were then served family style, which were both poultry dishes. The roast goose (half portion) was served warm with the marinate sauce of daylily 金針, black fungus (or "Cloud-ear" mushroom 雲耳) and angelica 當歸 (all traditional Chinese medicinal herbs) plus the mild sweet soy sauce. The goose skin was not those super-crispy type, but the meat was juicy with a hint of those Chinese herbal flavor (similar to those in the traditional Malay Bak Kut Teh), which was even more distinct with the daylily, which was well-infused with the marinate. The second one was the chicken steamed in lotus leaf with shiitake mushroom and Yunnan ham, similar to one I had at Seventh Son a couple of days ago. The chicken was not as tender as the one I had, but with better flavor, I reckon.

After a bowl of Chinese cabbages simmered in chicken consommé, our last savory course was baked tofu stuffed with shrimp and pork, served with a rich sauce with mashed salted egg yolk and minced pork in a mini casserole. It’s said to be done Taishan style, presumably named after its origin. It’s a great combination using such simple ingredients. We finished with a pair of bite-sized desserts, with osmanthus and wolfberry jelly curd and steamed red dates cake served in a wooden tray with dry ice underneath for the theatrical effect. Both were decent with just a subtle sweetness.

Paired with two wines tonight - starting with a Riesling from Mosel followed by an Australian pinot noir. The Riesling was borderline dry with an aromatic floral bouquet plus notes of honeysuckle and ripe apples. I would have been happy going all the way with the white, but the new world pinot noir works well too, with some notes of red fruits and a mild tannin matching both the poultry main dishes. Just icing on the cake for what was a very satisfying meal.

(Dinner by Invitation - more pictures in my Flickr album:

When? March 28 2017
Where? Ming Court, Level 6, The Cordis Hong Kong, 555 Shanghai Street, Mongkok, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Roasted Goose, Daylily, Black Fungus and Angelica (金針雲耳當歸燒鵝)
2015 Dr. Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett, Mosel, Germany
2013 Moss Wood Pinot Noir, Margaret River, Australia

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