travel: the comfort table
Although the restaurants in Hong Kong offer an endless selection of Cantonese specialties—plus an assortment of other Chinese, Asian, and European fare—meals at home with my family are truly something to prize. They not only bring back fond memories of growing up but also reinforce unique household traditions that I sometimes forget living so far away.
Certain dishes, flavors, and textures define our home-cooked meals. One example is tender ground pork mixed with black mushrooms steamed with a soy-jus—a dish that I never thought much of until I moved away from home. Another is our version of Sweet and Sour Pork (which I mentioned in a previous post). It’s not the sticky sweet dish with the same name in Chinese restaurants in America.
Here are just a few samples of what you see on our dinner table:
Top row (L to R): fresh fish fillets prepped for stir fry; finely chopped ginger and scallions await hot oil, beef slices marinated in salt and pepper; heating up oil for flash-fry; Wok-seared Beef Fillets with aromatics
Middle row (L to R): Steamed Pork and Mushroom with Soy jus; tender Poached Chicken; Pork Roast with super crispy skin; sauteed Chinese Broccoli
Bottom row (L to R): Wok-seared Beef Fillets with Bitter Melon; Home-style Sweet and Sour Pork, Steamed whole carp with Preserved Lemons; serving up Poached Chicken with Ginger-Scallion Oil
Our Sunday brunch is composed of congee (rice porridge), crullers, and dumpling noodle soup. Unless we go out for brunch, this has been our Sunday ritual for as long as I can remember. Congee may be the purest comfort food—taking that first spoonful makes everything alright.
Top row (L to R): Dumpling Noodle Soup with fresh Choi-sum; Tangerine Beef Rice Crepe with Sweet Soy; Cruller with Salted Pork Congee; A plate full of Rice Crepes with Dried Shrimp and Scallion
Middle row (L to R): Rice Crepes with Dried Shrimp and Scallions served with Hoisin and Sesame Sauce; Warm Crispy Crullers with light airy center; quick poaching of egg noodles; A large bowl of dumplings and choi-sum await hot broth.
As people travel to family or friends—or attempt to, if snow-bound Europe is involved–I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, Cheery Chinese-Jewish Feast Day Without a Name, etc.