Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Private Kitchen Pictures

cold tofu appetizer

marinated cold and thinly sliced beef shin

soy braised tofu skin with black mushroom

very spicy and crunchy bamboo shoots

eggplant with pork floss and sesame seeds

crunchy cucumber sticks with cold peanut sauce

bland tofu and fish soup to cleanse the palate

best dish of the night: thin bread, sweet ham and crunchy tofu skin

eaten like a sandwich

braised chicken pieces

steamed fish

surprisingly tasty white cabbage with wolfberries and garlic slivers

tender braised pork with dried plums

fried rice to end the meal

Warm sesame dumplings in barley soup was our dessert. Tea and hot water washed all this down.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Private Kitchen Dinner

How private is a "private" kitchen in HK? Well, for one, they won't accept bookings of less than 8 people. If there are only two of you, forget it, their doors and kitchen will remain closed, unless you're wiling to pay for the non-existent six. Secondly, they want to remain hidden, so getting there can be a pain sometimes. Thirdly, they don't issue official receipts and lastly, they do not have a menu so you have to eat what they serve you, like it or not.

So if you have a problem with getting lost, eating in a non-licensed, most likely non tax-paying place, and having to shovel down food you might not be familiar with, go to a MacDonald's instead. Private kitchens are for the adventurous, the cowboys and cowgirls, the true foodies, the gluttons, the ones who like to be surprised (pleasantly or not), the ones who don't mind spending for food.

In the presence of such a group, I tried a famous Shanghainese private kitchen tonight. Nice digs, and six small appetizer plates plus eight courses later, I was full to bursting. When I asked the chef how many courses there would be, he burst out in the usual cryptic and curt manner of Chinese chefs: "many many". And indeed, there were "many many", some of them done superbly, others a bit more average but enjoyable nonetheless.

And for dessert? For how could one skip dessert? Roshan's thick, soft, Ghirardelli chocolate chip cookies from Manila. Thank you Franco.

Pictures, c/o Acky Ferreria, to follow.

Gong Guan can be found at the 12/F, Fung Woo Building, 279 Des Veoux Road Central, Sheung Wan. +852 2577 9789.


Hubby and I like our paella, but I've never tried making this dish at home. We hie off to Spanish restos here in HK (which are not as good as those in Manila), and share an expensive paella while trying to outdo each other at getting to the all-too-little chorizos.

Making it at home means we could have all the chorizos, mussels and prawns we would like, so deciding to get a paella pan was a no-brainer. There's a hidden Spanish food/crockery/gift item supplier in an alleyway off Central. I got my pan, my paella rice, and (yes, I am a cheater!) a can of sofrito. In a small store called EuroTreat in Soho I bought some paella seasoning long ago and it had a minute amount of saffron in it, so I didn't bother with the much more expensive saffron strands. I will spend for them next time!

Using my friend's recipe found here, I rustled up some pretty good paella one night, chock-full of seafood and Portuguese chorizo from Macau (which I prefer more than Spanish chorizo), with artichoke hearts to boot!

My pan is now oiled and resting, waiting for another paella night. Soon.