At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

FEEDING THE RARE CRESTED COOT

There are two dishes that say "comfort food" to the male Dutch American middle-aged pipe-smoking bachelor like nothing else. And by "male Dutch American middle-aged pipe-smoking bachelor" is meant a specific subset; an ethnic minority of monumentally small proportion, dammit we need protected status, AND we're a work of art.

The problem is that, like male spiders, the male Dutch American middle-aged pipe-smoking bachelor has risky and even suicidal tendencies.
My grandfather got married in his fifties after heading to France as a pilot during World War One. He died over eighty years ago. My own father joined up with the Royal Canadian Airforce and spent nearly three years bombing Europe during World War Two, got married in his early thirties, moved to Holland and promptly passed away forty years later.

So you see. There are limitations on the tribe.

Marriage and military aircraft.

One of those two.


HOT AND SOOTHING SCRUMPTY!

Anyhow, the two dishes are Baked Portuguese Chicken Rice (焗葡國雞飯 'guk pou-gwok gai faan') and Penang-style Hokkien Mee (檳城福建蝦麵 'ban-seng fuk-gin haa min').


加葡汁!

Alas, the last time I ate Baked Portuguese Chicken Rice it was utterly disappointing. Ideally it consists of egg-fried rice topped with chicken and potato chunks, optionally with an inclusion of either bellpepper or perhaps jalapeño, doused in Portuguese sauce (a mild coconut curry slurry), grated cheddar cheese and coconut shreds sprinkled over, and shoved under the broiler for ten minutes to brown a bit on top and get hot all the way through.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and have some hot chilipaste on the side to zap up every other bite or so. Delicious.

One place in Chinatown which does Baked Portuguese Chicken Rice adds large chunks of onion plus canned mushrooms to the mix, which is horrible anathema, and another chachanteng seems to have recently replaced the mild coconut curry slurry with an entirely uninspired bland whitish starchy liquid ("white sauce"), which indicates that instead of a decent chef of Hong Kong provenance, they've hired a farmer.

It was that second version I had the last time.


I dare not go to the place where they probably still do an excellent version, because the last time I was there the waitress was mighty keen to introduce me to a single friend of hers, why the two of us would make a lovely couple, that woman would be ideal for me!

It's been about ten months.
I am still scared.

I do not think I am ideal. And I could just imagine the disappointment all around. It would have been excruciating for three people.

See, that's one of my 'talents'. I can provide enough excruciation for a plurality. It's quite remarkable.


蝦湯麵

The other dish is an intense noodle soup that utilizes a huge quantity of shrimp heads (蝦頭 'haa tau') for the broth, simmered for hours until deeply and passionately prawny.
It is strained, augmented with a dollop of garlicky chili paste and a little sugar, then dished up with thin noodles (I usually use typical Chinese egg noodles), fresh prawns, and a little vegetable matter for crunch and colour, plus cooked sliced lean pork, or short ribs (quite of course I use fatty pork instead). This marvelous concoction is NOT available in Chinatown; as the name ("Hokkien Mee" 福建麵 'fuk gin min') shows; it isn't Cantonese but Fujianese, specifically from Amoy (厦門 'haa mun', Xiamen), and most particularly the version made in Penang (檳榔嶼 'pan long yiu').

Chinatown folks are mostly Cantonese .....


"Prawn concentrate?!?"

"Cooked chilipaste?!?"

"Added to the soup?!?"

"How utterly FOREIGN, it sounds inedible!"


I cannot say that the Cantonese would be repulsed by it, but this just isn't a concept that they would naturally come up with, nor would conceive of as being a treat.

They've got their own comfort zone.

It's different.



AFTERWORD

Triggerwarning: a few sentences in this post may not be meant entirely at face value. If you cannot read with tongue at least partially in cheek, please come back some other time.

I realize I have to say this; some people are sensitive.



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