June 8, 2010

Foochow Lunch at Zhung Go Lo (Bell & Drum Hill)

This journey in search of our forefathers' tastes and flavours provided many learning points.

The table setting for example in Mainland China is slightly different from our Malaysian style. When important guests come to Fuzhou City usually a special room is booked for the banquet. The bigger restaurants have many individual and "named" rooms for one table which can sit up to 16 people. There is a captain in charge with two waitresses who all look below 16 years of age. But they are all well trained and polite with that beautiful *8 pearl smile*.The table setting is like most five star hotels with good table cloth and expensive dinner ware and cutlery. Gold trimmed cutlery of course is preferred. Even the china ware has gold rim and are exquisite in design. After all China has the greatest porcelain producing centre in the world - the famous Chin-te-chen.

The  host  usually sits at a seat having the specially folded tall napkin. Opposite this seat would be the secondary host with another specially folded napkin. The VIP would sit on the right of the host and the second VIP on his left. All the others would take any seat. This protocol is seriously followed. So please be advised to avoid the chair which is marked by a very tall napkin design.

This is a simple napkin - (for all the followers)... The spoon is for taking food from the main dish. The porcelain spoon is for dishing food into one's mouth and sometimes specifically for the soup. The chopsticks is also for putting food into one's mouth. I was rather confused by this arrangement as I am used to serving spoons and our own set of cutlery. Notice the gold trimming in the dinner ware.Do watch what the hosts do and eat very slowly and very little because more than 8 courses will appear in time. The soup can be very filling. If you like vegetables you must save some space for them to appear probably as the 10th course. Desserts are usually light - cut fruits.

Usually there will be someone amongst the guests who explains about the food in a very articulate manner. He is very well versed in culture and food of the Foochows.

This is the appetizer dish. You use the spoon given you to take the food and then you use the chopsticks to eat. But this might not be true in every dialectic group. It is normal for Foochow hosts to pick food for his guests on his right and on his left. The lazy susan is often turned to present a dish to a visitor who sits opposite the host.

A slice of cold meat roll in a very nice gold trimmed dish.

Very succulent liver stir fried in wine in a bed of alfafa sprouts.. It is known only the best part of the liver is prepared for this special dish. For good presentation the outer skin of the liver is also sliced away.

Kidneys stir fried with white cauliflowers. The traditional Foochows love kidneys because they are considered very Yang food - good for men's health.

Exquisitely done and tender pork ribs.

Deep fried special  toufoo and sea weed

Exquisite dish of crab meat and rice cakes with spring onions. I have not eaten anything better than this in my life!! Crab is also good for men's health as it heats up the body.

Herbal soup. This is another Yang food to give good blood circulation.

Red lees duck soup. I like this because it is both sweet and sour from the lees and the duck bones give a good sturdy feel to the soup. The duck meat is of course very tender and fragrant. Our taste buds become extremely satisfied with this flavourful soup.

A special poultry dish. Again very tasty and tender.

This is the Great Mixed - chak hui- Soup. No one can do this soup better than the Foochows!!

This is a special barley and mustard green (gua chai) porridge .

Kang kong

Spring rolls

Spring roll filling - meat and chives with bean sprouts all fried together.

This is a banquet which cannot be easily forgotten.

We had been walking up two hills of Fuzhou City - the Wu Shan and Yu Shan. After this lunch we went to visit the Hai Zin Lou. Unexpectedly the rain came and made our ascend up the hills very slippery and yet memorable all at once.

No comments:

Sibu Tales : Liver in the Noodles and other stories

I grew up in Sibu where the butchers' corner was the most significant "part" of the old market. It was where many people wo...