After struggling with some heavy luggage(bound for Plymouth actually) and changing tube lines in London we finally arrived at Queensway - luggage and all. This is similar to carrying 20 kg of boxes each and having to change from aeroplane to bus and finally to the Kapit express in heavy rain. Luckily we had Kevin to help us. Blessings all around indeed. And thus we arrived at a very auspicious address of Magic Wok
London W2 3RR
(020 7221 9953)
First some compliments : Compliments to the friendly girl who served us. She was very polite and diligent and was able to serve two tables at the same time. I am proud to say that she could serve different cultural groups of people with good grace and a charming smile. May her future be good...and may all her Fortune Cookies read good omens. And of course when we exited Michael and the rest of us were warmly sent off by the owner at the door.
And now the family tale:
It is food which binds family together. We Chinese and in particular the Foochows bring people together at a table overflowing with food. And it was a case of Chiak beh liau...or siak meh doh. (Cannot eat finish)
And that was how my long lost cousin Michael (we have not seen each other since 1958 in Sibu)and his wife Helen prepared a table for Kevin and Margaret and Judy and I. In a way another thread binds all of us together. We have all drank water from the Rajang River. Helen grew up in Mukah! Michael visited Sibu in 1958 when he was just a young lad. Kevin (although Ang Moh) loves Sibu . Margaret is born and bred in Sibu. Judy and I of course you know.
And by some six degrees of relations and connections....(Hokkiens will call that potato vines and roots) we met over a very great London Chinese meal at Magic Wok in Queensway.
Top marks for the steamed chicken.
This is different from our Foochow steamed minced pork. The minced pork is nice and is oven baked. The top is crispy and fragrant. Garnished with chopped spring onions the dish looks simple but the taste and evolutionary look give the special oomph to this evergreen plain and traditional steamed dish.
Quick stir fried greens in a quick and very hot wok!! The cook must have a magic hand besides a magic work. Well done and truly crispy.
This is the top dish of the evening - the Magic Wok Duck (Cantonese Style) - and was really melt in the mouth as advertised. I personally think that the crispy duck skin can only be obtained in temperate climes. In the hot tropics where humidity is 100% duck skin may not come out well in the area of crispiness. If dried in the air the skin may just catch some of the pollutants if not sand kicked up by vehicles as many of us have bitten into sandy bits when eating ducks at roadside hawker stalls....
The wet towel says clean and fresh....very good before and after meals actually - many Chinese restaurants provide a hot towel (to wipe sweat off the face and hands before eating) and a cold wet towel after the meal. This kind of hospitality is actually from Roman times. Roman baths started off hot and then as the bathers left the pools the get a swish of cool and then cold air/fumes....BTW You might still enjoy this kind of baths in Istanbul....
I love Chinese red lanterns. And now this is a collection in my photo gallery of lanterns.
The Soup is rather interesting. Pumpkin and a Chinese gourd with pork bones. There is a sweetness in this soup and so it really "opens" up the stomach for a good meal.
A western version of mapo toufoo. I do like the greens in it. However some traditional Chinese might like a more nyonya (spicy combination )taste or a Szechuan chili sauce.
Michael is a medical doctor as well as a renown feng shui consultant. I thought it very sporting of him to open up his fortune cookie and reading it aloud. Good omens for him.
Two cousins : my father and his mother were siblings. Actually Michael has more of my father's good looks because Dad and his mum were extremely good looking and they were quite identical. (Another post on this Tiong Good Looks)
|Michael's wife Helen has written 7 books on various topics.from Sarawak . She is a fascinating conversationalist with a fantastic and powerful memory.|
A cosy group of us in the upstairs room after doing justice to the food. We got the men to stand for this photo.
I cannot remember what all the fortune cookies said...the lights were dim and my photos of the closed ups of the foretune cookies were not good. So I got this from the google search for you.....
Thank you Michael and Helen for the honourable reception! And thanks to Kevin and Margaret for helping us bring all that Sarawak /Borneo-stuff filled luggage through London!!
(# this is a common English mistake in Malaysia...but it really means what it means...again and again....love it actually.)