There was a festive air all over The Food Street in the East Subdistrict of Zhongshan City when we arrived in the evening to join a banquet.
Big crowds of diners were partaking of scrumptious but inexpensive dishes.
Nangang Fishing Village Restaurant, where we were billeted, occupies more than 20,000 square feet right in the middle of the main street.
It sports a modest interior design, but don’t let its appearance fool you. It’s a serious enterprise, employing well over 100 workers.
Fai Gor, the owner and chief chef, had just returned from a road trip with his friends to Lhasa, Tibet, and elsewhere in the mainland, and was quite voluble about his just-concluded culinary adventure.
Truly eye-opening, he enthused.
In particular, he spoke highly of the noodles and dumplings from Xi’an, and admitted that his experience had stimulated his thoughts about creating new dishes.
As the conversation flowed from one topic to another, heaping plates of steaming and colorful dishes were laid on our table.
The signature roasted squab was tender and juicy, so much so that we didn’t spare the bones.
The fresh wild mushroom in soup was superior and I almost had mistaken them for lychee tree fungi.
The steamed wild spotted scat weighed almost half a catty. It had to be steamed with chenpi and strictly no ginger, otherwise the fish would become weirdly rancid.
Grilled pork palate cartilage with freshly ground pepper, onion, green pepper, parsley and Welsh onion was served on a cast-iron grill pan.
Spicy and crunchy, the dish is best taken with a chilly glass of whiskey soda to yield an unforgettable conflict between extremes of hot and cold.
The matsutake mushroom soup was the star of the night. Four catties of mushroom and two ducks were all it took to produce the heavenly sweet taste of the nutritious soup.
I felt really grateful for my third encounter with the precious matsutake mushroom.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov. 18.
Translation by Darlie Yiu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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