19 April 2019
The burn marks on the pig’s lungs prove that they had been pan-fried well in high temperature before being added to the soup. Photo: HKEJ
The burn marks on the pig’s lungs prove that they had been pan-fried well in high temperature before being added to the soup. Photo: HKEJ

Good food to lift my spirits

I seem to have been jinxed lately.

While this should be a welcome opportunity for me to stay at home and write my column, I simply couldn’t focus with all the racket coming from a nearby carpark that is undergoing extensive renovation.

Then I caught a mild flu, thanks to my sitting in front of the computer working the entire night.

Worse still, my six-year-old sedan broke down in the middle of a busy street in the heart of the city. I couldn’t forgive myself for causing a horrendous traffic jam in Central during the evening rush hour.

To ease my bad mood, I took my family out to dinner.

We went to Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop (正斗). It’s an expensive choice, but that’s alright because I know for sure that the quality of food there is impeccable.

I had a bowl of wonton or dumpling noodles. It costs more than a dip tau faan, or one plate meal, plus the soup of the day, in a cha chaan teng

The higher price is justified: their wontons, dumplings and noodles are truly of superb quality.

Their stir-fried rice noodles with beef are also to die for. According to kitchen experts, this ordinary-looking Cantonese dish could serve as a test of a chef’s level of culinary skills.

How to stir-fry a stack of fresh but sticky rice noodles well with each individual thread having the faint brown color of soy sauce is easier said than done. Anyone who could do so without using excessive oil could well be regarded as an expert chef.

Though it costs more than HK$100 a dish at Tasty, it’s well worth it.

I could see how well they handled the spring onions, bean sprouts and other supporting ingredients.

You could have the same dish elsewhere and save HK$20 or $30, but don’t blame anyone if you’re given a plate of terribly oily but meatless noodles.

Asked if I would like to have watercress, duck gizzards and pork tenderloins soup, or double-boiled pig’s lung soup with almond cream, I chose the latter.

A small ceramic bowl of the soup costs HK$70.

I saw a customer hesitate after seeing the slightly burned pieces of pig’s lungs, apparently wondering if they’re safe to consume.

Actually, the burn marks were the result of the pig’s lungs being cooked in a wok with no oil while the stove was at high heat. This is a necessary step to get rid of the residual air and water inside the sacs.

Soup, noodles with braised pig’s trotters with fermented red bean curd, wonton noodles and stir-fried rice noodles with beef: What a satisfying dinner to lift my spirits!

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec. 14.

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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a veteran journalist and food critic

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