A friend of mine who raises fish at a farm in Zhaoqing told me recently that the cured duck that I ordered some time ago has been wind-dried well and that it is ready for consumption.
As the friend said that it would be difficult to ship the food, I decided to pay a visit to his farm.
Learning that we would have a reunion meal at his place, he happily prepared me a spread that included free-range chicken, lotus root, a three-catty Chinese soft-shell turtle and many other items.
When my son and I arrived at Huanggang, my friend informed us that he was unable to receive us as his just-renewed license plate is yet to become valid.
So, our planned meeting in Zhaoqing had to be put off.
As we were wondering what to do next, my son suggested that we go to Kuk Po in Fanling for some fresh air and village cuisine.
In the village in rural north-east Hong Kong, we had a meal comprising boiled jinga shrimp, Hakkanese marinated duck, white-cut chicken and steamed goldsilk sea bream.
Of all the items, the most outstanding dish was surely the fish as its meat was tender and fatty.
By the time we were back in the city center, it was early evening and we rushed to the Ap Lei Chau market.
A fishmonger there happily showed me a one-catty Macau sole fish. The back of it was white with a light color of rose-pink. What was more welcome was the fact that there were no dark spots. I immediately bought it without giving another thought.
I then saw a tubby eel at the opposite store. It had a weight of two catties and four taels!
As we secured some excellent ingredients, I called my uncle to join us for dinner.
He generously brought us his last stock of preserved edible worms. My son heated the worms and baked them with eggs. He was supposed to cut the items into smaller sections but he somehow forgot.
That, however, turned out to be a good mistake as the intact worms tasted more delicious.
Among other dishes, there was Macau sole, which is one of my favorites. The meat came slightly sticky due to the fish fat.
And there was eel, which also did not disappoint. It had a chewy texture, and more importantly a strong fragrance of fatty oil.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec. 30
Translation by Darlie Yiu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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