Chinese deserts you might want to try before finding out what it's made of

Went to Keung Kee with Wee, supposedly the summum of Cantonese cuisine in Chinatown/Montreal. He chose mushrooms wrapped in beef meat, and I got the usual chicken bits and salted fish tofu pot. Baby bok choy came on the side, and it ended up quite expensive for Chinese food (20$ per person, all included), but come to think, not so bad, b/c you're eating out, and at a regular sit-down restaurant in a place where the rent could be expensive, I think.

The special item of the night was not the beef/mushrooms wrap (which was a good idea, but so messily cooked that it looked like nothing, drenching in its sauce), but the desert, known as 雪蛤, and which goes by sut-something, or xue3ha2 in standard pinyin. It also has the poetic name of hasma, in English, in case you wondered. This thing really looks like nothing out of the ordinary, and I probably had it many times when I was younger. It's served as a tong shui (Chinese soup desert), with lotus seeds and berries (mat jhou?), and is sweet. The ingredient of interest is the innocent-looking ooze-like structure floating around. In fact, I theorized that it was perhaps an algae. I've heard stories that one other soup which I thought was a mushroom was in fact a seafood. Well, turns out that this hasma is nothing else but frog's fallopian tubes.

... (Anyways, it didn't actually unfold like this, b/c I had knowledge of it by the time the order and disgust was passed.)

Our family banished Keung Kee, since that time my brother found a cockroach in his bowl of yi mein (refried deep-fried noodles, I believe) and consequently made a scene. It was probably justified, considering his boiling personality - and it was over ten years ago too - and so rarely came back, unless only with grandparents, who loved that restaurant, until they discovered that the South Shore had cleaner dining establishments. I was going to rationalize that Chinese cuisine uses a lot of fresh produce, including a lot of fresh vegetables, etc, but then, I think about Chinese restaurants in Toronto and HK, and realize that it may just be b/c there's insufficient economical pressure towards better hygiene in Chinese restaurants, per comparison to European or Japanese ones.

Notes regarding a food-rich weekend: Saturday lunch, I had a craving for Chinese food, but compromised w/ my parents' literally traditional Saturday Vietnamese lunch, and got myself a "Saigonese soup", which is a congee, Viet-style. It's like a very very thin congee (much like a barley soup, but with rice instead of the barley) with the usual greens, blood sausage, sliced fried fish cakes, and various otherwise unsavory animal organs, probably including beef paunch (I say "otherwise unsavory", b/c there was quite a bit of salt/msg to mask the rank odor of internal organs). Then all afternoon, we set up a dumplings (jiaozi) factory - dumplings which had remarkably thin skins, albeit sticky ones, especially for transport. XD And Sunday, I saved them (or my mother did, b/c I lack the patience to fry them slowly enough). And in the afternoon, I made a few containers of tomato sauce, using fresh Italian tomatoes, garlic, basil and olive oil.



moderntime said:

OMG! I've been eating that forever and I had no idea! Geez louise!

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This page contains a single entry by Cedric published on September 11, 2006 11:28 PM.

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