Thursday, November 22, 2012

Eating at a dai pai dong is an interesting and fun experience

What is a dai pai dong?
Dai pai dong are located at street levels, with quite often tables set on pavement (particularly in the evening), or indoor in cooked food centres (like the one in Tai Po Hui Market I am going to talk about.) 

Cooked food centres are rather crowded and noisy places. The stalls are close to each other and the tables (also side-by-side) all look alike. You’d better check that the table you want to sit at belongs to the dai pai dong you have chosen.

Note: The Cantonese pronunciation (Yale Romanization) is daaih-pàaih-dóng - 大牌檔 - literally means: big licence stall.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sweet Potato / Yam and Sweet Soup

This is the season of sweet potatoes (or fàan-syùh 番薯 in Cantonese) and thus the time to make sweet soups with them. Fàan-syùh tòhng-séui* in Cantonese (番薯糖水) is my favourite sweet soup: it is made with sweet potatoes, ginger, and raw cane ( – je, in Cantonese). I love the strong spicy flavour of ginger and the soft texture of the root.

* tòhng-séui 糖水 (lit .sugar-water) is both the name for simple syrup (sugar syrup) and sweet soup.
Sweet potato sweet soup

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Flowering Chinese Chives / Garlic Scapes

I had stir-fried garlic scapes at one of the dai-pai-dongs in Tai Po Hui Market Cooked Food Centre (the latter will be the subject of another post) last weekend.
Flowering Chinese chives (also called garlic scapes) are called gáu-choi-fâa (韭菜花) in Cantonese. They also go by the name of syun-mìuh (蒜苗; lit. garlic sprouts / shoots) and syun-sâm (蒜心; lit. garlic-heart).
This summer vegetable (which blooms late in the season) is commonly found at wet markets (but hardly ever at supermarkets). I seldom cook it (there is no special reason - only that maybe I forgot about its existence) so I was very happy when the waitress listed it among other few vegetables available at this time of the year.