Monday, October 26, 2009

Home Cookin'

Home-cooked meal at my father's college pal's home in Taiwan. Let me tell ya, his wife, kids, and Indonesian housekeeper are all damned fine cooks. Additionally, I will once again showcase my inability to grasp the core concepts of Hanyu Pinyin.

Roger says, "Lu rou fan" aka braised/stewed pork + rice

"Lu rou" rice is fairly common in Taiwan and you can easily find it being sold by a restaurant, street, box-lunch, or night market vendor. There are many variations depending on the cook, but the basic ingredients are soy sauce base, sugar, star anise, black cardamom?, shallots, and other spices. The stewing/braising doesn't take long at all and folks usually throw in a couple of eggs to boil along with the pork. Really really good stuff. Sweet, savory, deep, rich, meaty, and complex. If a kid doesn't have an appetite, garnishing his/her bowl of rice with some lu rou will usually guarantee an empty rice bowl within eight minutes. Hell, the same goes for me too.

Eggplant with Thai basil and garlic

Fairly basic and common in Taiwanese cuisine. My parents used to make it all the time when I was a kid. Tangy with the bold flavor of Thai basil.

Pork broth with daikon radish and five kinds of meatballs

This is a more "upscale" version of "gong wan" soup that you see from vendors which usually only feature "gong wan" or pork meatball. In addition to having a thicker broth, this variation has five different kinds of hand-made meatballs(pork and fish). Taste and texture are miles apart from pre-packaged ones found at the market. Everything just tasted fresher and meatier. Texture was also a tad bit fluffier as well.

"Chawanmushi" with lump crab meat, shitake mushrooms, and stuff

This was their own unique creation. I think one could call it a Taiwanese influenced Chawanmushi. Loads of lump crab meat went into this dish. Friggin' awesome. Taste was vaguely similar to a good bowl of mian xian.

Some sort of white fish with a tangy glaze

Grilled orange chicken

A bazillion times better than the unholy fried abomination we see at Panda Express. I have always hated that goopy overpowering sauce and soggy-yet-crunchy texture of fast-food orange chicken. Personal preference. Besides, grilling > frying both for your waistline and tastebuds.

Fried shrimp paste and roasted nuts

Beer food for the guys. M!ne is a new line of beer from Taiwan Beer. How does it compare to a regular can of Taiwan Beer? Well it's like the difference between a Miller Light and Miller Genuine Draft. Both are shitty, but the higher tier product is less so.

Yes, I am a beer snob.


Dennis K. said...

Holy crap my mouth is watering....

kirbie said...

Oh wow, this was a home cooked meal? Everything looks so beautiful. And you photos are really nice. What kind of camera are you using? I haven't seen the Mine beer before, interesting.

joanh said...

yum, that looks insanely good. i've never seen such a loaded chawanmushi, but i definitely wouldn't mind it! are we going to see a ximending write up? the pictures look awesome, as usual

caninecologne said...

your pictures are awesome! love them!

Roger said...

Teehee thanks for the love! I'm still using a Rebel XT. Primarily shooting with a 50mm prime, though I'll swap to the crappy kit lens on occasion for shots of a restaurant interior.

XiMenDing coming soon. Been real busy with stuff and stuffs recently D: