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Cantonese rebound

By Mike Peters | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-30 07:30

Cantonese rebound

Customers line up for a selection of snack foods on the streets of Kowloon, Hong Kong.[Photo provided to China Daily]


Wong visits more controversial aspects of Cantonese cuisine in a detached way. She observes that shark's-fin soup is prized in Cantonese fine dining and banquet menus for its unique texture, but notes that many restaurants have dropped it from their menus due to the socially frowned upon way shark fins are harvested.

Seafood of all kinds, naturally, is celebrated in a coastal city where seafood markets and restaurants are clustered cheek-to-jowl, and many Hong Kongers stop at a market first before popping over to a restaurant to hand over their personal daily catch to the chef.

"Flower crabs would be steamed with Chinese wine," she writes, "while mud crabs are commonly subjected to typhoon shelter-style treatment (deep-fried with golden garlic chips, chilies, spring onion and fermented soybean paste). Typhoon shelters are little havens along Hong Kong's coast where fishermen's boats take refuge from the storms; the dinners made by fishermen were eventually known as typhoon shelter-style cooking".

While readers will savor such tidbits of foodie culture-along with photographer Alan Pang's mouthwatering images-there is the succulent promise of a few carefully chosen recipes. Sprinkled through the text are easy-to-follow how-tos for homemade char siu, street fare like pan-fried "three treasures", and claypot rice with preserved meat.

"Roast meats are a rare home kitchen endeavor," she notes, "because of the equipment, labor and time involved." But Wong offers a short-cut version of char siu "that you can easily replicate without breaking your back".

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