As I’ve said before, what I love about food as much as how good it tastes, is how artistic it can be. Case-in-point these beautiful bunches of multi-colored carrots sighted at last Saturday’s KCC Farmers Market.
Being a big fan of presentation myself, you could take a basic entree such as a fillet of sauteed fish and make it visually outstanding with a gourmet touch by simply plating it with these handy-dandy multi-colored carrots.
Tourne carrots. Image courtesy of the Institute of Culinary Education
To do this, I’d go with tourné (7-sided turned-cut) carrots, where they’re uniformly pared-down into an ovoid shape, blanched in boiling water until tender, then glazed in butter, sugar and chicken stock. That glaze there is the secret to how restaurants make their “fancy” root veggies turn out so dang tasty!
Speaking of chicken stock, next up we have some Vietnamese style Stuffed Chicken Wings from a food truck Diner E didn’t get the name of. Sorry ’bout that.
Vietnamese style Stuffed Chicken Wings
As featured here before at Bac Nam, by far one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in Honolulu, Vietnamese style Stuffed Chicken wings are very clever, where they take the chicken meat under the wing’s fatty skin and remove it, leaving the skin and bones otherwise intact. They then chop up the chicken meat, and combine it with ground pork, and/or rice, vegetables and seasonings, then stuff that mixture back into the chicken wing under the skin. It’s then coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried “GBD”, and served with a sweet chili sauce.
Vietnamese style Stuffed Chicken Wings
Diner “Saimin Kaukau” E said these food truck Stuffed Chicken Wings were very good, but still no can beat Bac Nam.
Being the BBQ Teriyaki ANYTHING “freak” Diner E is, he also couldn’t resist this mini plate of BBQ Teriyaki Pork on Rice from another food truck nearby on the same day.
He gave me some to sample, and it was freakin’ AWESOME! Supah “papa’a” (burnt, tasty edges) from the open-flame gas grill they were cooked on, and the tender, moist pork just absorbed that delicious teri’ sauce it was coated in like a sponge. I tell ya’, this plate of porky BBQ teri’ goodness will give any Korean Kalbi beef short ribs some serious hard rubs! Win-NAHZ!
While we’re on pork, next up we have a Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs plate lunch from Asahi Grill, or as the Chinese waitress at Kin Wah would say, “Shee Shau Spay Wee”. LOL! This, being a plate Paul Coffman, owner of Corny Cones had ordered for lunch the day I went to his shop in Kaka’ako to film them making Corny Cones. It sure smelled ono, and Paul gave it a thumbs up!
“Local style” Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs. This one using my Pake Aunt’s family recipe, which is simply a 4 lb. tray of pork spare ribs, ginger, daikon, carrots and 1 cup each of shoyu, sugar, vinegar and 1 can of chunk pineapple, including the juice. Where here I pressure-cooked it until tender, only taking minutes from start to finish. Supah easy, supah fast ‘n supah ono!
Gosh, it’s been I think more than two years now since I’ve had a plate lunch served the classic way, with a heaping pile of meat, two scoops rice and mac salad. Ah, the good ‘ole dayz of a fast metabolism.
Moving along to the “other pork”, or should we say the “other pink mystery meat”, we have SPAM Tocino flavor, recently brought in for the first time at Don Quijote.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, Tocino is a Filipino style flavored pork “bacon” if you will, often served for breakfast with eggs, which is exactly how Hormel suggests their SPAM Tocino be served.
SPAMsilog. Image courtesy of The Peach Kitchen blog
While I haven’t yet, if The Peach Kitchen’s favorable review of Hormel’s SPAM Tocino is any indication, I’m definitely going to give it a try. Stay tuned.
Back to the Farmers Market, here’s a good way to make use of those 100s of SPAM and Chicken of the Sea tuna empty cans you go through, by turning them into “wittle” cute succulents planter pots. Pretty cool.
Still back at the Farmers Market, we have some beautifully plump Hawaiian Deep Sea Shrimp, which brought me wonderful flashbacks of my recent New England Lobster Roll fest.
Toss the shrimp on the Barbi, mate! Oh, and pass me another Fosters while you’re at it, mate.
The vendor was serving their Hawaiian Deep Sea Shrimp the usual North Shore food truck way, sauteed in garlic butter over rice, and also as shown above in a Chinese style chow mein noodle soup bowl.
I don’t ever recall waking up early in the morning thinking, “I sure could go for some shrimp right now.” Ya’ know? So when I seen they were also offering this here Shrimp & Eggs breakfast plate, I was like, “There is no way in HELL I could have that this early in the morning.” And with Kim Chee on top of that? Whoah, talk about major morning breath bomb! lol
Shrimp is actually something I have to really be in the mood for, such as when I go on my Shrimp Cocktail binges. Love that!
You can tell how big this Joong is (as they all usually are), as it dwarfs Diner E’s hand in the photo above.
If you search online for “Joong” or “Zongzi” or “Zhongzi”, you’ll find slight variations in shape and ingredients they put in them, depending what region of China and asia in general it’s from, and of course, who’s making it. Usually a “maxed out” Chinese Joong will have sticky rice that’s mixed with beans, meat, sometimes veggies and a duck egg, usually just having the yolk. It’s neatly wrapped in bamboo leaves, then tied tightly with string and steamed or boiled until fully cooked and tender.
Similar to Joong, in the Philippines, there’s street snack called Suman, which is much more basic, using sugar and coconut milk as its base to flavor the sticky rice that’s steamed in a banana leaf.
Back to it, in essence of its menagerie, think of Joong as the Godfather of Laulau and SPAM Musubi.
Dissecting the Joong, above you can see there’s one large chunk of tender flavored pork within the sticky rice and beans.
Sliced in another section, a duck egg yolk is revealed. Yum!!!
What’s interesting to note is that while Chinese duck egg whites are very salty, the yolk as is in this Joong wasn’t salty at all, yet still very tasty. Dude, like I’m totally an egg yolk fan, no matter how it’s used in a dish, and this was rockin’ it!
Sing Cheong Yuan’s Joong as a whole was totally rockin’ it! Very, very tasty! There’s this ever slight hint of smokiness when you first bite into the sticky rice and tender beans. Then that goes away as your palate acclimates to its, what I’ll say is simply a “very Chinese” flavor profile. Whether it’s Hoisin they mix in there, or some other “Ancient Chinese Secret” (remember that Calgon Detergent commercial?), this Joong screams “I’m Chinese!” loud ‘n proud.
The sticky rice is perfectly cooked with a sort of firm, yet al dente “bubble gum bite” to it, contrasted by the savory pork, Lup Cheong and of course the duck egg yolk. This “deluxe” Joong really is a meal-in-one that will easily fill you up, all for a handy ‘n dandy $3.50 each.
If you’ve never tried Chinese Joong before and are curious, I highly recommend you get the one at Sing Cheong Yuan Bakery… it’s the best I’ve had yet!