Wednesday, October 29, 2008

July Makankakis Dinner 2008

Procrastination is the mother of all backlogs. A shortage of time is the father. But let's all live peacefully.

Held at Zui Fairprice Seafood Restaurant, the July Makankakis Dinner brought me to the Upper Thomson stretch.

Dinner started amusingly with a door gift. It was the first time there's a welcome gift since I joined these monthly dinners. Now I have beautiful hair. :p

But Man can't live on shampoo alone. He needs soup. The Seafood Soup with Conpoy was a starchy affair and unfortunately I'm not big on starchy Chinese soups.

The next starter was Double Happiness Combination Starter, featuring Hakka Spring Roll (left) and Salt and Pepper Tofu (right). I enjoyed these twin starters. In fact, it was my first experience with Hakka Spring Roll. Filled with a umami-ish mushroom-minced pork mix, it was asking to be eaten. On the other hand, the Salt and Pepper Tofu was well fried with chopped spring onions, chilli, garlic and other savoury bits. I think one can't go wrong with hot, fried, savoury starters.

The Steamed Salted Kampung Chicken was lean. Very lean. But with whatever bit of meat it had, the taste was more intense. The accompanying dip added a flavourful, slightly spicy yet soft ginger-y dimension. It brought to mind the San Zha (hawthorn) sweets that are found rolled up in a gold wrapper. TTC later revealed that the dip contained a special type of ginger.

Next up was the Tea Smoked King Eel. I'm no fan of eels but this would have to be my favourite dish of the night. The eel's flesh had a smokey-terriyaki taste with an almost caramelized outer surface. The frizzled tea leaves, sesame seeds and cashew nuts lent their nutty-oiliness to the dish. A tad oily but it all came together very well.

The Stewed Pork Belly with Mui Choi was another full-flavoured dish. The salt and acid from the Mui Choi had helped to cut back a bit of the fat but it was still too fatty for my liking. The meat was meltingly tender though.

The Braised Fish Blabber Tube with Sea Cucumber brought together two foods that I don't really eat. Having tried the fresh fish blabber (fish maw) from a previous dinner at Wo Peng, the one here still didn't get me hooked. I think I still prefer my fish maw pre-fried before being cooked in soups.

Breathing in a fresh change, the Yau Mak Choy with Minced Garlic provided the night's main dietary fibre. Simply stir-fried with garlic, it was simple yet delicious.

The name of this dish, Fried Crabs in Typhoon Shelter Style, got me scratching my head. The huge crab seemed to be fried with the same minced bits of spring onions, chilli and garlic that were used with the Salt and Peppy Tofu. Strange name but nonetheless tasty and fresh. Btw, the roe was heavenly!

Deer Meat Hor Fun in Black Bean Sauce turned out smokey and with sufficient wok hei (the smokey flavours imparted by the wok) but the tenderised deer meat was a disappointment. Rather bland and with an unnaturally soft texture, it must have been the fault of sodium bicarbonate.

Dinner ended with a rather ordinary Almond Curd with Longan but loud chatter and jovial laughter among fellow Makankakis were proof that good company and wines made dinner a happy one!

Speaking of wines, we had a very pleasant pair from Spy Valley, Marlborough.

Kids, this is why you shouldn't drink and dive.

Thanks to TTC for putting this dinner together and cheers to more to come!

Zui Fairprice Seafood Restaurant
220 Upper Thompson Road (Junction of Sin Ming & Upper Thompson Roads)
Tel: 6455 2033

Chew On This: I'll be rolling out the August, September & October Makankakis Dinners in due time, hopefully soon. Pardon the delay. It's kinda tight with exams just round the corner so hang on. =\

*Note: I've been informed that apparently Zui Fairprice Seafood Restaurant is closed for business. :(

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