Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kunming, Yunnan - Food of the Common Folks

A leisurely afternoon. The weather was balmy and all things were nice.

The highlight of any trip to Kunming, China will be the weather. This is the place of eternal spring i.e. whole year round. Temperature is mostly in the fresh low twenties no matter what as it is situated 6,000 feet above sea level. The challenge will be perhaps the food esp. for me as I don't take spicy food on the road as it upsets my stomach. The other is finding villages to roam. The pastoral life is being driven further and further away. My first trip here in 1995 was not so. Villages were plentiful and close by the city. Today huge multi-lanes highways are pushing development further and further into where once were the simple and agrarian life-style.

The village community hall made from mud and sun-dried mud bricks.
Old and also some new buildings in the background with farms in the foreground.
Mustard vegetable
Drying corn - it is used to feed livestock!
Food for the simple is usually lots of vegetables as it is found in abundance. Here we had Chinese celery, onions stir-fried with some sliced pieces of pork. And this was the only dish with meat.
Carrots and celery stir-fried with some dried chilis.

A type of melon (hairy melon) julienned and stir-fried!
Pumpkin soup. Their soups are rather bland as I experienced this again and again.
This was the 'killer' dish at least to me. Pickled and spiced to the hilt. It is good for eating with white rice! Look more like chives to me.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tapas and Paella - Fitou @ Desa Parkcity

Going for the Spanish Tapas and Paella was the wisest decision we made. For starters or "for tapas", we started our meal with a variety of their starters. By gosh - it was so good, rich and well-flavoured and subtle when needed esp. with the escargot. Try not to ordered what they recommend as it is usually expensive. After 2 trips we kind of knew better. Casting caution to the wind we had the following - Sausage with Bacon Wrap, Calamari Tossed in Olive Oil and Wild Mushrooms. 

Fitou is big on indoor dining and also has an al fresco area facing the stream, lake (to the left) and also a wide expanse of landscape grounds. The only blight is the car park further afield. It is a necessary evil as the car park in front is always full in the evenings as more and more houses are coming on stream.

Indoor Dining - Warm and cosy from a lots of wood. There is a collection of wines for those who want to 'complete' the meal. The bar is on the left for those who feel and want to get 'alcoholated'.
  
Subtle Escargot in Garlic and Olive Oil - 6 pieces (One in each depression cooked in a porcelain contraption).
  
I like Calamari grilled. But this one is better. If 'grilled' is the 'Yang' this is the 'Ying'. Subtle again the soft and tender forms accentuated by the simple uncomplicated taste.
  
For those who like strong tasting and smelling stuff. This is the one. Don't miss it. Caramelised with lots of marinade. The fat from the bacon lent a helping hand in lubricating and imparting the smoky feel. Great tapas!
 
Fancy the slight bitter giveaway from the wild Mushrooms! Lots of garlic and sauces. Suspect local sauces were used. Who cares, taste really good.
Seafood Paella. The base was a bed of 'Bomba' short grain and stubby rice. It is famed for its absorption power. The sauces had no chance. It transformed us back to our kid days where sauces and gravies were a must for the rice. Not all the came out good though, the chicken drumlets were hopeless and marred the dish.
Meatballs and spaghetti for the hungry and carnivorous. 
And those who wanted a vegetarian start.

Monday, October 4, 2010

BellyGOOD Three Heavenly Kings - Mentari Sunway

 
Pork Knuckle - tender, pull away easily, crisp skin. All that I could ask for is embodied in this chunky piece.
Good western-style restaurants serving pork is a rarity nowadays. Surveying the blogs dedicated to food, there is only a handful that is worth a visit. I wanted something big, solid, unplugged where I can have a go at it with gusto. Bellygood was blog pretty extensively last year. Last year, my better half did 'tapau' some food from there for our consumption. TBut this time its for real. We went for the jugular i.e. going for those that are sinful, lard-laden, chunky, carbonised and caramelised.
Another look at the Knuckle.
 
Pork belly, three layered pork. Nicely caramelised with the interaction of fat and syrup it was both flavourful and aromatic. The meat was firm but tender.
 
The pork roast. Minced meat wraped in pork belly. Layer after layer after layer.
A nice way to end the meal with these Portobello Mushrooms. Lots of cheese, ham and a big piece healthy vegetable!