Hong Kong is another ‘is it really a country?’ country. Wikipedia tells us that it’s an autonomous territory, just like Macau, which essentially means it’s part of China whilst also standing on its own. This was exemplified perfectly when Miranda asked a Hong Kongese student whether there were any dishes specific to Hong Kong. With an expression that was a mix of bewilderment and panic, he said, ‘Um… they just have Chinese restaurants.’
That avenue well and truly exhausted, our next step was to turn to Google for a Hong Kongese dish, but the World Wide Web pretty much gave us the same answer: Hong Kong cuisine is mainly influenced by Cantonese cuisine, and there really isn’t much to distinguish between the two. The only food we could associate with Hong Kong was the luminescent deep fried balls of unidentifiable meat you get from the takeaway, and we didn’t want that. We could have made fish balls, which seem to be a popular Hong Kong street food, but pounding white fish into a paste didn’t especially appeal to us, so in the end we settled for spicy fried noodles as inspired by Cookpad (we played with the quantities a bit). Honestly, we really couldn’t tell you whether this is even close to ‘authentic’ Hong Kongese, but there were very few options and it seemed along the right lines…
Spicy fried noodles
2 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 nests of rice vermicelli noodles
1 small onion, chopped
4 spring onions, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 birds eye chilli, finely chopped
120g tin of bamboo shoots, drained
1. First, prepare the sauce. Mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, fish sauce and white pepper, and set aside.
2. Soften the noodles according to the packet instructions (this probably means putting them in some boiling water for a couple of minutes). Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok and spread the softened noodles thinly, trying to avoid clumping them as much as possible. After 2 minutes, set aside.
3. Heat another 1 tbsp of oil and fry the garlic, onion, spring onion and chilli. After a minute, add the carrot, celery and bamboo shoots. Add a few tablespoons of water and steam with a lid/cover for 3 minutes. Make sure it doesn’t burn.
4. On high heat, add the noodles and the sauce. Fry until everything is coated and liquid is gone.
Yes, that’s karaoke Sixpence None the Richer playing in the background… And…?
Whilst this dish was perfectly pleasant, it was also rather forgettable. Quite literally, in fact: we made it just under a week ago and we’re now struggling to remember much about it. The sauce was certainly very tasty, and one to be used again, but the rest just didn’t pack enough of a punch to make it memorable. One thing we definitely can say for it is that it is a very easy midweek meal, that takes less than half an hour to put together, so we could recommend it on those grounds.
To be fair, a factor contributing to its forgettability is probably the fact that a couple of days later, we made Taiwanese beef noodle soup… and that was amazing. More on that in our next post!