Monday, February 12, 2007
Traditionally, on the last day of the year, all the members of the family would gather together for a reunion dinner. Nowadays, it's not unusual to have the reunion dinner on a different day, due to modern days' hectic schedules. We had our family feast last night. My dad chose a seafood restaurant - and as usual, seafood is our main focus.
There are lots of seafood in the restaurant's fish tanks. The abalones from South Africa caught my dad's eyes - so he decided we should each have one. The abalones are fairly large - about 4 inches in length - HK$48 each - not bad. My nephew, Vincent, loves pink scallops - so naturally, my dad also ordered one per person. There was a rather large tiger grouper in the fish tank. It's one of my favourite fish. It weighed 4 catties - roughly 2kg - certainly big enough to make 2 dishes. Also, fish is a common dish for the reunion dinner, as the Chinese word for "fish" sounds like the word for "more than enough", or "extra". That's why it is considered lucky to have a fish dish.
First came the appetizer - pied de cochon a la chinoise! Then, we had a vegetarian stew, with sliced mushrooms, wood ear, and other vegetables. I thought the stew seemed a little too thick... too starchy. The abalones which followed definitely did not disappoint. They were prepared quite simply - nothing fancy - just steamed with some cilantro on top - oil and soy sauce to taste. As the Chinese would describe it - the meat "bounces off the teeth". I loved it! The pink scallops were equally delish. They were also steamed, but with green onions and garlic. Some people might add black beans, but I think that would overpower the sweetness of the scallops. The grouper was prepared 2 ways - the meat was stir fried with celeries, and the head was braised with salted pork. Personally, I prefer the stir fry - you can taste the freshness and the sweetness of the fish better than the braised version. My dad especially requested the fish fillets be stir fried with the fish skin. The fillets were soft and smooth, but the fish skin added a chewy texture, and they complemented each other perfectly. Aside from the seafood, my mom ordered Chinese mushrooms with tofu, Chicken with ginger, and some Chinese vegetables. We also had steamed buns. We couldn't finish the meal so we took some leftovers home. It is lucky to have leftovers, as it symbolizes that you have "extras" throughout the year.
Tiger grouper: HK$980 (+ $60 cooking fee)
7 abalones: HK$252
pink scallops: HK $168
Total: HK$2492 (for 8 people)
Thanks Dad! :)