Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chamber Rouge, Hangzhou

With the new high speed train, it takes only slightly over an hour to reach Hangzhou. Hangzhou is such a scenic place and a nice change from the busy Shanghai city. This used to be the place where the Emperor would take his concubines to on dates; it's that good. Besides being home to pearls, silk and longjing tea, Hangzhou also has some pretty tasty cuisine which is unique to herself.

This joint was recommended by locals and it was crowded with locals. I'm not sure how the translation ends up with "Chamber Rouge" but that didn't really affect the food.

Braised waxed duck is a specialty of Hangzhou. The duck is waxed and preserved first before braising. Although it may sound like it'll be really salty, it wasn't really. In fact this was pretty fragrant and tasty. A pity the duck became pretty scrawny after the whole cooking process and each mouthful had to compete with some pesky bones.

I forgot the name of this fish but it's another specialty of Hangzhou. The texture of the flesh is pretty tough, almost like chicken in fact, which may be a turn off for people who prefer soft flakey fish flesh but I'm ok with a little chew.

A deep-fried long spare rib is good to grace any table, any time. This rib is heavily seasoned in five spice and preserved bean curd which gave it a rather unique flavor.

The beef with green chilies were tender and succulent with the chilies adding more of a fragrance than any heat (in the spice sense), in fact these chilies weren't hot at all.

I'm not a fan of cabbage usually but I was pretty wowed with the stir-fried cabbage. It wasn't overly fried so it maintained a nice crunch and I think the slices of fatty pork belly and preserved clams helped enhanced her flavor.

We finished off the meal with another Hangzhou specialty dish. This is a pasta dish commonly known as "cat ears" because the pasta supposedly looks like cat ears? Cooked in a broth of pork and preserved vegetable, this is a good filler at the end of a meal or could even be a meal just by itself.


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