FOLLOW
WDC ON
INSTAGRAM

We post new recipes and tips regularly each week, so keep updated and don’t forget share your food with us!

#whatdadcooked

And what, exactly, are you supposed to do with a thousand-year-old egg?

Posted by

This was one of many questions I had on my mind during my latest foray into London for January’s Time Out article. I had other questions: Why does it always rain when I do these articles? Will the odour of a durian be contained inside my rucksack? And can I get Ching-He Huang to help me converse with the locals?

This month’s article was particularly challenging. Deciding on food in Chinatown for the 2017 New Year was a no-brainer, but Time Out would be saturated with Chinese New Year articles. Our editor said go – but make it niche!

I set off looking for ‘niche’, as in ‘weird and gross’ – Chinatown has plenty: there’s sour chicken claws, fresh chicken gizzards, pig intestine, pig’s ears, duck’s tongues, tins of abalone, pickled sea cucumber – the list goes on and on…

I also explored for other niche foods and found many weird and wonderful things. There were thousand-year-old eggs, handmade dumplings, whiffy durian and giant jackfruit. I watched Hong Kong egglets being made, I found boxes of fresh water chestnuts, watched live eels in tanks, counted endless varieties of fish balls and marveled at the lotus seeds, ginko nuts and tapioca pearls. And then there was the especially wonderful crispy duck – otherwise known as roast duck or Peking duck.

Recce completed, I headed home – but before leaving, I stopped at a restaurant to take away some of Chinatown’s famous duck. The thought occurred that I could also do some first-hand research into the ‘gross’ side of ‘niche’ and add a few of the more anatomical offerings under the racks to my order.

‘Can I have half a duck,’ I started, waving my hand down in a slicing motion to indicate a duck cut in half, ‘also half a cuttlefish and half a roast pork.’ Still slicing my hand up and down.

‘Roast pork is not included in mix,’ said the waiter.

‘Ah, but I just want a mix of meat,’ I explained.

‘Roast pork is not included in mix,’ snapped the waiter again. I stepped back, then realised a BBQ ‘mix’ must be a specific menu item that excludes pork. I tried again.

‘Yes, but can I have a little of everything – an assortment,’ I said, pointing in turn at all the meats on the window racks.

‘Okay,’ said the waiter. I was relieved we seemed to be on the same wavelength.

‘And half a tongue,’ I continued.

‘Tongue?’ asked the waiter, sticking out a pointy tongue, as if to demonstrate the meaning of tongue.

‘Yes, tongue,’ I said, and then found myself sticking out my tongue back to the waiter as if to confirm.

‘We only have pig’s tongue,’ said the waiter, sticking out his tongue again.

‘That’s fine,’ I said, but I only wanted half tongue and stuck out my tongue and made another slicing motion with my hand.

This was absurd! What was I doing sticking out tongues with this waiter? I composed myself and completed my order.

‘I would also like some barbecued pig’s intestine,’ I said. This time the request registered without the need to start pulling up our shirts.

Despite the embarrassing charade, the order was perfect. Everything was delicious. Even the intestine was good. However, If I’m honest, the tubular shape was not very appealing and the taste was rather more exotic than I would have preferred. I realised that although I can eat intestine, I don’t need to.

I decided ‘niche’ as in ‘gross’ was not right for the article. I have too much respect for the normal Chinese culinary arts to focus on any penchant for dodgy edibles.

In the end I settled on a selection of the ‘weird and wonderful’ – things that were quirky, but also showed my fondness for the food of China. I chose the delightful little cream-filled waffle fish sold as Taiyaki, the symbolic ‘New Year’ glutinous rice cakes also shaped as a fish, the decidedly oddball bubble teas, handmade lucky jiaozi-style dumplings, the smelly but delicious durian and of course the wonderful roast duck.

And then there was that thousand-year-old egg… The instructions say you eat these eggs as they are or with congee. We ate them with pickled ginger, soy, sesame seed and salad. They were surprisingly good.

Tags:

Post a Comment

Sweet Corn Memories

Growing up in Southern California in the 60s, our family was fussy about its corn…

Continue reading

Notes on Quick and Easy Cooking

I’ve recently posted a series of ‘quick and easy’ 30 minute recipes which have unexpectedly made me think again about the hyped-up online food industry – and my own cooking.

Continue reading

British Pie Banquet at The Thomas Cubitt

In case you didn’t know, this week is ‘British Pie Week’ – a fact that might have inspired The Tomas Cubitt gastro-pub to celebrate by hosting a British ‘Pie Banquet’ earlier in the week.

Continue reading

Pass the Gravy Please!

Gravy is a perfect sauce; meaty, smooth, stimulating to the palate – and it makes our food taste better.

Continue reading

Annatto, the Most Versatile – and Unknown – Seed in the World

Annatto is a jewel of a seed. It’s used for just about everything and red as red can be…

Continue reading

Why a foodie should walk down… Clerkenwell Road

Clerkenwell Road is part of a route linking east and west London, yet with its quiet passages and historic square it has the character of an intimate neighbourhood. It’s also home to a variety of foodie venues serving Clerkenwell’s creative community. Here’s some of our favourites.

Continue reading

Why Has Pho Become So Popular?

Vietnamese market stalls and restaurants are cropping up everywhere – and with them the hugely popular pho soup.

Continue reading

And what, exactly, are you supposed to do with a thousand-year-old egg?

This was one of many questions I had on my mind during my latest foray into London for January’s Time Out article.

Continue reading

Ode to an Omelette Pan

Those of a certain age will remember the post-Elizabeth David halcyon days of home gastronomy…

Continue reading

10 Coffee Shops to Stop by on your Foodie Travels

We’ve been searching for the top foodie streets in London, but all that walking around requires a coffee break (or two)! Here’s What Dad Cooked’s top 10 favourite coffee shops.

Continue reading

Foodies100 Index of UK Food Blogs
Foodies100


Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. Recipes and photos created by Mr. WDC.