Hefei, China: Tofu Skins, Scrambled Eggs, and Abalone

Sunday, July 3, 2011 2comments No tags Permalink 0

These are wrappers with scallions on the side. Crepes? Flour wrappers? Nope. Tofu! How fantastic is that? Pressed tofu, sliced thin, very thin. The “wrappers” are served at room temperature with…

…a savory, heavily sauced and peppered scrambled egg dish.

Lay out the wrapper, spoon in eggs, top with scallions, and fold! The wrappers are nothing like yuba – which is what came to mind when the gentleman next to me said “tofu skin” in Chinese. But they’re really just pressed (until most, but not all the water is out), thin-sliced tofu. Protein on top of protein.

It was at this meal that I tried a variety of dishes I never knew existed. But this wasn’t the only meal like that. What I enjoyed most about our family holiday was that every meal was literally a foreign experience. The more we ate, the more I realized how little I know about anything…everything? And that was pretty awesome in itself.

Our last night in Hefei, a friend invited us for dinner at yet to open hotel. They were running test meals and we had the great fortune to attend one evening. We feasted on all sorts of wonderful dishes like raw abalone, lightly marinated….

…this boat of cured and fried meats, seafood, and vegetables.

I thought these fried young bamboo stalks (the stick in the middle) were gorgeous.

They were fried to a crisp, gently salted and literally shattered at the first bite.

These cubes of pork intestines were the only dish I didn’t care for. Served cold, they bore a texture of firm gelatin with crunchy bits of muscle and cartilage in each bite.

Noodles, at least five different types! My favorites included the peppery vermicelli and shrimp…

…and a thicker, chewy noodle stir-fried with pickled cabbage.

Plates of simply sauteed vegetables

..and steamed crabs

…followed by sea cucumber soup. It was only after we left the city of Hefei, did I realized we had sea cucumber soup at every meal of the day. Fat, short, skinny, plump, they were always present at the lunch and dinner table, and always in the form of soup.

Later in the meal we were served another soup, this one a “sizzling” rice soup with a crab and shrimp broth.

Here’s the soup all spooned out, you can see the crab bits, shrimp, celery and mushrooms. We had another parade of meatier savory dishes following this before…

… a naked bowl of jook (to cleanse the body).

The jook and dumplings were the last savory course, and these were filled with pork and pickled cabbage. So juicy!

And finally, dishes of fresh fruit for dessert. Lychees

cherries

longan and watermelon. No better way to cap off a meal like this.

2 Comments
  • anonymous
    July 4, 2011

    "The more we ate, the more I realized how little I know about anything…everything?"This is quite a statement – especially coming from you and in relation to food no less!And what a wonderous realization that there is so much more ahead.Happy 4th of July from HNL!Alan

  • Kathy YL Chan
    July 4, 2011

    Thanks Alan! Happy 4th of July to you! Enjoy the tradewinds in Honolulu, NYC is crazy hot and humid today! ^_^

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