Monday, July 30, 2007

A Shanghainese Grocer in HK

If you are in Causeway Bay, it's easy to find Lao San Yang, a Shanghainese grocery. I think their prices are a little high because this is not where the locals would shop. However, the shop carries quite a wide range of foodstuff from Shanghai and I usually drop by to get something to please my Shanghainese MIL.


Hairy crabs (back)

Hairy crabs are best in winter when they are at their fattest so I was surprised to see hairy crabs (hibernating in the fridge) for sale. The best ones are HK$240 (RM120/US$35) each!

Chinese ham

Yi told me that some of her friends have never heard of Chinese ham (Jinghua ham is the best). It may surprise them that the Chinese were the first to make ham since pigs were first domesticated in China nearly 7000 years ago, well before these creatures appeared in Europe. Chinese hams are saltier, as they are usually used to flavor soups and stews rather than eaten in slices. Taste-wise, Chinese hams are more like prosciotto than, say, honey ham because the former are salted and air-dried while the latter are wet-cured in brine. Another cured meat the Shanghainese eat is the salty pork (xien rou), which basically is young or unaged ham and this is used in soups, giving them that umami taste and a yummy flavor. I love Chinese ham, esp. in soups.

In the foreground: tofu and eggs cooked in spices and soy sauce.


In the blue buckets are fresh rice sticks (see my post on Shanghainese rice sticks). Next to them is the preserved veg xuecai, a common ingredient in Shanghainese dishes.


L to R: fresh soy beans, broad beans and lily bulbs. That veg with the thick stem is very good julienned, salted and tossed with cooked oil and soy sauce. The leafy greens (shecai) on the upper right is something I like to bring home to MIL, to make Shanghainese wontons.

Shanghainese zhongzi

Remember the zhongs I made? Almost got the shape right.


Air-dried cured chicken, belly pork, fish and pork sausages. Don't mistaken the fish (bottom) for the regular salted fish. Called qingyue, it's completely different in flavor (fishy, sweet and salty) and texture (meaty instead of crumbly). It's usually steamed with spring onions, ginger and xiaoxin wine, then torn into small pieces and served as a starter, or stewed with fatty pork.

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