Mido is Hub's cousin who is also Huiyi's cousin--get the connection? Their fathers are brothers, Mido's dad being the youngest, Huiyi's dad's the oldest and Hub's dad the middle one.
Mido's hub is a great cook, having paid for cooking lessons a long time ago with 'the original masters'. We were treated to a wonderful dinner at their home, also in a longtang, and there were 11 dishes including the soup and dessert, for 6 of us. We protested that there was too much food but by the end of the meal, only about 25% of what was laid on the table was left! I gained 1.3 kg in 7 days even though I didn't eat any rice (rice is usually not served when there are so many dishes) and walked more than 4 hours daily. At one point I swore I'll never go to SH again if they feed me like that (ungrateful huh) but looking at these photos, I wish I'm there again.
What a delicious lunch! In case you wondered, the drink is cucumber and pear juice--I loved it. The Chinese like to snack on cucumbers, considered a cooling food, especially in the summer.
Steamed bahyeh hohtui, Chinese ham slices steamed over fresh tofu sheets called bahyeh.
I've never had this dish cooked this way--steamed--because my MIL usually makes a tasty soup called yindooxin, for special occasions.
Chinese ham (someone wrote me and said she/he was unaware of the existence of Chinese ham. Well, I'm not surprised if the Chinese were the first to make ham. They also have xen rou, salty pork, which is Chinese bacon) is somewhat similar in flavor to parma ham but very different in texture--Chinese ham is dry, hard and coarser.
Chopped boiled chicken with flavored salt.
This is regular boiled chicken but served with a dipping sauce made of a flavored salt mixed with sesame oil. You can use Season's Spicy Bake Mix and sprinkle it over the chopped chicken or if you don't mind the extra oil, lightly heat some sesame oil and pour into a spoonful of the said mix to make the dipping sauce.
It must be the season for these gaobak shoots because we had them at every meal. Lightly flavored with a soft crunch, this is a delicious veg best stir-fried.
Luya, soy-braised duck.
This is one of the best ways to cook duck. I have a recipe which makes excellent luya too.
Lotus root stuffed with glutinous rice in osmanthus syrup.
My MIL makes this sometimes and I've grown to like it especially on this trip where this dish appeared on the table many times. Mido's longtang house is newer and very pleasant, and while we were eating, the scent of osmanthus drifted in from her neighbor's tree. The air was cool, the long French doors with their gauzy curtains waved and it was just so nostalgic and beautiful. I wished the radio was playing some Shanghainese club music from the 40s but the TV was on instead.
Crabs with asparagus
I told you the guy can cook.
Steamed prawns on mung bean vermicelli.
I like this dish by Mido and I'm going to re-create it Thai-style. Isn't this a pretty way to present a simple dish of prawns?
I've forgotten the name of the fish but it was a live river fish, as all fish would be if you ate fish in China and Hong Kong. The Chinese are very particular about their seafood--it must be alive and jumping.
At the market, I noticed that all the veg were very tender, most of them sprouts and young leaves. Kailan and choysum in western countries are as big as a tree branches (horror) but in Shanghai, they are less than the length of my palm. You'd want your veg to be tender so that they fry quickly without loosing their flavor and nutrients.
Sichuan-inspired fish soup.
Mido said this was her version of 'water-cooked fish'. Instead of oil and fried chilies, she used home-made chicken stock because her parents couldn't eat hot spicy food. Hmm, since they don't have access to blogs outside the country (and Google &YouTube), I can say here that Mido's version is a tasty fish soup but nothing exciting like the real Sichuan 'water-cooked' fish. I like the fen pi (clear flat noodles) she added to the soup.
Tang yuen with jiu niang and osmanthus.
Jiu niang is glutinous rice in the process of fermenting into rice wine. My FIL loves this and wanted us to bring some home but liquid being banned on flights prevented us from carrying some home.
Mido's lunch (yes, 11 dishes for lunch) taught me that when entertaining dinner guests, I should cook more variety of dishes in smaller amounts instead of cooking about 6 or 7 big dishes. It's more work and Chinese dinners are harder on the cook than western dinners because the dishes have to be fried and served immediately which is stressful and leaves you hot with an oily, shiny face but makes your guests feel pampered.