太爺雞："Great-great grandfather" hen; soyed hen boil in hot oil and then smoke with tea leaves
五味雞：Five﹣flavored pullet; braise with five kinds of sauce
炸子雞：Crispy chick; a process called "skin-up" is done first in which the chick is masked by maltose syrup and vinegars, then the chick is fried twice -- first time in slow heat and second time rapidly for a crusty skin
風沙雞："Wind & Sand" chicken; similar to the crispy chick recipe but this one is marinated with fermented tofu sauce first and deep fry later, and served alike the style of "typhoon shelter" crab
糯米雞："Sticky rice" chicken; oh no, not the sticky rice in lotus leaf staple dim sum found in the teahouse, we're talking about a whole chicken with stir-fried sticky rice stuffed inside
蟲草閹母雞：Double-boiled castrated pullet with vegetable caterpillar from the Wuding county. You may have heard of capon, this is the female version. They say the meat is more tender and juicer after the surgery -- a surreal speciality that can only be found in Yunnan
紙包雞：Paper-wrapped chicken; stew with the chicken sporting a paper wrap -- one of my all-time favorites -- it's saddening to see this no more in Hong Kong
文昌雞：Steamed chicken from Wenchang, so called the grand daddy of Hainan chicken
椰奶雞：Coconut juice-boiled chicken
椰蓉雞：Chicken baked with minced coconut
辣子雞：Spicy chick from Chongqing
宮保雞：Kung Pao chicken dices
怪味雞：Spooky-flavored chicken; got its name because you can find all kinds of flavor in the chicken (a good one for inexperienced chefs)
棒棒雞："Bangbang" chicken -- chicken cooked and battered by drumsticks to puff
麻油雞：Sesame oil stewed chicken
口水雞：Spicy-sauced or, literally, "drooling" chicken; not the chicken but you who slobbers, or else we'd have the bird flu scare all over...
泉水雞：Chicken braised with spring water
白果燒雞：Braised pullet with ginkgo nuts in claypot, said to be invented by a well-known Taoist priest
大千雞：Daqian chicken nuggets invented by famous painter Zhang Daqian; stir-fried with chili soy beans sauce
貴妃雞：Guifei or "Concubine" hen; so called because it's a recipe beloved by Yang Guifei
葫蘆雞：Calabash hen from Xi'an; hen bond to the shape of bottle gourd, steam for 2 hours and deep fry before serving
罐罐雞："Can-can" chicken, steam inside a claycan with heavy dosage of herbs
Of course, I can't leave out the Hainan chicken rice from my brief anthology of Chinese chicken recipes, can I?
I went inside, sat down, and rested my stuff. "Noodles, quickly, host," I called.
My first bowl came. It was the fried eels and shrimps noodles. Signature noodles of my host.
eels are the freshest pick from the market, not too young nor too
old. The bowl exhuded a compelling aroma one
feet away, a result of the famous "three-oils" recipe devised by the
restaurant. First, shelled shrimps are lightly and quickly fried in
next, the eels are stir-fried with lard and finally, the noodles are
briefly boiled with sesame oil, the magical bond between different oil
and ingredients derived from centuries of tried and true wisdom. The
shrimps were crunchy, the eels crisped to perfection. And the
noodles... what good is a bowl of noodles if the noodles themselves are
not good? The very personafication of al dente. No. Forget about al dente,
who am I kidding?! That's wimpy. These noodles ARE the Viagra of pasta,
each toothsome length; every bite of it a raging potent shot straight
at my nervous system. It powered me into the mightiest eating machine
the world has ever created...
My second bowlisbianerchuen (片兒川), a
variety of noodles you can only find in Hangzhou, with a name only the
Hangzhou locals can understand. "Hmmh, you haven't been to Hangzhou if
you haven't eaten bianerchuen." Hosts in Hangzhou like to address their
guests with this old saying when these noodles show up. The noodles
were same as good as the last but the toppings are different - pork, bamboo
shoots and preserved cabbage are the definitive ingredients for a bowl
of bianerchuen. The pork was a bit too lean for my liking but
all tasty still. The crunchiness of the bamboo shoots was a perfect
contrast to the chewiness of the pork while the preserved cabbage added
a brittle zest to the finish.
The third one looked idyllic at first: "come on, pork liver, just?!" But to me this is the holy grail of
good noodles. Nothing extravagant needed. Lets be frank for a moment:
good noodles aren't about keeping up with the Joneses. Say, a bowl of
wonton noodles, beef pho or dandan mian. It's about simple, fresh ingredients with
nicely-cooked noodles to give sheer gratification at a very reasonable price.
Downed the third, and my last. The total sums up at RMB 60 odds. Finally, I walked away with a hysterical giggle...
I read in somewhere recently there's someone in Taiwan calling his drugstore "震旦藥房 (Zhen Dan Drugstore). Quite a colorful, striking name I would say and I do hope it sells what it says: vibrating balls. For "震旦" zhen dan is a slang in Cantonese suggesting indubitably that, zhen for vibration and dan for balls. I picture this as tasteful as a father naming his newly born daughter Chasey, Jenna, Raylene, or, much worse, Paris...