Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Vive La Chine!

While we do have a good Thai restaurant five kilometres from our village, we definitely lack the abundance of Asian food available here in Vancouver. That's one thing we miss so, we're been eating our weight in noodles, stir fries, General Tso's chicken and--this past Sunday--congee.

It may only be rice gruel but damn, it's good with its golden hair-thin threads of fresh ginger. Our former favourite source was closed, permanently closed from the looks of things, so we headed over to Hon's Wonton House in the heart of Chinatown.

The menu here lists 343 different dishes, not counting chef's specials. About ten of these are congees and the choice narrows once you discount the versions with organ meats. Wussy westerners that we are, we went for the seafood kind with prawns, some kind of white fish and squid cut pine cone style. It was good, even better when we dripped in some vivid red chili oil. 
Crispy-skinned and succulent, the roasted ducks and pork sold here remind me of the rotisserie trucks in the markets at Mirepoix and Lavelanet. 

Breakfast over, we ambled around the streets. Peter wanted to stock up on wolfberries, bright crimson and said to be good for your eyes. I love the smells from the open bins outside the shops, a funky mix of dried shrimp, dried mushrooms and dried who-knows-what. The mushroom by the way, hard and so shiny it looked lacquered is called a "wish" mushroom. Sliced and steeped in hot water, it's said to improve your strength. 

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