Teochew cuisine is characterised by a wide range of seafood dishes. Blessed with the long coastal line in the Chaoshan region in southeastern China, the Teochew people are accustomed to having seafood as part of their everyday lives. From cold crab (潮州冻蟹) to braised cuttlefish （卤墨鱼), their famous shark’s meat jelly (鲨鱼冻), and of course fishballs (潮州鱼丸) the Teochews are well known for their seafood fare, and their innovative use of the precious produce from the oceans. When folks think of Teochew porridge 潮州糜, the first thing that comes to mind is individually grained porridge often cooked with sweet potatoes, enjoyed over a wide range of condiments and dishes, sometimes as simple as preserved olive leaves (橄榄菜), pickled lettuce stems (菜心罐) or salted duck eggs (咸鸭蛋), to pickled radish omelette (菜脯蛋) or even steamed threadfin (蒸午鱼) or braised duck (卤鸭). Otherwise, it would be something as wholesome as a one pot meal like Chinese Pomfret Porridge (斗鲳糜). Yet for most of the Teochews in the past who lived and breathed frugally by the sea, the expensive Chinese Pomfret or threadfin (午鱼) may not be an everyday indulgence. As such, other varieties of Teochew porridge evolved and most notably, shark’s meat porridge 潮州鲨鱼糜.
Homecooked lunches are usually kept very simple and fast, often with whatever ingredients there are in the kitchen. For today’s lunch, I’d basically prepared a simple Chinese fried noodles using the leftover ingredients I had from yesterday’s Peking Duck Pizza. It was super fast, all done within 20 min or so, minus the time I had to rush out to get another packet of noodles. Thank goodness I’d discovered that this during the mise en place and not when the ingredients are already in the wok. So here’s a super easy, super fast Chinese fried noodles. Always a lifesaver for a quick meal.
We love pizzas and often frequent one of the popular pizza delis in town whenever we need a good fix. We enjoy the regular margherita or pepperoni and cheese of course, but one of our favorite pizzas to order is the Peking Duck. We thought it to be really interesting, as I really love the Hoisin sauce as the base, a good variation from the usual pomodoro based sauces, and it is somewhat sweet and savory as well, not forgetting the umami flavours within. But now with the new Samsung Smart Oven, making pizzas at home has become a breeze.
Omelettes are a common dish on the dinner tables of many Chinese households. The versatility of the eggs, is like a clean canvas that provide us with endless possibilities for omelette dishes, each differing from the next. From Cantonese classics as elaborated as 桂花蛋 or 芙蓉蛋, to something as simple as a SPAM or an onion omelette, omelette dishes can also work to reflect the changing seasons, using ingredients that are only available during specific times of the year. To usher in the summer heat, 夜香花 Tonkin Jasmine bloom to exalt one and all in their perfumed blossoms and one can work it very nicely into an omelette as well ,together with sakura ebi, for a very refreshing 夜香花樱花虾炒蛋 – Tonkin Jasmine & Sakura Ebi Omelette.
For many of us, 大長今 Daejanggeum was an important starting point and stepping stone into the world of Korean cuisine. It created a wave of sensation all over Asia and subsequently the whole world. Together with the rich cultural and historical context it provides, Daejanggeum brought Korean cuisine onto the international platform, allowing folks all over to get to know more about Korean food like kimchi and bimbimbap. It also brought the world into Korean cuisine, getting people curious and inquisitive to try “Hansik” (Korean food) for the very first time. Despite being highly dramatised, it was quite an eye-opener even for those who claim to already know “Hansik“. It was most certainly so for me. Several things intrigue me even till today, like the use of honey with dried fruits and nuts in cuisine, something relatively unheard of in the south. Until Daejanggeum came along that is.
The show also popularised the Korean cuisine all over the world, with Korean restaurants springing up in Singapore in quick successions following the show. Now we even have a “Korean food street” in Singapore, in the Tanjong Pagar area which is dotted with many Korean restaurants. Korean supermarkets also became in increasingly common sight with various chains operating in Singapore making it really convenient for those wanna try preparing Korean cuisine at home.
For me, Korean cuisine presents a world of extremes. It could be something as plain as a bowl of clear soup with beansprouts and tofu， yet at the same time, it could be something with far more “wow!” factor like swallowing live octopuses dipped in kimchi sauce or feasting on the unthinkably bizarre and exotic. This seeming clash dietary habits bewilder many but is perpetual not only in the culinary cultures in Korea and many others around the world.
适耕庄 Sekinchan is a small fishing town in Selangor, bordering Sebak Banam and Kuala Selangor. The Teochews were almongst the first group of Chinese to have settled here and took up fishing as their main trade and still continue to do so. Apart from selling their produce to neighbouring cities like Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur, one of the highlights in Sekinchan is their seafood processing industries, which transform the daily local catch into fish paste and shrimp paste which are then used to make fishballs, yong tau foo, fish noodles as well as prawn crackers. Needless to say, these fresh seafood also contribute to some interesting dishes which are unique to Sekinchan, one of which is the Sekinchan Teochew-Styled Shark Porridge.