Plain Rice

What’s the difference between a genuine culinary expert and a mediocre food blogger? People like Mr Chua Lam pays for his food and you can be assured that there is no drama or “unearthly” descriptions of the food he’s tasting. He is his own boss and he is free to give his frank comments, both positive and negative. Besides that, would be his attention to detail based on my wealth of knowledge and experience. Suffice to say that I have learned a lot more from him than from the mediocre bloggers.

What is there to appreciate in plain rice? Plenty according to Mr Chua Lam. The Wuchang Rice which Mr Chua likes so much only sees 100 tons in production. On sale, the supply is 1,000 tons. Figure that out.

Teochew Culture In A Provision Shop

Another highly educational video from Mr Chua Lam who is himself a Teochew who grew up in Singapore. Although Hong Kong’s economy has been growing at light speed like Singapore’s, it’s interesting to note that there are still enough people who adhere to their traditional tastes and customs to support these provision shops. It’s hard to imagine how a small shop like this can hold so many varieties of preserved meat, seafood and vegetables. Like the provision shops I was familiar with when I was a kid growing up in Singapore, the owner’s family could have their meals and the kids could do their homework in the shop itself. Shophouses came later. It’s interesting to see familiar scenes from my childhood in Kowloon.

I never knew that 黑白两道 meant opium and rice!

The braised goose stall is also special and I don’t know where to find in Singapore. We could have completely replaced the goose with duck. In the next provision shop, Mr Chua speaks Teochew, asking for preserved chayote 佛手瓜. I know the fresh fruit but have no idea what that black mass tastes like.

鱼饭 refers to fish that has been boiled in seawater. Early Teochew people who didn’t have rice would treat this as a complete meal. It’s such an irony that fish is so abundant in poor places in Chaozhou. The fishballs and fish cake look tasty. If I can find shops like this one in Singapore, I would probably give Old Chang Kee a miss.