Saturday, August 26, 2006

My 1st meme: must have at least once FOOD

Anna of Morsels & Musings who cooks wonderful Spanish dishes in addition to other equally appetising "world food" has tagged me for a meme started by Melissa of Traveller's Lunchbox. The task is to list five things I've eaten before and would recommend others to try at least once before they die. I relish this opportunity since I have always been evangelical and keen to share good things in my life with others.

I am listing my five recommendations, not in any particular order, each of them has an equally fond place in my heart, er, I mean my stomach.

Bottarga Sardegna di Muggine – Sardinian dry mullet roe. It is a golden coloured slab, rich in texture and scent. You shave from the slab like you would with cheese, on top of a simple plate of spaghetti, then drizzle some olive oil. You are immediately transported to an Esmeralda (emerald) heaven of sea and sun. These gold bars are easier to get hold of these days thanks to air-freight and globalisation; pop into a good Italian deli and ask, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Tartufo Bianco d'Alba – White truffle from Alba, Piedmont, Italy. More delicate than black truffle, packed with scents of the mythical Piedmontese forest and the fifth sense of unami. It is served raw; best shaved over a plate of buttered pasta, or even better, a plate of creamy risotto. This is the ultimate comfort food; one bite, you will be speechless.

Roast Goose & Char Siu at Yung Kee, Hong Kong - This restaurant on the fringe of the financial district, the pulsating heart of Hong Kong, is a famed institution worldwide for its roast geese. The molasses lacquered skin is crispy and melting at the same time. The Char Siu, barbebued pork loin, is equally good, just the right balance of lean meat and fat. If you do get there, don't forget to savour the "thousand year-old egg" (preserved duck egg) with sweet ginger. This pair is made for each other and you will not find any egg elsewhere so skilfully preserved that there is a spot of gooeyness left in the centre of the yolk.

Tuna skirt steak at the Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo - Most food tourists who visit the Tsukiji would feast on, undoubtedly the freshest, sushi and sashimi. However, these delectable morsels are not necessarily what the people who work in the business at the world's largest fish market choose to have. Once, I was fortunate enough to be eating at one particular restaurant in the market, a well kept secret within the inner circle of Tsukiji foodies and the seasoned fishmongers. After plates of sushi and sashimi, we were offered hot dishes (the second and final phrase of the meal). I had in front of me a bowl of beef and rice, or so I thought. I took a bite and thought it was the most tender and flavourful beef I had ever tasted. It turned out to be sautéed skirt steak of tuna. It is the typical breakfast of the fishmongers: a big bowl of tuna and rice, washed down with sake or Asahi. Rustic and hearty, opposite of the delicate silvers of fish hankered by the rest of the world, but every bit as good if not better.

For the last, but not least, I tossed between the alluring bubbles of a Krug rosé champagne, the distinctively feminine scent of a 1st growth from Margaux and a sensory feast at Tetuya Wakuda's Sydney restaurant. Since the first two are not strictly food although I wouldn't mind making a liquid meal out of them, I will go with one of the most revered and likeable maestro in the ultra-competitive culinary landscape of Australia.

Degustation at Tetsuya's, Sydney - No foam, no sifon, no liquid nitrogen; just great food cooked by an artist who combines French techniques with Japanese principles. The confit of Tasmanian trout is Tet's signature dish but the rest of the meal is no less impressive. Each course is flawlessly paired with a wine which compliments his creation. His establishment is certainly a foodie's Zen heaven.

So there, 5 foodie experiences before you go to that other place. Bon Appétit!

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