Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dinner at Home with Papa Chow Specialty

This is (one of) Papa Chow's Hakka Specialty Dish - pig's trotters stew with oysters and chilli. He boils the pig's trotters ( I hope I have the anatomy right) and stews it in a slow-cooker with the hou-see (dried oysters), chilli, wine. It is an amazing dish, there was this perfect moment when dad was bringing out this dish to the dinner table and his face was beaming with pride. It made me extremely happy to partake in that pride, or contribute to it - this is the kind of connection I have voluntarily excluded myself from for years. With good reason, I still maintain. I don't think I could accurately describe how important it is to share this with my father and how happy it makes me to be able to do so. There are a few Hakka dishes that are extremely specific to dad, the strong flavours, the intensity, the excess, the richness, the meatiness - it really brought me back to the age when I ate and enjoyed my father's food, when I unthinkingly helped wrap lard around hou-sees and fish paste in delicious anticipation. Dad has to watch his indulgences these days so it is extra special Taka and I are able to eat this dish, and that we are able to provide him with enough sense of occasion and reason to make it.

Mama Chow's dumplings
Mama Chow's dumplings with Maguro Chow's special sauce of ginger strips, soya sauce, chilli oil, vinegar.

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