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Cantonese Cuisine: Recommend Authentic Dishes?

RatherAnOddball

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Hello, thanks for reading.

Had the good luck to find a Cantonese restaurant that will take requests for special orders, which is grand for me as I'm rather bored of the ubiquitous Anglocized menu that most places offer.

Trouble is, they haven't access to a lot of the more interesting ingredients; no snails, no frogs, no goose, no black chicken, no large prawns, no jellyfish, no fermented tofu, etc. So a lot of the dishes that I'm discovering online cannot be requested at the restaurant, though I'd love to.

I'm just another gweilo who's never been to China, so I had very few ideas in the first place - and now I've run through the lot. But I'm still curious to try more.

Could you be so kind as to offer some suggestions for dishes that I can request which don't require ingredients that are too exotic - or protracted cooking-times which would require my calling ahead?

Thanks very much.


P.S. They'll take special orders for other provincial cuisines, too, but only of the more widely known dishes. For example, they'll do Sichuan Ma Po Tofu, but when I asked for "Ants Climbing Tree," by printing out the order in Chinese script, they didn't know the dish. So recommend other styles if you want, but do keep that in mind.
 

MrDaniels

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Have them make a simple steamed whole fish for you, that is a hallmark of classical Cantonese food.
 

RatherAnOddball

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Originally Posted by MrDaniels
Have them make a simple steamed whole fish for you, that is a hallmark of classical Cantonese food.

Sorry, my fault, I should have mentioned: they suggested that to me, but did say that I'd have to either call ahead or bring my own fish, since they keep no whole fish at the restaurant apart from what they cook for themselves to eat.

I suppose I could go that route - but is it really simply a fish that's been steamed? Nothing else to it? If so, then that's the sort of thing I could do at home easily, so by ordering it I might feel as if I'm wasting an opportunity to dodge the maximum amount of domestic work by eating out.

In any case, thanks very much for your response.
 

NaTionS

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Steamed fish isn't as easy as it sounds, it's all about the timing. And IMO a Cantonese restaurant that doesn't have any seafood isn't authentic. There should be big tanks of fish, crab, shrimp and lobster visible when you walk in the door.
You could try the fried crab or an eggplant in clay pot. Cantonese soups are also good.
 

Manton

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I am a philistine, so take this FWIW, but to me the best thing about Cantonese food is the noodles.

That said, I love it all.
 

Nahmeanz

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Originally Posted by NaTionS
Steamed fish isn't as easy as it sounds, it's all about the timing. And IMO a Cantonese restaurant that doesn't have any seafood isn't authentic. There should be big tanks of fish, crab, shrimp and lobster visible when you walk in the door.
You could try the fried crab or an eggplant in clay pot. Cantonese soups are also good.


i agree, what cantonese restaurant doesn't have fish tanks in the front? not only is seafood a staple in the cuisine, it has something to do with the feng shui.
 

Eason

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This place doesn't sound very good since they don't have many necessary ingredients. Anyway, ask them to make San Bei Ji (三杯鸡), it's delicious done right.
 

gentleman amateur

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Originally Posted by RatherAnOddball
Hello, thanks for reading.

Had the good luck to find a Cantonese restaurant that will take requests for special orders, which is grand for me as I'm rather bored of the ubiquitous Anglocized menu that most places offer.

Trouble is, they haven't access to a lot of the more interesting ingredients; no snails, no frogs, no goose, no black chicken, no large prawns, no jellyfish, no fermented tofu, etc. So a lot of the dishes that I'm discovering online cannot be requested at the restaurant, though I'd love to.

I'm just another gweilo who's never been to China, so I had very few ideas in the first place - and now I've run through the lot. But I'm still curious to try more.

Could you be so kind as to offer some suggestions for dishes that I can request which don't require ingredients that are too exotic - or protracted cooking-times which would require my calling ahead?

Thanks very much.


P.S. They'll take special orders for other provincial cuisines, too, but only of the more widely known dishes. For example, they'll do Sichuan Ma Po Tofu, but when I asked for "Ants Climbing Tree," by printing out the order in Chinese script, they didn't know the dish. So recommend other styles if you want, but do keep that in mind.



Wow! I haven't heard 'gweilo' in a long time! Always heard it from my HK girlfriend in Honolulu who never ordered off the menu. She taught me a couple of recipes--Cantonese for Gweilo Dummies/Idiots. You might find them a bit pedestrian, but when she made them with her expert hands they tasted great.
 

MrDaniels

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Originally Posted by NaTionS
Steamed fish isn't as easy as it sounds, it's all about the timing. And IMO a Cantonese restaurant that doesn't have any seafood isn't authentic. There should be big tanks of fish, crab, shrimp and lobster visible when you walk in the door.

+1

A real Cantonese chef will use a fish that is alive minutes before it hits the steamer or wok.

And the fish is usually lightly seasoned, but as with all Cantonese dishes it is the flavor of the main ingrediant that is supposed to come out. Many times the cooked fish will have some hot oil flashed over the skin as well.
 

Reggs

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"If it has four legs and it's not a chair, if it has two wings and it flies but it's not an airplane, and if it swims and it's not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it."

-Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
 

Fishball

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San Bei Ji is not Catonese Cuisine.

If they have chicken and pork, they can make a lot of dishes.
Do they have lotus root?
My suggestions: Soy sauce chicken, "pork cake", ginger, onion fry oyster.
All of them are basic Catonese cuisine that you would have in home.
Where are you, RatherAnOddball?
 

esquire.

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Originally Posted by MrDaniels
A real Cantonese chef will use a fish that is alive minutes before it hits the steamer or wok.

A fish that fresh really doesn't taste that great- it hasn't been dead long enough to develop its flavor.
 

Eason

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Originally Posted by Fishball
San Bei Ji is not Catonese Cuisine.

If they have chicken and pork, they can make a lot of dishes.
Do they have lotus root?
My suggestions: Soy sauce chicken, "pork cake", ginger, onion fry oyster.
All of them are basic Catonese cuisine that you would have in home.
Where are you, RatherAnOddball?


No it isn't, but he also said he was open to other suggestions, including sichuan or shanghainese.
 

acidboy

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Wait, would it be better if you ask the chef for suggestions?
 

MrDaniels

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Originally Posted by esquire.
A fish that fresh really doesn't taste that great- it hasn't been dead long enough to develop its flavor.
I bet you discourage your girlfriend from douching.
 

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