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    《Modern Fujianese Tiger Bite Pig Burger》
    Zhezhen Delicacies

    《Modern Fujianese Tiger Bite Pig Burger》
    Zhezhen Delicacies

    《Modern Fujianese Tiger Bite Pig Burger》
    Zhezhen Delicacies

    Photography and Written by George Tang @ George Kitchen

    If you walk into a Fujianese restaurant and find that most diners and waiters speak Fujianese, you are guaranteed of authentic Fujian cuisine. Owned by a Fujianese owner Mr Wu, Zhezhen Delicacies is currently operated by Mr Wu, his son, and his daughter-in-law. After moving to Hong Kong from Jinjiang, Fujian Province, in 1981, Mr Wu worked part-time at a Chinese restaurant and ran a hawker stall in a wet market. Eventually, he founded Zhezhen Delicacies in North Point, selling traditional Fujianese dishes and refreshments, in which nine out of ten of his customers are Fujianese. For more than 20 years, he has been working 15 or 16 hours a day, from 5 am to 8 pm, all year round. Although Mr Wu is now in his 70s, he is still as vigorous as ever. 

    Inherited the strong family values of the Fujianese, Mr Wu returns to Jinjiang to worship his ancestors every Ching Ming Festival despite his busy schedule. Nevertheless, this gives Mr Wu the chance to relish the hometown delicacies of his favourite, such as taro balls. The taro ball from Fujian is called “Shenhu Sweet Taro”. Like the baby taro eaten in Hong Kong at the Mid-Autumn Festival, Shenhu Sweet Taro is unique to Jinjiang. By dint of its extensive usage, Shenhu Sweet Taro is vastly cultivated in Fujian. Not only can it be cooked directly or in congee after washing and peeling, but it can also be sun-baked into dried sweet taro. Its sugary flavour makes it a lovely accompaniment to various dishes. Made from Shenhu Sweet Taro, Fujianese Taro Balls go well with pork and mushroom, peanut flour, or sweet and spicy sauce. Fujianese likes to spice all kinds of food with Gao Zai Sweet Chili Sauce. Their fondness for spiciness set them apart from the Cantonese.

    While authentic Fujian cuisine is rare in Hong Kong, Zhezhen Delicacies replicates the Fujian hometown flavour genuinely. That’s why it has attracted many Fujianese and gourmets from local and afar. Located on the southeast coast of China, Fujian is best known for its toothsome seafood. Fujian cuisine is one of the eight major Chinese cuisines, and it can be subdivided into Fuzhou cuisine, Minxi cuisine, Quanzhou cuisine, Xiamen cuisine, and Zhangzhou cuisine. However, the latter three are usually dubbed collectively as Fujianese cuisine. The Fujianese are fastidious about seasoning and savoury flavour. Amongst all the Fujianese specialities, the steamed baby fish, salted rice, Wu Xiang Juan (Fujian Style Spring Roll), and lor mee (braised noodles) are the most popular dishes at Zhezhen Delicacies. Many customers keep coming back for its steamed baby fish with salted rice. The restaurant uses local marine fishes for the former dish by slightly marinating them before cooking. The salted rice is prepared like Fried Glutinous Rice, but with shredded pork belly, mushrooms, and carrots. Lor mee takes 15 minutes to prepare, and its main ingredients include fresh seafood, oyster, fishballs, squids, pork, and the thick alkaline noodles sold only in a Teochew grocery store on Chun Yeung Street, North Point. Apart from the Fujian lor mee, Hong Kong diners are also fond of Hokkien fried vermicelli and oyster omelette. Unlike Teochew fried oyster cakes, the Hokkien’s variation is akin to the Taiwanese Oyster Omelette: Pan-frying rinsed fresh oysters with garlic, seasonings, and an egg.

     

    Preparing traditional food requires much more skills than one would think. Take Fujian rice dumplings and peanut soup as examples, the former is a seasonal food that is only on sale in Zhezhen Delicacies for a limited time. By wrapping fried glutinous rice with five-spice powder, mushrooms, dried shrimps, chestnut, and chicken or pork together moderately, these Fujian rice dumplings are steamed until lightly browned, giving a sweet and rich flavour with a fatty but not greasy palate. As for the peanut soup, the cooking process is even more convoluted. First, the peeled peanuts need to be scalded with boiling water to remove the skin before cooking over medium heat. Once cooked, the peanuts are stewed with sugar and simmer on low heat for one hour until the surface turns white, with a melt-in-the-mouth texture.

    Conserving traditional recipes is no easy task. For instance, it takes over a hundred sheets of pig’s caul fat (a thin membrane that surrounds the abdominal cavity) to prepare the Wu Xiang Juan. But since pig’s caul fat is hard to source nowadays, the wrapping of Wu Xiang Juan has been replaced by bean curd. Although Wu Xiang Juan is also known as a chicken roll and its appearance is comparable to a chicken neck, it does not contain chicken at all. Instead, it is a fried pork roll with finely sliced pork meat, mushrooms, shallots, bamboo shoots, pepper, and flour. 

    When I began conceiving this new recipe, I unexpectedly thought of the “Tiger Bite Pig Burger” (also known as “Pork Belly Bun”), a Taiwanese snack that originated in Fuzhou. With its flat and oblong sharp, the fillings insides, and a palate similar to a steamed bun, the pork belly bun is considered as the “Chinese burger”. Since the appearance of an opened pork belly bun resembles a tiger crunching a cooked pork belly served with coriander, sauerkraut, icing sugar, and peanut powder, that’s why it is commonly known as the “Tiger Bite Pig Burger”. After some wordplays with “Tiger Bite Pig”, I came up with the idea of replacing the bun and fillings with pita bread (also known as Arabic bread or pita pocket) and falafel. Before deep frying the falafel dough, I also added smoked salmon for a touch of savouriness, as well as cooked rice and carrots as an abstraction of the Fujian salted rice. Served with mint yoghurt dressing, tomato salsa, and Gao Zai Sweet Chili Sauce, this Taiwanese snack is transformed into the Modern Fujianese Tiger Bite Pig Burger. Last but not least, one can even use the falafel as the filling for lettuce wraps or roll it in sliced salmon as an appetizer, giving this fresh fusion recipe myriads of possibilities.

    Ingredients (Serves 4-6, about 18-20 falafels) :

    Salmon Rice Falafel 

    300g         canned chickpeas

    100g         cooked rice

    120g         smoked salmon, cut into small dices 

    20g           carrot, cut into small dices

    60g           fresh coriander 

    40g           onion or shallot 

    2 cloves    garlic

    3 tbsp       
    olive oil

    1 tsp         
    ground cumin

    4 tsp         
    flour

    1.5 tsp      baking powder

     

     

    Mint Yoghurt Dressing
    240g       Greek yoghurt
    4 sprigs   fresh mint, chopped
    1              lime, juice and zest
    A              pinch salt

     

    Tomato Chili Salsa
    150g        mini tomatoes chopped into halves.
    A              few drop chilli oil
    1 clove     garlic, finely chopped
    3 tbsp       olive oil
    To taste    salt & pepper

    Method: 

    1. For the mint yoghurt dressing: add yoghurt, mint and lime in a bowl and stir around until combined. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to get an intense mint flavor.
    2. For the tomato chili salsa: chop the ingredients and add everything to a serving bowl. Stir around. Add salt and pepper according to taste. Serve immediately or put in the fridge for 30 minutes to get more intense flavors.
    3. For the falafel:  preheat the oven to 200°C.
    4. Rinse the chickpeas, and drip dry. 
    5. Start by blending the herbs in a mixer for about 30 seconds or chop finely. 
    6. Add the chickpeas, garlic, onion, olive oil, cumin, flour and baking powder into the mixer and blend for about a minute. To stir around with a spoon occasionally. Try to keep the texture of the falafel dough a little rough. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl.
    7. Add the cooked rice, chopped smoked salmon and carrot dice into the mixture, mix well with a spatula.
    8. Make 18~20 round falafels, deep fry the falafels with oil until golden brown and crispy . Or place on a baking sheet which lined with baking paper, bake for about 18~20 minutes in the preheated oven, turn every 5 minutes to get an even brown color.

    Assembling the falafel
    1 head lettuce
    falafels (recipe above)
    mint yoghurt dressing (recipe above)
    tomato salsa (recipe above)
    cucumber slices
    fresh herbs (mints and parsley)
    red peppercorn
    pita bread (optional)
    Fujian Gao Zai Sweet Chili Sauce
    smoked salmon slices (for the starter)

    1. Separate the leaves by turning the lettuce upside down and removing the stem or cone with a knife.
      Put it under running water and gently separate the leaves one by one. Pat dry.

     

    1. Serve with pita bread,  add one lettuce leaf inside the pita bread firstly, then add 2 or 3 falafels, mint yoghurt, tomato salsa and top with some fresh herbs, chopped red peppercorn and sweet chilli sauce. Fold it gently. Or simply serve like a lettuce wrap without the pita bread too.  Enjoy!

     

    1. Or you can serve it as a starter by placing some tomato salsa on a serving glass, then add some mint yoghurt dressing on top. Lay out a slice of smoked salmon, place some yoghurt dressing and sweet chilli sauce on top. And place a piece of falafel on top and roll the smoked salmon around it. Then place the it on the serving glass together with some fresh herbs and cucumber slices. Decorate the red peppercorn on top.