Monday, October 04, 2004

barbequing under the bright moonlight - not!

ok i know. i have been writing about the mid-autumn festival ever since i started this blog. i probably look like a mooncake-lunatic who started a blog on the food of mid-autumn. but i promise *sincere nod of head*, this will be the second last post on mid-autumn. hmm. wait. make that third last. who knows i might suddenly decide to include an extra post :p

dusk at royal national park
♥ the scenic royal national park
now, you probably know that a mid-autumn bbq is all about being able to slowly chargrill your food, nibble some mid-autumn related yummies while sipping drinks (beers' just perfect) and at the same time admiring the bright yellow beauty up on the sky. mid-autumn bbq is an outdoor and night-time barbeque.

this year, pinkcocoa had the honour of joining a group of taiwanese friends to an outdoor barbeque at the world's second oldest national park: Royal National Park. Yup. we got the outdoor bbq element right but we had a lunch-time bbq. so it's more like we devoured while admiring the bright glay/glaze of a noon-time sun (ouch. watch that killer uv-ray!).

we were one pampered group. we had the honour of devouring on many homemade taiwanese dishes even before we heated up the bbq hotplate! look at all these yummies we get to enjoy all thanks to howee's grandma, mum and aunt!

tabemashita @ Royal National Park on 26 Sep 2004
what a feast!
♥ taiwanese homemade delish
from left to right
back row: soysauce-braised chicken drumstick (lu ji tui), potato salad, and stir-fried hsin-chu rice-vermicelli (chao xin-zhu mi fen*)
front row: deep-fried spring roll (zha chun juan) and tea-infused soy-braised whole eggs (cha ye dan)

you thought that was it? wrong!

more taiwanese delish!
♥ more homemade taiwanese delish!
back row: soy-braised dried beancurd and seaweed (lu dou gan & lu hai dai)
front row: potato salad, soy-braised chicken feets (lu ji jiao), and deep-fried spring roll.

i am hoping the sight of the chicken feet or phoenix claw, whatever you call it, has not caused a shock to anyone! these are actually great to munch on. and no, you dont get ugly hand-writing according to the malay saying "kaki ayam" (literally chicken feet. it means someone with a very ugly handwriting). i, for one, is a very good example. ;-) the chicken feet is full of a certain type of gelatine material called "jiao zhi" (i am not sure of the exact english term) that is said to be beneficial to good skin and hair. so, ladies. munch on!

pinkcocoa's divine taiwanese palate
♥ pinkcocoa's divine taiwanese palate
A closer look at all the mouthwatering taiwanese gourmet!
we were in deed one lucky bunch of kids!
shiyawasen desu ne~ (japanese term meaning the feeling of happiness in life)

barbequing. finally!
♥ bbq pork slices
after our first round of the homemade goodies, everyone was feeling a tad too full. So in the end we only managed to last one quick round on the bbq hotplate. these pork slices had been left macerating over-night in a marinade of soy-sauce, ginger, garlic and chinese rice-wine.

these succulent pork slices are delicious on its own. some enjoyed it together with the rice-vermicelli. bread or sandwich-lover will find these just-out-of-the-hot-plate pork slices scrumptious as a sandwich filling. simply take a slice of bread, place a slice or two of pork on top. fold over the bread and enjoy!

the bad stuff: junkies!
♥ the culprit: junk food!
this pic provided another sound evident to why we had so little of the bbq food. we had been munching non-stop even before we embarked on our scenic drive to the national park. first, we had breakfast in chinatown. then we munched this and that on the 1-hour car ride. upon arrival, we started snacking again because proper food hadnt arrived yet.

the white longish strips are squid-flavoured snack shreds (you yu si). it's a very typical taiwanese snacks. right at the bottom left corner, we have mamee! *yay* finally something from south-east asia. the other two plates are basically savoury crackers (or what we called 'keropok' back in brunei!). the yellowish one is coconut-flavoured corn-chip. the orangy one is spicy squid flavour crackers. the long thin pinkish-whitish strips (on the top right plate) is prawn flavoured crackers.

obviously we have proven ourselves to be the spoilt rotten generation!
adult-1: aiya. now the kids so hard to raise one. (jiok pai chi in hokkien)
adult-2: ya lor. see. prepared all the food already, they still dont eat.
....looking at all the leftover food....then to the junk food.....
adult-1: aiya. kids these days. left all the good not eat
adult-2: and go eat all these rubbish food *big sigh*

boxful of fruits
♥ healthy bits: boxes of fruits & veg
too bad we didnt end up having bbq sweet-corns. these boxes were left under the table (to avoid the strong sun) and were eventually forgotten. but we did manage to grab some fruits down our sluggish (from all the junk food we ate) digestive systems. oh. for desserts, we had cantonese mooncakes.

as a health-conscious bunch (er...?), we had quite a bit of exercises after the very scrumptious meal. i was introduced to all these taiwanese group games with names i havent heard of:
  • when the wind blows (da feng chui, literally big wind blows)
  • black and white (hei bai ce. this is kind of hard to translate literally because the last word 'ce' is a hokkien term, er.. i think? )
  • red-lights green-lights (hong luu deng, literally the red-lights. it's a game of chase and run)
  • dodge-balls (duo bi qiu literally dodging the ball)
and you think we didnt manage to see the moon that day?
moon dusk at royal national park
♥ moon dusk at royal national park
we drove a little further down from our bbq area to a scenic look-out (Otford look-out) and this is what we saw. Just the perfect scene to end our day!

Royal National Park
32km south of sydney
gates closed at 8.30pm 7 days

fyi: xin-zhu mi fen
is a city in taiwan. just an hour drive away from taipei, xin-zhu is also known as the city of wind (feng cheng). the nature of its geographic location produces strong gusty and dry wind that none of other cities could compare to. it is also this strong gusty wind that allows the rice-vermicelli to wind-dried in just half a day and the cold dry gust removes the acidity found in rice-vermicelli, producing fresh and low-acid rice-vermicelli found in no other places in taiwan.