This is as private as it gets – dining in a terrace house within a residential neighbourhood. It was almost as good as eating a home cooked meal.
In Xiamen City, Fujian, there’s a popular way of dining. In many teahouses, they offer private dining for guests. These dinners do not have a menu, nor do they feature the same chefs all the time. Many of these chefs were just part-timing when a private dinner was arranged for their guests.
家常小炒 Home-cooked Favourites
We started dinner with some simple home cooked favourites like braised quail eggs and double boiled watercress soup.
闽南大菜 South Fujian Cuisine
Fujian cuisine is one of the eight major cuisines in China, and South Fujian cuisine is an important part of it. It covers dishes from Quanzhou, Xiamen and Zhangzhou in Fujian, and has an important relationship with cuisines from Taiwan and Southeast Asia where a large population of diaspora from Fujian settled.
干烧九孔鲍鱼 Baked Taiwan Abalone
Taiwan abalone is commonly called 九孔 or “nine holes” because of the nine holes that are present on the shell. These are farmed and not endangered, and they are always found on the dining tables around Taiwan and along the Southern seaboard of China, and have been used to replace the more expensive wild harvested abalones from the Japan Sea in other parts of China. Taste wise, these abalones need to borrow the flavours from the condiments used to cook them, and in this case garlic, soy sauce and rice wine.
白灼鲨鱼肉 Poached Shark’s Meat
No endangered species of sharks are harmed here. Shark meat is not good eats in most cases. But they contain a high amount of collagen under skins so people (especially the ladies) eat them for that purpose.
石锅海钓石斑 Line-caught Grouper in Casserole
The fish was steamed with very little liquid using hot stones placed under the fish. Result was a just rightly cooked fish using the “sauna” bath, and then flavours were added on top.
盐焗海龙虾 Salt Baked Spiny Lobsters
Seafood, especially crustaceans, contain naturally moisture and by baking them in salt, concentrates their flavours and gives them a hint of saltiness.
茶树菇红烧肉 Velvet Pioppini and Pig Trotters in Red Sauce
I got to try this at home, adding pioppini or what is commonly referred to as tea tree mushroom to braising pig trotters. I know some would use shiitake, but I prefer this version more.
金沙梭子蟹 Sautéed Swimmer Crab in Salted Egg Yolk
Skipped this dish, I didn’t like the trend of cooking everything with salty egg yolk.
竹笋牡蛎豆腐汤 Bamboo Shoot Tofu and Oyster Soup
At this time of the dinner, a large amount of alcohol would have already been imbibed. So usually a second soup would be served to help ease the alcohol.
干烧走地鸡 Baked Free Range Chicken
This was a very lean chicken, and baking it allowed very even cooking and almost dried out the whole bird.
清炒甜豆芦笋山药 Sautéed Sweet Pea Asparagus Mountain Yam
Got to try this combination, very tasty mix of different crunchy vegetables. Wait, is that water chestnuts?
虾仁炒蛋 Shrimp Omelette
I was surprised by the amount of pepper sprinkled on the omelette.
干煸鲳鱼 Pan Fried Pomfret
That’s a funny way to cut a pomfret. I have only came across this type of knife work with torpedo-shaped fishes. This made the really pomfret lost all its surface area for pan frying.
清炒菜心 Sautéed Caixin
A simple last dish, sautéed caixin with lard.
A Room for Tea Culture 一间 茶生活
By day, it functions as a clubhouse for folks to gather and drink tea. In the evening, you can ask the lady boss to arrange for a private dinner. Based on the amount you are willing to spend, the ingredients and menu will be decided for you, omakase Chinese style. A good experience, something different from those restaurants around town.
Tel : +86 17750580800
Date Visited : Jul 2021