|The plate is designed by Sean Tiang, titled 'Jia' (家). |
My paternal grandparents kept a mainly vegetarian diet. But every lunar new year, a festival that caused them much grief and of which they were always quite torn about celebrating, they didn't mind marking the festivities with a bit of meat. They always cook up a pot of laap mei fan (臘味飯). That salty but strangely tasty dish of claypot rice with preserved Chinese sausages (lupcheong, 臘腸), waxed duck, bokchoi and dried mushrooms.
I was really close to this set of grandparents. In honor of their memory, every year, I would randomly buy a tiny yellow gold piece-something to chuck it into storage, and cook a tiny pot of preserved meat rice. It doesn't take much skill to cook it, honestly. You just need good ingredients and get the steaming time right. Use those superb naturally fermented sweet dark soy sauce. But no, I don't fancy bak kwa, chorizo, ham or sausages. #impieCooks2015
I wasn't interested in making laap mei fan. Nobody at home eats that. All the preserved meats sliced up to do one bowl of which wouldn't even be finished. Less than a cup of rice was used. So I simply got two sticks. A regular lupcheong and a duck liver yuencheong (膶肠). The girlfriend rolled her eyes when she knew I only wanted two sticks. She keeps a stash of lupcheong and waxed duck and preserved meats bought from regular trips to Hong Kong, say from Man Lee Long (萬利隆) and Wo Hing (和興). She wanted to give me the whole pack. Too much lah. As it is, I have to sneak around to cook it because the kitchen at home doesn't permit pork. Usually the bff would cook this for me. Hehehehe. But she isn't in town these few weeks. Pfffft.
Instead of laap mei fan, I did lupcheong rice. With bits of cabbage and raw shallots. Hahahaha. It would do. Stirred it in a pot on the stove. You don't need the electric rice-cooker to do such a tiny bowl of rice. There's no nutritional value in this meal. But it was absolutely satisfying. All those familiar yet new flavors. It was purely a bowl of lovely memories, significant only to me.