Lazy Sunday Lunch at Azhang

collageAzhang is that kind of place that you either hate with a passion or love passionately. There is no middle ground.

This blog was there for Sunday lunch to seek advice from his friends about the things to look out for in a kitchen. While this blog has long set it’s sights on his ideal cooker range, however when the ideal costs half the renovation budget, some drastic resighting is required. Alas my beautiful gas range with the bright red ceramic knobs with digital readouts, we were never meant to be.

Just a point of note, the darling Wolf gas range was featured in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man in Peter and Harry’s apartment. The scene had May Parker pull out a roasted turkey from the Wolf cooker/oven just as Norman Osborn walked in.

Lamentations and movie trivia aside, the other reason to have lunch at Azhang was that when Patrick sent out his weekly Sunday lunch specials, the Braised Vinegared Pig’s Trotters (Ter Ka Chor) caught my eye. This is a nice touch where you get weekly specials or offers to add on to the restaurant’s order of wine glasses. You feel like part of a family.

This lunch was on the theme of Pork. And it started with a casserole of pork belly with mushrooms, Cauliflower and beancurd skin.

Pork Casserole

The slightly bitter Cauliflower Cabbage provided the base flavour as the fried beancurd skin and pork belly provided the sweet counterpoints and the dried mushrooms provided a hint of “wildness” to the mix. However I dared not take too much as there was no sight of the braised pig’s trotters yet.

The “Not quite Bak Kut Teh” featured a huge bowl full of man-sized pork ribs. This blog was a little alarmed as he really wanted to save room for the braised pig’s trotters.

Not quite Bak Kut Teh

The soup was a little too “raw” for this blog. This was definitely from the pork ribs. And while it was wonderfully sweetened by the wolfberries, this blog, having brought up on fiery soups, would have preferred more garlic.

The reason it’s called the “Not quite Bak Kut Teh” is that it’s missing the key ingredient found in most Bak Kut Teh: Monosodium Glutamate.

Finally, at last, the braised vinegared pig trotters made an appearance. On it’s own, braised pig trotters are flavourful and very comforting. However the addition of rice vinegar adds a particular zip and zing that elevates the braised trotters to a whole different level.

Pig Trotters in Black Vinegar

The Ter Ka Chor at Azhang does not contain any soy sauce. Only rice vinegar was used. The balance of acidity was perfect. You can drink the sauce straight without puckering up.

This blog immediately neglected the two other dishes and concentrated on drowning his steamed rice with the vinegary sauce.

Pig Trotters in Black Vinegar

There are two things that this blog looks for in Ter Ka Chor: the hard-boiled egg and old Ginger. Break open the hard-boiled egg, spoon in the sauce and chow down. The floury yolk combines with the acidic rich sauce to form a multi-layered mouthfeel that I cannot describe. And the old Ginger used in the dish is a firm favourite amongst the old-timers. The fiery old Ginger penetrates through the rich sauce and fills the mouth and body with a comfortable warmth.

And just when you’ve thought that’s all, the fried pork nuggets (Ku Lu Yuk) arrives in a huge platter.

Pork Nuggets

The version at Azhang’s is very different from the one you get at the usual Tze Char places. For one, pork belly is used and the other, a special sauce that this blog can only reveal it’s Native American name: “Tastes-like-Bacon”.

Caramelized onions and Pineapple over crispy pork belly nuggets that “tastes-like-bacon” on a bed of crisp lettuce, oh yes, it rocked.

This blog is well and truly stuffed, so a smaller slice of dessert was requested. This blog is not really a dessert person simply because most desserts disappoint. The Apple Sponge Cake and Coconut Chocolate did not.

Apple Sponge Cake Coconut Chocolate Cake

Accompanied by a Chateau Rieussec (just because it’s lunch does not mean we cannot have standards :P), the Apple Sponge Cake consisted of sour apples on top a sweet sponge cake that was beautifully balanced. The Coconut Chocolate cake was different. It immediately reminded this blog of the wonderfully sinful Kueh Kosui that this blog’s mom makes for everyone except this blog, on account of “he’s had a lot as a child”. 😉

Even though I’ve had lot’s of dinners here, this is my first lunch at Azhang’s and I must say the casualness and comfort-feeling is raised a few notches but the food remains comfortingly old-school. This blog can now understand why there are some people who never miss a meal at Azhang.

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Posted on 25th Mar 2007 in Bistro/Trattoria, Food and Drink

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There Are 4 Comments

 

yixiao commented on March 26, 2007 at 12:19 am


pray tell- WHERE ARE THE CAKES FROM??


 

Ivan commented on March 26, 2007 at 12:35 am


They be from Azhang!


 

g commented on March 26, 2007 at 7:16 pm


the cauliflower looks strangely like cabbage.


 

Ivan commented on March 26, 2007 at 7:24 pm


You could be right. This blog is notoriously negligent about vegetables.


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