Roasted Pork

Ingredient Name: Roasted Pork (Head)

Traditional Chinese Name: 燒豬 (shāo zhū)

What is this?
  • Fully cooked and edible piglet roasted Cantonese-style
  • This is the leftovers from a full roasted piglet (as not to waste any part of it)
  • The piglet is roasted and has a crisply, slightly salty outer skin
  • Roasted pig is traditionally served in banquets, for special occasions like baby’s 30 or 100 day celebration, weddings, birthdays
  • It is a common fare (mainly the stomach and meaty portions) in most Cantonese styled restaurants

How do I prepare it?

  • No need to wash or blanch this meat
  • Serve as is
  • Cut into edible portions (for the head, I cut it into quarters)

Where can I buy this?

  • Any Cantonese-styled restaurant will serve roasted pork
  • Most restaurants will serve roasted piglet (on pre-order)

What is the cost?

  • The price will vary depending on season (more expensive during Chinese New Year’s), size, location
  • On average, it’s around $30 HKD per catty

Any benefits?

  • The meat is very tasty and creates a wonderful aroma (even if boiled just by itself!)
  • You don’t need to add additional salt to the soup as the roasted pork itself is already salty
  • The head is a skinny portion of the pork, so fat is minimal
  • The roasted pork head can be kept frozen for up to 3 months to be used for soups

Any precautions?

  • Be sure to cut the bones clean through to avoid splinter and bones floating in the soup
  • Avoid using the stomach or other common parts of roasted pork as those parts are more fatty and the fat will dissolve into the soup

 

Bartail Flathead Fish

 

Ingredient Name: Bartail Flathead Fish

Traditional Chinese Name: 牛鰍 (niú qiū)

What is this?
  • This flat headed fish and flat bodied fish is found within the Asian/Indian regions (and South East Asia)
  • The fish is brownish and gray in color and is heavily spotted and can grow up to 80 cm for a male
  • They tend to live in the sand and muddy areas of the ocean
  • This is a common “household” fish used in the Chinese cuisine (and can also be found in Chinese medicine)

How do I prepare it?

  • Have the vendor descale and clean the fish for you and cut in half
  • At home, you can rinse the inside and the outside of the fish in cool running water
  • If you are not cooking the fish immediately, you can slice some pieces of ginger and insert it into the stomach and put in the fridge

Where can I buy this?

  • Commonly found in wet marts across Asia and local supermarkets
  • The wet mart vendor or seller should descale and remove the insides of the fish for you
  • You can have them cut the fish into 2 pieces

What is the cost?

  • The price varies, but averages $40 HKD per catty (or per 500 grams)
  • An average fish (pictured above) cost around $25 HKD

Any benefits?

  • The meat is extremely sweet and one of the ideal fish used in soups
  • It’s doesn’t disintegrate easily and a fish bag isn’t necessary if you have the fish in 2 pieces
  • Since the shape of the body is unique, the fish is easy to filet and often used in that way when cooked

Any precautions?

  • Frying with ginger before soup usage will help the fishiness taste

Additional Information

  • For soups, any of the fish posted on this site will suffice as they are generally used for soups and share one thing in common (they are boiled!)

Fresh Lotus Leaf

Ingredient Name: Fresh Lotus Leaf

Traditional Chinese Name: 荷葉 (héyè)

What is this?
  • The leaf of the lotus plant, a perennial aquatic plant related to the water lily
  • The leafs can grow to be quite large (as large as 18 inches in diameter in some cases) and are dark, green in color
  • The lotus leaf is most commonly found in Chinese cuisine as the wrappers of food such as rice, sticky rice – it is not commonly eaten
  • The leafs are usually collected in the summer and autumn seasons and dried for usage thereafter
  • It is slightly bitter and very mild

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse in warm water before soup usage
  • You can use as a it whole piece or rip into smaller pieces for your soup

Where can I buy this?

  • Commonly available in all wet marts in Asia (Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and South East Asian countries)
  • Dried lotus leaf is more common in Western supermarkets vs fresh lotus leaf

What is the cost?

  • 1 pieces (as pictured above) cost around $5 HKD

Any benefits?

  • It is meant to help invigorate the blood
  • It is also sometimes used to help reduce dizziness and fevers

Any precautions?

  • It is not commonly eaten, but can be found in pills/supplements
  • I usually throw out the leaf after soup usage and don’t eat it

Additional Information

  • Store fresh lotus leaf in the fridge for up to 5 days

Pork Ribs

Ingredient Name:  Pork Ribs (Fresh)

Traditional Chinese Name:  豬肋骨(zhū lèi gǔ)

What is this?

  • Pork ribs is the part of the pork where the ribs are (usually in the upper chest cavity area)
  • This cut contains both meat and bones
  • Depending on where the ribs are cut, you can get baby back ribs or spare ribs (both are OK for soups)
  • The meat in its raw state is tough and lean with some fat content (depending again how it is cut)
  • When cooked, it is soft and is usually eaten with soy sauce and will fall off the bone (yum!)

How do I prepare it?

  • Simply wash with cool water
  • Blanching is required when used in soups
  • You can cut the ribs into either singular ribs or in multiple ribs (not too large though, at most 2 bones kept together)

Where can I buy this?

  • You can buy this in any supermarket
  • In Asian supermarkets, you can purchase them by weight and request the size of cut you want

What is the cost?

  • Pork ribs costs around $30 HKD for 200 grams

Any benefits?

  • Pork contains many nutrients (including 6 essential vitamins)
  • It is a good source of iron, zinc, Vitamin B6 and protein
  • It is said to be a healthier red meat substitute over beef
  • This cut is lean and has a low amount of fat

Any precautions?

  • Pork must be cooked thoroughly before consumption as there is still a potential risk of salmonella
  • Consumption of meat must be done in moderation

Additional Information?

  • Pork ribs can be kept frozen for up to 3 months
  • Fresh pork ribs should be consumed within 4 days

Dried Salted Fish

Ingredient Name: Dried Salted Fish

Traditional Chinese Name: 鹽魚 (yán yú) in Cantonese

What is this?
  • A dried fish that is preserved in salt (carried down from many centuries of tradition and food preparation)
  • It is a fish that is treated with a salt solution or dry salt and then left in the sun to dry
  • Chinese-styled dried fish is usually softened by partial decomposition before or during salting
  • The fish comes available as you see it (see above picture) or in western super markets, is prepackaged
  • Salted dried fish is commonly used in many Chinese dishes and stews
  • It actually tastes very salty and the texture is quite dense, but not too hard

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse in warm water before soup usage
  • Cut off required portion only (as it is really quite salty) – usually a quarter is sufficient

Where can I buy this?

  • Commonly available in all wet marts in Asia (Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and South East Asian countries)
  • You can even purchase this in some western supermarkets that stock Asian food

What is the cost?

  • This is not an expensive ingredient and the price varies depending on size and packaging

Any benefits?

  • Adds a lot of extra salt “punch” without adding other additives
  • Minimal preparation is needed
  • Low in fats

Any precautions?

  • This type of dried salted food is extremely high in salt content and consumption should be moderated
  • Some types of Chinese salted dried fish are high in carcinogenics (cancer causing agents)
  • I would take extra caution with serving this to children if possible (once in a blue moon is OK, but why take the risk?)

Additional Information

  • Store in a dry and cool place in a tightly sealed container
  • Can store in the fridge for up to 3 months

Cashews

Ingredient Name: Cashews

Traditional Chinese Name: 腰果 (Yāoguǒ)

What is this?
  • The edible seed of the cashew fruit (of the cashew tree)
  • The cashew nut is mildly sweet and crunchy in texture
  • The cashew nut is beige/white in color and usually looks like the shape of a boat (see picture above)
  • It is commonly found in Chinese cuisines (as a whole nut), soups and desserts

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse in warm water before usage
  • Avoid using cashews that are pre-salted or roasted in soups

Where can I buy this?

  • Cashews are available all year round in all supermarkets

What is the cost?

  • This is not an expensive ingredient and the price varies depending on preparation and packaging

Any benefits?

  • Cashews are an excellent source of antioxidants and minerals
  • They contain the “good” fatty acids that help lower bad cholesterol
  • Cashews are rich in Vitamin B’s

Any precautions?

  • Cashews are a high calorie food, so consume in moderation
  • The shell of the cashew nut is toxic (similar to that of the poison ivy) and is a skin irritant
  • Take caution when serving to children as it is a nut and may cause allergies in children

Additional Information

  • Store in a dry and cool place in a tightly sealed container
  • Cashews can store up to 6 months if properly stored