It's He Zi recipe, round two! This time, we tackle the more traditional version of He Zi -- a popular Chinese street food item consisting of chopped chives and eggs, and of course, as the name suggests, shaped like a box.
Chinese egg tarts are popular treats found all over Chinatown, particularly in tea houses as a dim sum dish. Egg tarts are prominent in Guangzhou's food scene, and scholars call it the "quintessential symbol of the fusion between Cantonese and Western cultures."
Brown sugar rice cakes are a classic: crunchy on the outside, chewy on the outside, they look almost like potato fries. But instead of ketchup, they're covered in an osmanthus flower-infused honey syrup, that you (double) dip each bite into.
As a non-Houstonian, this breadth and depth of Chinese cuisine was intimidating at first. From Peking Duck to specialty noodle dishes, there’s just so much Chinese food that we didn’t know where to start! But after a few months of gradually exploring Houston, we’ve found a place that truly stands out from the pack. And that place is Hu’s Cooking!
Yangtuo Club is tucked into a small shopping center, so it's quite easy to miss. They've got quite a few options as for what to eat: you can get the dry hot pot for 9.99$/lb -- meaning, you can add whatever the heck you want for that price per pound, an all-you-can-eat hot pot buffet, where you can chose the level of spice for the soup base, as well as noodles and fried rice.
Ma lai gao (马拉糕) is a popular dim sum dessert, alongside the ever-popular salted-egg yolk custard bao. It's essentially a sponge cake with a beautiful caramel color due to the brown sugar, and because it's steamed, ma lai gao is a fluffy, soft and gorgeous cake (it will literally spring back if you push down on it!).
Red-braised pork belly (Chinese: 红烧肉) has been a staple of my childhood diet -- and now that I've moved out of Texas, it was the first thing that I was determined to learn how to make. It's made with a wonderful mix of spices, cooking wine, a soy sauce power duo, and more. What you end up with is soft, melt-in-your mouth pork belly from a two-hour long braising process, and a thick, subtly sweet sauce that's perfect for drizzling over white rice.
Wontons are a classic Chinese dumpling variation: instead of like their semi-circle cousins, wontons are made from a square wrapper and usually have less filling (but of course, this just means you can eat more of them in one sitting). They're literally a soul-warming meal, especially if you eat them alongside the hot soup, with a generous dollop of spicy chili crisps and green onions.
Happy Dragon Boat Festival! As the occasion calls for, today we celebrate with zongzi! Zongzi (also called Chinese sticky rice dumplings) are a traditional Chinese dish, consisting of various fillings wrapped in glutinous rice and cooked in bamboo leaves. As a native Texan, here's my best analogy: think tamales, except the Chinese version.
In Chinese, 盒子 (hézi) literally translates into box -- an edible box, of course. A typical “box” that you’ll see sold as a quick street food item consists of chopped chives and eggs (or some other variation of that) stuffed into a dough “box,” although that box is shaped more like a crescent moon. I like to think of them as the older cousin of dumplings. Both are like savory pocket pies, but hézi usually are larger, have more filling, and a crisper skin.