What dish from Hong Kong can we make to surprise my sister-in-law on Thanksgiving?
November 18, 2012 8:22 AM   Subscribe

What dish from Hong Kong can we make to surprise my sister-in-law on Thanksgiving?

My sister-in-law is originally from Hong Kong but has lived in Canada and now the States for over a decade. We don't see her very often because we live in different states. Although she tries very hard to be good sport, it's obvious that she's not a big fan of the food my mother (who is an excellent cook) serves for Thanksgiving. What authentic dish from Hong Kong can we make for her that would both surprise her and remind her of home? We have access to a good Chinese grocery store but since we're in the Midwest US, anything that requires fresh ocean fish probably won't work well.

I look forward to your ideas. Thank you.
posted by double block and bleed to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ooooh, okay how about Peking Duck? It's like a nice Hong Kong cuisine-equivalent to the turkey, and portions are small enough to be a side dish.
posted by 01080591 at 8:26 AM on November 18, 2012


Beef chow fun - Hong Kong style
posted by Kruger5 at 8:35 AM on November 18, 2012


Hong Kong-style sweet and sour pork.
posted by essexjan at 8:38 AM on November 18, 2012


I'm from Hong Kong and moved to Canada as well. I found this youtube channel (Wantanmien) awhile ago that teaches Cantonese cuisine. For a turkey replacement, the white cut chicken 白切雞 maybe a good choice. E-fu noodles 干燒伊麵 is my personal favourite, but the Beef chow fun (rice noodles) mentioned above is also a great HK dish.
posted by lucia_engel at 8:54 AM on November 18, 2012


Depending on whether you have a wok or not, any sort of stir-fried dish might be welcome at a dinner where everything is primarily roasted or baked. (The beef chow fun Kruger5 mentions is such a dish you can make.) If you want to stick to the oven, you could make egg tarts which are HK authentic but not too strange for the rest of the family. Would make a good dessert at least.

Seconding the white cut chicken, though that may be a bit plain on taste.
posted by ditto75 at 8:58 AM on November 18, 2012


If you've got lot's of time, Poon Choi would be a perfect Thanksgiving dish, a traditional Hong Kong symbol of family reunion and auspiciousness.
posted by Etaoin Shrdlu at 10:15 AM on November 18, 2012


"Surprise! Please suggest an HK dish that you think we'll all enjoy, and we can make it together on Thanksgiving!" is a far better gift than the worst-case scenario of "Surprise! Here is a hilariously badly-made interpretation of your least favorite HK dish, dig in!"
posted by acidic at 11:26 AM on November 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Surprise! Please suggest an HK dish that you think we'll all enjoy, and we can make it together on Thanksgiving!" is a far better gift than the worst-case scenario of "Surprise! Here is a hilariously badly-made interpretation of your least favorite HK dish, dig in!"

I don't know about that. I think your idea of surprising her with a traditional Hong Kong dish is very sweet, and I can't imagine too many people would be put out by the effort even if the dish didn't turn out 100% authentic.

I vote for keeping it a secret surprise and making the egg tarts ditto75 suggested. They are absolutely delicious, not too difficult to make with Western grocery store ingredients, and would go well with a Thanksgiving turkey dinner while being just different enough to be interesting. I bet your sister-in-law would be touched.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:05 PM on November 18, 2012


I vote for keeping it a secret surprise and making the egg tarts ditto75 suggested. They are absolutely delicious, not too difficult to make with Western grocery store ingredients, and would go well with a Thanksgiving turkey dinner while being just different enough to be interesting. I bet your sister-in-law would be touched.

Guess it's a question of what you want to achieve. Do you want her to be touched or touched and have food on the day she'll enjoy eating? If your aim is touched go with surprise but realise you may present her with yet another dish she has to be gracious about. If you want to offer her food she'll enjoy eating ask her.

Alternatively ask your brother, swearing him to secrecy. Assuming he gets involved in food prep at home he should be able to make suitable suggestions and may be able to provide recipes.
posted by koahiatamadl at 5:18 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Although Peking duck is delicious, I would generally not recommend cooking it yourself. Chefs require many years of training to make it, and most restaurants that make it (that are worth eating it at) specialize only in that one dish.

How about cooking some Hong Kong-style western food? Not only would the ingredients be easy to source, they're generally quite simple to make. Things like baked Portuguese chicken over spaghetti, baked rice dishes, macaroni and ham in soup, Hong Kong-style french toast...as well, the traditional American green bean casserole with fried onions is actually quite similar to some of these dishes and would probably go over well.
posted by pravit at 7:57 PM on November 18, 2012


I agree with acidic on so many levels. Having recently been subject to something like this, its very difficult to imagine that you'll be able to make the perfect dish on the advice of internet strangers alone.

Imagine if the situation were reversed -- you are invited into a Chinese home and they want to make you feel comfortable, so they ask the internet, "What should we make for this American?" And maybe the internet consensus says, "Mac & Cheese is the ultimate American comfort food. Melt some cheese and add pasta." And so, the family goes to the special Western grocery store and picks up some Velveeta, and pours it on spaghetti. Then they offer it to you, expecting you to taste it and feel the comfort of home.

Is that likely? Do you even LIKE macaroni and cheese? Sure, its the classic American comfort food--but maybe you never ate it as a kid. Or if your mom did make it, it was a special combination which includes cauliflower, so without the cauliflower the dish is completely different. So you feel touched that they made such an effort to please you, but its really not tasty to you.

So yes -- either have her cook it with you, or involve your brother in the situation.
posted by tinymegalo at 5:59 AM on November 19, 2012


I will take the advice to include my brother, though he is about as good at keeping secrets from her as a sieve is at holding water :)
posted by double block and bleed at 3:56 PM on November 19, 2012


Thank you all for your suggestions. In the end, we let her in on our secret plan. She was touched, but insisted that we eat the traditional meal as we always have. Her reasoning was that she eats HK style food every day. If she was afraid of getting something akin to spaghetti made with egg noodles, milk and ketchup, she didn't let on.
posted by double block and bleed at 11:15 AM on December 3, 2012


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