Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Year's, not really Ying Yeung; yum.

New Years was almost a non event this time. I guess it could have gotten much more mileage had we walked into a casino. Not happening. We did venture in along the periphery, yet when money changers had guards on the sidewalk and metal detector screening devices were de rigueur for the low end mass quantity consumption of slots and simple card games, the glitz tarnished in my mind’s eye. After a good dinner among many local family celebrations and a pleasant walk home, I was crashed and needed a nudge to see the year change, for the second time that day. I had called and emailed various homeys at around lunchtime when midnight hit America. At that point the focus of my day and real celebration was walking the streets of Macau
The A-Ma temple, the street markets and deciphering the local definitions of Portuguese, Macanese while nibbling bits of the various Cantonese establishments, Dai Pai Dongs, noodle soup houses, cross cultural Leiteria’s, etc. In addition to the introduction of peanuts, bacalhau and Catholicism the Portuguese also brought dairy products with them back in the 16th century. Some things stuck. I read a historic tract that described elite Macanese families as having a young servant girl to beat eggs all day. During my interview at Riquexó, aka Rickshaw in English with 70 plus Teresina and her 94 year old mom who still comes in to supervise the cooking; this fact was not supported. Or at least not in mom’s memory of her youth. Needless to say the Portuguese love desserts, creamy and custardy among the lot. One of the reasons to stop into these mixed bag Milk or Dairy diners is for the double cooked milk custard. Either white as freshly fallen snow or loaded with yolks and brilliant yellow, these delicate custards make panna cotta seem rubberish. A few spots will add additional flavorings, ginger, coconut or coffee were a few we sucked down. Toast as a concept living between the most basic iteration of the Maillard reaction applied to crustless soft white bread to French Toast sans syrup, and embellishments such as griddled spam, fried eggs, breakfast meats, etc all perched on top of the warm, caramelized manna squeeze in next to macaroni or rice noodles with simmered meats, fish balls and simple sandwiches. Ying Yeung (prounced Ying Yurng) a new favorite beverage, think strong English Breakfast Tea, a pinch of sugar, Evaporated (or Condensed if you prefer) milk and Coffee all in a glass, hot and balanced to reveal each component and meld to a great hybrid hot jolt, washes down the cheap eats. The dining areas are stainless and tile, designed like a subway car not to hang out in. Suits, bohemians, working class and tourists drop in, eat and split like our old pre fab diner devotees. A good sidetrack or pitstop snackspot on the road to find my cuisine.

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