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Poon Choi 盤菜

Poon Choi is also referred to as a Big Bowl Feast along with a normal type of dish originating from Hong-Kong village Cantonese cuisine. Poon Choi was an innovation of early settlers in New Territories, who have been driven south of the mainland by a number of barbarian invasions in China between the 13th to 17th centuries. When Mongol troops invaded Track China, the youthful Emperor fled towards the place around Guangdong Province and Hong-Kong. The locals assembled all their finest food available, cooked this, and since there were not enough containers, set the consequent dishes in wooden washbasins, to serve the Emperor as well as his military. In this way, Poon Choi was devised.

Poon Choi comprises many distinct ingredients, which are layered above one another. Our conventional hamlet version had the fundamental fixings including dried oyster, fish maw, prawn, dried mushroom, fishballs, squid, dried shrimp, pork, pigskin, beancurd along with Chinese radish. It was topped with the chicken. Apparently, if you go to restaurants in Hong Kong during the Chinese New Year, you can order the ‘posh’ version, which can contain abalone and shark fin.

Poon Choi is special in that it is composed of many layers of different ingredients. It is also eaten layer by layer instead of “stirring everything up”, but impatient diners may snatch up the popular daikon radish at the bottom first using shared chopsticks.

Comparatively dry ingredients such as seafood are placed on the top while other ingredients, which can consume sauce well, are assigned in the bottom of the basin. This lets sauces to flow down to the underside of the bowl as people start eating from the top.

An additional pair of chopstick is used to overturn and combine the food and we all worked together to reach the different layers of food. At the end, when half the food was gone and the sauces were left at the bottom, cabbage leaves were added and set the metal basin on a gas fire, so cook the cabbage in the sauce.

 

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