Sunday, January 27, 2013

Uni, Duck Chins, and Hasma

After all my exertions yesterday procuring the family chocolate supply, my husband had been patiently waiting at home for some dinner action. We went to our favorite Chinese restaurant- the Asian Pearl in Pacific East Mall. It's the kind of wedding banquet dimsum Chinese restaurant where they have live tanks and the experience is good only if you go for adventure. Since our other goto Chinese restaurant burnt down last year, we come here more often.  Lo and behold- I happily noticed giant sea urchins. They serve it three ways- raw, steamed with egg custard, or in fried rice. To a Korean- live urchin should be prepared only in one possible way!

After my first bite- so sweet and creamy- I vowed this is THE only way I am going to enjoy my uni hence forth. No more pre-killed pre-packaged urchin gonads in wooden boxes for me!  From the lemon slices above, you can see that's a lot of gonad from a single critter.

Despite the numerous opportunities for harvesting and eating urchins in the wild while snorkeling- I've been quite weary to touch urchins at all.  I regretfully stepped on a recalcitrant urchin in Bonaire- having an urchin spine stuck and removed from a big toe can quite ruin the fun for the entire day I assure you. My toes quiver at the memory.

This restaurant also has a cabinet of treasures which holds a giant 14 inch Gotheberg beeng and two mystery tongs. Of all the inappropriate places to store puerh- this has got to take the cake! Well for starters there is an unwrapped dried sharkfin on the shelf below along with a jars of dried scallops and sea cucumber.  Can this puerh escape a sea aroma of supernatural pungency just with a single layer of Saran Wrap? I wonder if those cakes will ever be drunk.  Puerh is not on the menu.

We also enjoyed the underrated but absolutely delicious delicacy of duck chins which I prefer to a plate of duck tongues. The chewiness of the jaw and tongue with some cartilage makes it far tastier.

The last time I was here, I had spied on the dessert menu something I've never heard of before- hasma with boiled milk. The waitress said she knew what it was but could not explain it. So I didn't risk $8 on something which defies simple explanation.  Hasma is a special fat covering the ovaries of a frog occurring at a special high season. It's harvested and dried and reconstituted in dessert like bird's nest.  As hasma has little taste,  it's for nutritional benefit that hasma has a place in Chinese cuisine.  I had greedily gobbled down so much uni- I made myself quite sick and had to defer hasma for yet another day. But all in all- I'm grateful such a restaurant is so near.


  1. Hoping you are feeling better!

  2. I love duck chins and most likely to have this in a restaurant here in Ohio. Duck chin is my favorite together with a tulsi tea beside it that made the taste have emphasis. Can you give me a recipe on how to make this one.