Kaohsiung Ambassador Hotel's Cream of Almond／高雄國賓大飯店 杏仁香奶露
Kaohsiung Ambassador Hotel's Cream of Almond
◎English translation: Peng Hsin-yi
Cream of almond (the Chinese name, literally translated, is "almond tea") is a very popular Chinese dessert dish. In fact, it was voted no. 1 in the 2014 Printed Media Best New Year's Special Dish event. Take one taste of Kaohsiung Ambassador Hotel's Cream of Almond and you will know why. Each sip is a sensuous experience of creamy almond fragrance that goes smoothly down and warms you right up.
Mr. Chen Yuan-jian, the hotel's dessert chef, says that this seemingly simple item is actually very demanding both in terms of ingredient selection and making. In Kaohsiung Ambassador Hotel, the process starts with soaking sweet almond (not the same kind commonly eaten as a snack food) and glutinous rice for six hours, then slowly grinding it down to a milky texture. Next, the liquid is placed in a double boiler to cook and stirred constantly until it reaches almost-boiling point. It is important to never let it boil because the aromatic agent would breakdown and the cream of almond would lose its most alluring feature. In other words, perfection is only achieved by absolute concentration and extensive labor.
A spoonful of the cream is enough to fill the room with a tantalizing almond aroma. Traditionally, it is served with youtiao (fried dough sticks). Many people eat it by dunking the crispy youtiao in the warm cream of almond, and consuming it immediately. The dough absorbs just the right amount of cream; the silkiness of the cream and the crispness of the youtiao makes for a perfect combination of sweet and savory. It is a dish that appeals to all of your senses; it is emotionally satisfying, too. People love it for its charm and simplicity. In recent years, it has also gained popularity among Japanese tourists.
||Kaohsiung Ambassador Hotel
No. 202, Minsheng 2nd Road, Kaohsiung City
Jiading Dashu's Delicious Cuttlefish Balls
◎English translation: Peng Hsin-yi
Singda Port is a place where visitors can explore a genuine Taiwanese fishing port. The port also offers a seafood market where people can pick from the catch-of-the-day and then have it prepared as a fresh seafood dinner. The market is particularly busy at dusk and the various booths provide a variety of choices.
One particular vendor that comes highly recommended by the locals and maintains a great deal of repeat business is Jiading Dashu Cuttlefish Balls. Here the cuttlefish comes from the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Vietnam. The fish is hand-chopped on site fresh every morning and made into a flavorful sailfish paste. They are then rolled into the size of golf ball, with a generous amount of cuttlefish chunks in every serving. They are then carefully measured between the thumb and index finger and dropped into boiling water. They are sold immediately after they are cooked and cooled. The vendor also offers fried balls. Some customers like to get take away and use the cuttlefish balls in homemade soups.
Owner, Mr. Ou Dashu's father was a fisherman and learned never to buy fish paste products. His father taught him that many manufactured balls were mixed with lower grade fish and some even used unsavory additives. Mr. Ou then began making his own fish balls, with only sailfish in the fish paste. The only additive in his puts in his cuttlefish balls is a small amount of imported starch to help with shaping. They never use bleach, so therefore the color is not as white as his competition's generic products. It has a slightly beige color which ensures food safety and customer confidence.
||Jiading Dashu Cuttlefish Balls
No. 95, Dafa Rd., Jiading Dist., Kaohsiung City