The arrival of Summer makes organizing a Chowmeet a much less risky affair. Gone is the peril of no shows or possible last minute cancellation due to inclement weather.
The recent discovery of an award winning Cantonese Cuisine chef working in Toronto, who once played a major role in a Hong Kong Michelin 2* kitchen, provided me with the incentive to put together 2014's first chowmeet. Joining the kitchen team of Casa Victoria, Chef Ming was one of the key architect instrumental in making the famed 'Roasted Suckling Piglet' and 'Hand Held Oil poached/Par-roasted Squab' into iconic signature dishes in Hong Kong's gastronomic temple, the Michelin 2* Fook Lum Moon.
This evening, under surprisingly chilly and windy weather, a group of passionate food loving chowhounders answered my clarion call and descended on Markham's 'Casa Victoria' for a fun evening of pre-arranged, multi-course classic Cantonese fare prepared by Chef Ming and his team. Amongst the attendees were also a number of die-hard foodies, who made a special trip all the way from Washington DC just to join us!
In addition to picking from the a la carte menu, our large group also allows me the opportunity to customize our meal, with the help of the Chef, to include advanced order, more elaborate and refined dishes incorporating uncommon and exotic ingredients.
The following is our tasting menu banquet of the night:
- Finger food Amuse of Crispy Fried Squid Tentacles with Spiced Salt.
- Whole Cantonese Roasted Suckling Piglet presented 2 ways: Crispy Skin & Succulent Meat.
- Whole Oil Poached/ Par Roasted 'Sha-Tin Style' Squabs.( 1/2 bird per person )
- Fan Shaped Stirred fry Chinese 'Prosciutto' Style Cured Ham with Hokkaido Jumbo Diver Scallops.
- Floridian Line-Caught Garoupa prepared 2 ways: Sautéed Filet with King Mushroom, Asparagus Tips and Yellowing Chives; Crispy Fried Filet with Spicy Batter.
- Wok Seared Jumbo BC Oysters with Black Peppercorn, Ice-Wine and Honey Glaze in Pancake Wrap.
- 'Mother & Son' Lobster/ King Prawns Duo - Stirred Fry Giant Lobster with Maggi Sauce; Fried King Prawns with Salted Duck Egg Yolk Coating
- Sauteed Pea Shoot with 'Yin-Yan' Ragu Toppings - Fresh Crabmeat and Egg White; Braised Shredded Dried Scallop in Oyster Sauce.
- Minced Ginger. Egg White and Lobster Tamale Fried Rice.
- Dessert Duet of Chilled Coconut Milk, Mango and Sago Dessert Soup plus Freshly Baked Egg Custard Tart topped with Bird's nest
- Petite Fours of Chinese Cookies with lotus seed paste fillings
( Oops! Sorry folks! Noticed photos and description out of sync! Have fun putting the puzzles together! )
As expected, the quantity of food was quite substantial and at the end of this multi-course affair, we were all stuffed! IMO, all the dishes we savored were artistically arranged, delectable and unique in its own special way. Quality is definitely comparable to Hong Hong's Michelin Star standard. With so many taste and textural profiles involved, it would take me a whole evening to describe and summarized them all. As such, rather than doing a dish by dish review, I will just let the pictures, the dish description, your imagination and feed back from attendees do all the talking!
My favorites of the evening have to go to the ultra crispy/crunchy skin Suckling Piglet, the juicy, delicate tasting Squab, the amazing multi-dimensional crispy Oysters, the 'Full of Wok-Hay' Lobster and King Prawns duo plus the delicate and aromatic Mango and Tapioca dessert soup. Indeed, worthy of a Michelin Star!
Service was efficient and friendly with the chef making a curtain call at the end of the meal.
All in all, a wonderful evening of fine food shared with great fellow foodie 'chowfriends'!