Lushui Epian ( Chiu Chow Sliced Goose 卤水鹅片)
What is it?
Lushui epian is one of most famous dishes from Chiu Chow (Chaozhou in Mandarin), a city in Guangdong Province that is also famous for being billionaires Li Ka-shing and Tencent boss Pony Ma’s hometown. To make the famous dish, the geese are braised for about an hour and a half in a special marinade before being hung up to dry.
Why is it famous?
The secret to a good braised goose lies in the marinade. The ingredients usually include star anise, cinnamon, peppers, herbs and spices. While most restaurants use similar ingredients in the marinade, the proportion in which each is used is what makes the dish different. It is believed that some restaurants guard their unique marinade recipe much as Coca-Cola does the Coke formula. They also never throw away the old marinade. They simply add a new sachet to the marinade every day to add to the flavour. In addition to geese, you can also put tofu and boiled eggs in the marinade to soak up the flavour.
Meanwhile, chilled crab is another of the region’s must-try dishes. It epitomises how Chiu Chow people prepare their seafood and showcase its freshness and natural sweetness. They are steamed without any seasoning for 30 minutes before being left to cool at room temperature. While they take three hours to cool down, top chefs insist the process cannot be accelerated by instead refrigerating them. It is also the way Chiu Chow people serve chilled fish (i.e. steamed fish that is eaten cold).
Chilled crab is served with a dipping sauce of vinegar and minced ginger to balance the crabs’ ‘cooling’ property (based on traditional Chinese medicine and the concept of yin and yang, such a dish should be served to those with too much ‘heat’ in their bodies). The sour note of the vinegar brings out the natural sweetness of the crabmeat, meaning any additional seasoning is unnecessary.
Where to eat it?
Chiu Tang in Hong Kong offers authentic Chaozhou cuisine in a luxurious setting. Be sure to also try the oyster omelette and fried noodle with sugar and vinegar, both popular local favourites. Address: 2/F The Galleria Plaza, 9 Queen’s Road, Central; Tel: 852-2526-8798.
Chaoxiang Sihai is a more down-to-earth Chaozhou joint in Shenzhen so beware of a long wait. Its oyster porridge is a must-order. Address: 49 Sanfang, Xiasha, Futian District, Tel: 86-755 8321-1229.
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