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Monday, March 28, 2011

Authentic Yuen Long Poon Choy (正统元朗盘菜)

As I've mentioned in my previous post, one of the reason I went to Hong Kong two weeks ago is to attend my Hong Kong cousin brother's wedding lunch ceremony. Due to the fact that his root is the aboriginals in Yuen Long, this mean wedding lunch will be held in his ancestor's village popularly known as "gated village" (围村) in Yuen Long, Hong Kong.

Entrance to the village.

As a tradition, when a son is getting marry in the village, "poon choy" 盘菜 are served to the friends and family during lunch or dinner. Because my cousin will also held a wedding dinner in hotel a week later, so the "poon choy" is held during lunch. Our family from Malaysia chose to attend to this instead of the hotel one. Obvious reason is to taste the authentic Yuen Long "pun choy" that one won't be able to get else where. Those so called "poon choy" sold in restaurants just can't compare with this.

The elderly villagers were invited to join the lunch.

Before lunch, the groom and bridegroom (in the morning the groom went to pick up the bride from her house, actually it's about the same as the Chinese wedding here in Malaysia) will have to go to the ancestral house inside the village to offer incense to the ancestors. Then, it's time for tea ceremony.

My cousin and his wife walking down the alley towards the ancestral house (祖屋).

As you can see the bride here during this ceremony is wearing the traditional Chinese wedding gown. While in Malaysia, we usually see the bride wearing the western white wedding gown instead during this ceremony at daytime.

After the tea ceremony, it's time for the "poon choy" luncheon to start. Each table will have a stove. This is used to heat up the "poon choy" and to keep it from becoming cold. Even though it's spring time, Hong Kong is still quite cold with the coolest that day is around 15 degree Celsius.

We have to wait till the "poon choy" is heated up until boiling only then we can remove the aluminum foil.

It's time to indulged in this, I've been waiting a long time to try an authentic 围村 "poon choy". For those of you that don't know what is "poon choy". Let me briefly explain here. It's a dish consists of many other dishes cooked and then stacked in a specific way inside a very big bowl or pot, whatever. At the bottom, there are fu chuk (dried flat bean curd), radish and pork skin (dish that doesn't have any taste on it's own, it will absorb the juice from the meat stacked at the top). Then there's shitake mushroom, sotong, fish balls stacked in the middle followed by nam yue pork belly (南乳猪腩肉). At the top are chicken cooked in soy sauce and prawn.

The most delicious is of course the dishes at the bottom. I like the fu chuk most because it has absorbed all the juices from the pork belly, chicken and prawn. The bowl is really a very big bowl. The ten of us can't even finish half of it.

The picture is not enough. Let's watch it in High Definition video to do justice to the poon choy 盘菜.

Picture time after such a fulfilling meal.

My HK cousin Elaine. She's the big sister (大家姐) of the groom.

The groom's younger sisters, Christine and Kathryn.

It was fun meeting up with my cousins and families and also get to experience what is it like for a wedding in such a traditional place like Yuen Long village. The best part is of course get to eat authentic "poon choy".


Michelle Chin said...

I want to eat Yuen Long poon choi also. :(

Simon Seow said...

Michelle you can get it at Tai Wing Wah, Yuen Long. They cater for non banquet customer but I think have to book a day earlier.