Shunde double skin milk pudding and the white tigers dilemmaApril 13th, 2012 | Posted by in Daily life... | Travel
Easter has been busy as every year and a little break was very welcome! This time, we traveled for a few days in the Motherland, China, destination: Shunde.
We had decided to visit our relatives living in Shunde, home of about one million people and ancestral home of actor Bruce Lee, located an hour drive from Guangzhou. The city is pretty much like any other typical developing cities in China, trying to find their way in that massive economic wave they are riding at the moment. Anyway, what brought us there was the family and as soon as they knew I was a pastry chef, they diligently drove us around town to give us a taste of the best sweets the city had to offer.
Amongst the most interesting sweets was the deep fried milk pictured above. Oddly enough, it was served together with delicious taro-fish cakes and green peppers stuffed with that same fish paste. Everything was delicious, but the deep fried milk was the most interesting. Traditionally made from cow milk, some people are making it with soy milk. The outside is very much like a regular fish and chips crunchy batter and inside is a sort of soft milk pudding that seems to have been set with some sort of starch and perhaps egg whites. The texture was perfect, not too sweet and great taste of the actual milk.
The next delicacy, and apparently the most famous in Shunde, was the double skin milk pudding. We had to drive to a place famous for that dessert alone. We could choose it warm or cold, plain or with ginger. The elderly recommended it warm and with ginger. Of course, knowing my addiction to ginger, I was very enthusiastic about the idea of trying it. A few people ordered it plain and the puddings came within minutes after the order. The ginger ones were to be seen about 15 minutes later. When I asked why the time difference I was told the ginger was freshly grated and pressed into juice to order. As a matter of fact, my son’s apple juice was also freshly pressed, a rare occurrence in Hong Kong these days. The pudding is basically milk with egg white and sugar that is being steamed to the perfect texture. I compared it a little bit to the famous Tofu Fa in terms of texture, although the two desserts are completely different in preparation methods and ingredients.
The flavor of ginger was unreal!
The first spoon I took from the pudding was packed with ginger! It eventually eased as I took the following bites, but the ginger was very intense. It might be a problem for some people, but it was fine for me. I thought it was a specific feature of the dessert, and as such, it was delicious.
Finally, we had a platter of local desserts, mainly made of red beans, green tea, barley and the much sought-after Chinese egg tarts, beautifully made with a flaky pastry shell.
The day was over in no time and we had to catch the ferry back to Hong Kong early in the evening. We came home with a box of 20 years-old aged Po Li tea that a family member gave us as a gift that I look very much forward to try soon!
On our way to Shunde, we stopped to the Chime Long safari park. Clement had seen photos of tigers and lion and wanted to see them in real. We arrived at the hotel and beside the massive amount of people present, I was impressed by the quality of the accommodation. The food throughout the hotel could have been better, but hey, I have seen a lot worst in China.
The main point of our visit was the safari park. Of course Clement was super excited and very impressed to see live animals so close. Whilst the park gave the impression of a certain freedom for the animals, I remained very skeptical about their treatment there. How could kangaroo or giant birds of prey not escape knowing their natural ability to jump or fly. Or how could a whole bunch of flamingos not fly away for any natural reasons? As far as I know the only way this is done is by cutting some of the tendons or muscle under the bird’s wing so they can’t fly anymore. Seeing black eagles in a 2 cubic meter glass cage also made me very sad.
A zoo will always be a zoo, no matter how you call it. The park claims to be breeding white tigers, but in fact, white tiger isn’t a breed, it’s a genetic occurrence in tiger’s skin genome. It’s what nature does best by itself. But because it looks different, the zoo invest a lot of cash on the white cats to attract more visitors… how sad. It’s very odd to read ” half of the world population of white tigers are in this park”, especially when you know that white tiger isn’t a breed in itself, but it naturally happens in Bengali tigers or Siberian tigers. And mind you, the zoo being in China has nothing to do with the way the animals are treated; I have seen zoo in Europe and in many other places where animals are very badly treated too. At the end of the day, the best place for animals is in the wild where they belong.
I guess I had better hope about the park before getting there, but after having seen it all, the zoo left me a sour taste of deja-vu.