Dinner at Hunan House with Em and Jayme

April 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

As mentioned earlier, my roommate Em and her friend Jayme stayed with us over Easter. For our last dinner together, our family brought them to an authentic Chinese meal at one of our favorite restaurants near Edison called Hunan House.

Initially, we were a bit worried whether Em and Jayme would be able to eat everything since Hunanese food is traditionally extremely spicy, almost burn-your-tongue-off spicy, so we tried to balance all the searing stir fry and fish dishes with a lot of cool greens, like dry-fried string beans and sauteed pea shoots (so sweet!).

Surprisingly, they were able to handle everything we put in front of them, including the steamed bass drowning in chilis and the super hot lamb and parsley stir fry (my personal favorite).

We ended our meal with a real treat, sugared taro. I’d only had this twice before (both times in China) and I’d never seen it at Chinese restaurants in the U.S. The cook takes cubes of taro (a purple root that sort of resembles sweet potato in texture) and deep fries them in near-boiling caramelized sugar. To eat the dish, you take a golden, sticky cube of taro and dunk it in ice cold water so the sugar instantly freezes and hardens and take a bite while at the same time praying that your mouth isn’t singed by the still scalding taro inside.

Hunan House’s version was delicious; you could tell from how quickly we ate every piece. By the end, there was a net of caramelized sugar all over the table, since it tends to stretch from piece to piece as it starts to cool.

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