South Garden in Haile Plantation

One day I was shopping at Oriental 88 and I saw a menu for dim sum posted on the store window. Ever since I saw that, I’ve been looking for any excuse to try the dim sum. South Garden has been open for 2 years but they only recently started serving dim sum. The location isn’t ideal for attracting customers since it’s far from UF and I don’t see many Asian students driving to Haile Plantation to get dim sum. Haile Plantation is awesome though, it’s this community in west Gainesville that almost feels like a small town where everyone knows each other. As Darya mentioned, it’s like the town that Gilmore Girls takes place in.

Clockwise: taro cake, har gow (shrimp dumplings), and spare ribs.
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Egg tarts and stuffed eggplant.
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Shrimp rice noodle rolls with a sweet soy sauce and bok choy.
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Pan fried chive dumplings.
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The taro cake was a little weird. This was the first time I’ve seen it made with so much taro. All previous versions I’ve had, including my mom’s, had less taro and more rice flour. The two dishes I always order to judge a dim sum restaurant are har gow and spare ribs. The har gow was good but the spare ribs didn’t pass my test. There was too much sauce on the ribs. I like them lighter with just a little bit of black bean sauce. Overall, I enjoyed everything except for the spare ribs. The prices were fair and I would definitely go back again.

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hello?

What happened to everyone? My readership has been basically 0 for the past week. Is it my fault for not updating with quality posts? 😦

Here’s a new recipe. It’s just stir fried rice vermicelli. I don’t exactly know the name since there’s quite a number of noodles that are called “rice vermicelli” but the brand I use is Wai Wai brand and it’s the thinnest rice vermicelli you will find (also known as sen mee in Thai). Here’s the link to a picture of it. The package comes with 4 “sheets” of noodles and each sheet is about one serving. I happened to have some cabbage and carrots that needed to be used to in my fridge, so I made this. Normally, my mom uses ground pork for protein in this dish but I had some left over chicken also so I used that instead. My mom also adds dried shrimp to this recipe for some saltiness, but I didn’t have any.

Ingredients
2 servings rice vermicelli (2 “sheets”), soaked in water for at least half an hour before hand
1/4 head of cabbage cut into strips
1 cup carrot strips
3 eggs
about 1 cup shredded chicken (pre-cooked)
salt and pepper
soy sauce
4 tbsp oil

Start off by cooking the vegetables. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a wok and add the cabbage and carrots. Season with some salt and pepper. Once the vegetables are cooked but still crunchy, set them aside in a large bowl. Then add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil. (If you have dried shrimp add them now, stir for about half a minute, and let them get fragrant. Push the dried shrimp to the side of the wok.) Crack the eggs in the wok and scramble them on high heat. Once the eggs are solidified, remove the eggs and set them in the same bowl as the vegetables. Now, drain the vermicelli and throw them in the wok. Stir the vermicelli until a lot of the moisture has been removed and you don’t see alot of steam coming off from the noodles (about 1 minute). Then, return the vegetables and eggs to the wok. You can add whatever cooked protein you have at this point. Just stir this mixture until everything is reheated and season with a few dashes of soy sauce and s&p.

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I didn’t really get any action shots of the woking since this wok cooking goes pretty fast. You can blame my inexperience on that. One guy has really great pictorials for Chinese dishes and he has a lot of pictures of the whole process. I’ll be able to do that one day…

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This recipe feeds two hungry people.

First meal at home

The good thing about being home is I don’t have to worry about what to eat for lunch. My parents always make comfort food and dishes I like when I come home too. So on Monday, I woke up and walked into the kitchen to find some lotus root soup in chicken stock.

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It’s my favorite soup. Sometimes, my mom makes the stock with pork bones but either is delicious. I like the lotus root undercooked so that it’s still got a crunch (like an apple). It gets mushy when it’s overcooked. The soup is pretty plain, just stock and the lotus root. A lot of Chinese soups we make at home are simple and only have 1 or 2 ingredients in addition to the stock. I think the appeal of lotus root is mainly a texture thing. It’s also considered a “cooling” yin food. I’m not sure what else you can use lotus root for. The only two ways I’ve seen it used is in soup and fried. I’ve seen them just freshly sliced and fried but my grandma dries them before frying. That way you can also store the dried chips in the pantry.

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I had some sticky rice with chicken also. My Dad cheated though, he used sushi rice instead of glutinous rice. There wasn’t much to it, just rice, dried shrimp, and chicken but it was tasty.

Love and peace,

Zaw