But shark fin is more texture than anything else, sort of similar to jelly fish. It doesn't make sense to have it as a dish because in my opinion it doesn't add that much flavor-wise. I'll have to start listening to my own advice.
Fried quail with msg salt. I love quail. I really need to bring out my recipe for bacon-wrapped quail. It's been years, since I've made the dish.
Abalone and mushrooms with greens. I don't like abalone that much. It's a delicacy amongst Asian foodie circles, and my parents being bona fide members go out to get them from Tomales Bay and around. You haven't lived until you've seen a half dozen middle aged Cantonese people squeezing their girth into wetsuits they bought second-hand from the flea market because of course they are all too frugal to buy brand new, and then spy them clambering down the side of a cliff to get to the rocky shore where the abalone like to hang out. After a wave comes crashing on them, you'll see them chattering excitedly with their thick glasses fogging up in the mist and their thinning hair plastered to their bright shiny faces.
You may not know it, but you would be looking at completely happy people who have made it in life. My parents and most of their friends escaped from Communist China, and for them, to be able to hang out with friends and catch this Chinese delicacy (it's like a grab and run foie gras farm, limit 3 per person, think about it) and be outdoors and healthy, is probably more than any of them ever hoped for their own lives back in those dark days when they were trying to get out just so they could go to a place where they could work and earn enough to be keep themselves fed.
But what this means for an immigrant's daughter is that she has had abalone sashimi, abalone stew, abalone steak pan fried in butter, abalone stir-fry with scallions, abalone congee, abalone leftovers, abalone everything, and she does not get what the hype is about. So I just ate the mushrooms and greens.
Ah, the always necessary steamed fish. It's very important that your seafood have been alive only moments before you cook it. You can taste the difference in the flesh between a crab that has been dead for several hours before cooking or one that was thrown into a pot alive. In order to tell if a fish was fresh when prepared, the flesh of a steamed fish should curl back on itself and almost look like it exploded a little. That's how you can tell if a restaurant is cheating you. If they take out a fish from the tank to show you it is alive and flapping vigorously, but the plate that comes up is a steamed fish with a completely smooth side, then you know the old bait and switch happened in the kitchen.
Dinner was delicious. It's a good thing I don't have any scuba trips planned soon because I'm not ready to look any of those creatures in the eye today.