Shenzhen is considered a new city by China’s historical standards, is a bustling metropolis. Located in Guangdong province and right next to Hong Kong, it is the major financial power in South China. When I visited it was lychee season, thus lychees of all sizes where at every corner.
Chains of fast food kiosks such as 邓老凉茶 (Denglao Herbal tea) and 永和豆浆 (Yong Ho Soymilk) usually have breakfasts of you tiao (fried dough fritters), mantou (plain wheat buns) bao zi (stuffed buns but commonly with meat) and dou jiang (soy milk). At one 邓老凉茶 they just happened to have yummy handmade vegetable and mushroom buns!
There are cold and hot dishes in Chinese cuisine; cold dishes are not like chilled cold but are usually pre-cooked and served at room temperature. They are mostly appetizers or sides and hence savoury-sweet and tangy. We Chinese can’t stand much cold foods so the mains are piping hot!
These are from 福田林 (Fullness Vegetarian Restaurant on Happy Cow), the best place I’ve tried in Shenzhen. Almost everything is above average and here I’m only listing the 3 cold and 3 hot dishes that blew me away!
Smoked beancurd skin. Basically it’s the layer of protein that is formed on boiling soymilk, dried, flavoured, rolled and steamed together into a roll.
Silken tofu with sweet soy sauce is my favourite way to tofu. Theirs redefines the meaning of soft tofu! Melts in your mouth with the savoury sweet sauce.
Looks scary but trust me it’s the best cold dish there. Soft, slippery and springy noodles made from kudzu root tossed in a spicy soy sauce. Gluten-free too!
Mashed yam stuffed in fried beancurd skin and soaked in sweet sour sauce. Crisp, creamy and sweet haven in a two-bite parcel.
Zha jiang mian (fried sauce noodles) is a famous dish from China with its Korean counterpart called jajangmyeon. Here the fried sauce is excellently rendered with textured soy protein minced with lots of peppery spices and fermented bean sauce. The only thing that’s slightly unsettling was the saturated green of the spinach noodles.
French beans stir-fried with preserved Chinese olives and fried chilli. The rustic wok hei taste was rich and the beans, so so juicy! Which is amazing considering how much heat was used to achieve wok hei which will have turned any veggie dry. A highly skilled chef indeed! For the uninitiated, wok hei is a most unique taste in Cantonese cuisine. Not achieved by adding any ingredient, instead it is given to the food by the highly heated wok itself.
That’s the end of Shenzhen, there are much more places on Happy Cow that I couldn’t visit. More Cantonese food coming up from my travels in the south!