Tuesday, December 18, 2012


When my mom came to visit I only had one request: let's make Chinese lumpia. It's a labor-intensive recipe, requiring strong limbs and sharp knives, a tolerance for heat and standing by the stove.
It also requires a big appetite and a talent for rolling it up into one humongous piece that you have to push and shove to fit into your gaping maw. As the Chinese say, the bigger, the better (more luck and money for the New Year)!

So off we went to market to buy a fat pig (and more than a dozen ingredients). Then we set to work peeling, cutting, slicing, chopping, simmering, sauteeing, tasting and seasoning.

I did most of the tasting, by the way. My mom is a drill sergeant and watched over the choppers and slicers like a hawk. Everything had to be uniform size and a certain length. She would make a French chef teaching knife skills cower in fear. Which, I think, is fantastic! I, however, escaped knife duty because dutiful me "had" to bring Papa and my sister to our favorite hotpot restaurant. We were so tired from the market and watching all the action back home we needed to rest and fill our bellies with hot soup.

I won't bore you with details on how we made this treasured family recipe. I am actually bound by an unwritten family rule to pass this on to my daughters-in-law (who, I hope, will appreciate it and cook it for my sons and grandchildren).

Street market in Hong Kong

Vegetable stand-how I love the deep colors

All manner of soybean products

These were the old ones, being sold at a discount. I think they still looked good enough for this shot.

Lettuce here, there and everywhere!

Tomatoes in various hues

Look at those yellow zucchinis!

Papa used to say only goats ate these, but I loved them as a kid. Does that make me a semi-goat?

An expensive array of sea creatures

Plump razor clams

Pork slabs

Chicken stall-with my favorite black chicken

Do I spy a few stray pieces here that escaped my mom's ever watchful eye?

The fingers that sliced these needs some TLC

More itsy bitsy teenie weenie slices

I came home to this. My childhood in a pot.


Wrapn'roll- too bad we couldn't find crunchy hoti -the seaweed used for this recipe
Papa used to make much much bigger ones than this. I guess as he grows older his appetite has waned a bit.

What can I say? The pictures tell a thousand stories. I froze a part of this bounty and enjoyed it twice after my family went back home. You could also fry this and dip in vinegar. It's such a heartwarming dish and never fails to make me happy. Thank you, Ma.

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