Dinner for a Week – Saturday (Ice Shop and Three-Cup Chicken)

I am home alone. There is no fun when no one is around to cook for. 

I met a friend couple for lunch at the Palace Museum’s Restaurant. They are visiting only for three days. The Museum is a must-see, the beef noodle is a must-eat, said their host. I have to say, there are better noodles on the street, although not as beautifully presented.

It was hot on the street. This is when ice shops beckon. There are many ice shops here. You’ll see why they are called ice shops.

The shop is dimly lit. Believe me, in hot days, even lighting matters.

My favorite: Ice bowl with four sides: sweet yam, Job’s Tear seeds that look like barley, purple and yellow taro balls, and the dark ones are jello like beads that I call “frog eggs”. They are made of some sort of starch. In the middle is a shaved iceberg in a brown sugar sea.

If you think mine was big, look at my neighbor’s. His was a mango ice bowl. Other sweaty people streamed in to get a tongue-freeze. I noticed, the freeze will keep me feel cool for a while.

On the table, you can see a big order and the deliverer’s motorcycle helmet. The young man behind the counter was making the last few. Almost all ice shops deliver if the order exceeds five or 10 bowls. I don’t know how they make money off home/office delivery, considering my order was USD1.50.

The dinner was in the food court under a Japanese department store. My family goes there often, because this is one place that we could allow no-team act: The kids always ate Italian, the parents always Asian. Tonight, I had the 3-cup chicken with rice and kelp soup. The 3-cup chicken is a household name, a quick dish for dummies. Let me share how I make it: 1 cup of soy sauce, 1 cup of sesame oil, 1 cup that is made up by something that will make the dish taste and look nice: sugar, green or red pepper slices, chopped scallion, ginger slices (In tonight’s dish, the cook added basil leaves which was a brilliant idea.) Heat oil in a pan, add the sugar and veggie mix, stir until the sugar melts (it will add the nice glaze to the dish and flavor, too), add chicken, stir until the chicken changes color, add soy sauce and stir. Cover the pan, wait until the smell makes you drool. Add basil, stir once or twice, count 10, 9, 8, 7…0. Done.

    • Tami Magnus
    • June 4th, 2012

    Xin, I’m going to try your recipe for 3 cup chicken. How much sugar? Do carrots work along with the peppers, scallions, and fresh ginger slices?

    • The “original” called for 1 cup of sugar. I use 1/2 or slightly more. Slice the carrot thin, it will go well. I personally like hot pepper than sweet pepper in this dish.

  1. 3-cup chicken looks great! In fact you can replace the chicken with pork, squid, or yio-tofu if you want. They all taste good! Yes, quick dish for dummies! Love it!

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