Comfort Food: Hainanese Chicken Rice


Comfort food, for me, is a big bowl of white rice and tender chicken. Luckily for me, Hainanese Chicken Rice or hoi nam gai fan as it’s known in Cantonese, is exactly that. I make this far too often for my own good – I could probably live off it quite happily. I’d be very fat… but very happy.


Winter Food: Shabu Shabu


All photography in this post brought to you by my iPhone & Instagram!

The flavour hung thickly in the air, flickering across my tongue and creeping down my lungs tantalisingly. I swallowed hungrily, saliva collecting in my mouth again almost instantly. The lid of the red pot was lifted and with a heavy sigh more fragrant steam was released, condensing against the cold windows of the conservatory. I stood against the sliding glass door, watching carefully as plates piled high with meat and vegetables were shuffled; I wondered whether the condensation would taste like the air and watched a single drop make its jagged way down the blinds, dropping to the floor and shattering like a liquid crystal.

Time moved in slow motion as my stomach rumbled in anticipation of the great feast ahead of us – was it ready yet? Could we eat now? How about now? Patience was not a virtue I possessed but could you blame me? It was shabu shabu season.


Don’t Be Dim: Dim Sum at Ping Pong


Photo courtesy of Digital Tribe.

When I was a kid I hated dim sum. My parents used to force us to go every Sunday to a Chinese restaurant that was on the top floor of the Whiteley’s shopping centre in Bayswater and the dim sum was always terrible. We would order the same things – char siu bao (steamed buns filled with roast pork), har gow (prawn dumplings), cheung fun (a rice noodle roll, usually filled with different meats), pai gwat fan (spareribs rice; we called this ‘pee goo fan’ which means ‘asshole rice’ – I know, we’re a terrible witty family) – and we’d be horrendously disappointed by them but for some reason every Sunday, without fail, we were back again. I loathed Sundays, hated having to trudge all the way out to Bayswater just to eat sub-par food (usually wearing my Sunday best) and dim sum became like a swear word in my vocabulary.

That is until I was a little older and in Hong Kong with Momma Lee. For some reason we’d travelled out there by ourselves and spent our first few days wandering around her old haunts, eating Shanghainese food and dim sum. It was like I’d never eaten food before: I simply couldn’t get enough of it. I was hungry for Shaghainese xiao long bao (soup-filled dumplings), drank gallons of guk fa cha (Chrysanthemum tea) and ate blocks and blocks of lo bak go (fried turnip cake). When I returned to London all I wanted was dim sum, and though our usual haunt had long since been closed down (thank goodness) just up the road was a fantastic restaurant whose dim sum was authentic and delicious. This was several years ago and I still rarely go anywhere else for dim sum.

So when Ping Pong invited me to a blogger dinner at their Appold Street venue I was, understandably, a little dubious. I have grown up with dim sum, have had bad dim sum and excellent dim sum, have been to Hong Kong almost every year since I was born; this is not new to me, and the idea of modern dim sum, as Ping Pong claims to be, is one I find very hard to get behind. But I’m always open to having my mind changed and I had heard about Ping Pong for a long while, so off I trotted for dinner.


Hallo Hong Kong-Ah!


Frying an egg on the Teppanyaki hot plate at Matsubishi, Convention Plaza.

I bet it was seeming like you were never going to hear from me again, eh? Well you don’t get off that easily! As I write this I’m sitting in my grandmother’s apartment, looking out over Causeway Bay, I’ve just come back from a delicious Indonesian lunch with the wonderful Rita, SC and their 4-month-old baby Lil’ Marcus (who is totally adorable – I nearly took him home with me!) and though I’m feeling a little sleepy (Hong Kong will do that to you), I’ve been having an awesome week.

So what exactly have I been doing for the six days I’ve been in Hong Kong? Duh: eating, and oh how I’ve been eating. The thing about Hong Kong is that the choice of food is so eclectic: it’s not all about eating in the big name restaurants, or only eating Chinese food. There is so much choice because there are so many people, and everybody has a different background. Don’t limit yourself by eating only the HK Michelin starred food, or only the places that are “amazing” but barely anybody goes there: in other words, don’t be a food snob. Eat up! Eat up good! Sometimes the most amazing meals can be found tucked away in the nastiest, most ghetto neighbourhoods, where even as you eat your snake soup (more on that later) you’re convinced the triad are going to pop out from behind one of the cages of live snakes and kill you. Probably with a snake. Maybe with throwing stars. Or is that too ninja?

Instead of giving you a blow-by-blow account of every single thing, I’m just going to give you a foodie photo round-up. Having said that, I’m saving some stuff because have I mentioned I’m the newest food writer for London-based magazine The Arbuturian? Oh yeah. There are more people being subjected to my writing, photographs & ramblings about food. Follow along with my Food Odyssey at the magazine’s site, where tidbits from my best (and possibly worst) food experiences will be published. You can read the first installment here. The second is now live here.

So. Without further ado. I present to you: FOOD. All photos can be found in a larger format on my Flickr.


Momma Lee’s Naughty Corner: Introductions


Sadly not my photo!

As you read this I’ve landed in Hong Kong and am at my grandmother’s place to begin my adventure. In the meantime, as promised, here is a brand new feature for I Am A Feeder: Momma Lee’s Naughty Corner! Yep, I love her, you love her, and Momma Lee will be sharing anecdotes, recipes and answering your questions periodically. I just hope she doesn’t say anything too embarrassing… if you have a question you’d like Momma Lee to answer, please send me an email with Momma Lee’s Naughty Corner in the subject field – foodie related or life related – she’ll answer them all! Hope you enjoy and update you on my Odyssey soon!

Momma Lee’s Naughty Corner
….too old for ecstasy, too young for lawn bowls*……
(*esoteric and quintessentially British Empire type game of rolling balls over immaculate lawns whilst others take afternoon tea and look on: like curling, without the ice and the mops.)

Well hello my dahlings! I am Momma Lee. Goodness gracious me, not entirely sure how I got here; but I suppose it’s through Baby Lee’s occasional references to my hyuk-hyukking in the corner as she typed her little socks off about her sundry exploits in the kitchen. That has somehow sparked a curiosity amongst some of her readership as to the identity of this invisible guffawer. This then, is my come-uppance: instead of writing 200 lines of “I will not laugh in the kitchen”, I am to sit in my Naughty Corner and become, literally, a Yummy Mummy – and talk to you once in a while about food and cookery. It is after all, my passion as much as it is my daughter’s: she inherited it from me and from ancestors who all loved food, and had food stories to tell. I will share some of those stories and family recipes with you each time I appear in my corner.


18 Ways To Be Delicious – Hunan, Pimlico Road


Course #1: signature soup with minced pork.

I know it’s ironic, but for one of my first posts of the new year I’m looking back on a meal from the year just gone. When we herald in the new year there’s always an influx of over-ambitious new year’s resolutions, a flurry of excitement about things we wish we could do better, stop doing, do more, etc. This year I haven’t made any resolutions because I don’t need to pin my hopes on the romantic adventure of a lifetime; I do need to exercise more, but saying ‘I will go to the gym/Bikram yoga more’ is one that’s going to get broken – it’s inevitable; and all other material things are just resolutions that I figured would fall by the wayside within hours. Instead I have only this: I will take all experiences, good or bad, and I will grow from them, because that’s something I can definitely stick with.

Food-wise, I only hope that I can continue to eat the best food I can get my hands on, and if that’s one of your “resolutions” too then you need to make a trip to visit Hunan which was one of the best, and definitely the most interesting, meals I had during 2010.