Its been a good 6 or so years since my parents have sold the restaurant. And for the last few months, I've really been missing our "restaurant life". I've also started my own recipes book (Yes I know I don't follow recipes). But its not really a recipe book of stuff I usually cook, its a compilation of recipes our family cooks. Specifically the comfort food my mum dishes out, and our secret recipes for some dishes we used to serve in the restaurant.
I know some dishes will never ever taste the same as they did when we cooked in the restaurant. Partly because we can't get the same ingredients again unless we buy wholesale, we're also more conscious of using MSG, oil, salt etc. But its also because the food always taste better in our memories. And unless I go back in time, I'm going to have to settle for my inferior replicas of our favourite dishes.
One of my favourite memories would be BBQ Pork (Char Siu) day. Every Saturday, my parents would make up a few kilos of BBQ Pork which we use in many of our dishes. And every now and then, my parents will call us about 30mins before the BBQ Pork is ready, to come to the restaurant for lunch. So we'd hop into the car and drive 10mins to the restaurant and sit there waiting for the final basting on the BBQ Pork.
When the pork finally comes out of the oven, dripping with the sweet caramelised basting, we'd elbow each other out of the way to get the pork with a pair of scissors each. Why? We were both after the best bits. What's the best bits? It would be the end bits where the meat, where the honey has caramelised it until the was slightly charred and crunchy. Armed with a pair of scissors each, we would pick up every chunk of BBQ pork, and snip the ends off onto our plate of steaming hot rice. We'd load up our plates with the best bits of BBQ pork, drizzle over a little of the juice that we caught in the pan during the roasting process and add a little soy. We load up the plate with plain boiled vegetables so we could taste the juicy BBQ pork.
The restaurant is gone, and my brother is living overseas. We also don't have a gas oven anymore to give it that extra charred flavour. But when I was visiting Singapore and I made BBQ Pork with my nephews and niece, I taught them what was the "best bit". Suddenly, I had someone to fight with me over the best end bits. Food always taste better when you need to fight for it. ;) With that memory in mind, I decided it was time to actually try out the recipes I've been collecting. First up, BBQ Pork:
It certainly doesn't look like what we used to serve in the restaurant. Mind you, I didn't add any colouring at all, which is what all restaurants used. Plus, my one was baked in an oven rather than dangled over flames like we used to. But I think its an alright effort for my real first attempt. I would definitely make it more charred next time, but I kind of forgot about my pork and didn't want to grill it anymore in case I overcooked it. But in fact, it was perfectly cooked and sooooooo tender and juicy! Marinating it for 24hrs really did the trick ;) I can't wait to try it again!