Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mai Place - Renton, WA

Looking for decent Chinese food in the south side?  Well, there's one place that even I will recommend and that's Mai Place.  No, I'm not inviting you to "my" place, but Mai Place.  The exterior of the restaurant has the liking of a small, dark brown house. It's hidden on the corner of a major intersection next to Rite Aid and some apartments.  There's a small sign hanging above with the letter 'M' that almost looks like the golden arches.  But this is not the Chinese-American fast food-version of McDonald's.  You'll be suprised to find that Mai Place serves some quality Cantonese food that can't be found elsewhere in Washington. 

Since it was my dad's birthday last week we decided to go there for dinner. Our first course was bitter melon soup. It was way too bitter for my liking. I felt like I was drinking Chinese medicine. But I was told this is how bitter melon soup tasted and that it's good for you. Well, if that's the case, I do not like bitter melon soup and won't order it again.

Our next dish was roasted squab, which you have to pre-order so they purchase it fresh.  I have not found any other Chinese restaurant around town that serves  roasted squab except here.  The roasted squab was perfectly done - the meat was tender and full of flavor.  We also pre-ordered the fried chicken. Out of all the Chinese restaurants that I have eaten fried chicken, I think they might be one of the best. The skin is crispy and the meat is juicy with just the right amount of salt. Even the white meat was moist and not dry at all. I'm not a huge fan of the chips that come with fried chicken, but my family likes them and they said that it was pretty good too.

Out last dish was steamed tilapia. It was very fresh since they buy it at the grocery store nearby. The sauce contained Chinese fish soy sauce, cilantro, green onions, and fried oil. I prefer the sauce without the cilantros, but the fish itself was good and I would order it again.

So if you're in the area or plan on shopping at Ikea or Fry's, I would recommend trying out Mai Place for dinner.  Just remember to call in advance to pre-order the roasted squab and fried chicken!

Mai Place
3152 NE Sunset Blvd
Renton, WA 
(425) 228-6388‎

Chinese BBQ Pork

I have been trying to perfect my Chinese BBQ pork dish.  My recipe doesn't taste exactly the same as the BBQ pork you can purchase at the Chinese stores, but this home version comes pretty close.  I especially like the sweetness that comes from the honey and hoisin sauce.  This dish is very easy to make - just marinade it for at least 4 hours and pop it in the oven for about 45 minutes and it's done.  I like to make it on Friday's when I'm too lazy to prepare a huge meal and can't think of anything else to cook.

Chinese BBQ Pork

1 lb pork tenderloin

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons hoisin  sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
4 slices fresh ginger

Add all the sauce ingredients in a sauce pan.  Heat over medium heat for 1 minute to dissolve sugar.  Let cool.

Marinate the pork with 2/3 of the sauce for at least 4 ohours or overnight.  Save the remaining sauce for later use.

Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 30-45 minutes.  Brush the remaining sauce over the pork while in the oven.  Cut into thin slices and serve hot or cold. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chinese Red Date Soup

My hubby was feeling a little under the weather so I made Red Date Soup for him.

Red Date Soup is a Chinese sweet soup that is typically made for dessert or for health purposes.  Red dates (also known as jujubes) have many health benefits.  Below are just a few of the many health benefits:
  • Rich in Vitamin C
  • Increases blood flow
  • Aids in digestion
  • Protects the liver from toxins and the ill effects of free radicals 
  • Calms the mind
  • Soothes the stomach
This recipe also calls for brown sugar candy, which can be found in your local Asian grocery store (see picture below).  This dessert is simple to make, sweet, AND good for you.  What could be better?  Give it a try!

Red Date Soup

1 thumb size piece of ginger, peeled
20 Chinese red dates (seeded)
1 piece of brown candy
8 cups of water

Soak the red dates in a bowl of hot water for at least 30 minutes.  Drain the water and rinse thoroughly.

Boil water in a large pot.  Once the water has come to a boil, place the ginger, red dates, and brown candy in the pot.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and let it simmer for 30 minutes. 

Serve hot..