Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Russian cuisine, Haerbin, China

As Haerbin's relatively close to Russia, it's no surprise that Haerbin has a heavy Russian influence. It's relatively easy to locate a russian restaurant in the city centre and we went to a couple during our stay in Haerbin..
The first was Hua Mei western restaurant, an extremely popular place for locals and tourists alike- patrons were willing to queue even though the weather was freezing. Obviously we had to see what the fuss was about right?
Started off with some soup and russian caviar..
They called this red caviar which was actually salmon roe..served with butter cups and diced onions. The combo was artery clogging material and it tasted oily and fishy. I didnt like it. Alfred said it tasted like a huge, oily spoon of cod liver oil. I figured the people here liked greasy, fatty stuff to keep their bodies warm in winter.

Ordered a mixture of stuff to share..
The russian ham was a tad salty but tasted like any other ham. The meatballs were oozing with juice and was meltingly tender. Pretty good. The brocolli was bad as they scattered some deep fried crumbs which made the dish freakingly oily. The waitress recommended the pan fried mahi fish- again came out oily. The flesh of the fish was fragrant, slightly salty but coarse. Was a decent dish.

Since it's winter during my visit to Haerbin, I thought hotpots sounded scrumptious..
We ordered the lamb and beef hot pot. Looks the same? :p Left's the lamb and right's the beef. Both were lovely- ultra soft, moist meat served piping hot and warmed our tummies immediately. If I had to choose, I'd go for the lamb with those strong, tasty, gamey flavours.

Our greed got into us when we saw next table having a baked dish..we decided to order it too :p
It was baked cod fish in potato and cream sauce. Yes, by now, we've come to realise that most of the food was fatty, oily or sinful..hehe. I could only take 3 spoonfuls of this- the cod was coarse, dry- i believe it's the treated salted cod fish (bacalhau). The sauce was very creamy, cheesy and having it with thick, mash potatoes was just, well, too much for me to stomach.
We took a break from russian food for a few days and finally ate at Madieer restaurant before we left Haerbin..
Madieer serves Russian, French and Chinese cuisine and was a poshier place compared to Hua Mei. The price surprisingly, was just slightly higher compared to Hua Mei's.
Madieer has a richer history, as it's also a hotel which has been in operation for almost a century. During it's heydays, Madieer's patrons includes Sun Yat Sen and Pu Yi (China's last emperor).
Since Madieer boasts that it serves 'modern' coffee, we decided to try some..
Alfred had the expresso, I had the hazel coffee and Irene had this coffee liquer drink that came in burning blueish flame. The coffee was pretty decent, but not fantastic. We felt rather like a tzar royalty having our drinks served in the eleborate cup and saucer though..hehe
Started off with some salad..
The asparagus salad was fresh, the vegetables retained the crisp and its sweetness. The dressing had this yellow tinge after we tossed it.. I had a strange feeling that it was tumeric..
I cant recalled the name of this dish, but it was beef stew with onions, potatoes and peas..
A comfort food, the beef slices was ultra tender and smooth, while the thick onion ring cuts gave sweetness to the thickish tomato broth.
The grilled chicken hot place came in a miserly size..
The chicken was rather dry, the garlic bits scattered all over the chicken was yummy though.
Alfred had a sudden craving for fried rice and well, he got what he wished for..
Most unfortunately, it didnt taste that good as it had a weird combo of ingredients in it..but he gobbled it down nonetheless..
My fave dish?
Shrimps in hotpot. Very delicious, fat prawns served piping hot in tomato based sauce. Excellent dish.
Hua Mei western restaurant is located at 112, Zhong Yang Street, Daoli District, Haerbin, China.

Madieer Modern coffee and restaurant is located at 89, Zhong Yang Street, Daoli District, Haerbin, China.

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Blogger New Kid on the Blog said...

do you see any different on Russian food???

21 April, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish to point out to the writer that Fish Oil is good oil. Not exactly artery clogging materials. People pay money to buy fish oil in tablets. What's better than getting it naturally through fish roe and cod fish.

21 April, 2010  
Blogger "Joe" who is constantly craving said...

to eat butter with salmon roe?? thats almost quite gross rite?

21 April, 2010  
Blogger sc said...

NKOTB: i cant say there's a signature dish..maybe the caviar.

anon: yes, i do know it's good oil. but if you eat it like the way it's served at hua mei- ie, fill the butter cup with salmon roe and bits of onions (thats per serve)- it's definitely artery clogging.

joe: yup, thats the right word to describe it. i had one and that's quite enuff.

21 April, 2010  
Blogger J2Kfm said...

Tasted bacalhau in Macau, and not my taste either. A little too salty to be good cod fish, IMO.

22 April, 2010  
Blogger J said...

Salmon roe + butter cups + diced onions?? I am confused on whether to be interested/ curious or disgusted! Haha....

22 April, 2010  
Anonymous baDboyzs said...

We did not think very highly of Russian food (generally flat in taste )the short time we were there but were impressed by the colorless vodka which managed to take away our voices on several occasions ! But the ladies were quite tall, fair & immaculate

22 April, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh! Literally full cream-butter made into cup shapes......... I thought they were serving Buttercup flowers, like edible flowers.

22 April, 2010  
Anonymous YeinJee said...

Interesting, I haven't had any authentic Russian food before, wonder if there's any restaurant in KL.

22 April, 2010  
Blogger HairyBerry said...

I never knew Haerbin has such strong Russian influence. I always thought the food is similar to Szechuan's. Hehe. Very interesting, this! :)

The beef stew looks good. It reminds me of the borscht soup I had sometime back. Great with some sour cream!

22 April, 2010  
Blogger sc said...

j2kfm: i feel that the salted version breaks the fatty meat down..which i prefer in the fresh ones.

J: :D

badboyz: agreed, the taste was not as colourful compared to their western counterparts. there were so many russian vodkas sold there too but i didnt dare to try- didnt know the quality of it :p hehe same observation, the russian ladies are really tall, mostly pretty with good skin!

anon: yes, it's real butter shaped into cups...not fresh flower.*shudders thining of it*

yeinjee: hmmm, not that i know of..

hairyberry: not only the food, but architecturally too! some of the buildings are darn gorgeous.
the stew's broth does taste like a cross of borscht and beef goulash. of course there's still chinese cuisine (yes, partly spicy to keep them warm), which i will post soon!

22 April, 2010  
Anonymous jason said...

Same as me, when the first time having greasy Chinese food in China, I was a bit taken aback but has develop quite a liking to it now.

23 April, 2010  
Blogger sc said...

jason: yeah, some restaurants were so generous in oil..hehehe. but there were some yummy ones in shanghai and hangzhou thats not oily at all :)

26 April, 2010  
Anonymous Hamish Liddell said...

The lamb and beef hotpot look sumptuous. Did they serve those with fried rice or not? Either way, some after-meal sweets would be nice to chase away the richness of your meal. And to cap things off, a cup of steaming hot tea would be perfect. :)

22 March, 2012  

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