The Leng Ngah people are a Fujianese sub-dialect group whose homeland is where the present-day city of Longyan (Chinese: 龍巖) stands. The prefecture-level city is located in southwestern Fujian province, bordering Guangdong to the south and Jiangxi to the west.
Last evening, I was fortunate enough to be invited for a traditional Leng Ngah dinner by a friend whose sprightly 80-year-old mother, Madam Chung Nee Hong, is a fabulous cook, and who also happens to be very passionate about her family’s Leng Ngah cuisine.
The dishes she cooked that evening are usually prepared for the Leng Ngah people’s Lunar New Year reunion dinner, and also for other auspicious occasions:
𝗦𝗼𝗼𝗻 𝗸𝘂𝗮 - re-hydrated dried bamboo shoots, mushrooms, dried scallops, “pee hu” (dried leatherjacket fish), “jiu hu” (dried cuttlefish), twice-cooked pork belly, seasoned with 5-spice & light soy-sauce.
This is a very time-consuming dish to prepare: it requires the dried bamboo shoots to be rehydrated - soaking and cleaning it over a few days, before braising it with stock made from boiling pork bones and dried leatherjacket fish. Then, there’s that huge piece of pork belly which needed to be par-boiled with condiments, then deep-fried to brown its exterior whilst retaining the moistness and juices inside. The whole piece of pork belly is then cooked with the rehydrated bamboo shoots, and more condiments added.
Mdm Chung cutting up the large piece of pork for the 𝘀𝗼𝗼𝗻 𝗸𝘂𝗮 tableside.
𝗬𝗮𝗻𝗴 𝘆𝗶 - an important festive dish for the Leng Ngah people. The dish consisted of braised white cabbage, carrots, “fatt choy” (black moss), pork bones, “pee hu” (leatherjacket fish), shitake mushrooms, “jiu hu” (dried cuttlefish), pan-fried minced fish/pork/dried shrimp/egg cakes, and radish.
Pan-fried minced fish/pork/dried shrimp/egg cakes - very tasty morsel, reminiscent of French quenelles, found in the 𝗬𝗮𝗻𝗴 𝘆𝗶 dish.
𝗧𝗼𝗼 𝗸𝗮𝗿 - stewed pork trotters, radish, carrots, shitake mushrooms & chestnuts.
𝗣𝗲𝗲 𝗵𝘂 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗿 - stir-fried “pee hu” (dried leatherjacket fish), “bangkwang” (jicama), shitake mushrooms, onions and carrots.
𝗝𝗶𝗮𝗼 𝘇𝗶 dumplings - mashed yam dumplings filled with minced pork, sweet crushed peanuts, dried shrimps, sesame seeds; served in a pork & seaweed soup.
𝗔𝗿𝗸 𝗼𝗿𝗵 - crisp-fried yam cake, containing duck-meat.
A veritable feast - Madam Chung took a whole week to do the preparations, and cook the meal, as some of the ingredients, like the dried bamboo shoots which needed 5 days of soaking and cleaning to rehydrate them, were very time-consuming to prepare.
The Chinese Lunar New Year falls on Feb 1, 2022 (next Tuesday), and it’ll be the Year of the Tiger then.