Spent National Day evening with makan friends at a popiah party. A most excellent popiah party I must say. The very generous host spent 4 hours cracking crabs for the sweet succulent meat and golden roe; I wonder if I were given that task how would I resist from popping them into my own mouth instead.
There were also plump pieces of prawns and juicy Chinese sausages, and these were just a fraction of the ingredients laid out for us to wrap our own popiah. Popiah parties are such a rare thing nowadays because the prep work is so intensive- I can only imagine how many hours Mrs L spent julien-ing vegetables, pounding fried dried tik-po fish, rendering pork lard, making omelet strips, pureeing chilli and garlic and most of all, hand-shredding the bangkwang and braising it slowly with loads of fatty pork and dried shrimps for the main filling.
I made myself three giant popiahs and wished I had room for more. Everyone had much fun making up their combinations and stuffing their popiahs to bursting point. We polished off almost everything I think.
It isn't that dificult to wrap your own popiah. Start with a soft yet resilient rice pancake skin. Put a piece of lettuce on the pancake, smear with hoisin sauce, garlic and chilli. Load on the vegetables, seafood and garnishes any way you like, then stack some braised bangkwang on it before drizzling it with tik-po powder for crunch and extra oomph. To wrap, tuck in the excess skin on each side and roll in a direction away from self.
MrsL also cooked mee soto, begedel and roasted quails. Nobody goes hungry at their parties.
For desserts, there was an Oreo cheesecake by famous Jeremy, and a scrummilicious looking (and tasting) chocolate cake by another talented baker . My friend slurp showed me how to take the lovely picture above.
I loved the sweet melons MrsL served, and she very kindly gave me one to take home. Turned out we were eating a designer melon, this particular specimen came from far and sunny Spain. The Abogat melon has a relatively thin skin, and the flesh is firm with a crystalline sweetness and much juiciness. The planets are now in melon-alignment it seems, within a few short weeks I have eaten three different yet utterly delicious species. First, Hami melons from Xinjiang- the ones with special red stickers were especially crunchy and bursting with nectar. Then there was the exorbitantly expensive, highly aromatic and golden-sweet Japanese musk melon that chef Thomas treated us to at Kaisan; Thomas informed us that each melon comes in its own box and can be kept for only three days. The Abogat completes this yummy trinity. Cut up my Abogat this evening, much to the delight of Mimi and Rufus.