Sunday, 17 April 2011

Roasting the Afternoon Away

Roasting seafood, meats and a little piggie on the barbie...
Yesterday afternoon I went to a barbecue organized by a few people at Whitehead Club in Ma On Shan. It's quite convenient to get there, changing to the East Rail line at Tai Wai and then taking the train all the way to the second last stop, Ma On Shan. From there you can either take a taxi or wait for the shuttle and the ride is less than 10 minutes.

The barbecue is located along the coastal area of Tolo Harbour and the weather was just perfect, not too hot and a nice breeze going, good enough for kites to be flown nearby. It was perfect barbecue weather.

You have to book in advance to get a barbecue pit, which are all carefully numbered to avoid confusion. Each pit comes with chairs and a table that's lined with plastic. And you can order all kinds of food ahead of time too that are all vacuum sealed so that they are marinated in sauces. There were the usual sausages and mini ones stuffed with cheese, chicken wings, curry chicken breasts, prawns, ribs and scallops in the shell but covered in gobs of butter.

A cat playing with his food
We also ordered a piglet that was butterfly cut and was quickly dunked in boiling water before being put on giant metal skewers. We kept roasting it while we barbecued the rest of the food.

Periodically older Chinese women would come by and check up on our barbecue pit and complained our fire wasn't going well so she added more charcoal and showed us amateurs how to keep the fire going by giving it more oxygen. We joked she would come back and complain about what else we were doing wrong.

Overall the food was pretty good -- after all you are cooking it yourself, enjoying the view and the company sipping beers, water and soft drinks. There are decent washrooms nearby and a giant sink with soap to wash your hands.

After a while we got tired of the eating the prawns because the shell got stuck onto the meat making it hard to peel. There were some resident cats milling around and one or two of them looked a bit on the scrawny side so we decided to feed them the prawns.

We thought our pig was done...
However, they were too hot when they were fresh off the grill and they would paw the prawns playing with them a bit. Then it didn't know how to eat it so we helped out by cutting it open at the bottom of the head. From there the cats gobbled them up for the most part, shell and all.

There is a concession stand to buy more food or snacks and we got a bag of marshmallows thinking it would be our dessert. But we couldn't resist and started roasting them, though they got too soft before they got golden brown.

After four hours of roasting the pig we assumed it was done and asked another woman to come by to chop it up. However she didn't come for a long time and we joked she could smell that it wasn't ready. Finally a young man came by to check up on our big and as if on cue said it wasn't done yet.

He added more coal to our barbecue pit, got a fire going and then started roasting the pig right in the fire -- putting it in the pit of flames for a few seconds and then lifting it up again, and repeating it over and over until the back was finally a deep russet colour -- almost 30 minutes later. Since we were waiting for the pig to be ready, we continued our marshmallow fest and actually finished the entire bag.

... But apparently not -- it needed a dose of real flames
Finally the pig was pronounced done and the man carried it to a table where there was a cutting board and meat cleaver. He hacked the head off and the proceeded to chop the pig in half down the middle and then into pieces that were served onto two plates.

The end result? The skin was delicious, hard and crispy, with a layer of fat underneath followed by tender meat. Most of us had already eaten so much that one piece of the roasted pork was enough and were ready to go home.

In the end it was about HK$1,500 for nine of us. Sated and tired, we boarded back on the shuttle bus and made the long journey back home.

Whitehead Club
Sai Sha Road
Ma On Shan
2631 9928 (barbecue hotline)

1 comment:

  1. Sound fun except for the cats!