Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Fisherman’s Canteen

Aberdeen Fish Market Canteen has two versions. The first version is its primary function as its name suggests, it serves as a canteen to the hardworking people that work at the fish market. It secondary function is a seafood restaurant that serves simply prepared fresh seafood.

I shall state the obvious: the seafood here is very fresh. Call ahead, state your budget, seafood preferences and if you want you can specify the way you want it cooked. The Canteen celebrates seafood. It applies simple cooking and it does little to mask the essential taste of all the different sea creatures on the plate.
Here’s what we had in no particular order –

eep fried abalone – very delicious. Unlike my imagined notions of a deep fried abalone, it wasn’t fried to a death but rather the quick cooking it kept it tender caramelizes the edges of the abalone.

Deep fried squid – lightly battered, tender and tasty

Steamed local lobster – not particularly sweet and a little chewy but dip the flesh into the brain, together it taste better.

Stir-fried prawns – sweet and fresh

Stir-fried clams with black bean sauce

Stir fried bamboo clams with black bean sauce – I’m not a big fan of black bean sauce in general on seafood but again still good tasting bamboo clams and clams

Steamed sea grouper

And we ended off with their double boiled seafood soup.


THE soup, which I am going to call the fisherman’s broth, is double boiled but unlike the traditional Cantonese soup which is clear is served to us looking a little cloudy. Who cares, it is probably the best damn soup I’ve had this year. It is hard to doubt why it is such a great soup once they lay the soul of the soup on the table - a small mount of crabs, bok choy and chopped up small fishes. It has a very different in flavour profile and cooking style to its Western cousins the cioppino and bouillabaisse but similar in spirit.
To catch a glimpse of the other version of the Canteen, finish off the meal with a cup of milk tea and their only ‘dessert’ offering - deep fried French toast drizzled with condensed milk. Don’t miss this either because the French toast fried just right, crisp on the outside and light and fluffy in the centre.
French toast
The art of simple is actually hard. Less is more. In this kitchen I suppose this translates as do less to taste more and this is the kind of food that I’ve come to fall in love with more and more.

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