Sunday 24 July 2016

5 Best Dishes Ever (according to Kevin)

1. Indian candy salmon
I discovered this when working in Alaska. The local fisherman would take the fatty bellies of the beautiful wild salmon and cure them in salt, brown sugar, garlic and black pepper and then they would hot smoke them causing the sugar to caramelize the fish. The result is serious deep amber, sticky, rich, salted caramel of fish with notes of spice. Making something so simple taste so good through technique is a lesson we apply every day in Cuca.

2. Percebes 
The intriguing percebes
Unusual and actually very unpleasant in appearance, the rock barnacles from the coast of Galicia (Spain) are literally worth their weight in gold. People die every year navigating down the sheer cliffs to collect them from the rocks during those brief moments the tides swings out before viciously crashing back. Quickly boiled for 30 seconds, the meat is tender, subtle, oceanic and pure, with nuances similar to the meat of a clam. The idea of searching the shores for delicious very regional seafood has led us in Cuca to find soft shell crab from Kalimantan, scallops from Lombok and octopus from Jimbaran bay.

3. Pierogies 
I literally grew up on these as my godmother made them very, very well. A dough of sour cream, water and flour is molded ravioli-style around a filling of anything. The version I still dream of is onion and cabbage with charred bits of bacon. Served boiled and steaming hot with a dollop of cool rich sour cream, the combination is serious comfort food and the goal in every dish we create.

4. Xiao Long Bao
Even when bad these are good, but when they are excellent, the experience is unforgettable. Paper thin dough wrapped around a well-seasoned steaming hot aromatic pork broth, the trick is to consume the dumpling without breaking the delicate outside to avoid the soup from coming out. A quick dip into black vinegar with sliced ginger and straight into the mouth! The sour vinegar taste covers the silky skin of the dough and with the smallest amount of pressure the delicious soup explodes with flavor. The element of surprise makes this dish very memorable and has encouraged us to create exploding elements like in our Bali Breakfast dessert.

5. Babi guling 
The most traditional dish from Bali is a good one of suckling pig, stuffed and roasted over wood for hours creating a dark golden crispy skinned tender succulent smoky meat. One of the highlights of any trip to the island of the gods remains the perfect cooked pig loved for hours slowly being turned as it roasts over an open fire. Charred food over fire is not new and its smell alone is enough to salivate. We use this technique to trick you into loving our baby corn and our octopus.