Squid Deep-fried at the Hong Kong Express in Ottawa
I recently published a post on the Pot-stickers at the Hong Kong Express and described them as being about the ugliest Pot-stickers I had ever seen, but also very tasty. The Deep-fried Squid Tentacles I was served there, and which you see pictured above, also fell in to the category of being not very pretty, but extremely enjoyable otherwise.
I also previously mentioned that the service at Hong Kong Express was very friendly, but, while that was true, the communications with my very pleasant waitress were a bit difficult due to language issues. One of the communications I understood came when I ordered a Tsingtao Beer to go with my meal and she smiled and said that she comes from Qingdao, where the beer is brewed.
As it happened, the dish in question actually appeared on the menu as ‘Deep-fried Octopus’, but I also noticed that three of the four Chinese characters for the name indicated ‘Deep-fried Squid’. I queried my server about this but she clearly did not know the word ‘squid’. When I tried the Mandarin ‘yóuyú’, however, she beamed and nodded… she also, somewhat helpfully, pointed to the fourth character and said it meant ‘hair’. Obviously, this confused me at the time, but when I looked it up later, it appeared that the word for hair, in this context can also mean antennae, or tentacles.
Anyway, even though I had been momentarily looking forward to deep-fried octopus, I ended being very happy with the squid tentacles. I was rather expecting that the tentacles would be battered, perhaps a sort of ‘tempura’ style, but they ended up having no batter or other coating and were instead lightly seasoned with just a little salt before being deep-fried. The length of cooking was just perfect for tentacles of this size, so they ended up being tender, but still delightfully chewy at the same time.
One other feature that was interesting was the bed of fried noodles on which the tentacles were served. They made a really nice and crunchy textural contrast to the squid meat and, while I thought the plating to be very poor (sloppy, even) the dish itself was very enjoyable.