Luk Yuen has always been one of my family’s go-to restaurants for filling meals that are quite flavorful; perhaps not as posh as, say, City Best in Quezon City, but quite good.
I usually order the spareribs in tausi (salted black beans) with braised chicken feet over rice, but the last time we went, I had to step out for an errand so my mother ordered for me. What ended up before me was the steamed chicken with black mushrooms on rice – and, I must say, I wasn’t disappointed at all.
This deceptively simple dish involves chunks of boneless (albeit skin-on) chicken steamed with large slices – no, chunks – of shiitake mushroom, ginger, spring onions, and a hint of salt. The chicken was a mix of both dark and white meat, very savory, absolutely tender, juicy, and flavorful. Drizzling the thin, sweet sauce that came with the bowl over them seemed almost criminal as the meat was delicious enough without it.
The mushrooms were the real surprise, though. These fat, meaty, succulent fungi didn’t have the chalky aftertaste common to dried mushrooms reconstituted in hot water; it made me wonder if fresh shiitakes were used. If so, kudos to Luk Yuen for the emphasis on freshness!
Adding a bit of green to the bowl was a good helping of steamed cabbage dressed with sesame oil and some toasted sesame seeds. The cabbage was steamed perfectly: just enough to soften the leaves but not enough to render them to a mushy sludge. In fact, the edges were still juicily crunchy and the cabbage had a sweet, almost nutty flavor overall.
While this won’t be taking the place of my beloved spareribs and chicken feet soon, this dish has certainly won top marks in my book.