My dad was a keen cook, and most weekends would turn the kitchen upside-down to create a meal which was immense in size, calories and deliciousness.
Thick Yorkshire puddings with a crispy base that can only be achieved by the use of alarming amounts of oil, mixing bowls full of buttery mashed potato, bread and butter puddings which could feed a family for a week; even the vegetables would find themselves drowning in butter or reclining in a white sauce.
Boiled beef brisket was another of his specialties, usually served with a squadron of airy dumplings. I love beef cooked this way. As a child I wasn’t keen on a red-rare Sunday joint, and much preferred the tender slices of brisket accompanied by long-stewed veg and those heavenly dumplings. For years I tried to emulate the aforementioned dumplings, for some reason under the mistaken impression he had used butter and not suet. It was only when I had a go with suet one day that I recreated the taste I remembered so well.
You can probably appreciate, therefore, that when I saw brisket noodle soup on the menu in Hong Kong, I was very keen to try it.
I guess it was doomed from the start never to measure up to the brisket of my childhood, but I was determined to give it a fair crack. The broth, greens and noodles were all fine, nothing remarkable but the noodles still had some bite, which I liked. The two white bits floating at the front of the bowl seemed to be very fatty bits of the joint, which I left well alone.
The brisket itself was pleasant enough, though a little tougher than I would have liked.
I’d eat it again, sure, but given a choice between this and my dad’s creation, I’d be spoon-deep in dumplings before you got past the word “or…”.