I’m pretty excited to share today’s dish with you, which is a personal interpretation of something I grew up eating. As I have mentioned before, I grew up in Hong Kong where the cuisine is predominantly Chinese but heavily influenced by locally sourced ingredients and Western cooking styles. For this Cantonese Chili Garlic Prawn, also known as Bei Fung Tong Prawn, I adjusted the spice level and seasonings to my tastes and ingredients that I have access to, but I tried to stay as close to the original as possible.
Bei Fung Tong refers to the typhoon shelter bays in Hong Kong. In the old days, the bays served to protect fisherman’s boats against strong, rough winds. They were filled with floating seafood restaurants serving the freshest catch of the day. Nowadays, Bei Fung Tong seafood refers to the unique cooking style that originated from the boat dwellers: seafood that has been deep fried to develop a crispy golden crust, and then stir fried with copious amount of garlic, fermented black beans, and chili peppers. Fried breadcrumbs are sometimes added, but I find them a bit greasy so I didn’t add them.
I’m cooking these prawns in Bei Fung Tong style this time. Look at them – they’re gigantic!
It has extremely bold flavors with garlic being the star of the show. And garlicky it is – the highlight of the dish in my opinion is the crunchy bits of deep fried garlic on top. No worries about vampires after eating all that garlic that’s for sure!
You can serve the prawns on their own, but some people enjoy them on steamed rice or vermicelli to soak up all that flavorful garlic chili mixture. Either way, you’ll ultimately resort to peeling the prawns with your hands. It’s messy, but definitely finger-lickin’ good!