Friday, January 29, 2010

Hong Kong Tourist Board's Cake Making Class

Even though Hong Kong is one of the world’s most modern and expensive cities there are ways to learn about the traditional Chinese culture for free or nearly free. The Hong Kong Tourist Board offers a variety of free or nearly free programs for visitors. When John and I get deplane in Hong Kong we stop at the Hong Kong Tourist Visitor Center to sign up for their programs. The Visitor Centers are located in Buffer Halls A and B, Arrivals Level, Terminal 1. Visitors can also sign up at HKTB’s in-town Visitor Centers located in Tsim Sha Tsui and on Victoria Peak. The programs are only available to foreigners who must sign up in person and show their passport. In January 2010 John and I signed up for a Chinese Cake-making class which was free but now has a fee of about $4 USD. For more information on the Chinese Cake-making Class in Hong Kong and other offerings by the Hong Kong Tourist Board check under Kaleidoscope at

John and I joined eight others at Wing Wah Cake Shop at Shop 4, Union Mansion, 25 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon for the class. During the lesson Master chefs Chiu and Fung demonstrated and then helped us make Wife Cakes. Men traditionally made Wife Cakes for their wives. It seems that long ago a wife sold herself as a servant to get money to pay for medical treatment for her father-in-law. The husband was so impressed by her dedication and wanting his wife back that he created Wife Cakes, which he sold in the market. They became very popular so he was able to earn enough money to buy his wife back. Our class also included the making of egg roll pastry in which any filling could be added if desired.

Wing Wah Wife Cakes
Pastry: 3/ 4 cup flour 1/ 4 vegetable oil
Crust: 3/ 4 cups flour 1/ 4 cup vegetable oil 1 egg1/ 4 waterFilling: 1/ 4 cup Gourd/Red Bean Paste – roll into a 1/ 2 inch balls
Coating: 1 egg, beaten
Make the pastry mix ahead of time by mixing flour and vegetable oil until smooth. Refrigerate for several hours. To make the crust, spread flour in a circle on a clean workspace. In the center, add the vegetable oil and egg. Mix the shortening and egg together, and begin to mix with the flour to form the dough. When the ingredients are well combined, add the water a little at a time, mixing until the dough is soft to the touch. Divide chilled pastry and crust mix into eight 1/ 2 inch balls. Roll a ball of pastry into a five-inch circle. Form a circle with forefinger and thumb. Place the pastry on top of fingers, make an indentation about 1/ 2 inch deep. Place a red bean paste ball in the depression. Pinch the edges to enclose the filling. Roll out crust into five-inch circle. Place crust circle on forefinger and thumb. Make an indentation and insert the ball of pastry that has the filling. Wrap the crust around the ball to enclose it. Place on worktable and press flat with your palm until about 1/ 2 thick. Place on baking sheet sprayed with Pam. Brush on beaten egg. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

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