Sorrowful rice of ecstasy

1996 was a great year for Hong Kong movies. Because in 1996, the fantastic 《食神》 (God of Cookery) was released, starring Stephen Chow and an almost unrecognisable Karen Mok.

There are so many classic scenes in that movie, but one unforgettable segment has to be when Stephen Chow made 《 黯然销魂饭 》。It’s a challenge to translate the name of that dish to English, but “Sorrowful rice of ecstasy” is probably as close as it gets.

Chinese chefs like to use fancy names for their dishes, frequently adding words like dragon, phoenix, jade and gold to describe what they’ve created, and this was no exception.

Despite its dramatic name, 《 黯然销魂饭 》 is basically rice with char siew, choy sum and a sunny-side up egg. We had some leftover char siew from Famous Treasure and The Wife asked me for suggestions of what she could cook, and it was the first thing that came to mind.

The second thing that came to mind was another classic scene from the movie. You know, the one where the late Lee Siu Kei (基哥) runs along the beach with a look of ecstasy, waving a large white cloth above his head.

If you can’t picture that scene, here’s a clip. And apologies in advance if you can’t get it out of your head afterwards.

Since we already had leftover char siew, cooking the dish was relatively straightforward and only involved four ingredients.

First, reheat the char siew in a steamer so that it maintains its juiciness. Next, blanch some choy sum and set it aside. Then, cook some rice in the rice cooker and, when the rice is almost done, fry up some sunny-side up eggs.

Finally, assemble all the ingredients in a bowl and enjoy! Make sure you eat it while it’s piping hot for maximum enjoyment.

Cooking this dish at home will definitely not be as dramatic as how Steven Chow does it in the movie, but the end result will probably taste just as good.

So, if you have all the ingredients on hand, especially some good char siew, why not give it a go? Just don’t try to fry an egg with fire coming out from your palm. Trust me, it won’t end well.

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