However, that did not stop our hosts; my brother-in-law and sister-in-law from chipping in and surprising us with their very own set of culinary skills from their kitchen.
Of course, that was also with the help of my mother-in-law who acted as the advisor and supervisor in the kitchen and sharing her own secret recipe in cooking simple dishes.
One of such dish is this: Braised Pork Trotters with Ginger and Black Vinegar
Due to the elements and ingredients of this dish which included ginger, garlic, black vinegar and pork, it is a popular dish made to be consumed by women who were in their confinement period (one month after giving birth).
The Chinese believed that the ingredients composed of 'heat-induced' elements which could help to provide heat and replenish the energy lost in the process of giving birth, and at the same time, rejuvenate the blood flow in the women's bodies.
This is a traditional dish typically used to maintain the health of birth giving mothers after labor; and is only one of the dishes served during the period. There is not much of variety either, for women nursing their health after birth as there were too many taboos preventing them from simply consuming anything that is deemed to deteriorate the immune system which is said to have weakened following their major loss of blood during birth. Therefore, based on the principles of the Yin and Yang in the traditional Chinese medicinal practice, when one is sick or weak, it usually refers to the loss of Yang energy and food/ingredients should often contain the elements of Yang in it to return the immune system to normal; or balanced in terms of the Yin and the Yang.
Despite this being a confinement type of food, it does not mean that this cannot be consumed by others or in normal times as it is an exceptionally popular dish among the Chinese community as well, to be served during meals.
My brother-in-law used a lot of black vinegar and garlic in cooking this dish; as he loved the strong taste and I guess he was also, at the same time trying to use garlic to counter or repel the odor of the black vinegar which filled the whole house the minute he started cooking.
Then my mother-in-law and his wife just stood beside him and told him to put in the ginger and add in sugar, and keep stirring, to make sure that the tastes of the dish is even and aromatic.
Also, the sugar is to dilute and balance the sour tastes from the black vinegar.
The end result was not too bad; in appearance although most mentioned that the taste was a little uneven. I am not really a fan of this, so I didn't taste it myself.
Maybe it is true that 'Too many cooks spoil the soup?' :)