Sunday, June 13, 2010

Putting down a Hāngi at the Brick

Last night the community was treated to a traditional style Maori hangi at the Brick. People trickled in all afternoon, inspecting the coals and pile of mud in anticipation.

Games of frisbee and cricket were played on the street and many beers were drunk. Until there was movement ... shovels ... and the unveiling began.

This was my first experience of a Hangi ... I wasn't too sure what to expect as they were shoveling away the dirt, but then came sheets of cloth ...

Followed by layers of heshen sacks.

Then wire baskets were removed from the steaming pit. The top one containing potatoes and cabbage. As the next baskets were being removed, it was as if they were holding little treasures. Each one clearly containing something different, but everything was wrapped in Fuku leaves, which are a type of wild plant that has a stem like rhubarb and giant lilly like leaves.

The first basket to be attacked contained the potatoes and cabbage.

I did manage to take a plate and chopsticks from the pile, but somehow completely failed to get any salad at all ... must have consciously been saving more room for meat!

Oh, the meat. Whole chickens with stuffing, roast lamb with rosemary and roast pork with pumpkin, cinnamon, thyme & sugar.

Lucky I saved all that room with no salad, as the first plate disappeared in a flash, and seconds ... then thirds, soon followed.

The roast chicken was so moist, steamed under the earth with so much natural flavor. The pork and pumpkin combo just perfect. The roast lamb, ahhhh, reminds me of home. The potatoes, would have like to have some sour cream and chives to slather on top, they were just lacking any character - possibly due to the fact they are last seasons harvest ... We are eagerly awaiting delicious new season Kutchan potatoes. But the cabbage, oh ... my ... goodness. This humble little vegetable was the standout amongst the crowd for the whole night. The core was removed and filled with butter and Mae Ploy Thai Green Curry Paste. The cabbage was meltingly tender, oh-so-buttery and with a nice hint of spice. Genius!

When Waza - Niseko's resident Kiwi - is on point, he has some moments of sheer genius. Take his bagels for instance .... don't even get me started on the Jalapeno popper bagels.

Let's hope we can convince Waza to make this a regular thing during Summer.

the Brick

Open Tuesday nights in Summer for darts and burgers
Open late Winter, serving kebabs, burgers and 500yen drinks
& sporadically throughout the year for random dance parties and Hangi

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