Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lemon Cookies - Hong Kong's Meaning of Eat Lemon


The first thing you learn when you are learning a new language is...the bad language. Hehehe.

Despite my Chinese heritage, I don't speak Chinese. I know, I know. Shame on me. I find learning to speak a foreign language is not easy. For me, especially Chinese, where with every single tonal mishap I risk insulting the person I was talking to (and possibly including his/her mother or even the whole family. LOL). I've been living in countries where Chinese is widely used, such as Singapore, and now Hong Kong....and I still don't speak the language fluently. I've been living in Hong Kong for more than 6 years, for Dim Sum's sake!!!

I love Hong Kong and its culture to the bone, but my lack of courage and my lack of exposure to the language (my friends and my workmates are all English speakers and they feel more comfortable speaking to me in English) contributed in the slow progress my learning. Funnily, I can speak English in Hong Kong accent and fluently use some expressions such as "lar, lor, lei..aiya, and wor" every now and then, plus literally translating Cantonese slangs to English. When the locals listen to my Canto-influenced-English, they would either laugh their azz off, or think of me as a pretentious azz (why can't she just speak in Cantonese instead of this freaked up Canto-English?) and I can't blame 'em.

Naturally, I know quite a lot of Cantonese bad words *grin*. Those were the very first things my friends taught me. Hehe. I could expertly orchestrated an elaborate phrase consists of seven bad words or more, aimed solely for my friend's amusement. My good friend taught me her principals regarding bad language, which I think is very profound "I don't have to use it, but I need to know it, in case people use it against me" and mine was more like "Before someone else say it to me, I'd better say it to them first" LOL! Profound, eh? Anyway, I had a good time learning Cantonese bad words. Although they might be offensive to others (sorry about that), they sound really funny to my foreign ears. I bet you start to wonder what kind of good friends I have here...hehe...I can assure you that they don't only teach me bad words, they teach me so much more than that. They teach me some super-practical, always-used-outside-the-office slangs...and one of my favorites is: "Eat Lemon" (sik ling mung), which roughly means being rejected.
For example:
I like a guy, I asked him out for a date, he said no = he treats me to eat lemon
"Eat lemon" conveys the feeling of sourness from being rejected, for a gesture (asking someone for a date) that normally comes with deeper motives (I like the guy and hope he'd go on a date with me and like me too)

Although the phrase means something negative, funny thing is, Hong Kongers love their lemons. Lemon tea (hot or iced) is one of the most popular drink in local coffee shops. They don't just scent their tea with a tinge of lemon, they "kill the lemon" in their tea, as if stabbing the sliced lemon pieces in their tea fiercely as if it is their biggest enemy...making sure that their tea is heavily infused with lemon's sour taste. It is probably because most people believe that drinking sour stuff makes you slim. Yeah, right. I am snorting high sugar, highly lemoned iced tea outta my nose. HAHA!

Honoring my favorite Hong Kong slang, I've decided to bake my first cookies....
Lemon Cookies

The recipe is adapted from Jen Yu's Lime Meltaways and about.com. I switched the lime to lemon (lemons are easier to find at the market just downstairs my flat ^_^)

- 1 & 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
- 2/3 cup caster sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1&3/4 cups, plus 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- zest of 1 lemon
- a dash of vanilla essence
- a pinch of salt

Using a hand mixer, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar until fluffy. Add lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla, beat until mixed well. In a mixing bowl, mix flour, cornstarch and salt. Add to the butter mixture, and beat with a hand mixer on low speed until mixed well. I don't have parchment paper, so I rolled 2 logs with 3 cm diameter (1 round and 1 square-ish). Chill for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 175C. I lined my baking tray with foil, buttered slightly. Slice cookie log into 5mm slices, place rounds on buttered foil, spaced 2 cm apart. Bake until slightly golden, about 15 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes. Store cookies in airtight containers.

I baked just half a log and keep the rest chilled. Baked cookies can be stored up to two weeks, frozen dough can be kept up to 3 months.

The original recipe calls for coating the warm cookies with confectioner's sugar...but I didn't bother. They were already fabulously buttery and lemony. My friends, the Hong Kongers, looooooved them.

Just this time, they were happy about being treated to eat lemons ^_^

I'm off to Manila for a few days for work, boys and girls. Hope I'll have some time to fatten my Manila colleagues up and report back with some deliciousness. See ya!

25 comments:

Little Corner of Mine said...

Looks great, I simply love lemon cookies, so fragrant!

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Those look great! I love lemon cookies!

WSL98787 said...

" they "kill the lemon" in their tea, as if stabbing the sliced lemon pieces in their tea fiercely as if it is their biggest enemy...making sure that their tea is heavily infused with lemon's sour taste."

Very funny quote :), but it is true!

Came by from Wandering Chopsticks.

Sharon said...

Ahh, I can always use some slang! I love lemon as well so it's hard to think of it negatively!

Precious Pea said...

I am one of those 'lemon killer'. Hahah! Have a nice trip to Manila!

FFichiban said...

Hee hee I guess other slang/bad words will not result in such tasty treats as these :P

sefa firdaus said...

It's true Rita, me too learning bad words first from a foreign language :D
and please, don't forget to learn the bad words from the Filipinos and share it with us.. I mean, me :)

btw, baking is addicted right?

SIG said...

I would love some of those. ;)

Christy said...

Hahaha....eat lemon...add one more, lemon cookie!:D
It's really nice...I've always loved lemons...and these looks really nice, yet another great cookie job by you:D

MiNDY said...

kebalikan dari akuw Rit, disini lemon itu susah. klo lime banyak n murmer. makanya seneng banget kemaren dihadiahin lemon ama temen dari kebunnya. jadi pengen nyoba bikin ini cookies mumpung masih ada lemon. dikasih coklat dikit, enak juga kayana ya Rit?

daphne said...

Well done! Your first cookies look so good.. mine were like rocks...

eliza said...

aya...keliatan cantik cookies nya. are you sure it's your first time? ;D i adore lemon too!

Mochachocolata Rita said...

thanks for the comments, guys...

yeah it was my first time doing cookies...i guess the online recipe provided an excellent step by step guidance for me ^_^

i'd loveee to try lime next time, and i hope sous chef hasn't finished the other log which i froze lol

noobcook said...

hehehe funny as usual. I love to 'kill' my lemon when I'm drinking lemon tea too :P The lemon cookies sound great ... have a good trip!

deeTha said...

halo Rit, pie kbre?
lemon? nek aku kok sneng molen.. *halah! ngaco.com haha*

tigerfish said...

Hahhhahaa......I did not know that about eating lemons....:D

ICook4Fun said...

You are right Rita, its not easy to learn a different language. My hubby is still trying to teach me Spanish and the only words I learned is the 'bad' words and cursing :)

Beachlover said...

Thanks for briefing us a little more about yourself ..I always wonder why u go to HK..lemon cookies,what a simply and yet fragrant flavor cookies!

Cakelaw said...

Love these cookies - and they're your first??? The phrase "eat lemon" is very expressive - although if an Aussie guy said that to me, I'd sock him in the mouth.

Jin Hooi said...

haha.. agree totally, when i first learned Japanese, I learnt the bad words first. Or maybe i should say the bad words are more fun to learn.. haha..

Foni said...

eggless?gue ada lemon 2 bengong..boleh dicoba nih lunes...

Lina said...

i heart cookies

Aimei said...

LOL...wat an interesting post about your language background. :D This lemon cookies sounds interesting too! I've only eaten cookies with lemon cream, but not lemon flavoured.

Haley said...

Haha! When I was learning Spanish I learned all of the bad words first too! Why is that? Your cookies look fantastic! Great picture!

I would love to include your recipe in our pre-loaded Demy, the first and only digital recipe reader. Please email haleyglasco@gmail.com if you're interested.

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Thanks!

Freedom_Addict said...

after 3 years, this still is still relevant... why? I came here to find the meaning of 'eating lemon'. Thanks!

"Eat Lemon" (sik ling mung), which roughly means being rejected.

Answered my question..