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liuzhou

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Posts posted by liuzhou


  1. 5 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

    Adding my thanks and a question - are there any exotic ūüôÉ foods or cooking related items that you'll be bringing home from your travels?

     

    I'll just say there are a few items in my check-in luggage that I may or may not get back into China. I'll elaborate if and when.

     

    Sitting in the departure lounge.at LHR waiting for my flight which is still 2.5 hours away.

     

    Found myself a pint of the black stuff though. 

     

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    • Like 7
    • Haha 2

  2. I'll have you know that while you are all discussing my extraordinary physical attributes, I'm making plans to head back to Chinaland. Leaving for the airport in about 8 hours.

     

    Yesterday, I went on a last trip into central London. Again, I looked at culinary spots or places where culinary related incidents happened.

     

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    There were an astonishing number of Chinese tourists in London. This was one group tour piling into a restaurant for a taste of home. They must have been very disappointed! That place has been there for years, but is about as authentically Chinese as haggis.

     

    They would have beeen better off going here.

     

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    or to this Taiwanese chain specialising in Xiaolongbao  dumplings.

     

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    Some other food places of note:

     

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    Legendary purveyor of British cheeses.

     

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    I started to get peckish and spotted this yards away from where the opening of My Fair Lady was filmed.

     

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    I had a "London Traditional" from their short menu of four bangers in baps.

     

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    A 9 inch long sausage with good pork and perfect spicing. I declined the offered topping of fried onions. Of course, having eaten that I needed liquid refreshement. I went to an old haunt of mine.

     

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    • Like 11

  3. Yesterday (Sunday) was a family day. I'm staying with my daughter and her partner and her daughter, my eldest granddaughter visited. Her younger sister couldn't make it as she lives 400 miles away. Also, my son, his wife and two kids came. I'd never met my grandson before.

     

    Lunch time in the garden.

     

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    Son, Wife and Family

     

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    Two youngest grandchildren

     

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    Daughter (right), Son (Centre), Daughter's partner (Left)

     

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    Eldest Granddaughter

     

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    My daughter cooked enough food for twenty! Good day!

    • Like 18
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  4. Of his many achievements, food isn't something I've associated with Dylan, but there I was yesterday afternoon wandering down New Bond Street in London, as you do, when I spotted a familiar name in the window of the Halcyon Gallery. A free exhibition of some paintings by His Bobness. Many had a food theme.

     

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    • Like 9

  5. Lunch today with a very old and dear friend I haven't seen for about 20 years. I don't mean she's very old. Just our friendship.

     

    We went to an old haunt. I lived nearby for longer than I've ever lived in any one house.

     

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    Jai Krishna, 161 Stroud Green Road, London N4, United Kingdom. Last time I was there was about 30 years ago and Annie Lennox was sitting at the next table.

     

    We ate:

     

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    "Papri Chaat - Papri refers to crispy dough wafers served with potatoes, chillies, yoghurt and tamarind chutney, topped with pomegranate seeds."

     

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    My favourite!  Kachories. Lightly spiced lentils in pastry, deep fried and served with tamarind sauce.

     

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    Thali - Papadam (not pictured), Mixed Vegetable Curry, Tarka Dal, Chickpea (Garbanzo) Curry, Boiled Rice, 3 Poori, Yogurt, Mango Chutney and Sweet.

     

    Like idiots who had never been there before, we ordered one thali each (as they were advertised in terms of serving size). Each could easily feed two to three people, so friend went home with more food than we ate.

     

    Good day.

     

    • Like 10
    • Delicious 2

  6. I'm in that London. Been lying low. We're having an unexpected heatwave and I'm just sitting in my daughter's garden catchng up on 12 years.

     

    Not much happening on a culinary front. Lots of salads. Last night she did what I think are burritos of some sort. Very tasty. I know nothing about Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisines; there were no such thing in London when I left 25 years ago, but they are everywhere now. None in China outside of Shanghai.

     

    Yesterday, I went on a tour of my old haunts. Didnt 'eat anything, but some things of associated interest. At random.

     

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    This was a small "farmer's market" near my old home. Not a farmer in sight, but obviously popular food place near London University

     

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    Legendary Hungarian restaurant which closed a few years back. Terrible food, but the centre of left wing politics in London in its day.

     

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    My Favourite Whisky Shop Anywhere.

     

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    Cutting to the Chase

     

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    Wicked Window

     

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    Great French restaurant, Soho, London

     

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    My Favourite Coffee Shop

     

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    I guess this is not well known outside the UK, but this is where pre-Beatles British Rock 'n Roll began. I'm sure the Chinese tourists I met there had no idea what the siginificance was.

     

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    This shop has more spitits/hard liquor from around the world than anywhere else, I'd wager. Another London legend.

     

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    No Caption Necessary

     

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    The only remaining vegetable stall in the famous, wonderful Berwick Street Market, London. Killed by property developers. The stall holder is involved in a huge legal case, claiming rights going back centuries.

     

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    London's Best Oyster Bar. Been there decades. Still No. 1

     

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    London's Best Italian Deli. Once threatened; now protected by law! A venerable institution still in the same family, but older than anything in the street.

     

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    Soho Michelin Star

     

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    Happy Hour

     

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    Finally, I get a star. I'm going to print this out and hang it in my kitchen!

     

    • Like 9
    • Haha 5

  7. I'm posting this from a train from Scotland to London. Entering phase 2 of my UK visit.

     

    Last night, I had my last supper in Scotland, at least for this trip. I had very consciously saved the best for last.

     

    A short way north of my mother's home is the small fishing town of Arbroath, which I visited. This is, of course, famous for Arbroath smokies. These are smoked haddock, but raised to the heights of grandeur. The smoking process means that they are sold ready to eat, so they only require heating up under a grill/broiler with a bit of butter and pepper.

     

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    These are amost the ony thing that would induce me to live in the UK again.

     

    Heaven on a plate!

     

    • Like 8
    • Thanks 1
    • Delicious 4

  8. Yesterday, I visited a historical landmark 4 miles from my mother's home.

     

    Falkland Palace was home to the Scottish royal family, particularly James IV then James V, the latter being father to Mary Queen of Scots. She certainly visited the palace, but never lived there. Same with her son, James VI who became King James I of England on the death of Elizabeth I in 1603.

     

    I was lucky in that, as only happens occasionally, a local society were staging historical re-enactment day. This included an element of culinary history, so I'm posting it here.

     

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    Falkland village square with the royal palace in the distance (centre)

     

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    Ruins

     

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    Mary, Queen of Scots' death mask

     

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    Kitchen

     

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    Cooker

     

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    Resting Cooks

     

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    Lunchtime

     

     

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    Happy and Full

     

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    The Bar

     

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    • Like 13
    • Thanks 2

  9. I have uncovered a bizarre custom among the natives. But first I have to explain a peculiar anthropological oddity. And an economic one.

     

    A) Founded 75 years ago, Greggs is described by Wikinonsense as "the largest bakery chain in the United Kingdom", which may be technically correct but a bit misleading. They don't sell cakes and bread like a normal bakery shop might. In fact, it's more like a café, selling pies, sandwiches etc. and  especially sausage rolls.  They sell over two million sausage rolls a year.

     

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    In 2012, ""Pasty Gate" erupted when the Conservatve government decided to start taxing the take away products. This prompted a nationwide near-revolution and the tax threat withdrawn. That is democracy! Hands off our pies!

     

    B) Scotland and England have different banknotes. English banknotes are accepted all over, but Scotland bank notes are often refused in England. It is an odd situation in that technically Scottish notes aren't legal tender in England. In fact, they aren't even legal tender in Scotland! The term "legal tender" is almost meaningless in UK law.

     

    Scottish banknotes are accepted in very few overseas banks. I can't change them in China. Only Bank of England notes are accepted.

     

    Anyway, I decided to take one for eG and sample this unique, exotic foodstuff - the Gregg's sausage roll. I strolled in and asked for two to take away (eating them on premises attract VAT at 20%). I brandished the only currency I had (apart from some Chinese renminbi and Hong Kong dollars), a £50 note.  The woman looked concerned, wandered away behind the scenes and returned to apologise, but they couldn't accept my money (despite being an English company). I explained that I had no other method of payment (after decades abroad, I have no UK cards or anything else. She sympathised but her hands were tied. First time I've had English money refused.

     

    I handed her back my two rolls which she had already wrapped. "No", she explained, "We can't accept the cash, but you can take the sausage rolls anyway!"

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    Free sausage roll!

     

    The rolls were good (free stuff always tastes best!). Nice flaky pastry, well spiced filling and not at all greasy as some can be. 

     

    I then felt thirsty. Fortunately I spotted a nearby pub I've never visited. That'll do. The barman looked vaguely familiar, but I dismissed that. I ordered my statutory Guinness. When it was handed over, I made to pay (with a Scottish  note. My £50 note had been accepted in a book shop where I had made a purchase).

     

    "No. This one is on me," the barman said!

     

    I was beginning to think I was stuck in some prank for a reality television show, when he reminded me that we had met a week ago in the hotel where I was hiding from my mother. He was bar minding there as a second job. We had conversed in the hotel about why I was in Scotland and he had been entertained by the story and wanted to buy me my pint in thanks.

     

    Still. An odd day!

     

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    Free Beer

     

    • Like 16
    • Thanks 1
    • Haha 1

  10. I've been a bit tied up in family stuff with little of culinary interest going on. Sister continues to "cook".

     

    This was all made elsewhere and heated up rather than cooked at home. except the boiled potatoes. That said it was good!

     

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    The steak pie was made in-store by a local independent butcher and was lovely. The peas and cabbage were frozen.

     

    I was offered a "dessert" from a local bakery - a classic strawberry tart. I passed. Far too sweet for me.

     

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    • Like 11

  11. Just now, KennethT said:

    I flew Emirates once- they just started their direct NY to Milan route and had crazy cheap fares as a promotion. It was several years ago and don't remember the details, but my impression was favorable.

     

    I've used them a few times quite happily (as far as flying can be happy). I only asterisked the chana dal as I once flew from Bangkok to London on Bangladesh Airlines via Dakka. 

     

    Worst flight of my 100s of flights.  Every meal was chick pea/garbanzo.curry. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or extracurricular snack!

     

    And, like an idiot, I booked a return flight.

     

    Two. 10 hour curry fart extravaganzas.

     

    When I booked my flight this time, through a company I have a close business relationship with and get trade prices, my friend/contact asked which airlines I preferred. My only stipulation was that I'd heard of it and it wasn't Bangladesh. Love the country, but sorry, your airline sucks.

    • Like 1
    • Haha 7

  12. 55 minutes ago, Smithy said:

    I like smoked fish in general but am particularly fond of smoked salmon. Mackerel I've never had. Does its reputed oiliness come through after the smoking? What was the texture like?

     

    All those cheeses sound lovely. I had a wonderful time exploring the local cheese selection when I spent 6 weeks living in Yorkshire. Will you be able to take cheese home with you?

     

    The smoked mackerel isn't so oily as the fresh version, not that I mind fresh mackerel. I would describe the texture as firm and flaky without being dry or hard. The ones I bought were simply fish, salt, black pepper and smoke. Some contain colouring and preservatives, so it's worth being careful.

     

    Sadly, I can't take cheese home to China. I could barely take it home from the cheese shop to my mother's place 10 minutes away without eating it all,  never mind 8000 miles!

    • Haha 7
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