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Everything posted by jokhm

  1. ah, sounds like what the thai/laos do for laab. I remember dry frying the raw rice until slightly brown and then using a mortar and pestle. Very easy with this method, but someone would have to confirm that these things are remotely similar. Definitely wouldn't look it.
  2. Don't think the ribs are like that.. but oh god i want those ribs now. And you can buy the rice powder in powder form, but I haven't a clue whether this is the best way to make the fenzhenrou. But someone here knows, for sure. I've always been told that it is super easy though..
  3. and yes... a culinary trip to China is truly something of mythic proportions as far as touring china is concerned. I think so many tourists are bummed when they come here and are served the hotel waiguo-slop. I think the Chinese are too when they travel through the country! But for us whiteys, traveling here to EAT is still such a difficult and yet potentially amazing thing. I've been fantasizing the idea of setting up a food tour across china. I get off on taking all my friends/family passing through the country on food-hops that leave them all dizzy by the end and in complete disbelief; both in the quantity that they consumed and in the shock of how great and diverse the food is. People I work with back in north America have a good connection through me on the daily life in China, yet they still ask tons of questions like "so whats food like there?" "describe the main thing that chinese all eat". With questions like that you're in for a hell of a surprise, and with the right people leading the way - a good surprise. Anyway, keep it all up. I get off on the idea of food discovery. And when people ask you what chinese people eat, tell them some spagetthi (LaMian) in tomato and meat sauce. I'll be signing up participants on a first come first serve basis for all food and tea tours. Good luck.
  4. Hey pass the word on when you arrive in Shanghai or if you do, I'll likely still be around to send you to a place or two. And yes... Fen zheng rou, when good, is fantastic. Are you heading through Hangzhou? I'd recommend that, food-wise as well! Though whether in shanghai or hangzhou I would always push for the LaoYaBao at a place like ZhangShengJi. Anyway, best of luck in the food search.
  5. Lets get back to the thread... its very interesting, because if you take the right approach, which we are agreeing is simple=better, then there are probably so many interesting combinations that you only see in one type of cuisine or another. One of my favorites is sichuan peppercorns and dried red chilies fried up with thinly sliced sichuan sausage and lots of garlic shoots (cut at 1"). Great stuff, so easy. Another is little pieces of bacon fried with fresh red chilies and lots of brocoli. Also dead-simple. Another that I love is thin sliced lotus-root fried with garlic. Fry it FAST though and super-hot so that it cooks quick enough before becoming dark. Also the pieces have to be cut VERY thin or else you'll be there frying for a while. kongxincai (english?) fried with furu and garlic...always good. Oh, i love this one. Sliced beef, hole cumin seeds, lots of fresh red chilies and several fist-fulls of coriander with the stems. Fry up everything and then add the coriander towards the end.
  6. There was a big big stink made in China about 3-4 months ago when a guy with a quick business idea (??) hired a relatively imbalanced 'divorcee (as described in the papers)' and gave her a crate of little kittens and puppies which she was then instructed to step on with stillettos to death on camera. Was insanely sickening.. and the internet across the country was quite heated up on animal cruelty, and I think the effects can still be felt. People wanted to run out and kill this woman -literally. In another story some useless turd at fudan was raising kittens to torture and kill and the whole university and internet community did a few backflips in disgust. Policies have changed a lot in response to some of these sicks stories posted all over China. So I think it is important to realize how much of a non-story this all is. Hardly anywhere in China is it considered normal to eat cats. Nowhere I've been at least. And in many parts the same goes for dogs. But in the rural areas (and lesser known cities) dogs are still very frequently raised for food. I was given some two weeks ago... air-dried...stewed... yikes. Oh and I wouldn't give much credence to the thought of stories like this not 'making it out of China'. Please.... The problem is that the news in China and HK revels in nonsense like this as if it IS in fact real news. The real issue isn't what gets out and what doesnt. The truth is that we'd need to all read Chinese if we wanted all the news to get out. And vice versa.
  7. anyone ever find any of the stuff packed in chili-tea oil?? I had some brought in from some hunan county and it was so much better than any of the others I tried before. Very interesting and slightly alcoholic taste.. excellent. But now I have no idea where to get more... ! I'm not sure if there is much consistency on what is mass produced... I do remember in Montreal seeing a few specific brands, but there are still many unknown ones floating around some of the chinese markets there. No idea where to start
  8. Woah.. nice. I'm new here. So this looks great.
  9. Definitely.. makes perfect sense. Sad though... I wish the great places could stay great. But then egullet would be far smaller, since everyone would already have easy access to the numbers. Waiting in line for horrible food is what drives up our curiosity to come to egullet and discuss.
  10. funny seeing the comments on the candied apple/taro... My first month in China ended me in Beijing, at a small restaurant near my hotel and with ultra-limited mandarin skills. I was able to ask for a simple meal of a bowl of rice accompanied by something that they could recommend. They got excited and pointed to one random thing on the menu and so that was that. A few minutes later I got candied sweet potato exactly as you guys described... and with no clue what to do. They motioned to me how to pull it apart and dip in the cold water, but that's about it. Not too sure what I was supposed to do with the rice. Bizarre. Of course I took a friend there a few days later and got stuck ordering some simple fried green, two bowls of rice and .... candied apples. Not the smartest staff out there. So yes... I bet you had to show people in the US how to eat that stuff... but at least they ordered other dishes for the meal! hah
  11. jokhm

    Mysterious tea

    haha I didn't intend on dragging down oolong.... I too drink it far more frequently than anything else out there.. It's by far the most varied tea category of them all. And yes, I agree that most people who taste pu'er for the first time seem to think its quite 'muddy'. What I find interesting is that most chinese that I see tasting it for the first time appear to hate it, whereas quite a few canadians enjoyed it right away.....!? Very strange. But when it comes to the tea most often given to non-chinese when we arrive at a chinese restaurant.. I'd say it is nearly always bottom of the barrel oolong/black.. occasionally a half-drinkable jasmine. Not nearly the same experience for the same white person walking into a similar restaurant in HK/guangdong. But in north-america, no point wasting the good stuff!
  12. jokhm

    Mysterious tea

    I'm seeing lots of semi-decent dimsum houses reverting back to using real tea nowadays.. and by that I mean a pot of pu'er - possibly in addition to a simple cheap oolong as well (often the standard cheap chinese resto tea). My bet is this tea was pu'er... malty is a good description.. So is 'tastes like mud'... but in a good way!
  13. I don't know what it is, but the chilies used for these dishes in china is not nearly as strong as the average dry red chili one finds in north america. So when these dishes are cooked here you CAN eat or nibble on the chilies and get quite a rush of flavour without killing yourself. I don't remember ever doing that in Canada. And as for the neutered peppercorns.. I'd be hesitant to refer to them as fresh after being subjected to that kind of treatment.. but only based on the fact that slightly unfresh peppercorns are nearly useless compared to the real stuff. OR I'm always being nearly unfresh peppercorns myself..
  14. Nothing like a famous restaurant in China... they can keep on pushing out mediocre or horrible food and the line just keeps getting bigger! Kind of disconcerting and makes me think twice when a restaurant is recommended to me as the 'famous' whatever.. Things like Quanjude are famous for a good reason (doesn't justify the price though..) but Nanxiang xiaolongbao is just a reference point for tour companies to gather their neon yellow hatted customers in large quantities and then promptly bus them back out of shanghai. I suppose its the same as the 'food street' at wangfujing in beijing. So any new consensus? Any new places to name out that will definitely yield some small transparent 200 degree goodies?
  15. I'm not sure where to go with authenticity on hot and sour soup. I get the impression that this is more of a category of soups. Only in the west is it considered THE special chinese soup. Every place in China has some interpretation of what should fit into hot and sour.. for soup. The only thing that comes to mind with regards to Authenticity for this specific soup is that it should look like it does in north America at the standard Chinese resto.. Meaning: white pepper, chilies, dark soy, shredded mushrooms and black cloud ears, shredded pork, some egg dropped in and some vinegar. This being just a quick summary of what comes to mind. Now I know that if I run into any restaurant in Shanghai or Beijing they will each have a completely different idea of what this soup should be. So I guess the issue is where did the current north American one come from, and is that source anything specific, or was it just one in a million that became famous abroad? Very interesting stuff
  16. I've had lobogao fried up in XO once or twice and it was very memorable... yum... Also the occasional fried noodles in XO... or fried cuttlefish.. Its quite an elusive sauce. Comes up so often yet most people haven't a clue what it is -- practically a brand... of some kind of flavour that people are aware of or know nothing about but yet enjoy. ??!
  17. If you are in the Jing'an temple area, there's a very extensive market down underneath attached to the subway. Impressive array of raw ingredients... and cheese... ?! (for a supermarket here at least). Prices aren't exactly geared towards the locals. I can't remember for certain if they had all of these ingredients, but I remember seeing some the last time I passed through, and these things always interest me. Besides, you normally don't find much in the way of herbs at any Chinese supermarket, besides the basics.
  18. ahh I usually only drink this stuff when I have a cold or sore throat.. and then I make it with honey rather than rock sugar. I also like to throw in a tiny handfull of big leaf jasmine tea and a teaspoon of wolfberries... also seems to look fantastic in my small 6oz glass teapot.
  19. Yes, stick with oolong or black tea.. those always handle proper tea ceremonies ...properly. Green tea doesn't have the same strength, nor is it as versatile with nice chinese yixing pottery that you'd normally find in a tea ceremony. Pu'er can also work well..
  20. I'll second the Lao Gan Ma Old lady sauce.. It is the best bean+chili combo I've ever gone through. It's uses are endless. That company is Guizhou based, so plenty of heat, and they like their flavours as exciting as possible. I use this in so many different dishes, it is amazing. I usually have stock of 2 jars of this stuff and another bag of just the black beans for less spicy or cleaner tasting dishes that require a bit more control I don't have any experience with the La You sauce.. But the La Zi Ji one is equally fantastic.. This is the one with bits of chicken inside. The leftover meat + chili dishes with this stuff makes a fantastic fried rice the next day.
  21. I'll second the 'dry' part of the frying. When I have this dish and really enjoy it is when the cooks know how to really give it a nearly dry and blistered look. I'm not sure how i've replicated this at home, but it is definitely a combination of frying the beans dry, with not a drop of water and maybe a maximum of 1 teaspoon of oil!! The only major issue with doing this is that you have to have a HOT(!!!!!) stove. I mean really hot. When the beans are starting out, throw in the salt. As soon as the beans are slightly blistered and have started to turn colours a touch, throw in the mostly cooked ground meat.. Careful to taste the meat before you continue adding salt to taste.. since it collects a lot of it. Anyway, I'll stop now, since I never quite know how I cook it. Sometimes it works and sometime it doesn't. But the main thing I enjoy with them is how they nearly feel deep fried... and also how they blow my brains out with mala..
  22. Oh.. last peculiarity in the mainland regarding cheese. The other day I was in Hangzhou at the Carrefour shopping center and I picked up a large round of lait-cru 10 day old camembert for roughly US$4.50. Good price for something so authentic to be illegal in the US. The only explanation for the relatively fantastic cheese counter at Carrefour is the fact that it is a French chain.. But still, someone must be buying this stuff besides the odd foreigner like myself.. right?
  23. I used to here that 90% figure a lot.. but I can't imagine this being even close to possible. In the mainland the government has pushed yogurt and milk consumption so much that it is very difficult to find people under 30 years old who don't like cheese or yogurt, and in many places towards the north you can buy fresh yogurt at every little street-side minimart and phone place. As for Pizza Hut, I'm sure I'm not the first here to mention the insane amounts of them popping up in every single city, along with the enormous line-ups that inevitably follow. Saturday nights will always show tons of well-dressed Chinese lining up for LONG time for a table. Crazy. You couldn't pay me to ever eat there again.. Another really interesting development that I've seen take place in the last 8 months or so is this newest street snack that has begun popping up all over the country, everywhere. They look like pizzas, and they are referred to as Chinese Pizzas, but are basically cheeseless flat breads covered in a fantastic spice-blend, fresh coriander, tiny bits of meat and loads of oil. They are quite good sometimes.. Obviously Pizza Hut is a turn on for many, though the Cheese is one thing that isn't very needed. Also.. speaking of Pizza Hut, the strange thing that I always notice while walking by is that I rarely see people inside eating their pizza. Always a plate of 4 chicken wings. (??!)
  24. OMG. This is not messing around. Hardcore. I mean, I HAVE to do this now, but I need to find some prep time.. no? I just know that starting this 'project' will have enough people pointing fingers and laughing. - Considering that most food cooked in my family's home is still done dead-simple. But -wow. Beautiful pics and amazingly clear instructions. Thanks!!
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