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Thanks, Bill! But is there any way you can show us one pepper? Nice frog, BTW....

Oh sure -- it didn't show up well when I tried at first, because I don't have any white plates, but here are a couple on an index card.

gallery_28691_4819_263312.jpg

Frog and folding knife for ... scale, I guess.

Edited by Ktepi (log)
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Isn't ketjap the sauce that mutated into what we Anglo-Americans call ketchup? My recollection is that the original sauce is thinner than the thick seasoned tomato sauce we eat. Is this sauce also made from tomatoes?

Also, is this sauce Indian or Indonesian in origin?  (I think it originated in one of those two places.)

Finally, ketjap etymology I sort of believe: from the Malay kichap or Indonesian kecap or Chinese koechiap?, it originally referred to a preserved fish sauce. English dictionaries spell it ketchup as early as 1690. English and Dutch seamen brought the sauce back to their respective countries and the mutation began. Mwaahahahahaaha.

Lots of other crazy shit was added to the original ketchup, and by 1800 the first tomato ketchup recipes were showing up in American cookbooks (this is the only bit that Wikipedia cites a source for, the rest I got from a mish mash of etymology references, this being the most believeable).

Edited by markemorse (log)
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Holy moly, the pom came out amazing. Mara and I have just been sitting here in the afterglow of our pom, every minute or two uttering a "wow", "man", "geez", "amazing", etc. In fact, Mara just said "really good pom" again while I was typing that last sentence! I think it's just been such an exotic mystery treat for so long that I didn't even consider making it. But it was totally easy and absolutely yummy. Now we have to find a way for you guys to get some pomtajer and zoutvlees....

New, improved recipe and pictures in a sec.

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Thanks, Bill! But is there any way you can show us one pepper? Nice frog, BTW....

Oh sure -- it didn't show up well when I tried at first, because I don't have any white plates, but here are a couple on an index card.

Frog and folding knife for ... scale, I guess.

Perfect, Bill, thanks...that answers our question!

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gallery_28661_4926_3124.jpg

I'm sure there are some sacrilegious moments in this recipe, but this is exactly what I did, and it worked wonderfully. BTW, those are two slices of pickled onion from the birambie jar next to it. Very spicy substitute for the more typical atjar or cukes we tend to see served with pom here, it kind of combines the peper and zuur into one condiment.

+++

pom (surinamese chicken and pomtajer casserole).

300g chicken breast, leg, or thigh meat, or a mix of these

freshly grated nutmeg

salt and pepper

100g zoutvlees

150g butter

3 yellow onions, chopped

3 canned roma tomatoes, chopped

1 cup chicken broth

2 tbsp palm sugar

1 kilo pomtajer/new cocoyam, grated

1/3 cup celery leaves, chopped fine

the juice of 2 oranges

the juice of 1 lemon

freshly grated nutmeg

salt

pepper

Soak the zoutvlees in cold water for 30 minutes or so, then rinse and dice the meat.

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Rub the chicken pieces thoroughly in a mix of equal parts salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg. Here's my cute little nutmeg grater:

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Brown the chicken pieces in a sautepan, using a little of the butter to facilitate if necessary. Add the zoutvlees and saute for 5 minutes or so, then add the rest of the butter and the onions, tomatoes, chicken broth and palm sugar, and simmer until the palm sugar melts.

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Turn off the heat.

Grab your defrosted, grated pomtajer.

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Add the orange and lemon juices and the celery leaves to the pomtajer, then add all of the liquid from the chicken mixture, and stir to integrate everything.

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Spread half of the pomtajer mixture along the bottom of a buttered baking dish, and then place a layer of the chicken mixture on top. Top with a layer of the pomtajer mixture. Dot the top with butter if you feel like it.

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Bake for 90 minutes at 175C. After about an hour check to see if the top is drying out. If it is, either dot some more butter on top, or if you think you've already added plenty of butter, you can mix things around in the baking pan to moisten.

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Serve with birambie (or similar homemade spicy pickles) either by itself or on a baguette for a broodje pom.

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+++

And to further toot my own horn, here's Swietie Sranang's broodje pom, for comparison:

gallery_28661_4926_4735.jpg

Aw yeah. Mine was just the tiniest tiniest bit less decadently juicy in comparison, but that's because I did skimp on the butter a little, about 50g less than I probably should've used...but my conscience was peering rudely over my shoulder in the kitchen and I just couldn't do it. I'll think I'll stick with my proportions so that my guilt is just ever so slightly less crushing.

+++

Edited by markemorse (log)
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That looks so good. And I´ve never even tasted pom, but now I feel that I must, soon! It looks like true comfortfood (and just the thing you would want to eat, little bites at a time, after having a tooth/thingie-type surgery. Mara´s a lucky girl!)

Many recipes I´ve seen include cloves. Since I love cloves, do you think they would have worked with your recipe?

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That looks so good. And I´ve never even tasted pom, but now I feel that I must, soon! It looks like true comfortfood (and just the thing you would want to eat, little bites at a time, after having a tooth/thingie-type surgery.  Mara´s a lucky girl!)

Many recipes I´ve seen include cloves. Since I love cloves, do you think they would have worked with your recipe?

Thaaaanks. I'm just so proud of myself! And Mara said that yes, it was perfect comfort food, also because you can easily ratchet up the spiciness based on how much birambie or peper/zuur you use. So it's not bland soft food.

I think a little clove and a little allspice might both be nice. Don't skimp on the nutmeg, either, though...that's key.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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That recipe sounds really good. Instant hunger attack!

It looks like cocoyam could possibly be substituted with either taro root or malanga,

one or both of which are easily obtained in Miami, and can be obtained here also. Perhaps not with the convenience of frozen pregrated, tho.

Does the bag give any info on genus? (Yeah, right. :rolleyes:)

What does plain cocoyam taste like? (cooked, raw, whatever).

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Did you find the golden sticker?  And what do you get if you do?

---

And how many of the 21,635 ingredients listed on the back of the label sound like they were produced in a nearby lab?

---

You are allowed more leeway to stray from purely food-related musings in a foodblog -- which can be as much travelogue as food diary -- than in other eG discussions.  It's perfectly acceptable -- nay, expected -- for eG Foodbloggers to show off various aspects of life in their hometowns/environments as they see fit.  (Look at all the mass transit and historical stuff I worked into my two foodblogs!) I'm sure that somebody will be serving something to eat at Amsterdam Gay Pride if it's anything like Philly's two big gay block parties (Equality Forum in May and Outfest in October), and that can be your entree.  I for one would love to see it.

1) I've been trying to think of a funny answer to this for awhile...nothing. That's not my answer, that's what I ended up with.

2) All of them? I think there might actually be potatoes involved, but ultimately their provenance is undeterminable.

3) I will at least get some shots of the canal parade, pretty sure this is 100% unique to Amsterdam. I'll also be on the lookout for "festive" street grub.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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What does plain cocoyam taste like? (cooked, raw, whatever).

Yeah, that's a tough one. Nutty? a little buttery? It's hard to say because you can't eat it raw due to the oxalic acid problem, and whenever I've eaten it cooked it's been highly seasoned with assertive ingredients. Taro is probably not a bad reference point, or a mild version of boniato. Either of which would probably be pretty good in this recipe as well.

No genus info on the package, just called pomtayer.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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Great blog. Everything looks tasty and interesting, but that Seroendeng condiment really caught my eye and I will be on a quest for it in local shops. Your Pom looks like ultimate comfort food and your description of your reactions to it were wonderful. The way you describe the cocoyam (aka yautia) taste put me in mind of yucca which has that buttery nutty quality although I see taro as the most commonly referred to substitute. Really looking forward to the rest of your week.

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Just to add a little more confusion to the discussion, per the Oxford Companion to Food: "In W. Africa, where both taro and malanga are staple foods"...New Cocoyam is the name given to Malanga and Old Cocoyam is the name used for Taro.

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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First, best wishes to Mara for a speedy recovery.

This has been a particularly enjoyable blog so far, and I am looking forward to the rest of your week. Your discursive writing rewards close reading, and I both enjoy and envy your fantastic international markets. The cooking of Surinam seems to have strong similarities to that of Trinidad, as described by a friend from that island.

So much of what you have described is surprising and/or revelatory – the fascinating history of the Indische kitchen, the lack of jalapenos in Amsterdam, the demographics of Suriname, and the availability of the same brands of Indonesian sambals in Amsterdam and Maryland.

I noticed what looks like yard-long beans – one of my favorite veggies – at Toko Hangalampoe. Do you often cook with yard-long beans?

Did you speak Dutch before moving to Amsterdam, or did you learn by necessity?

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Good day, o ye who still follows along. It's Friday, a beautiful morning, I slept through the night, etc. From our outside hallway you can look into the back courtyard and see and hear the kids playing in the daycare/nursery across the way:

gallery_28661_4926_8449.jpg

Ah, summer. Suffused with positivty I am.

+++

Thanks to everyone for their pom comments. I will sort out the actual USA names of the pomtajer...I think it's a Googleable problem, but probably a bit too timesinkish for today's schedule. I met someone last Saturday who can probably help...I'll email her now.

+++

Last Saturday on my way to Kwakoe, I stopped off at the Imagine IC culture/gallery space to see an exhibit called Pom op het menu (Pom on the menu).

Imagine IC describes itself as a "center for the visual representation of migration and cultures", where they try to "highlight the culture and identity of migrants as seen from their own perspective." Perfectly timely, I'd say.

Anyway, Pom op het menu is an exhibit entirely devoted to pom, in words, image, and sound...from its history to its current preparations. Immediately upon entering, there were 20 or so pom recipes clipped to a clothesline, serving to highlight the individuality and potential expressiveness of different cooks' preparations.

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Around the corner there were several displays of ingredients and implements:

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And a tasting station, sadly not serving when I was there. The text says "you have to try it with tomato ketchup"...which I will in a moment.

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In the next room, people on TV screens talked about making pom and what it meant to them:

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and finally I came face to face with the taxonomy-resistant tuber itself:

gallery_28661_4926_13684.jpg

+++

Edited by markemorse (log)
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OK, a gallery exhibition devoted to a dish that none of you have ever heard of, and that even someone as culinarily-obsessed (if I may be so bold) as Chufi has never tasted might sound a bit crazy, but...

...if there's one thing about the Indische kitchen that I probably haven't properly conveyed yet, it's that it can be found almost everywhere in Amsterdam. This link from the Pom op het menu website is a tiny (but growing) subset of places in the city where you can enjoy pom. I can easily think of maybe even twice as many places that aren't listed, and I'm no pom expert.

When I was at our biggest, boringest grocery store chain Albert Heijn yesterday (I know...I was looking for soft foods), I wandered over to the microwaveable section and I was just blown away by how many pre-made Indische meals are available. Unfortunately they're hardcore about no pictures, but in terms of shelf space, the proportion of Indische microwaveable options (nasi goreng, babi pangang, bami with chicken satay) is comparable to the number of traditional Dutch options here's their online shopping page for microwaveable meals that should give you an idea.

As you can see here, every Albert Heijn (and there must be 100 of them in Amsterdam) has ketjap manis, kroepoek, sambal oelek, atjar tjampoer, seroendeng, coconut milk, nasi goreng, bami, peanut sate sauce, dried galangal or laos, and more that I'm sure I'm forgetting. The bigger stores carry more cook-centric ingredients like candlenut paste and trassi, along with a wider selection of sambals.

My point is: this food is no longer truly exotic here. For example, it's much more integrated into daily food life here than Mexican food is in America. And I just realized that Albert Heijn probably had a lot to do with this: they started carrying Indonesian products in the 1970s. OK, so they're not (or at some point weren't) all bad.

Another factor is that the Netherlands is physically a much smaller and less heterogeneous country than America, so it was easier for the Indische influence to spread everywhere...

Edited by markemorse (log)
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My point is: this food is no longer truly exotic here. For example, it's much more integrated into daily food life here than Mexican food is in America. And I just realized that Albert Heijn probably had a lot to do with this: they started carrying Indonesian products in the 1970s. OK, so they're not all bad.

Another factor is that the Netherlands is physically a much smaller and less heterogeneous country than America, so it was easier for the Indische influence to spread everywhere...

It's true, but, I think it's only true for the Indische/Indonesian foods. Everybody knows sate and bami, or at least the not so spicy not so authentic Dutch renditions of these originally Indonesian foods. I mean all the Dutch people know about these foods. But I feel that the Surinamese foods have stayed much more within the Surinamese community and did not spread or become as popular among non-Surinamese people. This difference is interesting.

Edited by Chufi (log)
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My point is: this food is no longer truly exotic here. For example, it's much more integrated into daily food life here than Mexican food is in America. And I just realized that Albert Heijn probably had a lot to do with this: they started carrying Indonesian products in the 1970s. OK, so they're not all bad.

Another factor is that the Netherlands is physically a much smaller and less heterogeneous country than America, so it was easier for the Indische influence to spread everywhere...

It's true, but, I think it's only true for the Indische/Indonesian foods. Everybody knows sate and bami, or at least the not so spicy not so authentic Dutch renditions of these originally Indonesian foods. I mean all the Dutch people know about thhese foods. But I feel that the Surinamese foods have stayed much more within the Surinamese community and did not spread or become as popular among non-Surinamese people. This distinction is interesting.

I agree, but I also think it's a bit tough to purely separate out the Surinamese stuff (unless we're talking about pom specifically) because so there's so much cross-pollination across cultural divisions. I'm looking at the Long Chie menu right now, they call themselves a Surinamese restaurant that serves Chinese specialties. But the menu has things like babi pangang, nasi goreng, gado-gado, chicken sate, etc. on it, all of which, strictly speaking, is neither. You know? More discussion on this after my morning meetings.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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I agree, but I also think it's a bit tough to purely separate out the Surinamese stuff because so there's so much cross-pollination across cultural divisions. I'm looking at the Long Chie menu right now, they call themselves a Surinamese restaurant that serves Chinese specialties. But the menu has things like babi pangang, nasi goreng, gado-gado, chicken sate, etc. on it, all of which, strictly speaking, is neither. You know? More discussion on this after my morning meetings.

Yes. I'm thoroughly confused now. :wacko:

Maybe I was just trying to defend myself, the Foodie who Never Tasted Pom..... :wink:

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Congratulations on sleeping well last night, and enjoy the rush of positivity! I'm having the same today.

I'm so impressed that you scheduled this pom-obsessed blog to coincide with a recent visit to a pom exhibition.

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I love this blog! God job, you're commiting yourself in full while dealing with a lot of "outside" issues... whoa.

My question is easy - why are you embedding a number (altho silent) in Jo3n's name? Is this some new "hip" thing, a Dutch thing or just your creativity?

Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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But I feel that the Surinamese foods have stayed much more within the Surinamese community and did not spread or become as popular among non-Surinamese people.

Don't know when I'll get to post again today, but just wanted to say in brief: this is totally true, Chufi, if we're talking about purely Surinamese dishes like bakkeljauw (a shredded salt cod dish), or telo (fried cassava), these have remained very much in the Surinamese community and you won't find them at Albert Heijn. There are some exceptions, such as pindasoep and roti, which are in fact on AH shelves.

But by and large, I think this distinction reflects the integration of Surinamers into Dutch society as a whole: the larger waves of long-term Surinamese migration to the Netherlands happened 20 years or so after the process of Indonesian integration began, and it's been a much more problematic and generally less transparent situation as well. A full discussion of this subject quickly becomes more about the complex and sensitive issues of politics and immigration policies than it does about food, so I'm not sure if this is the right place for it...I'm definitely not qualified to speak on it with any kind of authority.

But in a nutshell...you're right. :smile:

This blip of confusion is my fault...I was trying to steer things in an Indonesian direction in preparation for today's possible rijsttafel. I just didn't really make that clear. :raz:

ETA: all kinds of things, including finally spelling rijsttafel correctly thanks to Chufi.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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I love this blog!  God job, you're commiting yourself in full while dealing with a lot of "outside" issues... whoa.

My question is easy - why are you embedding a number (altho silent) in Jo3n's name?  Is this some new "hip" thing, a Dutch thing or just your creativity?

Well, it is creativity, but not mine: a dear old friend who is an undersung and terrific poet wrote a sarcastic poem in 1979 about fellow poet John Ashberry's willful and incessant indecipherability called “A Still from the Movie Jo3n”. Jo3n the kitty's name didn't originally have the silent 3 in it, but it showed up over time as a tribute to our friend Terrill. I'll see if I can get him to shoot me a copy of the poem.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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First, best wishes to Mara for a speedy recovery.

This has been a particularly enjoyable blog so far, and I am looking forward to the rest of your week. Your discursive writing rewards close reading, and I both enjoy and envy your fantastic international markets. The cooking of Surinam seems to have strong similarities to that of Trinidad, as described by a friend from that island.

So much of what you have described is surprising and/or revelatory – the fascinating history of the Indische kitchen, the lack of jalapenos in Amsterdam, the demographics of Suriname, and the availability of the same brands of Indonesian sambals in Amsterdam and Maryland.

I noticed what looks like yard-long beans – one of my favorite veggies – at Toko Hangalampoe. Do you often cook with yard-long beans?

Did you speak Dutch before moving to Amsterdam, or did you learn by necessity?

Thanks Bruce (and Jamie Lee and Catriona and everyone else) for the encouragement....

Re: yard-long beans...I don't cook with them all that often. I do eat them on a regular basis, they're a common ingredient in Suriname sandwiches, usually served with either shrimp or zoutvlees on a baguette and called a broodje kouseband.

In yet another cross-cultural naming snafu, kouseband is the Surinamese name for the long bean pictured above. Googling it turns up articles that describe it as being of West African descent. Are they the same thing as yard-long beans? IDFK. :laugh:

Edited by markemorse (log)
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First, best wishes to Mara for a speedy recovery.

---

Did you speak Dutch before moving to Amsterdam, or did you learn by necessity?

Oops, forgot some things.

1) Thanks! She's not feeling much pain right now, which is good...let's hope that continues. On the down side, it looks like she's got a baseball tucked in her cheek.

2) This question assumes that I speak Dutch now. :laugh: It's a complicated subject. I now completely, fully understand why many immigrants choose to stay semi-isolated within their own immigrant communities: immigration is emotionally and philosophically hard work. Transferring yourself from an environment in which you are thoroughly competent, maybe even exceptionally successful, to a daily life in which you are constantly reminded of a newfound inarticulacy and relative helplessness can be...a challenge. Using your mother tongue expressively reassures you that you are still the same old great person you've always been, especially when the people to whom you're speaking really get everything you're saying.

I generally speak Dutch in public, shopping, at restaurants, the post office, the foreign police, when dealing with local customers, etc. I generally do not speak Dutch socially...most of my close friends here are people (Dutch or otherwise) who like speaking English. For me, it was a necessary security blanket during a rocky, thoroughly life-altering few years. I'm a Bad Immigrant (you've seen Bad Lieutenant, right? I'm like that).

Mara, on the other hand, speaks Dutch quite well (or so people tell her), and she's worked very hard at it. She can pretty comfortably navigate an evening of dinner conversation in Dutch, for example. I just feel like a Bad Immigrant. :smile: I can understand 95% of what people are saying, especially if they're from Amsterdam....but I just don't say much. :raz: My reading comprehension is pretty good (it's all about context), but my writing sucks.

Edited by markemorse (log)
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bakkeljauw (a shredded salt cod dish)
I had to stare at that for a minute until I recognized the Portuguese Bacalhau.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
       
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
       
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.


       
      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women, including her, wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
       
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.
       

       
      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:
       

       
      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
       
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.
       

       
      The children don't get spared either
       

       
      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
       
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.
       

       

       
      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Tea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

       
      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
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