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Chinese in Vancouver 2007 -


SushiCat
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One nice thing about the change in weather - claypot rice time! Jade does a nice cured meats / rice.

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The rice is all glossy with duck fat - delicous! I always ask for the crispy rice bits to be soaked with broth and served separately with green onions and cilantro.

I hear that SSW does a very nice version also - which is a good thing - because Jade's seasonal menu is completely in Chinese. Frustrating to order.

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One nice thing about the change in weather - claypot rice time!  Jade does a nice cured meats / rice.

The rice is all glossy with duck fat - delicous!  I always ask for the crispy rice bits to be soaked with broth and served separately with green onions and cilantro.

I hear that SSW does a very nice version also - which is a good thing - because Jade's seasonal menu is completely in Chinese.  Frustrating to order.

Wow - looks amazing Canucklehead! Is this the Jade Dynasty on Pender?

健啖家(kentan-ka):A hearty eater

He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

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Jade in Richmond...  everything seems to be in Richmond these days.  Bah!

I've been spending much more time in Richmond that usual these days. I'm amazed at the dining options - especially in the cheap and cheerful (and Asian) category. I'm seeing a stronger Taiwanese, and Mainland presence. I also see the izakaya craze spreading there - I've seen about four or so new izakaya - though I'm suspecting Chinese operated.

The new Skytrain will be the A-train to Eat Street (with stations at Aberdeen and at Richmond Center). As someone who was raised there (when it was all pretty much all farmland) - I'm finding it all very interesting.

fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

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The new Skytrain will be the A-train to Eat Street (with stations at Aberdeen and at Richmond Center).

Fmed - I am so with you on that. When the Skytrain is done - there will be so much great Chinese food that will be so much more accessible. I live on the North Shore - and I hate the fact that I end up driving over three bridges to eat in Richmond.

I could list off the places that dot along three road - but I would it would be a ridiculously long long list.

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I could list off the places that dot along three road - but I would it would be a ridiculously long long list.

This calls for a Google Map, canucklehead to help the rest of us along! They are easy to setup: Create a google map

Here is my attempt so far: Vancouver Ethnic and Hole-in-the-wall Restaurant and Food Guide

Would love to see a Canada Line specific one!

Edited by Vancouver (log)
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I could list off the places that dot along three road - but I would it would be a ridiculously long long list.

This calls for a Google Map, canucklehead to help the rest of us along! They are easy to setup: Create a google map

Here is my attempt so far: Vancouver Ethnic and Hole-in-the-wall Restaurant and Food Guide

Would love to see a Canada Line specific one!

This is a bit old and I may need to update it -

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=...a2131155ef6414e

I added "zones" to that one.

fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

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Wow Vancouver - this is an amazing map! Tons of my favourites as well as quite a few I'm looking forward to trying. I had no idea there was a Japanese-run gelato place on Granville Island...

Will you take suggestions for additional restaurants? Congee Noodle House at Main @ Bway would be one of mine...

Edited by Kentan (log)

健啖家(kentan-ka):A hearty eater

He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

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Wow Vancouver - this is an amazing map! Tons of my favourites as well as quite a few I'm looking forward to trying. I had no idea there was a Japanese-run gelato place on Granville Island...

Will you take suggestions for additional restaurants? Congee Noodle House at Main @ Bway would be one of mine...

I recently went by Congee Noodle house, and they were closed with newspapers on the windows. Perhaps a renovation?

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Wow Vancouver - this is an amazing map! Tons of my favourites as well as quite a few I'm looking forward to trying. I had no idea there was a Japanese-run gelato place on Granville Island...

Will you take suggestions for additional restaurants? Congee Noodle House at Main @ Bway would be one of mine...

I recently went by Congee Noodle house, and they were closed with newspapers on the windows. Perhaps a renovation?

I was there the night before they closed. They've closed down till early December for renos....or at least that's what the sign said on the door.

Quentina

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That really needs some reno's - plus a heavy duty power wash from top to bottom.

Agreed - I just hope the the prices don't increase too much after the renos....

Anyone know of a good alternative in the area? Peaceful is good but it's over near Cambie.

健啖家(kentan-ka):A hearty eater

He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

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That really needs some reno's - plus a heavy duty power wash from top to bottom.

Agreed - I just hope the the prices don't increase too much after the renos....

Anyone know of a good alternative in the area? Peaceful is good but it's over near Cambie.

There's Kwong Chow up Main and 16th, Legendary (near 25th), Long's (near 33rd). On If Kingsway is an option - Dai Tung, and a few others.

fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

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Agreed - I just hope the the prices don't increase too much after the renos....

Anyone know of a good alternative in the area? Peaceful is good but it's over near Cambie.

There's Kwong Chow up Main and 16th, Legendary (near 25th), Long's (near 33rd). On If Kingsway is an option - Dai Tung, and a few others.

Thanks fmed - I haven't tried Kwong Chow before but I really liked Long's the couple of times I've been there.

健啖家(kentan-ka):A hearty eater

He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

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Hi everyone, I thought you might be interested in the diners choice portion of this. Come January they hope to have a definative list of where to get the best dishes in the Lower Mainland (Vancouver) as well as these diners choice categories.

From October 21st to November 30, the dining public will be invited to vote on line at To vote for diners choicefor their favourite restaurants under the following categories:

1. Best Dim Sum Restaurant

2. Best Cantonese Restaurant

3. Best Northern Chinese Restaurant

4. Best Hot Pot Restaurant

5. Best Taiwanese Restaurant / Bubble Tea Café

6. Best HK Style Café

7. Best Noodle Soup Restaurant

8. Best Congee Restaurant

9. Best Chinese Bakery Shop

10. Best BBQ Shop / Restaurant

CHINESE RESTAURANT AWARDS 2009

1st Annual Awards for Excellence in Chinese Cuisine

Critics’ Choice Awards – Best Signature Dish

Diners’ Choice Awards – Best Restaurants

Presented on Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Edgewater Casino, Plaza of Nations, Vancouver, BC

Vancouver, BC - October 21, 2008 Restaurant critics from around the globe have recognized Vancouver as the best city in the world, outside of China, to eat Chinese food. Publications from the New York Times to Gourmet Magazine, in their acknowledgment of the Asian dining scene, are quoted as saying Vancouver rivals even New York and San Francisco.

An esteemed panel of acknowledged experts in the cuisine of China were brought together to look at how best to acknowledge and rate the cuisine of Lower Mainland Chinese restaurants and it was decided that the awards would be given in the same way the Chinese community chooses a restaurant, by what to eat, rather than where to eat. The “Signature Dish”

Unlike other dining experiences, Chinese restaurants are rated on their cuisine, rather than décor and service. Whilst important, it is the cuisine of a restaurant that drives their popularity, more specifically a particular dish, or signature dish. Asian diners choose a certain restaurant for their fresh King Crab, their noodles, method of preparing fish, or in a wider category, the Dim Sum.

In a break from traditional restaurant awards, it was a list of the restaurants top dishes that was chosen as the starting off point, rather than a list of restaurants. Even this was a difficult choice. From the hundreds of famous dishes in the cuisine of China, 25 dishes were chosen and the search for a restaurant that best prepared this dish began.

On Thursday, January 15th, 2009, winning Chinese restaurants will be invited to attend the first annual Chinese Restaurants Awards at Stadium Club in Edgewater Casino, fittingly located at the Plaza of Nations, in Vancouver. There, in an afternoon ceremony, the Critics’ Choice for the best of 25 dishes, “Signature Dish” will be handed out to the winning restaurants from throughout the Lower Mainland.

Also included in the awards will be the Diners’ Choice Awards, a category open to the general public. In recognition of the knowledgeable dining habits of all Vancouverites, this category, offered in both Chinese and English, will allow the dining public to share their valued opinion on the best locations for Chinese cuisine. With many non-Chinese growing up in Vancouver on Dim Sum lunches, family dinners in Chinese restaurants and favourite dishes, it was important to hear from all those who call Vancouver home. Starting October 21, the dining public will be invited to vote on line by registering at www.VoteDinersChoice.com. Ten members of the general public will also have a chance to win dinner for six at any one of the winning Diner’s Choice restaurants as well as 2 tickets to the awards ceremony in January. Winners will be announced on the website in mid December.

The Chinese restaurant industry and high quality of Chinese dining is a driving force in the BC tourism business. Vancouver’s success as a top destination of choice by Chinese travelers is greatly enhanced by its wide selection of high quality restaurants. By publishing a list of both critics’ choice and diners’ choice winners, the Chinese Restaurant Awards will also serve as a guide to locals and all visitors as where to find the best Chinese cuisine in the region.

The Judging Panel

We thank our esteemed panel of acknowledged experts in the cuisine of China that chose the categories. From there a smaller group was sent out to judge the specific dishes. They were:

Stephen Wong (Chairman of Judging Panel) - Cookbook author; Food journalist; Food and Beverage consultant

B.C. Lee – Vancouver Councilor

Conrad Leung – Department Head, Asian Culinary Program, Vancouver Community College

Bensan Li - CBC Radio Asian program host; Vice Chairman of Vancouver Film & Television

Lee Man - Food journalist, Vancouver Magazine

Iris Yim - Food Editor, Ming Pao Daily

Stephanie Yuen – Food Journalist; Chief Editor, Best Choice Food Magazine

The Criteria

Nominations were based on taste, presentation and creative use of key ingredients as well as the use of local and in season, ingredients. Restaurants were nominated in each of the 25 categories. One winner will be awarded in each category to receive “The Critics’ Choice Award – Signature Dish”

Signature Dishes

1. Crab

2. King Crab

3. Shrimp

4. Lobster

5. Cantonese/Hong Kong-style Dim Sum

6. Northern/Shanghai-style Dim Sum

7. Congee

8. Noodles & Rice

9. Chinese Dessert

10. Innovative Dish

11. Chinese Pastry

12. Barbecue

13. Soup

14. Fish

15. Geoduck

16. Scallops

17. Clam

18. Cold Appetizers

19. Pork

20. Beef

21. Lamb/goat/mutton

22. Chicken

23. Duck

24. Squab

25. Vegetarian

Diner’s Choice Awards

From October 21st to November 30, the dining public will be invited to vote on line at www.VoteDinersChoice.com for their favourite restaurants under the following categories:

1. Best Dim Sum Restaurant

2. Best Cantonese Restaurant

3. Best Northern Chinese Restaurant

4. Best Hot Pot Restaurant

5. Best Taiwanese Restaurant / Bubble Tea Café

6. Best HK Style Café

7. Best Noodle Soup Restaurant

8. Best Congee Restaurant

9. Best Chinese Bakery Shop

10. Best BBQ Shop / Restaurant

Award presentation of the Diner’s Choice Awards will also take place on January 15, 2009.

Edgewater Casino CHINESE RESTAURANT AWARDS 2009: SPONSORS

Title Sponsor: Edgewater Casino

Premium Sponsors: MCL Motor Cars - Bentley & MCL Motor Cars– Porsche, Chivas Regal Scotch, Tiger Beer

Media Sponsors: CBC Television; CBC Radio One; Ming Pao Daily News

Trade Sponsors: AMR Distributors’ Camilla Tea Oil; Aroma Tea House; BC Seafood Alliance; Island Scallops Ltd.; Pagoda Brand Xiaoxing Rice Wine; Stile Wines; Guo Jiao 1573

SUPPORTED BY: TOURISM VANCOUVER

OFFICIAL CRA 2009 “SIGNATURE DISH” MAGAZINE: MingPao Friday Gourmet Supplement

Chinese Restaurant Awards (CRA) is a not-for-profit organization made up of food & marketing professionals. The goals are to recognize and promote Chinese culinary arts and culture and acknowledge the skill of local Chinese restaurateurs and chefs. Chinese Restaurant Awards highlights, rewards and celebrates the best of Chinese dining in the Lower Mainland.

-end-

Contact:

Western Media: East West Communications - Cate Simpson - 604-730-9626 cell 604-220-6566 simpsoncpr@telus.net

Chinese Media: A Mindfuse Marketing & Consulting Agency - Rae Kung – 778-829-6244 rae@justanotherreason.net

CRA website: www.ChineseRestaurantAwards.com

Diners’ Choice voting site: www.VoteDinersChoice.com

Cate Simpson

Les Dames d'Escoffier International

www.ldei.org

www.lesdames.ca

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  • 2 months later...

And here's some of the winners, in this case the critics' choices of the 25 signature dishes listed above, but there's tons of other information - including pictures of the signature dishes - on the website: Chinese Restaurant Awards 2009:

Crab

Ken's Chinese Restaurant

Golden Dungeness Crab with Spiced Salt

King Crab

Excelsior Restaurant

Live King Crab in Four Courses

Shrimp

Koon Bo Restaurant,

Sauteed Spot Prawns with Soya Sauce

Lobster

Shang Garden

Lobster in Two Courses

Northern/Shanghai-style Dim Sum

Lin Chinese Cuisine and TeaHouse,

Shanghai Style Juicy Dumplings

Cantonese/ Hong Kong-style Dim Sum

Shun Feng Seafood Restaurant,

Steamed Rice Roll with Pork Liver

Congee

Mak's Noodle Restaurant,

Pork Liver and Meatball Congee

Noodles & Rice

Tsim Chai Noodles,

Beef Tendon & Wonton Noodle Soup

Barbecue

Parker Fresh Meat & B.B.Q.,

Roast Pork

Innovative Dish

Loon's Noodle House,

Crispy Rice with Salted Egg Yolk

Vegetarian

Bo Kong Vegetarian Restaurant,

Taro Hot Pot

Cold Appetizer

Shanghai River,

Jellied Pork

Chinese Dessert

Yan's Garden Restaurant,

Golden Pumpkin with Honeyed Walnut

Chinese Pastry

New Town Bakery & Restaurant,

Apple Tart

Soup

Wonton King,

Wine Chicken Soup

Fish

Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant,

Steamed Live Sablefish in Bamboo Steamers

Geoduck

Jade Dynasty Restaurant

Sauteed Geoduck with Mixed Vegetables

Scallop

Jade Dynasty Restaurant

Scallop-stuffed Zegua

Clam

VIP's Kitchen

Grilled Clams

Pork

Kirin Seafood Restaurant

Roast Suckling Pig

Beef

Flamingo Restaurant

Sauteed Beef with Chinese Long Bread

Lamb

Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant

Lamb Hot Pot

Chicken

Jade Seafood Restaurant

Clay-pot Chicken

Duck

Shanghai Wonderful Restaurant

Stuffed Duck

Squab

Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant

Roast Squab

Cheers,

Anne

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Northern/Shanghai-style Dim Sum

Lin Chinese Cuisine and TeaHouse,

Shanghai Style Juicy Dumplings

That's about the only winner I would agree with.

Did the judges taste these dishes themselves or were just voting based on the contenders' reputation? In almost all categories I have tasted better dishes elsewhere.

And since when is geoduck and scallops one and the same?

Even the Diners' Choice Award portion seems to have suffered from ballot-stuffing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have a friend from Beijing who's looking for an upscale Chinese restaurant with solid food in the Vancouver area. Unfortunately, while I have an extensive list of hole-in-the-wall Chinese places, I know exactly ZERO upscale places (Hey, I'm a student...)

I doesn't have to be expensive food, just good food in a stylish restaurant with good service. I was thinking of Imperial downtown, but my sources say that the food's not that great anymore. I don't get out to Richmond that often, but I expect that's where this kind of restaurant would be.

Anyone have any ideas? Even better would be restaurants that serve Beijing cuisine.

健啖家(kentan-ka):A hearty eater

He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

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Northern/Shanghai-style Dim Sum

Lin Chinese Cuisine and TeaHouse,

Shanghai Style Juicy Dumplings

That's about the only winner I would agree with.

Did the judges taste these dishes themselves or were just voting based on the contenders' reputation? In almost all categories I have tasted better dishes elsewhere.

And since when is geoduck and scallops one and the same?

Even the Diners' Choice Award portion seems to have suffered from ballot-stuffing.

Out of curiosity - which dim sum would you recommend over Shun Feng? I really liked them the one time I was there.

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I have a friend from Beijing who's looking for an upscale Chinese restaurant with solid food in the Vancouver area. Unfortunately, while I have an extensive list of hole-in-the-wall Chinese places, I know exactly ZERO upscale places (Hey, I'm a student...)

I doesn't have to be expensive food, just good food in a stylish restaurant with good service. I was thinking of Imperial downtown, but my sources say that the food's not that great anymore. I don't get out to Richmond that often, but I expect that's where this kind of restaurant would be.

Anyone have any ideas? Even better would be restaurants that serve Beijing cuisine.

In Richmond: Sea Harbour, Shanghai River, Kirin and Sun Sui Wah are solid choices. Shanghai River looks the fanciest of the lot IMO.

I would love to find a place that does Beijing Imperial Cuisine here (eg Tan Jia). I don't know of any, personally.

fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

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      The most common variety used in China is 红花椒 (hóng huā jiāo) or red Sichuan peppercorn, but often these are from provinces other than Sichuan, especially Gansu, Sichuan’s northern neighbour. They are sold all over China and, ground, are a key ingredient in “five-spice powder” mixes. They are essential in many Sichuan dishes where they contribute their numbing effect to Sichuan’s 麻辣 (má là), so-called ‘hot and numbing’ flavour. Actually the Chinese is ‘numbing and hot’. I’ve no idea why the order is reversed in translation, but it happens a lot – ‘hot and sour’ is actually ‘sour and hot’ in Chinese!
       
      The peppercorns are essential in dishes such as 麻婆豆腐 (má pó dòu fǔ) mapo tofu, 宫保鸡丁 (gōng bǎo jī dīng) Kung-po chicken, etc. They are also used in other Chinese regional cuisines, such as Hunan and Guizhou cuisines.

      Red Sichuan peppercorns can come from a number of Zanthoxylum varieties including Zanthoxylum simulans, Zanthoxylum bungeanum, Zanthoxylum schinifolium, etc.
       

      Red Sichuan Peppercorns
       
      Another, less common, variety is 青花椒 (qīng huā jiāo) green Sichuan peppercorn, Zanthoxylum armatum. These are also known as 藤椒 (téng jiāo). This grows all over Asia, from Pakistan to Japan and down to the countries of SE Asia. This variety is significantly more floral in taste and, at its freshest, smells strongly of lime peel. These are often used with fish, rabbit, frog etc. Unlike red peppercorns (usually), the green variety are often used in their un-dried state, but not often outside Sichuan.
       

      Green Sichuan Peppercorns
       

      Fresh Green Sichuan Peppercorns

      I strongly recommend NOT buying Sichuan peppercorns in supermarkets outside China. They lose their scent, flavour and numbing quality very rapidly. There are much better examples available on sale online. I have heard good things about The Mala Market in the USA, for example.

      I buy mine in small 30 gram / 1oz bags from a high turnover vendor. And that might last me a week. It’s better for me to restock regularly than to use stale peppercorns.

      Both red and green peppercorns are used in the preparation of flavouring oils, often labelled in English as 'Prickly Ash Oil'. 花椒油 (huā jiāo yóu) or 藤椒油 (téng jiāo yóu).
       

       
      The tree's leaves are also used in some dishes in Sichuan, but I've never seen them out of the provinces where they grow.
       
      A note on my use of ‘Sichuan’ rather than ‘Szechuan’.
       
      If you ever find yourself in Sichuan, don’t refer to the place as ‘Szechuan’. No one will have any idea what you mean!

      ‘Szechuan’ is the almost prehistoric transliteration of 四川, using the long discredited Wade-Giles romanization system. Thomas Wade was a British diplomat who spoke fluent Mandarin and Cantonese. After retiring as a diplomat, he was elected to the post of professor of Chinese at Cambridge University, becoming the first to hold that post. He had, however, no training in theoretical linguistics. Herbert Giles was his replacement. He (also a diplomat rather than an academic) completed a romanization system begun by Wade. This became popular in the late 19th century, mainly, I suggest, because there was no other!

      Unfortunately, both seem to have been a little hard of hearing. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked why the Chinese changed the name of their capital from Peking to Beijing. In fact, the name didn’t change at all. It had always been pronounced with /b/ rather than /p/ and /ʤ/ rather than /k/. The only thing which changed was the writing system.

      In 1958, China adopted Pinyin as the standard romanization, not to help dumb foreigners like me, but to help lower China’s historically high illiteracy rate. It worked very well indeed, Today, it is used in primary schools and in some shop or road signs etc., although street signs seldom, if ever, include the necessary tone markers without which it isn't very helpful.
       

      A local shopping mall. The correct pinyin (with tone markers) is 'dōng dū bǎi huò'.
       
      But pinyin's main use today is as the most popular input system for writing Chinese characters on computers and cell-phones. I use it in this way every day, as do most people. It is simpler and more accurate than older romanizations. I learned it in one afternoon.  I doubt anyone could have done that with Wade-Giles.
       
      Pinyin has been recognised for over 30 years as the official romanization by the International Standards Organization (ISO), the United Nations and, believe it or not, The United States of America, along with many others. Despite this recognition, old romanizations linger on, especially in America. Very few people in China know any other than pinyin. 四川 is  'sì chuān' in pinyin.
    • By liuzhou
      An eG member recently asked me by private message about mushrooms in China, so I thought I'd share some information here.

      This is what available in the markets and supermarkets in the winter months - i.e now. I'll update as the year goes by.
       
      FRESH FUNGI
       
      December sees the arrival of what most westerners deem to be the standard mushroom – the button mushroom (小蘑菇 xiǎo mó gū). Unlike in the west where they are available year round, here they only appear when in season, which is now. The season is relatively short, so I get stuck in.
       

       
      The standard mushroom for the locals is the one known in the west by its Japanese name, shiitake. They are available year round in the dried form, but for much of the year as fresh mushrooms. Known in Chinese as 香菇 (xiāng gū), which literally means “tasty mushroom”, these meaty babies are used in many dishes ranging from stir fries to hot pots.
       

       
      Second most common are the many varieties of oyster mushroom. The name comes from the majority of the species’ supposed resemblance to oysters, but as we are about to see the resemblance ain’t necessarily so.
       

       
      The picture above is of the common oyster mushroom, but the local shops aren’t common, so they have a couple of other similar but different varieties.
       
      Pleurotus geesteranus, 秀珍菇 (xiù zhēn gū) (below) are a particularly delicate version of the oyster mushroom family and usually used in soups and hot pots.
       

       
      凤尾菇 (fèng wěi gū), literally “Phoenix tail mushroom”, is a more robust, meaty variety which is more suitable for stir frying.
       

       
      Another member of the pleurotus family bears little resemblance to its cousins and even less to an oyster. This is pleurotus eryngii, known variously as king oyster mushroom, king trumpet mushroom or French horn mushroom or, in Chinese 杏鲍菇 (xìng bào gū). It is considerably larger and has little flavour or aroma when raw. When cooked, it develops typical mushroom flavours. This is one for longer cooking in hot pots or stews.
       

       
      One of my favourites, certainly for appearance are the clusters of shimeji mushrooms. Sometimes known in English as “brown beech mushrooms’ and in Chinese as 真姬菇 zhēn jī gū or 玉皇菇 yù huáng gū, these mushrooms should not be eaten raw as they have an unpleasantly bitter taste. This, however, largely disappears when they are cooked. They are used in stir fries and with seafood. Also, they can be used in soups and stews. When cooked alone, shimeji mushrooms can be sautéed whole, including the stem or stalk. There is also a white variety which is sometimes called 白玉 菇 bái yù gū.
       

       

       
      Next up we have the needle mushrooms. Known in Japanese as enoki, these are tiny headed, long stemmed mushrooms which come in two varieties – gold (金針菇 jīn zhēn gū) and silver (银针菇 yín zhēn gū)). They are very delicate, both in appearance and taste, and are usually added to hot pots.
       

       

       
      Then we have these fellows – tea tree mushrooms (茶树菇 chá shù gū). These I like. They take a bit of cooking as the stems are quite tough, so they are mainly used in stews and soups. But their meaty texture and distinct taste is excellent. These are also available dried.
       

       
      Then there are the delightfully named 鸡腿菇 jī tuǐ gū or “chicken leg mushrooms”. These are known in English as "shaggy ink caps". Only the very young, still white mushrooms are eaten, as mature specimens have a tendency to auto-deliquesce very rapidly, turning to black ‘ink’, hence the English name.
       

       
      Not in season now, but while I’m here, let me mention a couple of other mushrooms often found in the supermarkets. First, straw mushrooms (草菇 cǎo gū). Usually only found canned in western countries, they are available here fresh in the summer months. These are another favourite – usually braised with soy sauce – delicious! When out of season, they are also available canned here.
       

       
      Then there are the curiously named Pig Stomach Mushrooms (猪肚菇 zhū dù gū, Infundibulicybe gibba. These are another favourite. They make a lovely mushroom omelette. Also, a summer find.
       

       
      And finally, not a mushroom, but certainly a fungus and available fresh is the wood ear (木耳 mù ěr). It tastes of almost nothing, but is prized in Chinese cuisine for its crunchy texture. More usually sold dried, it is available fresh in the supermarkets now.
       

       
      Please note that where I have given Chinese names, these are the names most commonly around this part of China, but many variations do exist.
       
      Coming up next - the dried varieties available.
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