Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

liuzhou

Sugar in China

Recommended Posts

On ‎10‎/‎11‎/‎2016 at 11:34 PM, andiesenji said:

By the way.  I make my own "icing sugar" by putting granulated sugar in a blender (or my Thermomix) and blending it until it is a powder.

That way there are no "additives" which are common in commercial XXXXX sugar in the U.S.

 

I use my Cuisinart for the same purpose.

 

Now if any one could tell me how to deal with rock solid "brown sugar", it would be appreciated.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I use my Cuisinart for the same purpose.

 

Now if any one could tell me how to deal with rock solid "brown sugar", it would be appreciated.

 

 

The microwave for a short time in a lidded glass casserole might help. If that didn't do it, I might sprinkle a little water and try again. Eventually it should work to loosen it up again, I think.

 

I have pounded brown sugar in the plastic bag with the flat side of my cast aluminum meat mallet to good effect, but that was not for the "rock solid" you describe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was sitting on an express coach this evening returning home and reading on the internet via my cell phone that Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for Literature, when from somewhere in the lost part of my mind came the realisation that I know how sugar is used in Chinese cooking - or at least one example. What the connection between that, Dylan or Nobel prizes is remains a mystery.

 

Red-cooked dishes use rock sugar! How could I have forgotten.For those who don't know, it is a Shanghai style of cooking and is basically braising in soy sauce and SUGAR with ginger, star anise, and tangerine or orange peel. Pork belly is the usual choice, but I've also had duck, fish and even vegetable dishes. The technique is known in Chinese as 红烧 hóng shāo.which means red-braised.

When I got home I chatted with a friend in Shanghai. She is from Hunan originally, but has lived there for many years and is married to a Shanghai man. She tells me that she uses granulated sugar rather than rock sugar in the dish.

She also mentioned that she uses sugar in her tomato and scrambled egg dish (番茄炒蛋  fān qié chǎo dàn) - the dish every Chinese kid learns to cook first.

Oh! Just remembered. The last time I saw Dylan was in Shanghai! Maybe that was the subconscious connection.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Now if any one could tell me how to deal with rock solid "brown sugar", it would be appreciated.

 

 

If you don't need it immediately, put a slice of bread in with it, and re-seal the jar or bag. That's what I do with mine, and it works beautifully. By the next day, your sugar (unless you have a very large container) should be soft and moist again. If it isn't, remove the now-dry piece of bread and replace it with another. In my experience two successive pieces of bread will remoisten up to 4kg of sugar (about 4 1/2 lbs). 

 

A piece of apple is another suggestion I've seen in the past, but I find it makes the sugar taste like apple. Not that this is inherently a bad thing, but I prefer to choose which flavors I introduce. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

I was sitting on an express coach this evening returning home and reading on the internet via my cell phone that Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for Literature, when from somewhere in the lost part of my mind came the realisation that I know how sugar is used in Chinese cooking - or at least one example. What the connection between that, Dylan or Nobel prizes is remains a mystery.

 

Red-cooked dishes use rock sugar! How could I have forgotten.For those who don't know, it is a Shanghai style of cooking and is basically braising in soy sauce and SUGAR with ginger, star anise, and tangerine or orange peel. Pork belly is the usual choice, but I've also had duck, fish and even vegetable dishes. The technique is known in Chinese as 红烧 hóng shāo.which means red-braised.

When I got home I chatted with a friend in Shanghai. She is from Hunan originally, but has lived there for many years and is married to a Shanghai man. She tells me that she uses granulated sugar rather than rock sugar in the dish.

She also mentioned that she uses sugar in her tomato and scrambled egg dish (番茄炒蛋  fān qié chǎo dàn) - the dish every Chinese kid learns to cook first.

Oh! Just remembered. The last time I saw Dylan was in Shanghai! Maybe that was the subconscious connection.

Perhaps I am channeling you! My first thought for breakfast this morning was some tomato and scrambled egg that was just after I read the headlines and checked the date to make sure it wasn't April Fool's Day.  I seem to remember many times when a recipe for the tomato and scrambled egg calls for a pinch or two of sugar.   Tomatoes themselves often benefit from a few grains of the sweet stuff.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I use my Cuisinart for the same purpose.

 

Now if any one could tell me how to deal with rock solid "brown sugar", it would be appreciated.

 

If you have time, put it in a container that seals tightly.  Put a saucer or a piece of foil on the top of the sugar block.

Wet a clean sponge, squeeze till it is just damp and set it on the saucer or foil. put the cover on tightly (one of the reasons I use Cambro containers or the click and seal type)  the next day it will be fine.

 

You can soften small amounts in the microwave but only do 5-10 seconds at a time, it can go from rock to lava quickly.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your mention of a friend originally from Hunan triggered a memory for me.

When I lived in Reseda, CA in the 1980s, there was a restaurant, Hunan House, just two blocks from my home and I often walked up there - going in thru the back door because it was a lot shorter than going around the block to the front.

 

Two of the sons had been patients of the orthopedic surgeon for whom I worked so we also knew each other that way.

And in fact, it was in their kitchen that I learned about steaming mature ginger to get it tender enough to candy or crystallize.

 

On one occasion I was walking through the kitchen and saw Peter's grandmother with a large basket of fresh lotus.

She was removing the seed to candy them - in "rock sugar syrup" for Chinese New Year.  They did a lot of "feast day" specials in the restaurant, including the Christian holidays - they were Catholic and had escaped China just before the "revolution" in 1949, helped by the Church and they had been dedicated to paying back for 30+ years.  

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, andiesenji said:

Your mention of a friend originally from Hunan triggered a memory for me.

When I lived in Reseda, CA in the 1980s, there was a restaurant, Hunan House, just two blocks from my home and I often walked up there - going in thru the back door because it was a lot shorter than going around the block to the front.

 

Two of the sons had been patients of the orthopedic surgeon for whom I worked so we also knew each other that way.

And in fact, it was in their kitchen that I learned about steaming mature ginger to get it tender enough to candy or crystallize.

 

On one occasion I was walking through the kitchen and saw Peter's grandmother with a large basket of fresh lotus.

She was removing the seed to candy them - in "rock sugar syrup" for Chinese New Year.  They did a lot of "feast day" specials in the restaurant, including the Christian holidays - they were Catholic and had escaped China just before the "revolution" in 1949, helped by the Church and they had been dedicated to paying back for 30+ years.  


Interesting. I lived in Hunan for a couple of years and frequently revisit. Just a couple of months ago, as documented here.

By lotus and your mention of seeds, I take it you mean lotus pods as opposed to the much more common lotus roots or leaves.

 

I wrote about lotus seeds a while back here, but I've never seen them being candied. I know they are candied; I've just never seen.

Anyway, I think I prefer them un-candied, just as they come out the pod. Unfortunately the season is over.

I just have a very un-sweet tooth.!

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, liuzhou said:


Interesting. I lived in Hunan for a couple of years and frequently revisit. Just a couple of months ago, as documented here.

By lotus and your mention of seeds, I take it you mean lotus pods as opposed to the much more common lotus roots or leaves.

 

I wrote about lotus seeds a while back here, but I've never seen them being candied. I know they are candied; I've just never seen.

Anyway, I think I prefer them un-candied, just as they come out the pod. Unfortunately the season is over.

I just have a very un-sweet tooth.!

Here in the U.S. I think they make the candied seeds to include in little gift boxes of candied fruits and nuts for the lunar new year.

I know there are lychees and plums, melon and coconut, ginger and mandarin orange, pineapple and the lotus seeds. I think there has to be eight.  I have one of the "candy boxes" someone gave me years ago and it has 8 sections.  

 

The lotus pods were grown by a "specialty grower"  who was in the '80s, down near Fallbrook, CA and Peter or his brother Ji would drive down to buy them. The grower actually grew them for florists who used the dried pods in flower arrangements or wreathes, but grew some without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides for the ethnic communities who used them for food.  

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, andiesenji said:

Here in the U.S. I think they make the candied seeds to include in little gift boxes of candied fruits and nuts for the lunar new year.

I know there are lychees and plums, melon and coconut, ginger and mandarin orange, pineapple and the lotus seeds. I think there has to be eight.  I have one of the "candy boxes" someone gave me years ago and it has 8 sections.  

 

The lotus pods were grown by a "specialty grower"  who was in the '80s, down near Fallbrook, CA and Peter or his brother Ji would drive down to buy them. The grower actually grew them for florists who used the dried pods in flower arrangements or wreathes, but grew some without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides for the ethnic communities who used them for food.  

 

Yes, eight would be right. Eight is the luckiest number in Chinese thinking. I've seen the dried pods used that way here, too.
 

It is interesting that people give candied seeds and nuts. Round here they prefer them au naturel.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few years ago, there was a sudden craze for coffee drinking in China. Coffee bars opened left, right and centre; shops appeared selling more and more esoteric equipment for getting the perfect beverage; coffee bean shops appeared, also selling the relevant equipment.

 

The only problem was that no one knew what good coffee should taste like. Most of the coffee bars were awful, although you did get the entertainment of watching the staff taking about 45 minutes to produce each cup of mud. I'm sure all those coffee makers have been deposited at the back of cupboards never to be troubled again. There are only a few coffee bars remaining and few places selling beans - roasted or un-roasted.

Of course the coffee needed sugar - usually a lot to take away the taste of bitter maltreated beans. At first, the height of elegance was to use cube sugar (方糖  fāng táng)) and that is still available.

 

cube.jpg

 

The equivalent of around ¥12/500g

 

Of course, that wasn't good enough for some people. The brain dead decided in their wisdom that they really needed special "coffee sugar" and so it was supplied. One local department store, notorious for its insanely high prices for stuff you can buy elsewhere at a fraction of the price, still carries stuff like this.

coffee sugar.jpg

 

The white boxes on the left cost ¥170 for 900g (¥94/500g). It's the same old sugar you can buy for 1/10th of the price in any supermarket. No shortage of fools with too much money in the world.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I found in one of our Asian stores that I haven't seen elsewhere is cubed brown sugar.  My husband used to use it when he made a coffee with rum as a change from our usual Danish coffee.  I like to keep it on hand for when I only need a tablespoon or so of brown sugar or when my bag of brown sugar has solidified. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Anna N said:

One thing I found in one of our Asian stores that I haven't seen elsewhere is cubed brown sugar.  My husband used to use it when he made a coffee with rum as a change from our usual Danish coffee.  I like to keep it on hand for when I only need a tablespoon or so of brown sugar or when my bag of brown sugar has solidified. 

 

Interesting. That's something that I've never seen. Do you know where it comes from? Picture of the packaging?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

Interesting. That's something that I've never seen. Do you know where it comes from? Picture of the packaging?

Sorry. Packaging long gone. I keep the cubes in a jar in the cupboard. Will take a look next time I am in an Asian store.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Anna N said:

One thing I found in one of our Asian stores that I haven't seen elsewhere is cubed brown sugar.  My husband used to use it when he made a coffee with rum as a change from our usual Danish coffee.  I like to keep it on hand for when I only need a tablespoon or so of brown sugar or when my bag of brown sugar has solidified. 

Is it in a box with a parrot on it?  

La Perruche is carried at all the Hispanic markets here.  And in the health food stores. It comes in "rough-cut" cubes and "small" cubes.  The Middle Eastern market has a couple of different brands - one is made in Turkey.

You can also get cubed Demerara sugar cubes - Roland is a common name and is in all the Asian shops, the India shop and one supermarket (Von's) has in in with the teas as well as in the sugar aisle.  

Another brand is Gilway Demerara sugar.

Saint Louis Comptoir Du Sud raw sugar cubes from Martinique are sold online in a 1-kilo box.

And even Domino has a product that in "gourmet shops" - Williams Sonoma used to have it.  Comes in a brown box and I can't remember the product name offhand. 

Amazon carries the La Perruche and the Roland products.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The package I have from the Middle Eastern store is a Golchin product - they produce a lot of food items, spices and such.

 

This link is to a page of images of sugar products.  They produce sugar cubes with saffron, with cinnamon, and with cardamom.

Golchin sugar products.

 

The folks there have told me that these sugars are taken with tea - holding the piece of sugar between the teeth while sipping the tea.  

(They also carry an impressive number of teas that are popular in the middle east)


Edited by andiesenji (log)
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have Taikoo brown sugar cubes in my cupboard.  I use it for Old Fashioneds. Makes a much tastier drink than white cubes.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One other common Chinese dish is tomatoes, cut into wedges and then sprinkled with sugar. Served immediately, you get the crunch of the sugar against the tomatoes but if left for 15 minutes, the sugar draws out the juices and you get a tomato syrup. In the west, tomatoes are treated like a vegetable and paired with salt but in China, it's more often thought of as a fruit and paired with sugar.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Shalmanese said:

One other common Chinese dish is tomatoes, cut into wedges and then sprinkled with sugar. Served immediately, you get the crunch of the sugar against the tomatoes but if left for 15 minutes, the sugar draws out the juices and you get a tomato syrup. In the west, tomatoes are treated like a vegetable and paired with salt but in China, it's more often thought of as a fruit and paired with sugar.

This is also done in the U.S. south, at least is used to be - when I was growing up there in the 1940s.

In western Kentucky, one of the "summer salads" was similar to the "Tuscan" Panzanella - just toasted bread was used instead of a rustic bread.  The tomatoes were cut into chunks, sugared, often with brown sugar, and set aside to "weep" - just before serving the toast cubes - about 1 inch, were tossed with the tomatoes and chopped scallions were sprinkled over the top.

It was delicious.

I remember the first time I was served Panzanella - and I mentioned the tomato salad, they didn't believe it.  

 

During the winter, canned tomatoes were often layered with saltines, sprinkled with sugar and baked.  This dish was called "scalloped tomatoes" and I loved it.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Andie, I might need to try doing that. I bet it would also be good this time of year, with the last of the fresh tomatoes.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Shalmanese said:

One other common Chinese dish is tomatoes, cut into wedges and then sprinkled with sugar. Served immediately, you get the crunch of the sugar against the tomatoes but if left for 15 minutes, the sugar draws out the juices and you get a tomato syrup. In the west, tomatoes are treated like a vegetable and paired with salt but in China, it's more often thought of as a fruit and paired with sugar.

 

I've been living in China for twenty years and have never seen that. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but it isn't common.

 

Regular tomatoes are always sold in markets and supermarkets in the vegetable areas, However, cherry tomatoes are sold by the fruit vendors.

 

BTW, as I'm sure you know, tomatoes are fruit however they are sold or served!

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do, however, remember making some chips/French fries for a bunch of Chinese friends and then finding them happily sprinkling them with sugar!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

I've been living in China for twenty years and have never seen that. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but it isn't common.

 

Regular tomatoes are always sold in markets and supermarkets in the vegetable areas, However, cherry tomatoes are sold by the fruit vendors.

 

BTW, as I'm sure you know, tomatoes are fruit however they are sold or served!

 

The Chinese name for the dish is 糖拌西红柿. Might be more of a Northern thing or maybe it's one of those homestyle snacks that everyone knows how to make but they wouldn't think to serve or talk about it to a guest?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Shalmanese said:

 

The Chinese name for the dish is 糖拌西红柿. Might be more of a Northern thing or maybe it's one of those homestyle snacks that everyone knows how to make but they wouldn't think to serve or talk about it to a guest?

 

You may be right about it being a Northern thing. As to it being something everyone knows, I have asked a few Chinese friends and no one has heard of it.

I do, however, vaguely recall one drunken night with a group of friends in Beijing in 1997, sitting at a sidewalk table outside one of the many cheap but simple restaurants. At another table, another foreigner was trying to order tomato soup (not an easy thing to find) and his awful Chinese was interfering with his ordering ability (as was the alcohol). I remember that he was served something which in retrospect could have been your tomato dish. It certainly wasn't soup. (Soup and sugar are both "tang", only the tones are different - tāng and táng.)

 

The only other thing I remember about that night is that there were two waitresses who were beautiful identical twins, something I didn't realise at the time. I though it was just one girl who worked very hard. Apparently, I proposed to them both, still thinking it was only one, and both humoured me by accepting. That's sweet.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      Perhaps the food-related question I get asked most through my blog is “What's it like for vegetarians and vegans in China. The same question came up recently on another thread, so I put this together. Hope it's useful. It would also, be great to hear other people's experience and solutions.
       
      For the sake of typing convenience I’m going to conflate 'vegetarians and vegan' into just 'vegetarian' except where strictly relevant.
      First a declaration of non-interest. I am very carnivorous, but I have known vegetarians who have passed through China, some staying only a few weeks, others staying for years.
       
      Being vegetarian in China is a complicated issue. In some ways, China is probably one of the best countries in which to be vegetarian. In other ways, it is one of the worst.
       
      I spent a couple of years in Gorbachev-era Russia and saw the empty supermarkets and markets. I saw people line up for hours to buy a bit of bread.. So, when I first came to China, I kind of expected the same. Instead, the first market I visited astounded me. The place was piled high with food, including around 30 different types of tofu, countless varieties of steamed buns and flat breads and scores of different vegetables, both fresh and preserved, most of which I didn't recognise. And so cheap I could hardly convert into any western currency.
      If you are able to self-cater then China is heaven for vegetarians. For short term visitors dependent on restaurants or street food, the story is very different.
       
      Despite the perception of a Buddhist tradition (not that strong, actually), very few Chinese are vegetarian and many just do not understand the concept. Explaining in a restaurant that you don't eat meat is no guarantee that you won't be served meat.
       
      Meat is seen in China as a status symbol. If you are rich, you eat more meat.And everyone knows all foreigners are rich, so of course they eat meat! Meat eating is very much on the rise as China gets more rich - even to the extent of worrying many economists, food scientists etc. who fear the demand is pushing up prices and is environmentally dangerous. But that's another issue. Obesity is also more and more of a problem.
      Banquet meals as served in large hotels and banquet dedicated restaurants will typically have a lot more meat dishes than a smaller family restaurant. Also the amount of meat in any dish will be greater in the banquet style places.
       
      Traditional Chinese cooking is/was very vegetable orientated. I still see my neighbours come home from the market with their catch of greenery every morning. However, whereas meat wasn't the central component of dinner, it was used almost as a condiment or seasoning. Your stir fried tofu dish may come with a scattering of ground pork on top, for example. This will not usually be mentioned on the menu.
      Simple stir fried vegetables are often cooked in lard (pig fat) to 'improve' the flavour.
       
      Another problem is that the Chinese word for meat (肉), when used on its own refers to pork. Other meats are specified, eg (beef) is 牛肉, literally cattle meat. What this means is that when you say you don't eat meat, they often think you mean you don't eat pork (something they do understand from the Chinese Muslim community), so they rush off to the kitchen and cook you up some stir fried chicken! I've actually heard a waitress saying to someone that chicken isn't meat. Also, few Chinese wait staff or cooks seem to know that ham is pig meat. I have also had a waitress argue ferociously with me that the unasked for ham in a dish of egg fried rice wasn't meat.
       
      Also, Chinese restaurant dishes are often given have really flowery, poetic names which tell you nothing of the contents. Chinese speakers have to ask. One dish on my local restaurant menu reads “Maternal Grandmother's Fluttering Fragrance.” It is, of course, spicy pork ribs!
      Away from the tourist places, where you probably don't want to be eating anyway, very few restaurants will have translations of any sort. Even the best places' translations will be indecipherable. I have been in restaurants where they have supplied an “English menu”, but if I didn't know Chinese would have been unable to order anything. It was gibberish.
       
      To go back to Buddhism and Taoism, it is a mistake to assume that genuine followers of either (or more usually a mix of the two) are necessarily vegetarian. Many Chinese Buddhists are not. In fact, the Dalai Lama states in his autobiography that he is not vegetarian. It would be very difficult to survive in Tibet on a vegetarian diet.
       
      There are vegetarian restaurants in many places (although the ones around where I am never seem to last more than six months). In the larger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai they are more easily findable.
       
      Curiously, many of these restaurants make a point of emulating meat dishes. The menu reads like any meat using restaurant, but the “meat” is made from vegetable substitutes (often wheat gluten or konjac based).
       
      To be continued
    • By liuzhou
      While there have been other Chinese vegetable topics in the past, few of them were illustrated And some which were have lost those images in various "upgrades".
       
      What I plan to do is photograph every vegetable I see and say what it is, if I know. However, this is a formidable task so it'll take time. The problem is that so many vegetables go under many different Chinese names and English names adopted from one or other Chinese language, too. For example, I know four different words for 'potato' and know there are more. And there are multiple regional preference in nomenclature. Most of what you will see will be vegetables from supermarkets, where I can see the Chinese labelling. In "farmer's" or wet markets, there is no labelling and although, If I ask, different traders will have different names for the same vegetable. Many a time I've been supplied a name, but been unable to find any reference to it from Mr Google or his Chinese counterparts. Or if I find the Chinese, can't find an accepted translation so have to translate literally.
       
      Also, there is the problem that most of the names which are used in the English speaking countries have, for historical reasons, been adopted from Cantonese, whereas 90% of Chinese speak Mandarin (普通话 pǔ tōng huà). But I will do my best to supply as many alternative names as I can find. I shall also attempt to give Chinese names in simplified Chinese characters as used throughout mainland China and then in  traditional Chinese characters,  now mainly only used in Hong Kong, Taiwan and among much of the Chinese diaspora. If I only give one version, that means they are the same in Simp and Trad.
       
      I'll try to do at least one a day. Until I collapse under the weight of vegetation.
       
      Please, if you know any other names for any of these, chip in. Also, please point out any errors of mine.
       
      I'll start with bok choy/choy. This is and alternatives such as  pak choi or pok choi are Anglised attempts at the Cantonese pronunciation of the Mandarin! However in Cantonese it is more often 紹菜; Jyutping: siu6 coi3. In Chinese it is 白菜. Mandarin Pinyin 'bái cài'. This literally means 'white vegetable' but really just means 'cabbage' and of course there are many forms of cabbage. Merely asking for bái cài in many a Chinese store or restaurant will be met with blank stares and requests to clarify. From here on I'm just going to translate 白菜 as 'cabbage'.

      So, here we go.


       
      Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis
       
      This is what you may be served if you just ask for baicai. Or maybe not. In much of China it is 大白菜 dà bái cài meaning 'big cabbage'. In English, usually known as Napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage, celery cabbage, Chinese leaf, etc.  In Chinese, alternative names include 结球白菜 / 結球白菜 ( jié qiú bái cài ), literally knotted ball cabbage, but there are many more. 
       
      more soon
    • By liuzhou
      It is possibly not well-known that China has some wonderful hams, up there with the best that Spain can offer. This lack of wide -knowledge, at least in the USA, is mainly down to regulations forbidding their importation. However, for travellers to China and those in  places with less restrictive policies, here are some of the best.
       
      This article from the WSJ is a good introduction to one of the best - Xuanwei Ham 宣威火腿  (xuān wēi huǒ tuǐ) from Yunnan province.
      This Ingredient Makes Everything Better
      I can usually obtain Xuanwei ham here around the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival, but I also have a good friend who lives in Yunnan who sends me regular supplies. The article compares it very favourably with jamon iberico, a sentiment with which I heartily agree.



      Xuanwei Ham
       

      Xuanwei Ham
       
      more coming soon.
       
       
    • By liuzhou
      I have just returned home to China from an almost two week trip to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. To get there I first travelled by train to the provincial capital, Nanning. The local airport only does domestic flights, whereas there are direct flights from Nanning. The flight time required that I stay overnight at the Aviation Hotel in Nanning, from which there is a regular direct bus to the airport.
       
      The trip to Nanning is about an hour and a half and passes through some nice karst scenery.
       
       
      After booking into the hotel, I set off for my favourite Nanning eating destination. Zhongshan Night market is a well known spot and very popular with the locals. I had forgotten that it was a local holiday - the place is always busy, but that night it was exceptionally so.
       

       

       
      It consists of one long street with hundreds of stalls and is basically a seafood market, although there are a few stalls selling alternatives.
       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       
      Filled myself with seafood (and some of that blood sausage above), slept soundly and, next morning, flew to Ho Chi Minh City.
       

       

       
      The rest of my trip can be seen here:
       
       
    • By Lisa Shock
      Years ago, when I visited Tokyo, I ate in a small but fascinating restaurant called 'It's Vegetable' which is now, unfortunately, closed. The chef was from Taiwan, and he made Buddhist vegetarian and vegan dishes that resembled meat. During my visit, several monks wearing robes stopped in to eat dinner. The dishes were pretty amazing. I understood some of them, like using seitan to mimic chicken in stir fry dishes, others used tofu products like yuba, but, others were complex and obviously difficult. One very notable dish we enjoyed was a large 'fish' fillet designed to serve several people. It had a 'skin' made of carefully layered 'scales' cut from nori and attached to the surface. Inside, the white 'flesh' flaked and tasted much like a mild fish. Anyway, apparently Buddhist fake meat meals are very popular in Taiwan and many places, cheap through to fine dining serve them. Yes, if I worked on it for a while, I could probably refine one or two dishes on my own, but, I am wondering if there's a Modernist Cuisine type cookbook for skillfully making these mock meats from scratch? (I have heard that some items are commercially made and available frozen there, much like soy-based burgers are in the US.) I am willing to try almost any offering, even if it's entirely in Chinese. And, I know how to use remailers to purchase regional items from the various local retailers worldwide who do not ship to the US.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×