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liuzhou

Sugar in China

68 posts in this topic

Thank you dcarch and liuzhou for those photos and video.  I felt like a child again looking at it all.  Wonderful.  Magical.

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Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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21 hours ago, Darienne said:

Thank you dcarch and liuzhou for those photos and video.  I felt like a child again looking at it all.  Wonderful.  Magical.

 

I also saw this:

 

 

dcarch

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dcarch: the video was wonderful.  I notice that the older man was more careful in his rolling process than the younger.  Perhaps  pride in a job well done for the older man...simply a job to endure for the younger.  Or perhaps I am way  off base.

I love how the hands and fingers know what to do and how to do it.  I am an artisan in a totally different medium and after some years of practice, my fingers do the work without my brain having to be very engaged.  And after many years I am still fascinated by the process.

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Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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Fascinating! I kept watching the linked videos on YouTube long enough to see that the fine threads are hand pulled sugar syrup done like Chinese hand pulled noodles, the process/recipe is at least 2,000 years old and is also popular in Japan. I never, in my wildest imagination, have ever conceived that you could make a cotton candy-like product without the machine. Very cool!

 

If you are interested, wait for about the third auto-load video where the sugar puller describes in English what he's doing, and the exponential math that makes it work. He makes it look so easy, but I'm sure from reading the I Will Never Again ... thread, that any attempt by me would probably result in a trip to the emergency room before I ever got to the pulling step. :/ :laugh:


> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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On 14/10/2016 at 6:27 PM, Anna N said:

One thing I found in one of our Asian stores that I haven't seen elsewhere is cubed brown sugar.

 

Brown sugar cubes are available here, but are imported (and so, expensive). The Perruche brand is available online. I've never seen in supermarkets, though.

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I have put together a kind of summary of the Chinese sugars which may be available in your local Asian store, along with their Chinese names in both Simplified and Traditional Chinese (although most are the same). You can save, print or share this image if you find it useful. Note the English is my explanation rather than a real translation of the Chinese. For the literal meanings see up thread.

 

Sugar.jpg

 


Edited by liuzhou typo (log)
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What an interesting thread! I used to work in a Chinese grocery when I was a student, and some of those sugars I haven't seen since! I remember the owner's wife sometimes making flowers of tofu with natural rock sugar syrup as a Friday night treat.

We have some of those sugar types in Japan, but not as many.

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On 13/10/2016 at 11:15 AM, andiesenji said:

I have some antique sugar "snips" and graters - inherited from my great grandmother from the days when sugar was sold in "loaves" (actually cones).  It was snipped off in chunks and then pounded in a mortar if a lot was needed.  If only a little was needed, they just grated what they needed off the loaf or cone.  sugar was expensive and kept locked up and used sparingly.

 

Came across this fascinating website today. Lots of culinary (and other) gadgets from history.

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On 11/26/2016 at 2:47 AM, liuzhou said:

I came across these in a local supermarket today.

 

sugar.jpg

 

E-jiao (阿胶 ē jiāo) is a form of gelatin made from the skin of donkeys and used in traditional Chinese medicine.

 

Hee haw.

I could see that the other two might have culinary uses, but I'm not sure about donkey skin gelatin sugar. What would someone do with it? Would the sugar be medicinal, or is it the equivalent of all the recipes that hide vegetables in kid-friendly foods?


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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18 minutes ago, MelissaH said:

I could see that the other two might have culinary uses, but I'm not sure about donkey skin gelatin sugar. What would someone do with it? Would the sugar be medicinal, or is it the equivalent of all the recipes that hide vegetables in kid-friendly foods?

 

Sugar is considered to have medical benefits in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), but so does almost everything else!

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On 03/12/2016 at 10:55 AM, liuzhou said:

 

Came across this fascinating website today. Lots of culinary (and other) gadgets from history.

 

Oh dear, another rabbit hole. That's the problem with working at my computer all day...all of my worst temptations are just a tab away. 

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Fat=flavor

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On 10/10/2016 at 8:24 PM, MelissaH said:

Does the sugar cane juice get fermented (and distilled) or is it always drunk fresh?

 

It's a long time since you asked me this, but I did ask around at the time and all I got was blank stares. However, yesterday afternoon I was talking with a colleague who works on a wine magazine that I contribute to and she mentioned sugarcane. She comes from a small rural area also here in Guangxi. So, I asked her your question. She didn't know either.

Later last night,she called me and said she has asked her father and he said he remembered his father, her grandfather, talking about it. From grandfather's story, it seems sugarcane juice was fermented and distilled in the Mao era. At that time, there wasn't enough rice to eat, never mind making rice wine, China's tipple of choice. So, instead they used the sugarcane.

 

The resulting brew looked more like beer with a frothy head on top. He recalled that it "wasn't tasty at all", but with nothing else available, they had to make do. After Mao's death and the end of the cultural revolution, sugarcane wine apparently disappeared.

I then put a general message on WeChat, China's top social media platform, to all my friends there asking for any information. Only one friend replied (I do have more than one friend!), suggesting that her sister had heard it is still made in Sichuan province. Details were scant.

I then searched in Chinese on Baidu, a Chinese Google clone, for "sugarcane wine in Sichuan". And found one forum conversation (in Chinese) which pretty much echoed what the first friend's grandfather had said.

So, it seems the answer that it was once used to make "wine" but perhaps no longer. I do have a couple of  Sichuan friends who may know more, but I can't contact them for another week. They are away for the holiday period which ends this coming weekend.. May get back to you !

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Interesting - does it have a noticeably different smell or flavor?

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