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Duvel

Tales from the Fragrant Harbour

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2 minutes ago, KennethT said:

Would you say that the kitchen of yours is of typical size in HK?  I've always heard that HK apartments are very small, but your kitchen is huge!  Do you live on Lantau all the time, or is it a weekend place?  If there all the time, what is your commute like - I assume you work in Central?

No, it's not normal. I am very provilidged to be the recipient of a very decent expat package. My apartment is very generous ...

 

On Friday, we will go to a local apparment. You will easily see the difference !

 

I live on Lantau, in Discovery Bay and commute to Central every day. Tomorrow I'll tell a bit more about my "hometown" and my day-to-day commute ...

 

 

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After some days with great Japanese food I need to have something more “homey” (is that the word ?). Unfortunately, most of German comfort food is not readily available in Hong Kong, so I need to go the extra mile …

Today will be “Leberkaese mit Bratkartoffeln” or “Livercheese with home fries”. The former contains neither liver nor cheese but can be best described as a cross-over between a meatloaf and a bologna sausage.

Emulsifying the meat & fat …

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In the form.

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Baking.

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Done !

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Slicing & frying.

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Final assembly (with pickle, Bavarian sweet mustard and curry ketchup) ...

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Hits the spot every time xD

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6 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

Are those Japanese curry cubes in the yellow package?

 

Yup. "Apply honey" curry ... Haven't had that one yet, so I bought the mild version (so my son can enjoy it as well).

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24 minutes ago, Duvel said:

Yup. "Apply honey" curry .

 

I can buy the same brand here in mainland China. Never have, though. I'm not a big fan of Japanese curry.

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Hi Duvel!  I'm glued to my computer.  

 

I, too, love eel.  I only have had it when I got sushi years ago.  The tempura looks so light and fresh.  And the origami is the perfect touch.

 

I got claustrophobic just looking at the train picture :o

 

On your flight, (remember I don't get out much) I've never seen a mineral water packaged like that.  What are the veggies next to the rice?  Do I spy soybeans under there?

 

Your kitchen is very very nice and your spices and your fridge are so organized!  You've put me to shame...I'm going to have to clean out my fridge today now.  

 

In the baking ingredient section, what is the red item with the blue item inserted in the top?  

 

Gourmet salted egg crisps????  Those sound awesome.

 

I spy my favorite cookbook--Deep Run Roots :)

 

I LOVE love love seeing restaurant/airplane food, but I also LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing home cooking!  Your mixer is awesome.  I've never seen one like that.  What kind of fat and meat do you use?  Is it similar in texture to Spam?  It looks delicious.  

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What they all said!  I am very impressed with that kitchen and with the well-packed organization.  Shelby already asked about the red-and-blue item, so I'll ask about the bowl in the refrigerator.  Is that the mixer bowl that was later put to use making the Leberkaese?  If so, do you usually store the bowl in the 'fridge, or was the photo taken when you already knew you needed a chilled bowl?

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Your kitchen and cupboard/storage space are much bigger than mine and I live in a house! A very small house.

 

Leberkäse is not hard to make I don't know why they don't have it on menu at German places in town. There are at least 2 German bars/restaurants in HK (I remember drinking beer at both). Schnurrbart on LKF has Schmalz, it doesn't take much longer to make Leberkäse. But I think it's better to make something like this yourself, when you are homesick or not.

 

I like it, too. It's prevalent in Bavaria, but especially Franconia.

 

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It's slightly different everywhere. Every butcher and bakery has their own seasoning.

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3 hours ago, Duvel said:

 

Yup. "Apply honey" curry ... Haven't had that one yet, so I bought the mild version (so my son can enjoy it as well).

 

Interesting. The only ones I've ever seen here are just called curry sauce mix although they do come in several heat levels.  We are rather fond of the stuff.

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 OK so you are German and your wife is Catalan but I see everything in your kitchen is labeled in English?  I found that interesting. 

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11 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

I can buy the same brand here in mainland China. Never have, though. I'm not a big fan of Japanese curry.

I think House food's curry the most popular brand in Japan. They have a myriad of variety as well as their own chain of restaurants exclusively cooking with their product. I like it a bit better than the SB brand ...

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10 hours ago, Shelby said:

Hi Duvel!  I'm glued to my computer.  

 

I, too, love eel.  I only have had it when I got sushi years ago.  The tempura looks so light and fresh.  And the origami is the perfect touch.

 

I got claustrophobic just looking at the train picture :o

 

On your flight, (remember I don't get out much) I've never seen a mineral water packaged like that.  What are the veggies next to the rice?  Do I spy soybeans under there?

 

 

Yes, the water is pretty standard. Easy to stack, probably. But it is not enough, merely a 150 mL. I always ask for more water and - if possible - bring an extra bottle from the lounge.

Next to the rice there were some carrots and green beans (kind of string beans, not soy). There was also a scallop, a shrimp and some sort of Kamaboko fishcake. All in all very healthy :)

 

10 hours ago, Shelby said:

Your kitchen is very very nice and your spices and your fridge are so organized!  You've put me to shame...I'm going to have to clean out my fridge today now.  

 

In the baking ingredient section, what is the red item with the blue item inserted in the top?  

 

Truth to be told especially my spice rack looked very chaotic for the first year. Then I found this cute metal dispensers and bought a labelling machine. Especially the latter is very addictive - for my wife at least - and by now everything get labelled :D

 

You mean this one ?

 

 

It's a plastic box full of sugar. The blue item is a spoon (kind of figurine, with feet on the bottom and a head on the top). Quite cute ...

 

10 hours ago, Shelby said:

Gourmet salted egg crisps????  Those sound awesome. 

 

They are very good and a popular item from Singapore. It's potato (sometimes also fried fish skin) dusted with freeze-dried salted duck egg yolk. Very savoury and very distinct taste. And veeeeeery addictive :$

 

11 hours ago, Shelby said:

I LOVE love love seeing restaurant/airplane food, but I also LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing home cooking!  Your mixer is awesome.  I've never seen one like that.  What kind of fat and meat do you use?  Is it similar in texture to Spam?  It looks delicious.  

 

It's a cheap Bosch, the basic German model actually. I always wanted a KitchenAid, but then again I am a cheapskate and the Bosch was with all the utensils about half the price of the KA. Go figure ...

 

Its fatty pork (neck / belly), minced. Traditionally a bit of beef is included, but I omit that because it's too expensive here. The texture is more like a cooked sausage, like Bologna or Mortadella. Span is not emulsified, so it's softer and more grainy. Leberkaese is very nice and truly comfort food (for me) ...

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10 hours ago, Smithy said:

What they all said!  I am very impressed with that kitchen and with the well-packed organization.  Shelby already asked about the red-and-blue item, so I'll ask about the bowl in the refrigerator.  Is that the mixer bowl that was later put to use making the Leberkaese?  If so, do you usually store the bowl in the 'fridge, or was the photo taken when you already knew you needed a chilled bowl?

 

The mixer bowl was specifically in the fridge for making the Leberkaese. If you want to emulsify the fat properly, everything has to be chilled, otherwise you risk to break the emulsion (and then you end up with leberkaese-flaovured meatloaf instead).

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8 hours ago, Anna N said:

 OK so you are German and your wife is Catalan but I see everything in your kitchen is labeled in English?  I found that interesting. 

 

When we met some 14 years ago, none of us could speak the others language. So we communicated in English. We went together to Japan shortly after and ever since then all our "joint aquistions" (books, magazines, DVDs) have been in English as well, so that became the language of our household. As we were living most of the time in Germany afterwards, my wife has acquired German language skills up to the point where she is very comfortable talking/writing to members of my family and has no issues navigating her way through Germany. I do understand quite some Catalan, but my active vocabulary is still limited.

Ever since our son Arnau was born, we adopted the "one parent - one language" policy, and she speaks only Catalan to him and me only German, which in turn also helped us with a lot of new vocabulary simply by listening to the other partner talking. However, we moved to HK when he was about two years old, and his Kindergarten is of course in English, so by now he understands German and Catalan perfectly, but always answers in English ...

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Good morning from Discovery Bay !

Again some background first: Discovery Bay is an artificial village. Supposedly it started as a project for a golf course in the eightees, which subsequently went bankrupt. An investor bought the land and developed it into some sort of residential resort. It is extremely popular with “younger” expat families due to an aboundance of Kindergartens and primary schools, playgrounds (literally every 500 m) and no cars. In DB only busses and golf carts are allowed, the latter limited to 500. As DB is located on an outer island (Lantau), prices per sqm are cheaper than in Central, which is offset by larger apartments. Many people here commute to Central, the financial & business district on Hong Kong island and so do I. It takes 30 min by ferry and it is 100% traffic jam free –very convenient in a chronically overcrowded city. As written, DB is the teasers it is “a nice place to live (for a while)” …

 I live a couple of hundred meters away from the ferry pier; it's a pleasant 7 minute stroll (except during typhoon or black rain). This morning the weather was fantastic, at around 33 oC. Humidiy is quite high. Luckily the ferry has a very efficient a/c …

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Hong Kong could probably best described as an archipelago distributed around the peninsula of Kowloon. Lieke DB there are many bays featuring little beaches and green Hinterland.

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The ferry is quite comfy, albeit in rush hour rather full. You are guaranteed to have a seat though. It costs 40 HKD one way ...

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As you might have already noticed, I do like to have a nice lunch and a nice dinner, so on usual days I skip breakfast. What I always have on the 30 min ferry ride to Central is a bottle of cold strong green tea.

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Today I was feeling like a having a little snack, so I bought a sweet roll with bacon and egg.

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Hong Kong people would either have congee wioth fried dough sticks or the popular “western” breakfast options as depicted below.

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They fall in the category “sai chaan”, a term coined for a happy cross-over cuisine that developed in Hong Kong and could best be described as the original Hong Kong-style Western kitchen. The macaroni noodles (upper left) are especially popular – they are even a breakfast option at the local McDonald’s!

 

Arriving in Central, it's another 8-10 min walk from the pier, mostly through a/c shopping centers. I work in Jardine House, here in the background with the round windows. It has a local nickname, that I won't mention as I work there myself :$

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Edited by Duvel Clarification (log)
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Hong Kong has one of the broadest wealth distribution in the world. On one side you have the highest squaremeter rental costs anywhere on this planet, at the same time the current minimum wage was just raised to 35 HKD/hour, which is about 4.5 USD. This means HK needs quite a high volume of low cost dining options. And while we come back to quite a mix of basic & very fine food in the next days I’d like to show you what the average local HK family probably eats.

There are a couple of local fast food chains that cater to the local taste and provide inexpensive and tasty meals. Amongst places like Fairwood and Café de Corail, the chain MX is especially popular. It belongs to the largest catering group Maxim’s, that runs high-end dining establishments like the Peking Garden (with excellent Peking duck), Dim Sum places like Maxim’s City Hall (where I take you next week) and Maxim’s bakeries, well-known for their birthday cakes. At the low end is the inexpensive MX, where I headed today.

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You can order electronically & pay via “Octopus” (a pay-as-you-go card that is linked to the public transport system, but functions also as an electronic wallet). Then get your receipt, queue and try to find a place to sit.

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To elaborate on the “sai chaan” theme I ordered one of HK’s comfort food choices par excellence: Baked pork chop rice (焗豬扒飯). It’s a deep-fried pork shop smothered in a sweet’n’sour gravy with pineapple, peas, onions, then placed over boiled rice and broiled. Cheese is sometimes added. It’s savoury, sweet and filling. Together with a lime soda for 49 HKD, a bit more than 6 USD.

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I skipped dessert, but this place is a popular choice for all thinks coconut, mango and durian. I think all of their options would have more calories than the pork chop, though. Maybe another day …

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I would like a commute like yours @Duvel. I found this translation of HKD to USD so $5.12 US, and certainly not more than one would pay here to insure and maintain a car and fuel it on an average commute. Plus no traffic to deal with and beautiful views as you arrive to and from work. Not so sure about the typhoons, though. That would certainly be rough.

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12 minutes ago, Thanks for the Crepes said:

I would like a commute like yours @Duvel. I found this translation of HKD to USD so $5.12 US, and certainly not more than one would pay here to insure and maintain a car and fuel it on an average commute. Plus no traffic to deal with and beautiful views as you arrive to and from work. Not so sure about the typhoons, though. That would certainly be rough.

 

It is very convenient indeed. You can even sleep on the ferry ...

 

And no worries for rough sea: for typhoons / black rain there is a comprehensive forecast system. Both phenomena are announced on a scale of increasing severity, and if typhoon warning is expected to change from level 3 to level 8 or heavy rain is going up from amber to black rain, public transport (including ferries, subways, busses) is suspended. This is done with a pre-warning time of about three hours so you can make it home in time.

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Your commute to a major city is something in my husband's dreams! We live 22 miles outside of Manhattan but he has to take a 59 minute train ride before catching the ferry to lower Manhattan. It must be so nice to have the mix of the suburbs and city without a huge amount of traffic and or switching methods of commuting. 

 

   Absolutely gorgeous pictures! 

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Loving this.

 

*trying to figure out what the nickname for your work place is......*  :D

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21 minutes ago, Shelby said:

Loving this.

 

*trying to figure out what the nickname for your work place is......*  :D

 Read through this  and all will be revealed.

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I loved the octopus card... so convenient.  I wish we had something like that in NYC.

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24 minutes ago, Anna N said:

 Read through this  and all will be revealed.

@Anna N, research well done. Great article, thanks !

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Today's weather didn't keep. A view from my office window over the Victoria harbor ...

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On my way back to the ferry pier I have to cross the IFC (Internnational Finance Center) with its shopping mall. Kid's entertainment ...

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A local chain called city'super has a store just next ot the exit I need to take. Very convenient (you may need to enlarge the pictures to compare prices)

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Fruit section with giant melon ...

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Soy milk & tofu ...

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City'super usually has some promotion going on. Right now it's Korean weeks ...

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Caviar & salmon section (I never buy here ...)

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Cheese (only when special offers discount the stuff by 50% or more)

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Sushi & Sashimi (excellent and affordable)

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Fresh fish (decent)

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Oysters. You can buy them and eat them at the counter behind ...

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Prepared shellfish and lobster ...

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Meat. All imported. And Wagyu, of course ...

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Sake section. I buy here very often ...

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Beer section. With special focus on local beers ...

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HK condiments (need to enlarge).

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Panorama view.

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Baking section. Excellent choices ....

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Kimchi and other Tsukemono ...

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Rice.

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Baked goods.

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I purchased the Uji Matcha Danish and the Edamame Pesto bun. The latter was not good ...

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Poultry.

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More meat ...

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Wine. Yeah !!! (just faaar to expensive)

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And cold cuts.

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Out of the IFC, and on my way to the ferry I have a nice view over the Kowloon skyline ...

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The ferry pier in central.

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The beer bay is as popular as it is dangerous. Why not another beer at tropical outside temperatures with neighbours and friends before heading home ? It has gotten late now and then ...

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Even more dangerous is the snack bar next to it. Chicken skewers with sweet soy sauce and drunken tummies are a very troublesome combination.

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The ferry ...

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And in order to maintain a timely ferry schedule I buy my beer at City'super :D

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Edited by Duvel (log)
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thank you for so many pictures of the food store.

 

I enjoy seeing different stores in different countries.

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Catalan diner tonight: “Mongetes amb choriço” or “Beans with chorizo”. Beans soaked, then cooked in the rice cooker (brown rice setting, two cycles) with sofregit, pork belly and smoked polish sausage (in lieu of another smoked pork product). Fried pieces of choriço added with their oil and cooked together for a couple of minutes more to harmonize the flavors.

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Served with bread, a couple of tapas and home-made chicken croquettes.

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Typically I would have a nice red with that, but at >30 oC, a chilled Riesling did the job much better. “Riesling No. 1” by Markus Schneider, Ellerstadt. My last bottle …

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      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 Anglicised 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. 
       
      This cabbage is also frequently pickled and becomes  known as 酸菜 (Mand: suān cài; Cant: syun1 coi3) meaning 'sour vegetable', although this term is also used to refer to pickled mustard greens.
       

      Pickled cabbage.
       
    • 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 Mullinix18
      I'm thinking about starting a blog featuring the recipes of antoine Carême that I've translated from 1700s French? No English versions of his works exist and his work is hard to find, even though he is the greatest chef who ever lived. After I get through his works I'd add menon, la Varenne, and other hard to find, but historically important masters of French cuisine. 
    • 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 Tara Middleton
      Alright so as of a few months ago, I decided to take an impromptu trip to Europe--mostly unplanned but with several priorities set in mind: find the best food and locate the most game-changing ice cream spots on the grounds of each city I sought out for. One of the greatest, most architecturally unique and divine cities I have visited thus far has gotta be Vienna, Austria. But what in the heck is there to eat over there?! (you might ask). 'Cause I sure as hell didn't know. So, I desperately reached out to a local Viennese friend of mine, who knows and understands my avid passion for all things edible, and she immediately shot back some must-have food dishes. Doing a bit of research beforehand, I knew I had to try the classic "Kasekreiner". Please forgive my German if I spelled that wrong. But no matter how you say it- say it with passion, because passion is just about all I felt when I ate it. Translated: it basically means cheese sausage. Honestly, what is there not to love about those two words. Even if that's not necessarily your go-to, do me a favor and give it a shot. Trust me, you won't regret it. A classic Austrian pork sausage with pockets of melty cheese, stuffed into a crisp French Baguette. No ketchup necessary (...and as an American, that's saying a lot). YUM. Best spot to try out this one-of-a-kind treat?! Bitzinger bei der Albertina – Würstelstand. Now here's a shot of me with my one true love in front of this classic Viennese green-domed building-- Karlskirche. Now, go check it.
       
       

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