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 a free account.

4 Days in Guilin


liuzhou
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have just returned home after four days (three nights) in Guilin. This was a business trip, so no exotic tales this time. Just food. Anyway, despite its reputation, Guilin is actually a rather dull city for the most part - anything interesting lies outside the city in the surrounding countryside.

 

I was staying in the far east of the city away from the rip-off tourist hotels and restaurants and spent my time with local people eating in normal restaurants.

 

I arrived in Wednesday just in time for lunch.

 

LUNCH WEDNESDAY

 

We started with the obligatory oil tea.

 

oil tea.jpg

Oil Tea

 

omelette.thumb.jpg.d46fb159de8e7a6c3ea8204405d78fd6.jpg

Omelette with Chinese Chives

 

1038591259_mixedveg.thumb.jpg.07b2db5c8b109a300c8a69aa076c99a8.jpg

Stir-fried Mixed Vegetables

 

2082098538_sourbeef.thumb.jpg.228c53d90835c32c44056bebc5d5087e.jpg

Sour Beef with Pickled Chillies

 

cakes.thumb.jpg.81a2c4f27625c7e9b10851d8097e66f1.jpg

Cakes*

 

kongxincai.thumb.jpg.86779034d9b2642d98de5551d9ddaf5b.jpg

Morning Glory / Water Spinach**

 

* I asked what the cakes were but they got rather coy when it came to details. It seems these are unique to this restaurant.

 

** The Chinese name is 空心菜 kōng xīn cài, which literally means 'empty heart vegetable', describing the hollow stems.

 

 

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 9

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DINNER WEDNESDAY

 

I had dinner in a restaurant next door to the lunch venue earlier.

 

We started with a meatball and poached egg soup. This is the first time I've ever encountered poached eggs in a Chinese restaurant or home. Friends have always been surprised and intrigued by the concept. Just a couple of weeks ago I was asked to teach a young friend how to do them.

 

1248984290_poachedegg.thumb.jpg.11bd6a4dcf1fa34ff125f928d16be2a3.jpg

Poached Egg

 

seafood.thumb.jpg.2996a2e104a294618e37446f51a808b0.jpg

Grilled seafood - Shrimp and Green-lipped Mussels with Garlic

 

34585426_roastchicken.thumb.jpg.47d1768538ba774fba4f2b25d6267ea5.jpg

Roast Chicken - the House Specialty

 

tofu.thumb.jpg.7e972c931c977d31ccc8a3756ee9c1a5.jpg

Spicy Tofu but not Mapo flavours.

 

639734081_fishnoodles.thumb.jpg.490e1e96020571f1a7443eac9f4ffa49.jpg

Steamed Fish with Noodles

 

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 9
  • Delicious 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thursday, I had a non-descript breakfast in the hotel. Boiled eggs and steamed bread.

 

Lunch was in a jiaozi café near the offices of my clients.

 

LUNCH THURSDAY

 

jiaozi.thumb.jpg.dc6bdacb5323f5e3fa864a5e6932684a.jpg

L - Scrambled Egg and Chinese Chive Jiaozi; R - Pork and Shiitake Jiaozi

 

1592904384_cabbagejiaozi.thumb.jpg.3f02b02202c357c94e15538bccc90cc5.jpg

Pork and Cabbage Jiaozi

 

1992438229_smallplates.thumb.jpg.c2fdfd7c7d3d1b14bc7c3e3e147b436a.jpg

L - Mixed Wood Ear Fungus; Top R - Chinese Sea Grass; Lower R - Century Eggs in Spicy Sauce.

 

 

  • Like 9

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DINNER THURSDAY

 

This I had in a tiny two table 快餐 kuài cān place half way between my client's offices and my hotel. Real office workers' food. 快餐 kuài cān means 'fast food'.

 

658193341_lionshead.thumb.jpg.92e3d9eedd27a141981bd91c9c0c3b8d.jpg

Lion's Head Meatballs, Morning Glory, Chicken soup (in pot top-L),  Pickles and Chilli

Cheap, Delicious and Sustaining.

 

 

  • Like 10

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

FRIDAY BREAKFAST

 

I took myself to a local breakfast noodle place. Well, actually it sells noodles all day.

 

2060895977_breakfastbar.thumb.jpg.c823090b79716939b362c558043f3c26.jpg

 

I skipped past the ubiquitous Guilin Rice Noodles, the city's speciality and chose 猪粉 zhū fěn, or 'pig noodles'.

 

126905461_pignoodles.thumb.jpg.d4f03c2a293b20b6df3316db62723a3e.jpg

 

This would not be most people's first, or even last, choice, but it suited me just fine. Rice noodles in broth with bits of pig: regular meat, liver and various unidentified frying objects. Delicious.

 

While I was eating, I was visited by this young lady, who was more interested in my camera than me!

sisie.thumb.jpg.6bad806deb565d6bab4e17be3a1b0534.jpg

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 8

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

 Love the dumplings...never heard of them filled with egg.

 

It's not common, but I've seen before. Definitely a "thing". They can be filled with anything. I've even seen ice-cream jiaozi!

  • Like 3
  • Haha 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

FRIDAY LUNCH

 

For lunch an associate and I headed to the local university and a nearby street full of small restaurants mainly aimed at the student market.

 

1926071506_foodstreet.thumb.jpg.3b104603fdace40184dcbb2383e86f1d.jpg

 

We were on a quest to a tiny restaurant called 老陕西 (lǎo Shǎn xī). Old Shaanxi, Shaanxi being the province which is home to the Terracotta Warriors near Xi'an.

 

Alongside students, we ate Liangpi (凉皮 (liáng pí)) or 'cold skin. This is a type of noodle made from beans rather than rice or wheat. A Shaanxi special.

 

liangpi.thumb.jpg.5e019b055e8dafb61a8940fbbdb1962d.jpg

 

We also had a couple of roujiamo, but I had a photography failure, which I'm going to blame on the poor light, so no picture of them. My Chinese companion, who had never eaten this food before, was convinced we had not ordered enough, but ate his jiamo and was unable to finish the liangpi.

 

Here is roujiamo from another restaurant. The ones we ate were near identical.

 

20190405_151736.thumb.jpg.f8835ef12ab726ba48c41419ae72f109.jpg

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 7

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DINNER FRIDAY

 

Dinner on Friday was more of a family affair.  One of the people in my client company and the one who introduced me to the company in the first place, is also an old friend. So, I had dinner with her, her husband and just-teenage daughter as well as another friend.

 

We chose this place which was conveniently right next door to my hotel. A "hot ticket" in town I was told and I believe it. It is an up-market Sichuan hotpot restaurant.

 

We arrived at 7 pm and it was just beginning to fill up. Bright young things. Family groups. Loving couples. All sorts. By 8 it was rocking!

 

restaurant.thumb.jpg.45ec99878751808bc826a507c0473bf8.jpg

 

ceiling.thumb.jpg.baebb322cffac4c1cf5275ff2d8a14fe.jpg

 

3gens.thumb.jpg.5a793f3e51a9fc44e57e942ed1769490.jpg

3 Generations

 

Of course, we weren't here to discuss the clientèle, but to get our fill. As soon as we were seated we were presented with this.

 

hotpot.thumb.jpg.e8497c2d7a7464d9cdf64607d53600e2.jpg

 

Even the non-spicy side would be considered spicy by many. The spicy side is incendiary.

We then collected things on sticks of our choice and parked them on the convenient stick parking thing at the side of out table.

 

sticks3.thumb.jpg.f2e4f37c8b817364cc013e1cd98c03fd.jpg

Batch 1 - far from the last!

 

then they go into the boiling dual stocks.

 

sticks2.thumb.jpg.a55392e5c352a0ea25e80aa7d1ee7111.jpg

 

sticks1.thumb.jpg.540d7f5675224d6c24612d80f5f7c395.jpg

 

bits.thumb.jpg.fe07b6a56d9176741529b19781d4102b.jpg

Pig Offal on Sticks

 

So you want to know what's on the sticks? Are you sure?

 

Various bits of pig offal - intestines, liver, bits neither you or the pig knew it had. Best not to know! Here are a few. By this time we were living in a micro-climate of chilli-laden steam so the pictures aren't as clear as I would like.

 

594103372_porkclelery.thumb.jpg.8b475d15d4c73debf718bfc3c15ded2b.jpg

Celery wrapped in pork.

 

enoki.thumb.jpg.b5c2c37a702f5dd23c16320b4b66ffb8.jpg

Enoki mushrooms wrapped in pork

 

483121203_quailegg.thumb.jpg.59ca6ee13b62adf276a06fc190c60a88.jpg

Quail egg on a stick

 

chilli.thumb.jpg.8dd47b0c060ee1b57a06dad0abf4c98f.jpg

 

In case things aren't hot enough for you. Pickled chilli wrapped in pork and cooked in the hot side of the pot.

 

1485537139_chilliandpigblood.thumb.jpg.9ef74f1288fb593177e673193e832a99.jpg

Pickled chilli stick and pig's blood.

 

This we washed down with the local beer, Liquan. This particular line, 1998, was brewed to commemorate Bill Clinton's visit to the city in the said year.

liquan.thumb.jpg.c95b3205126ad7c8caa323a057033f65.jpg

 

Finally, we were stuffed and requested the bill. This is calculated by the number of sticks you have in your stick bin. The various skewered items were on one, two or three sticks depending on price. Non-skewered items such as the pig's blood were priced by colour-coded plates - Sushi conveyor belt style.

 

bill.thumb.jpg.f59b5414d67436acd57d219e2f484ea5.jpg

 

And so to bed. Next morning, I woke with chilli and Sichuan peppercorn still oozing from every pore! But a lovely meal.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 7
  • Delicious 2

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

SATURDAY LUNCH

 

After another hotel breakfast, lunch was at the "another friend"'s home with the same group of people at last night's hotpot plus "another friend"'s husband. "Another friend"'s mother-in-law made the statutory oil tea while "another friend" cooked lunch. A very typical, simple, but delicious family lunch.

 

meal.thumb.jpg.7aebb82cbbb22020b8738ece041d811b.jpg

 

egg.thumb.jpg.8aad5ccc54e11451d0e7fad18150a3dc.jpg

Scrambled egg with garlic scapes

 

eggplant.thumb.jpg.b05f54850c6462cc78a40ffe570e462f.jpg

Eggplant with pork and bacon

 

tofu.thumb.jpg.3689983acd759d65ab4484abd617403c.jpg

Bean curd skin with ham

 

wosun.thumb.jpg.cb7554f851323eec5d5c4e691594d201.jpg

Celtuce with heavily smoked ham - my favourite

 

All with rice. Then we ate oranges from mother-in-law's orange groves.

 

Then I set off for the station and home.

 

  • Like 8

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very enjoyable journey. One thing I really love is the how the names of certain items like that vegetable translates to "empty heart" - an apt description. I mean if you have various similar leafy stemmed green vegetables, why not simplify things? 

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for that! I am intrigued by the roujiamo. Looked it up and I see that some places, it's made with beef, and the beef is actually put inside raw dough, which is then cooked.  Would you speak to the filling and prep method for these?

 

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, Xi'an has a large Muslim minority population which, of course do not eat pork, but instead use mutton or beef. Beef jiamo are common there. I've never heard of the beef in raw dough, though. There is more information and a recipe for beef jiamo on this topic.

  • Like 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It may or may not come as a surprise, but I am curious about the oil tea. How is it made? You seemed to imply that this was a standard dish. Since  I love everything  that contains the word 'tea', I  was curious about this.

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Naftal said:

It may or may not come as a surprise, but I am curious about the oil tea. How is it made? You seemed to imply that this was a standard dish. Since  I love everything  that contains the word 'tea', I  was curious about this.

 

There is more information on the oil tea in this post from the Munching with the Miao topic.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      It sometimes seems likes every town in China has its own special take on noodles. Here in Liuzhou, Guangxi the local dish is Luosifen (螺蛳粉 luó sī fěn).
       
      It is a dish of rice noodles served in a very spicy stock made from the local river snails and pig bones which are stewed for hours with black cardamom, fennel seed, dried tangerine peel, cassia bark, cloves, pepper, bay leaf, licorice root, sand ginger, and star anise. Various pickled vegetables, dried tofu skin, fresh green vegetables, peanuts and loads of chilli are then usually added. Few restaurants ever reveal their precise recipe, so this is tentative. Luosifen is only really eaten in small restaurants and roadside stalls. I've never heard of anyone making it at home.
       
      In order to promote tourism to the city, the local government organised a food festival featuring an event named "10,000 people eat luosifen together." (In Chinese 10,000 often just means "many".)
       
      10,000 people (or a lot of people anyway) gathered at Liuzhou International Convention and Exhibition Centre for the grand Liuzhou luosifen eat-in. Well, they gathered in front of the centre – the actual centre is a bleak, unfinished, deserted shell of a building. I disguised myself as a noodle and joined them. 10,001.
       

       
      The vast majority of the 10,000 were students from the local colleges who patiently and happily lined up to be seated. Hey, mix students and free food – of course they are happy.
       

       
      Each table was equipped with a basket containing bottled water, a thermos flask of hot water, paper bowls, tissues etc. And most importantly, a bunch of Luosifen caps. These read “万人同品螺蛳粉” which means “10,000 people together enjoy luosifen”
       

       
      Yep, that is the soup pot! 15 meters in diameter and holding eleven tons of stock. Full of snails and pork bones, spices etc. Chefs delicately added ingredients to achieve the precise, subtle taste required.
       

       
      Noodles were distributed, soup added and dried ingredients incorporated then there was the sound of 10,000 people slurping.
       

      Surrounding the luosifen eating area were several stalls selling different goodies. Lamb kebabs (羊肉串) seemed most popular, but there was all sorts of food. Here are few of the delights on offer.
       

      Whole roast lamb or roast chicken
       

      Lamb Kebabs
       

      Kebab spice mix – Cumin, chilli powder, salt and MSG
       

      Kebab stall
       

      Crab
       

      Different crab
       

      Sweet sticky rice balls
       

      Things on sticks
       

      Grilled scorpions
       

      Pig bones and bits
       

      Snails
       
      And much more.
       
      To be honest, it wasn’t the best luosifen I’ve ever eaten, but it was wasn’t the worst. Especially when you consider the number they were catering for. But it was a lot of fun. Which was the point.
       
    • By liuzhou
      Chinese food must be among the most famous in the world. Yet, at the same time, the most misunderstood.

      I feel sure (hope) that most people here know that American-Chinese cuisine, British-Chinese cuisine, Indian-Chinese cuisine etc are, in huge ways, very different from Chinese-Chinese cuisine and each other. That's not what I want to discuss.

      Yet, every day I still come across utter nonsense on YouTube videos and Facebook about the "real" Chinese cuisine, even from ethnically Chinese people (who have often never been in China). Sorry YouTube "influencers", but sprinkling soy sauce or 5-spice powder on your cornflakes does not make them Chinese!
       
      So what is the "authentic" Chinese food? Well, like any question about China, there are several answers. It is not surprising that a country larger than western Europe should have more than one typical culinary style. Then, we must distinguish between what you may be served in a large hotel dining room, a small local restaurant, a street market stall or in a Chinese family's home.

      That said, in this topic, I want to attempt to debunk some of the more prevalent myths. Not trying to start World War III.

      When I moved to China from the UK 25 years ago, I had my preconceptions. They were all wrong. Sweet and sour pork with egg fried rice was reported to be the second favourite dish in Britain, and had, of course, to be preceded by a plate of prawn/shrimp crackers. All washed down with a lager or three.

      Yet, in that quarter of a century, I've seldom seen a prawn cracker. And egg fried rice is usually eaten as a quick dish on its own, not usually as an accompaniment to main courses. Every menu featured a starter of prawn/shrimp toast which I have never seen in mainland China - just once in Hong Kong.

      But first, one myth needs to be dispelled. The starving Chinese! When I was a child I was encouraged to eat the particularly nasty bits on the plate by being told that the starving Chinese would lap them up. My suggestion that we could post it to them never went down too well. At that time (the late fifties) there was indeed a terrible famine in China (almost entirely manmade (Maomade)).

      When I first arrived in China, it was after having lived in Soviet Russia and I expected to see the same long lines of people queuing up to buy nothing very much in particular. Instead, on my first visit to a market (in Hunan Province), I was confronted with a wider range of vegetables, seafood, meat and assorted unidentified frying objects than I have ever seen anywhere else. And it was so cheap I couldn't convert to UK pounds or any other useful currency.
       
      I'm going to start with some of the simpler issues - later it may get ugly!

      1. Chinese people eat everything with chopsticks.
       

       
      No, they don't! Most things, yes, but spoons are also commonly used in informal situations. I recently had lunch in a university canteen. It has various stations selling different items. I found myself by the fried rice stall and ordered some Yangzhou fried rice. Nearly all the students and faculty sitting near me were having the same.

      I was using my chopsticks to shovel the food in, when I noticed that I was the only one doing so. Everyone else was using spoons. On investigating, I was told that the lunch break is so short at only two-and-a-half hours that everyone wants to eat quickly and rush off for their compulsory siesta.
       
      I've also seen claims that people eat soup with chopsticks. Nonsense. While people use chopsticks to pick out choice morsels from the broth, they will drink the soup by lifting their bowl to their mouths like cups. They ain't dumb!

      Anyway, with that very mild beginning, I'll head off and think which on my long list will be next.

      Thanks to @KennethT for advice re American-Chinese food.
       
       
    • By liuzhou
      Your wish is my command! Sometimes! A lot of what I say here, I will have already said in scattered topics across the forums, but I guess it's useful to bring it all into one place.
       
      First, I want to say that China uses literally thousands of herbs. But not in their food. Most herbs are used medicinally in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), often in their dried form. Some of the more common are sold in supermarkets, but more often in pharmacies or small specialist stores. I also often see people on the streets with baskets of unidentified greenery for sale - but not for dinner. The same applies to spices, although more spices are used in a culinary setting than are herbs.
       
      I’ll start with Sichuan peppercorns as these are what prompted @Tropicalsenior to suggest the topic.
       
      1. Sichuan Peppercorns
       
      Sichuan peppercorns are neither pepper nor, thank the heavens, c@rn! Nor are they necessarily from Sichuan. They are actually the seed husks of one of a number of small trees in the genus Zanthoxylum and are related to the citrus family.  The ‘Sichuan’ name in English comes from their copious use in Sichuan cuisine, but not necessarily where they are grown. Known in Chinese as 花椒 (huājiāo), literally ‘flower pepper’’, they are also known as ‘prickly ash’ and, less often, as ‘rattan pepper’.
      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 Duvel
      In these challenging times, a full summer vacation is not an easy task. For the last 1.5 years we have been mostly at home with the clear plan to visit Catalonia (or more precise my wife’s family) latest this summer. And it looked good for a while. Unfortunately, the recent rise in case numbers in Spain have resulted in …
       
      OK, let’s skip this part. Long story short - my wife and me are fully vaccinated, as are >90% of the people we care about in Catalonia. After some discussion (after all, Germans tend to prefer to be on the safe side of things) we simply fueled up the car, got each a test (for the transit through France) and started to drive …
       
      After a leisurely 11h drive we arrived at a small fishing town somewhat north of Barcelona around 3.00am. We unloaded the car and my wife an the little one went straight to bed. 
       

       


      I found an expired beer in the elsewise pretty empty fridge and enjoyed the cool breeze on the terrace. Holidays, here we come …
       

    • 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.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...