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.

China Food Myths


liuzhou
 Share

Recommended Posts

18 hours ago, Naftal said:

Is the "laoganma" brand of sauces really as popular as I am led to believe?

I was in Chengdu (and Leshan) almost exactly a year ago, and in the aiport and train stations, Laoganma ads were EVERYWHERE.

 

But the couple grinding their own chili crisp outside the wet market in Chengdu made a far better product :D 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, to echo @liuzhou, since it was brought up - in all the food I ate in Sichuan, nothing had that Canto-tasting "wok hei" and pretty much every dish I ate wouldn't require a high-octane burner.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

11 - Chinese Fried Rice contains Eggs, Soy Sauce and Oyster Sauce

 

63052545_seafoodfriedrice.thumb.jpg.7200d3c05c7c719726271c6ad768493e.jpg

 

Well, except when they don't, which is often.


Egg Fried Rice (蛋炒饭 - dàn chǎo fàn) is basically fried rice with egg as the protein. Shrimp Fried Rice (虾子炒饭 xiā zǐ chǎo fàn) is basically fried rice with shrimp as the protein. Chicken Fried Rice (鸡炒饭 - jī chǎo fàn) is basically fried rice with chicken as the protein. Etc. The latter two are unusual. There is no chicken in the shrimp fried rice and no egg in the chicken fried rice. One protein is normal.


Normally, the egg fried rice is the only one to contain egg. It is the most popular, especially among home cooks. It doesn't usually contain soy sauce. Same for the others. I've never heard of oyster sauce in fried rice until, wanting to do some research, I looked for fried rice recipes on YouTube. What a mess they are! The worst was the guy who fried egg for about five minutes, added rice and pre-cooked shrimp and continued frying for about 20 minutes, then threw in a pint of soy sauce  and a bottle of oyster sauce. It must have been inedible.


Egg fried rice is nearly always served as a very simple, cheap and filling dish in its own right and not as an accompaniment to other dishes like it's an alternative to steamed rice. It is available in many smaller restaurants, college and factory canteens, etc. Less often in more formal restaurants.


More upmarket restaurants will usually offer Yangzhou Fried Rice (扬州炒饭 - yáng zhōu chǎo fàn), a more luxurious dish originating in the city of Yangzhou in eastern China's Jiangsu Province, although there are also those who claim it's from Guangdong, home of Cantonese cuisine.


Yangzhou fried rice normally contains ham, preferably Jinhua ham (金华火腿 - jīn huá huǒ tuǐ) from neighbouring Zhejiang Province, although cheaper places and more distant locations often substitute barbecued pork (char siu) or Chinese sausages. In addition, it will have more vegetables than egg fried rice which often only has scallions. Shrimp or other seafood items are often featured with the ham, but rarely eggs. Never soy sauce and oyster sauce is unthinkable!

 

I have often been served Yangzhou fried rice at banquets, but it comes as a prized dish. You don't go slapping your sweet and sour dayglo pork all over it!


Many western restaurants seem to see fried rice as a dumping ground for any ingredient they have too much of. I'm happy to do this at home for myself, but it is not what you will normally find in Chinese restaurants or most family homes. Fried rice is treated with respect.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 6
  • Thanks 2

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, liuzhou said:

Many western restaurants seem to see fried rice as a dumping ground for any ingredient they have too much of. I'm happy to do this at home for myself, but it is not what you will normally find in Chinese restaurants or most family homes. Fried rice is treated with respect.

 

True here...Wu's even has a golden fry rice - what makes it golden is beyond me.  But I make fried rice often at home, often for lunch and it's one of the reasons I make extra rice when making rice.  And I make it as you describe - zero oyster sauce for sure (FWIW, I never saw oyster sauce used in recipes in books I have, and the less said about looking at you tube recipes, the better), and occasionally a smidge of soy (though if I'm making a Thai-style fried rice, I'll use fish sauce). One protein is my standard, and  diced leftover vegetables or peas from the freezer, and scallions are my go tos.

 

By the way, is there a standard rice to use - that is, do you use medium-grain or is a long grain preferred?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, weinoo said:

By the way, is there a standard rice to use - that is, do you use medium-grain or is a long grain preferred?

 

I only buy Thai rice, but restaurants and my friends and neighbours use what I'd describe as medium to long grain.

  • Like 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, liuzhou said:

 

I only buy Thai rice, but restaurants and my friends and neighbours use what I'd describe as medium to long grain.

That fried rice must be nice and fragrant - I will def try this.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am curious to know if it is usual to cook the egg(s) separately and then add it back in as strips of protein or whether it is incorporated into the rice from raw. Maybe you could walk us through how you make fried rice. 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Anna N said:

I am curious to know if it is usual to cook the egg(s) separately and then add it back in as strips of protein or whether it is incorporated into the rice from raw. Maybe you could walk us through how you make fried rice. 

I'm sure he will, and I'm no @liuzhou, but from the start I learned to make the egg into a sort of omelet in the wok first, remove it, proceed with fried rice, and add egg back at end.

  • Like 1

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, weinoo said:

I'm sure he will, and I'm no @liuzhou, but from the start I learned to make the egg into a sort of omelet in the wok first, remove it, proceed with fried rice, and add egg back at end.

Indeed. That would be my instinct but I have seen cases in which the egg is added raw and combined into the rice which may account for the golden/yellow rice.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Anna N said:

I am curious to know if it is usual to cook the egg(s) separately and then add it back in as strips of protein or whether it is incorporated into the rice from raw. Maybe you could walk us through how you make fried rice. 

 

I certainly cook the eggs first, but stop when they are still relatively liquid, remove them, then add them back at the last minute. For a simple egg fried rice I would then fry the aromatics (garlic, ginger and in my case chilli) then add the rice. Only when I deem the rice to be done, do I reintroduce the egg and perhaps scallions or chives and some sesame oil and immediately take off the heat. The egg and alliums cook in the residual heat.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Anna N said:

I have seen cases in which the egg is added raw and combined into the rice which may account for the golden/yellow rice.

 

Yes! The Chinese words for golden and yellow are often used together. It describes the egg.

  • Like 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

I certainly cook the eggs first, but stop when they are still relatively liquid, remove them, then add them back at the last minute. For a simple egg fried rice I would then fry the aromatics (garlic, ginger and in my case chilli) then add the rice. Only when I deem the rice to be done, do I reintroduce the egg and perhaps scallions or chives and some sesame oil and immediately take off the heat. The egg and alliums cook in the residual heat.

Thank you. Quite fascinating because it is neither a fully coked omelette nor raw egg! 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

Yes! The Chinese words for golden and yellow are often used together. It describes the egg.

 

This must be Wu's then. They also have (though looking at the current menu, "had") the famous one you alluded to...Yangzhou.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the record our crappy take outs call it Young Chow fried rice.  Is that acceptable or just another offensive lazy American translation? 

 

I cook the egg first, scrambled w a bit of soy, ribbon/slice, add back at the end.   I've tried the other way and its ruined the dish making it gloppy.  As for sc, never tried oyster (doesn't sound appealing) but soy, ponzu, sweet or non sweet chili sc, fish sc, teriyaki, whatever we're feeling.  For a little kick love the Laoganma (aka Angry Lady) chili oil products.   There's no wrong way at home.

That wasn't chicken

Link to comment
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, Eatmywords said:

For the record our crappy take outs call it Young Chow fried rice.  Is that acceptable or just another offensive lazy American translation? 

 

I cook the egg first, scrambled w a bit of soy, ribbon/slice, add back at the end.   I've tried the other way and its ruined the dish making it gloppy.  As for sc, never tried oyster (doesn't sound appealing) but soy, ponzu, sweet or non sweet chili sc, fish sc, teriyaki, whatever we're feeling.  For a little kick love the Laoganma (aka Angry Lady) chili oil products.   There's no wrong way at home.

 

There are several ways to transliterate Chinese. I always use Pinyin, the offical Chinese transliteration as accepted by the United Nations, US Government, International Standards Organisation etc.

You seem to add a number of Japanese and South-East Asian ingredients (ponzu, sweet chilli sauce, fish sauce, teriyaki) which is fine, but this is about Chinese food.

I've never heard of anyone using Laoganma with fried rice and it doesn't mean anything like Angry Lady. Laoganma means Godmother.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

 

I certainly cook the eggs first, but stop when they are still relatively liquid, remove them, then add them back at the last minute. For a simple egg fried rice I would then fry the aromatics (garlic, ginger and in my case chilli) then add the rice. Only when I deem the rice to be done, do I reintroduce the egg and perhaps scallions or chives and some sesame oil and immediately take off the heat. The egg and alliums cook in the residual heat.

How do you get a semi-liquid egg out of the wok? I cook my egg first in the wok, like a thinnish pancake, remove as soon as it is removable,, cut into pieces, then add back at the very end.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Katie Meadow said:

How do you get a semi-liquid egg out of the wok? I cook my egg first in the wok, like a thinnish pancake, remove as soon as it is removable,, cut into pieces, then add back at the very end.

 

I use a wok scoop. I'd say the egg is around 75% cooked, but not fully. Next time, I'll take photograph.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

There are several ways to transliterate Chinese. I always use Pinyin, the offical Chinese transliteration as accepted by the United Nations, US Government, International Standards Organisation etc.

You seem to add a number of Japanese and South-East Asian ingredients (ponzu, sweet chilli sauce, fish sauce, teriyaki) which is fine, but this is about Chinese food.

I've never heard of anyone using Laoganma with fried rice and it doesn't mean anything like Angry Lady. Laoganma means Godmother.

Yes, I'm not trying to make it to code (which I have).  Does incorping a non traditional condiment or sauce make it no longer 'Chinese' and just 'fried rice'?  Debatable, like every thing else.      

 

I didn't coin "Angry Lady".  I imagine someone came up with it to identify the products when there was little or no English on the label years ago.  Nice to know the translation, thx!

 

image.png.82d766e5df5c687a8d5a9ee63bd1895d.png  

 

 

 

  • Like 1

That wasn't chicken

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12.  Beijng Duck and Hoisin Sauce?

 

1992731492_BeijingDuck(1).thumb.jpg.a8e28417bf5db628b7ed34370818f7cf.jpg

 

Although Beijing duck (北京烤鸭) may be served with hoisin sauce (海鲜酱) in some restaurants (mainly American), it is not traditional. Hoisin sauce is Cantonese, as is the word 'hoisin' (in Mandarin, it's 'haixian'). When the first Beijing duck restaurant opened in Beijing in the Ming dynasty some 600 years ago, Guangdong (home to Cantonese food) was several weeks or months away from what is now the capital and its cuisine hardly known to the northerners.
Beijing's oldest surviving duck restaurants, including Bianyifang (便宜坊), established in 1855 and Quanjude (全聚德), esbalished 1864, still to this day serve their ducks the traditional way - with tianmian sauce (甜麵醬) aka sweet bean sauce, sweet flour sauce or sweet wheat paste.

 

tianmianjiang2.thumb.jpg.70a1885971a895594c0d59f65845e589.jpg

Tianmian Sauce

 

Now, I'm wondering if the confusion arose because hoisin and tianmian look similar and people were eating tianmian, but thinking it was hoisin. I don't know. Everywhere I have eaten Beijing duck here in China, it has come with tianmian sauce. The only substitute I have occasionally seen has been sweet plum sauce. Never hoisin.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, liuzhou said:

12.  Beijng Duck and Hoisin Sauce?

 

1992731492_BeijingDuck(1).thumb.jpg.a8e28417bf5db628b7ed34370818f7cf.jpg

 

Although Beijing duck (北京烤鸭) may be served with hoisin sauce (海鲜酱) in some restaurants (mainly American), it is not traditional. Hoisin sauce is Cantonese, as is the word 'hoisin' (in Mandarin, it's 'haixin'). When the first Beijing duck restaurant opened ib Beijing n the Ming dynasty some 600 years ago, Guangdong (home to Cantonese food) was several weeks or months away from what is now the capital and its cuisine hardly known to the northerners.


Beijing's oldest surviving duck restaurants, including Bianyifang (便宜坊), established in 1855 and Quanjude (全聚德), esbalished 1864, still to this day serve their ducks the traditional way - with tianmian sauce (甜麵醬) aka sweet bean sauce, sweet flour sauce or sweet wheat paste.

 

tianmianjiang2.thumb.jpg.70a1885971a895594c0d59f65845e589.jpg

Tianmian Sauce

 

Now, I'm wondering if the confusion arose because hoisin and tianmian look similar and people were eating tianmian, but thinking it was hoisin. I don't know. Everywhere I have eaten Beijing duck here in China, it has come with tianmian sauce. The only substitute I have occasionally seen has been sweet plum sauce. Never hoisin.

 

Now you have me wondering whether we were served hoisin or tianmian in the duck restaurants in Beijing.  I just assumed it was hoisin becaue I had never heard of tianmian.  Hua's restaurant for sure didn't taste like hoisin - it had a medicinal herbal quality to it that reminded me of some TCM that I used to take years ago. But tastier for sure.

 

I also wonder if what I had the other night wasn't hoisin either.  It, too, wasn't very sweet and was quite good.  And the fact that it's not in NYC Chinatown (which is predominantly Cantonese) makes the possibility greater.

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, KennethT said:

Now you have me wondering whether we were served hoisin or tianmian in the duck restaurants in Beijing.  I just assumed it was hoisin becaue I had never heard of tianmian.  Hua's restaurant for sure didn't taste like hoisin - it had a medicinal herbal quality to it that reminded me of some TCM that I used to take years ago. But tastier for sure.

 

I also wonder if what I had the other night wasn't hoisin either.  It, too, wasn't very sweet and was quite good.  And the fact that it's not in NYC Chinatown (which is predominantly Cantonese) makes the possibility greater.

 

 

Looking back at the images you posted in the Pandemic topic, I'd wager that is tianmian sauce you had. It is thicker and darker than hoisin. And less sweet.

Edited by liuzhou
typ (log)
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...