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hzrt8w

hzrt8w's wok and burner shopping project

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whoops, haven't read this thread properly! :blink:

i'm surprised that your wire stand works better for you than the proper wok collar - maybe an unusual combination of the size of your wok and the stove explains this.

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i'm surprised that your wire stand works better for you than the proper wok collar - maybe an unusual combination of the size of your wok and the stove explains this.

Using the Burner Collar... it suffocated the oxygen intake to the burner so the gas burning was not efficient. I am happy with the wok stand.

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ahhh why are all the good stuff in California? I have to order everything online when it comes to equipment for Asian food.

Perhaps it has to do with the geographic proximity and the long history of Chinese immigrants moving to the Gold Mountain?


Edited by hzrt8w (log)

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I posted this in the Kitchen consumer section but I figured this thread was a more practical place to put it.

Hand-hammered vs. machine made...

I read here and there that hand-hammered woks last longer and are structurally more durable. Other than this claim and the authenticity of the hand-hammered wok, is there really any difference?

I have a hand hammered wok and a machine made one. The hand hammered one doesn't have those lines made by the machine, and it's noticeably lighter and thinner. The machine made one I have is heavy gauge and very thick and is alot heavier. It was also more expensive.

Would it be a better investment with the heavy gauge or the lighter hand-hammered?

EDIT

I just realized that my wok (pow wok) which claims to be hand hammered might not even be handhammered at all. It's thin and flexible and has no indentations, and I highly doubt hand hammered woks are like this. I bought this at the Wok Shop, which I heard good things about, but I'm starting to think they cheated me.

EDIT 2

Scratch that, I actually emailed the wok shop about this and got a personal email back from Tane Chan. She proclaimed that the woks I had gotten WERE hand hammered, but had less defined ping marks. She actually embarked on a two year journey search for hand hammered woks with more defined ping marks and found one from Guangdong. I feel much better now.


Edited by takadi (log)

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I came across this thread and remembered that it was quite useful in my hunt for the "jet powered" wok burner last fall. For those of you still looking for a high power unit, here are my recollections.

* I had purchased a Cajun styple burner many years ago and was not happy with it. It was not made for wok cooking, had a nice steel ring but had metal support protruding inward which did not give the wok a very platform. BUT output was too low. It was one of those you see with a red single burner, primarily sold as turkey fryers. My mission this time was to get one that made that wok melt!

* Summary of key learnings

1) Shop for burner units made for the type of gas you will use. There are those made for propane and natural gas. Typically the natural gas ones are used in permanent fixtures like commercial kitchens. They are designed to run on less pressure and are larger to obtain the same heat output as a smaller propane burner.

2) The key to heat output is gas pressure to the burners. For propane use, you will usually find a high and low pressure regulator. Gas barbeques use the low pressure regulators. It turns out some "cajun" turkey fryers will also be fitted with the low pressure regulators. The result is they do not put out enough heat. Make sure to look for a high pressure regulator for wok use. Best of all are the adjustable pressure regulators that allow you to dial in how much maximum flame you want.

3) Take BTU ratings with a grain of salt. Some of the most powerful ones seems to have quite nominal stated output ratings and some with high ratings don't throw nearly as much heat. I know this from personal experience.

** THE HUNT **

* I started searching last fall (2006), read alot and looked for about a month. As hzrt8w lives in Sacramento and mentioned a couple shops there, I was going to make the trip as I live in the Bay Area but I figured what one could get up there must be available in SF Chinatown or Oakland Chinatown or the many other Asian specifc markets ringing the bay. As I live in the East Bay and knew many of the shops in Oakland Chinatown I started there. Found a few shops with a huge variety of woks and other cooking utensils and a few wok burners as well.

* I found one that looked very much like this one and the one available at the Wok Shop in SF. They seemed identical so I called the Wok Shop and found out the ones she sells have electronic starter, the one in Oakland did not but has a pilot light, not as elegant but just as effective.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...dpost&p=1168153

http://www.wokshop.com/HTML/products/steam...tove_32000.html

* I bought the one in Oakland for about $40. Fired it up and it no doubt has more power for any home cooking needs. The only burners I have ever seen throw more heat are the ones in a commercial Chinese kitchen that have HUGE woks on them to make HUGE quantities of food.

* The unit has an adjustable pressure regulator and after tuning it up, it makes an instant intense inferno. I have a 13", 14" and 16" wok and it has no trouble blasting as much heat onto the woks as they can handle. At some point, it just becomes too much as the flames climb out from under the wok and wrap the sides of the wok with a wall of flame. I call this "blast mode" and it is nice for those times when you want some very intense heat for a short time to reduce a sauce or for a very quick toss of something to get some heat. I only use this briefly otherwise it just gets too hot. Based on the regulator setting, I rarely give it more than a half of a turn and find that most normal wok cooking occurs just fine on about 1/4- 1/3 turn. I guess I could turn down the pressure on the regulator but I just love the feeling of all that power in my fingers. :-)

If anyone want any pics, just ask.

Happy wokking!

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I just bought a wok burner from www.outdoorstirfry.com. It's the cheapest one which claims to have 50K BTU. It went for about 40 bucks not including shipping. I will have to test it out when it arrives. The burner reminds me very much of those bunsen burners we use in chemistry. I'm not sure how it compares to the Oakland one you bought, but I hope it does just as well considering it's the same price.

I hate how the area I live offers none of these things. I probably searched in a 100 mile radius of every Asian food store. DC sucks.... :hmmm:

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Hi,

I think you got this one: PowerFlamer PF9S50, sold in the 9" units. This unit has a fixed pressure regulator. The knob is just to adjust the flow of the gas, not the pressure. They say high pressure but I don't think it is. They don't show the actual burner in this picture but looking at the air adjuster it seems like the common ones found in these units with a single ring of holes. Take a look at PowerFlamer PF13L130. It is basically the same burner, just fitted with an adjustable regulator.

The one I have is basically this unit: PowerFlamer PF13S130EI without the electronic start. The PowefFlamer unit is basically the same as the one sold at Wok Shop. http://www.wokshop.com/HTML/products/steam...tove_32000.html

Wok Shop rate it as 32K BTU which is WAY underrated. It is closer to 150K The picture does not show the regulator but I am sure it is similar the ones that are shown in the higher priced units at your online store.

Adjustable regulators have a T-shaped, threaded handle that adjusts the pressure. Your website shows two different types of adjustable regulators. One has an additional on/off knob, the others just have the regulator. The ones without the on/off knob are fitted on burners coming directly from China. The red adjustable regulators are fitted here and can be purchased by places like Grainger or some of the cajun turkey fryer outfits.

What this guy is doing is taking the basic black wind screen housing and inserting a Chinese wok burner, adding some legs and selling them for $150 bucks more, quite a tidy profit.

I came across this site last fall and he has made a huge improvement in the variety of products he is now selling. Business must be good!

If you can, you may want to cancel the order and get one of the powerful units. You could also add an adjustable regulator to this one and get way more heat. But the regulators are not that cheap.

Good luck.

I just bought a wok burner from www.outdoorstirfry.com. It's the cheapest one which claims to have 50K BTU. It went for about 40 bucks not including shipping. I will have to test it out when it arrives. The burner reminds me very much of those bunsen burners we use in chemistry. I'm not sure how it compares to the Oakland one you bought, but I hope it does just as well considering it's the same price.

I hate how the area I live offers none of these things. I probably searched in a 100 mile radius of every Asian food store. DC sucks.... :hmmm:

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Hey windtrader,

god, I had a feeling I was being ripped off. I actually emailed the guy asking about how it works, if it uses compressed air, if it actually emits what it says. He confirmed all of this. I said, "Hey it's only 40 bucks". Did I really waste my money? I couldn't find any suitable wok burner anywhere else, so I felt like I had no other choice.

I'm kind of confused. So the one I bought actually ISN'T high pressure? That makes me really really angry. I only bought the cheap one because I figured the BTU figures were probably higher than they claimed and that I didn't need that extra heat. The only reason I didn't buy the wok shop one was because I truly believed the one sold at the outdoor stirfry online store was hotter and cheaper than the one sold at the wok shop. But now you are saying the wok shop burner is hotter? I am having a very hard time understanding BTU's and their false advertising.

It's kinda too late now, the burner was already shipped. Is there any other product you would recommend? Could you show me an actual picture of what the adjustable regulator looks like? Does the wok shop one come with a pressure regulator?


Edited by takadi (log)

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So the one I bought actually ISN'T high pressure?

I'm not sure. That style of regulator is usually connected to bbqs which use low pressure (10psi), while high pressure regulators (20psi) usually have a flow shutoff and the adjustable units have the extra T-knob to adjust the pressure.

If it is listed as "55,000 BTU", this tag usually means it is low pressure.

All is not lost - you just need to changeout the regulator. Maybe the dealer will allow you to swap that part. It would cost a lot less to exchange than the whoe thing. Just make sure the wok sits securely on the base you got. Otherwise, you might just return it as it has two strikes on it.

But now you are saying the wok shop burner is hotter? I am having a very hard time understanding BTU's and their false advertising.
I'm certain the wok shop unit burns way hotter than 35k, that rating is just too low. If it has an adjustable regulator which I am sure it does (you can call and verify), it has to pout out closer to 150,000.

To see the differences in regulator styles, just look at the site you bought from and look at the 13" burners. The second one clearly shows an adjustable regulator. It has the T-knob to adjust the pressure but is lacking the gas cutoff knob. This style seems to be the ones coming directly from China. Now, look at the last unit on that page and you can see the regulator lacks the T-knob and also does not have a cutoff value, just the regulator. This usually means low (10 psi) pressure. The fixed high pressure units that look like this usually have a cutoff.

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I just called the Wok shop and Tane Chan answered. Lol. She is hilarious.

Well the short answer is that she has no clue what kind of regulator it is. But she knows it comes from China, and she says its 32000 BTU.

I will test out the one I bought. If it's not satisfactory, I will look in hardware stores to see if there are any higher pressure regulators. If not, I'll keep looking for more wok burners.

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I don't know if it'll be any help to you at this point, but I was planning on getting this.

I've been researching a wok burner as well, and this seemed like the best option for me as it is also available through home depot, and shipping to Canada is complicated. The adjustable legs look nice, and from the reviews I gather the heat would be more than sufficient.

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Yea I've looked into that, and the only reason why I decided not to buy it was because I found several other burners with almost the same power to be cheaper. Also, it isn't very portable because the legs are hard to attach and detach.

But then again I haven't tried it out. When you buy it, tell me how it works. I'm about to receive my wok burner soon, so I'll post how that works too.


Edited by takadi (log)

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If you read the fine print in the description on the Big Kahuna it states "high pressure" but then says it is adjustable up to 10psi, not 20psi. The amount of misleading descriptions on these things is quite unbelievable. I guess it is an unregulated and unmonitored business sector, so anything goes.

If the regulator is truly adjustable it usually goes to 20psi.

However, look here and you see the difference between a 10 and 20psi regulator. The Kahuna picture shows what looks like a 20psi regulator, so maybe it is just an ad copy error.

http://www.cajun-outdoor-cooking.com/outdo...rner-parts.html

Yea I've looked into that, and the only reason why I decided not to buy it was because I found several other burners with almost the same power to be cheaper. Also, it isn't very portable because the legs are hard to attach and detach.

But then again I haven't tried it out. When you buy it, tell me how it works. I'm about to receive my wok burner soon, so I'll post how that works too.


Edited by windtrader (log)

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If you read the fine print in the description on the Big Kahuna it states "high pressure" but then says it is adjustable up to 10psi, not 20psi. The amount of misleading descriptions on these things is quite unbelievable. I guess it is an unregulated and unmonitored business sector, so anything goes.

haha good eye, I actually saw that too. I'm thinking that if my wok burner isn't hot enough, I'll just buy an adjustable regulator with it. I'm learning something new everyday.


Edited by takadi (log)

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Just in case you need that jet burner regulator. You only need the regulator, reuse to hose you get. The adjustable unit is well priced at 20 bucks.

http://www.turkey-fryers-online.com/7850-t...r-regulator.htm

http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/propane_regulator_kit.htm

If you read the fine print in the description on the Big Kahuna it states "high pressure" but then says it is adjustable up to 10psi, not 20psi. The amount of misleading descriptions on these things is quite unbelievable. I guess it is an unregulated and unmonitored business sector, so anything goes.

haha good eye, I actually saw that too. I'm thinking that if my wok burner isn't hot enough, I'll just buy an adjustable regulator with it. I'm learning something new everyday.

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So my wok burner just came in today and I tested it out.

Well basically, it burns hot enough, but I was very disappointed in the construction and overall advertisement. It feels like I should have bought this burner for way less money than it should have been.

First off, windtrader was right, this thing is just a regular ol' propane burner stuck inside a windscreen. There is practically nothing really special about it.

The BIGGEST disappointment was that when I looked at the propane valve, instead of 10 psi, which is barely enough to be considered high pressure, according to the label it was 5 psi! So the guy lied about it being high pressure, which he clearly states on his site as being one of the main components of all of his stoves. There was also a "air shutter cap" or a sad excuse for one. It was basically a thin piece of metal that barely fit on to the air valve, which is located where the propane hose was screwed in. So basically this air valve was the opposite end of the burner, which was shaped like a flared tube. At the opening it had metal strip in the middle, leaving openings on the side which basically constituted the airways. The hose was connected to the metal strip in the middle, so the propane was practically blowing into open space instead of an enclosed tube like I imagined. When I would turn up the propane valve high enough, I would smell the propane leaking out of the air shutter. I'm not sure if this is normal or whether burners are usually built this way. The propane hose was also very difficult to screw on to the burner. I felt like this thing should have cost 30 dollars at the most.

Well I'm gonna cook some stuff with it, perhaps get a different regulator and valve, or perhaps even try to return it. I'm not sure if buying a higher pressure valve is gonna do much.


Edited by takadi (log)

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Sorry dude. You could try an experiment to see how much heat the burner is capable of with more pressure. See if you can somehow bypass the regulator and run the burner straight off the T on the propane tank. If you start with the value totally shut and very slowly open it until you hear the slightest hint of gas then light it up. Very slowly crank the valve open and watch the flame increase. You may need to adjust the air mixture valve to keep the flame blue. Keep doing this very slowly until you get a blazing flame or a flameout or explosion or I don't know what. Just be very very careful. You can then decide if you just need higher pressure or if the burner itself is too small. I'd bet the burner delivers the heat you want with more pressure but you'll want to study the flame pattern under a wok to see if it gets the proper coverage on the bottom of the pan.

So my wok burner just came in today and I tested it out.

Well basically, it burns hot enough, but I was very disappointed in the construction and overall advertisement. It feels like I should have bought this burner for way less money than it should have been.

First off, windtrader was right, this thing is just a regular ol' propane burner stuck inside a windscreen. There is practically nothing really special about it.

The BIGGEST disappointment was that when I looked at the propane valve, instead of 10 psi, which is barely enough to be considered high pressure, according to the label it was 5 psi! So the guy lied about it being high pressure, which he clearly states on his site as being one of the main components of all of his stoves. There was also a "air shutter cap" or a sad excuse for one. It was basically a thin piece of metal that barely fit on to the air valve, which is located where the propane hose was screwed in. So basically this air valve was the opposite end of the burner, which was shaped like a flared tube. At the opening it had metal strip in the middle, leaving openings on the side which basically constituted the airways. The hose was connected to the metal strip in the middle,  so  the propane was practically blowing into open space instead of an enclosed tube like I imagined. When I would turn up the propane valve high enough, I would smell the propane leaking out of the air shutter.  I'm not sure if this is normal or whether burners are usually built this way. The propane hose was also very difficult to screw on to the burner. I felt like this thing should have cost 30 dollars at the most.

Well I'm gonna cook some stuff with it, perhaps get a different regulator and valve, or perhaps even try to return it.  I'm not sure if buying a higher pressure valve is gonna do much.

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Takadi: Bummer man, I guess thats the danger of ordering unknown brands online. I know the appeal though, it's tough on a limited budget.

I sent an e-mail to eastman outdoors asking about their burner, and apparently it is adjustable but only up to 10psi. I think this will probably be hot enough still, but I am wondering if I'll be able to switch it out with a 20psi max regulator if I want to? They just ignored this question.

I'll report back if I do get it. Oh and I found out there is a version with detachable legs. Even the version out seems more versatile to me than normal burners that come with nothing...

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Well I'd like to say two things: One, I probably over exaggerated the lack of quality my product had. It actually burns quite hot, and isn't bad for 40 dollars. Yet, I still feel it has below par construction.

The owner of the website I bought it from gave very prompt and polite responses, so that was a plus.

I do plan on getting another wok burner once I find a suitable one. A nice one that isn't too expensive (which I think it shouldn't), with a nice range of temperatures (from low simmer to white hot), a high quality high pressure regulator with a cast burner that isn't cheaply built. Oh yea, an built in igniter would be nice too.


Edited by takadi (log)

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I have the Eastman Big Kahuna, and the pressure regulator says "10 lbs.".

FWIW, I've never used the thing at full output - it sounds like a jet engine (scary) and has more than enough heat for my 16" wok. Perhaps the overall burner design is more important than just psi figures - sometimes size doesn't always matter.

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I have the Eastman Big Kahuna, and the pressure regulator says "10 lbs.".

I was interested in this model, but I have only a 12" wok - would that still work.

Does anyone have any other models for outside wok cooking that come with a stand?

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I have the Eastman Big Kahuna, and the pressure regulator says "10 lbs.".

I was interested in this model, but I have only a 12" wok - would that still work.

Does anyone have any other models for outside wok cooking that come with a stand?

12" wok would work, but I would suggest larger, up to 18" max.

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I was interested in this model, but I have only a 12" wok - would that still work.

Does anyone have any other models for outside wok cooking that come with a stand?

The Big Kahuna is recommended for up to 22" woks, though if you plan to do any flipping with it (lifting the wok to toss contents), something 18" or under would of course be better. A 22" is for medium to large scale projects.

Also consider these models if you'd like table-, stove- or counter-top usability (I have no idea what BTU these produce): "NEW GAS STOVE / PORTABLE WOK" at http://stores.ebay.com/PACIFICWESTCO_W0QQsspagenameZl2QQtZkm or "Cajun Cookware Cajun Cadillac Cooker by Guillory" at http://www.cooking.com/products/shprodde.asp?SKU=379770

Oh, sorry, I just re-read and see that you want one with a stand. Try this, perhaps: King Kooker Heavy Duty Wok Cooker at http://www.cajun-outdoor-cooking.com/kikoheduwokc.html

The King Kooker -includes- an 18" wok and other tools for a price less than that of the Big Kahuna. The stand is bolt-together and not collapsable. They claim a "high-pressure regulator" but I can't find specification of 10- or 20-lb. In addition, it does not have a flip-top ring for pots, though I imagine one could use pots on it anyway or modify it somehow.

Consider also that most turkey fryers have BTU ratings similar to these models. Many of them could be used for woks, and you'd then have a dual-use burner.

Still not sure which one I'll buy.

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One additional consideration in selecting a wok burner is identifying all your likely uses of an outdoor cooker. One that is designed to hold a 18" wok securely will likely be poorly suited to hold a 10" round flat iron you may want to use for a blackened steak/fish dish.

I've had several types of cookers and you'll want to study the design of the support structure for the cooking vessel, whether it be a wok, turkey fryer, cast iron pan, etc.

The types with a single ring are great for woks with sufficient diameter to allow the wok to rest inside and pots with diameters larger than the ring. The problem with these ring types is they do not support smaller woks, pans, and pots due to lack of internal support. Some with rings have added internal structure which assists smaller flat bottomed pots and pans but do not let the the wok seat as firmly.

Just try to consider all your uses for the outdoor cooker and get one that provides the best overall support for the complete range of cooking vessels you might use with it.

One other thing - if looking for a truly high pressure regulator, look for the adjustable types: the ones with a tee handle on the top. You can be much more sure that they will provide as much as as you need. There appears not to be any standardized labeling of the fixed regulator types which makes it much more difficult to know exactly how much psi they pass.

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I bought a hand-hammered CCK pow wok (the kind with the long handle) in Singapore (at a shop called SIa Huat, on Temple Street), and I'll be shopping for a wok burner (probably a small, one-burner wok range) soon (within the next couple of months, when I can afford it).

What's different and/or interesting about my burner shopping is that I'll be shopping in Bangkok (where I live) so the brands and types I'll be looking at are likely to be a bit different from the usual options. If i do turn up some nice ones here, and you live in the US, Europe, etc., you might be able to find someone you can order them from and have them shipped. Just be advised that I'm not looking at the type you can safely use indoors...

PS: Yep I realize this is an old thread, but I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who are interested in woks and burners but haven't bought one yet.


Edited by Jeff K (log)

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    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
       
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
       
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.


       
      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
       
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.
       

       
      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:
       

       
      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
       
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.
       

       
      The children don't get spared either
       

       
      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
       
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.
       

       

       
      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Tea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs.
      We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and lead us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known  for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      AFter lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our seranade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By Chris Hennes
      I just got a copy of Grace Young's "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge"—I enjoyed cooking from "Breath of a Wok" and wanted to continue on that path. Does anyone else have this book? Have you cooked anything from it?

      Here was dinner tonight:

      Spicy Dry-Fried Beef (p. 70)

      I undercooked the beef just a bit due to a waning propane supply (I use an outdoor propane-powered wok burner), but there's nothing to complain about here. It's a relatively mild dish that lets the flavors of the ingredients (and the wok) speak. Overall I liked it, at will probably make it again (hopefully with a full tank of gas).


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