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hzrt8w

It's a Hot, Hot, Hot, Hot World (1963)

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I love hot sauces of all kinds, but mainly the Asian types of hot sauce. I am not used to American types of hot sauce, such as Tobasco and the likes, because they are too sour for me.

This is unusual for a Cantonese, as we typically avoid eating hot food. This habit only started in my college days. Perhaps that's the result of working in a few Sichuan/Beijing (the so-called "Imperial" style) restaurants. :biggrin:

Hot sauces are a little bit like wines, in that there are different types that would go well with different types of food. Some are good with wonton noodle soup, some are good as condiments for stir-fries, some are good with cheung fun, and some are good for cooking only.

A recent trip to the 99 Ranch Market, I walked down the isle that showed all kinds of Chinese hot sauces. I thought I was in heaven! :biggrin:

Here are some of the hot sauces that are interesting:

gallery_19795_2817_31696.jpg

Ning Chi. This is a Taiwanese made. Chili with black bean sauce on the left. Chili with garlic on the right.

gallery_19795_2817_17813.jpg

These are "hot oil" (La You), mostly hot oil with a bit of garlic and chili.

gallery_19795_2817_7442.jpg

These are hot sauce "paste". Typically used as condiments in Vietnamese food (e.g. Pho and Vietnamese BBQ).

gallery_19795_2817_39348.jpg

Similar hot sauce "paste". Popular with Southeast Asian food.

gallery_19795_2817_42090.jpg

Many Chinese hot sauces. Typically these are quite salty and not suitable to be used as condiment. They can be used for cooking.

gallery_19795_2817_22963.jpg

This hot sauce is typically added to "Cheung Fun" (steamed rice noodles).

gallery_19795_2817_14710.jpg

Similar ones but other varieties: sweet chili garlic sauce, sweet chili sauce. They are hot and sweet.

gallery_19795_2817_56635.jpg

Sichuan hot sauce... in cans! Good for cooking for sure. I wonder if they are good as condiments.

gallery_19795_2817_27645.jpg

The famous Guilin style hot sauce. In Guilin, most use this to accompany their rice noodle dishes.

gallery_19795_2817_29311.jpg

Out of many hot sauces that I have tried, I have come to this conclusion: my personal most favorite brand is: Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce and Yank Sing XO Sauce. Yes they are made by the San Francisco famous Yank Sing dim sum restaurant inside the Rincon Center in downtown San Francisco. But I have known them over 20 years ago when Yank Sing was a small neighborhood restaurant selling wonton noodles and stir-fried entrees at the corner of Broadway and Powell. Their hot sauce has not changed much over the years. Before they distributed their hot sauce via the Asian markets, I used to buy half a dozen of them dropping by their restaurant every time I visited San Francisco! :raz:

I would kill to know how they make their hot sauce. It is full of flavor. Very balanced and not exceptionally hot. (Perhaps that's from MSG? :unsure::laugh::laugh: )

The only thing is: they are a bit expensive. Much higher compared to the counterpart. But, I have not seen even a close second.

And in case you are wondering: yes, I have bought some of these hot sauces. I am going to post some of my evaluations on different brands and different types of hot sauces.


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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My all time favorite that I first learned about after sending a Hong Kong Cantonese Chef for a one year contract establishing a Chinese Restaurant in Japan that he brought back with him for everyone to try because he thought it was the best type of "Hot Sauce" he had ever tried.

We are still using it for many dishes including Italian style Pasta Dishes to help perk them up, omelette's, almost all types of Asian Dishes and even Mexican items.

It's called "KIMCHEE NO MOTO" or "KIM CHEE BASE". Momoya Brand packed by Momoya Co. LTD, 16-2. 2-Chome. Kamigara-Cho Nihonbashe, Chuo-Ku, Japan.

Sold everywhere in Japan or Korea and many Japanese, Asian and Korean Groceries in the States. It comes in various sizes but we use the 15.87 Oz or 450 G size.

Ingredients are: Garlic, Salt, Chili, Sugar, Ginger and Vinegar.

It seems to enhance, lift up flavors but compliments without over whelming without being salty or sour as many other sauces often will do to dishes.

After opening I keep it refrigerated, it is quite hot, but its predominantly Garlic, Chili Taste remains fresh and lively.

It really compliments Sui Kow or Won Tons as well as Congee used modestly. Its very popular in Asia as it's designated being a Kimchee Base in Korea but adapts well into a all purpose enhancer.

Irwin


Edited by wesza (log)

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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gallery_19795_2817_17813.jpg

I call this "old lady sauce" because of the picture of the old lady on the bottle. The type that also includes fermented beans is AMAZING. It has so much flavor. I use as the only thing added when I make super quick stir frys. It covers the sweet, hot, umami, and salty all with one item. I was so happy when I found this in Japan after using it in the states for years. what is its real name?

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Guilin chili sauce is SUPERB - the addition of Shaoxing makes it truly special.

I just sent Ah Leung some pics of my 'straight from Guilin' crock o' sauce, as well as the labels and the sauce itself - I'm not sure how to post them on my own. This is my preferred hot sauce of choice nowadays in Chinese cooking, due to it's depth of flavour. If I was making Szechuan, I'd stick with Tobanjon. For hot chili oil, you can't beat the oil floating atop the Yank Sing Chili XO sauce - like Ah Leung, I think they make the highest-quality product and have used their sauces for years. :)

cheers, JH

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gallery_19795_2817_29311.jpg

Out of many hot sauces that I have tried, I have come to this conclusion:  my personal most favorite brand is: Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce and Yank Sing XO Sauce.  Yes they are made by the San Francisco famous Yank Sing dim sum restaurant inside the Rincon Center in downtown San Francisco.  But I have known them over 20 years ago when Yank Sing was a small neighborhood restaurant selling wonton noodles and stir-fried entrees at the corner of Broadway and Powell.  Their hot sauce has not changed much over the years.  Before they distributed their hot sauce via the Asian markets, I used to buy half a dozen of them dropping by their restaurant every time I visited San Francisco!  :raz:

I would kill to know how they make their hot sauce.  It is full of flavor.  Very balanced and not exceptionally hot.  (Perhaps that's from MSG?  :unsure:  :laugh:  :laugh: )

The only thing is: they are a bit expensive.  Much higher compared to the counterpart.  But, I have not seen even a close second.

Yes, Yank Sing is definitely my fave hot sauce. Great flavor without too many hard chili seeds. The bits of radish, black beans and garlic are also nice. The price is a bit higher but not excessively so.

gallery_19795_2817_17813.jpg

These are "hot oil" (La You), mostly hot oil with a bit of garlic and chili.

However, I would not refuse this hot sauce either. It comes a close 2nd to Yank Sing. The flavor of the sichuan peppercorns is prominent. The hard chili seeds can be a bit distracting though.

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John --Just how old are you? The picture of the 'old lady' on the sauce jar looks pretty young to ME!!!! LOL!

Xiao hzrt --- Does my favorite Lan Chi brand Chili Paste with Garlic measure up to any of those sauces?

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John --Just how old are you?  The picture of the 'old lady' on the sauce jar looks pretty young to ME!!!!  LOL!

Xiao hzrt --- Does my favorite Lan Chi brand Chili Paste with Garlic measure up to any of those sauces?

The Lan Chi brand, which was highly recommended to me by my cousin, I've found to be really salty. I think the saltiness overwhelms dominates any other flavors.

I'd also have to agree that the 'old lady' is sorta old looking to me. I'd call her ah-mo. :)

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John --Just how old are you?  The picture of the 'old lady' on the sauce jar looks pretty young to ME!!!!  LOL!

Xiao hzrt --- Does my favorite Lan Chi brand Chili Paste with Garlic measure up to any of those sauces?

Lan Chi has become hard to find in the bay area, for some reason - however, I do like it very much when i can find it. As noted, it is a bit salty, but I use it in specific recipes where that aspect works. In most recipes calling for Chili sauce now, I use Guilin chili paste (still hoping Ah Leung will post the images I mailed him of the brand I prefer) or the Yank Sing variant.

Chiu Chow Chili oil from Lee Kum Kee is also excellent - I use the detritus/solids from the bottom for a potent concentrated kick in certain recipes where I don't want a sauce or oil, but want a powerful chili flavour.

cheers, JH


Edited by jhirshon (log)

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I call this "old lady sauce" because of the picture of the old lady on the bottle. The type that also includes fermented beans is AMAZING. It has so much flavor.

[...]

Actually that's pretty close. I am not sure if this brand has an English name. They probably have but I can't recall what it is.

The Chinese brand name is "lau gan ma" [Mandarin], which means "old honorable mother".

I like this brand too at first, until I could taste it that they put a lot of MSG in it. :sad:


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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[...]If I was making Szechuan, I'd stick with Tobanjon.  For hot chili oil, you can't beat the oil floating atop the Yank Sing Chili XO sauce - like Ah Leung, I think they make the highest-quality product and have used their sauces for years. :)

I have a wild guess that the Korean Tobanjon is the same (or very similar) as Chinese Chili Bean Sauce ("Dou Ban Jiang" in Mandarin). IMO Chili Bean Sauce it too salty to be used as a condiment. It is great for cooking.


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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[...]

Xiao hzrt --- Does my favorite Lan Chi brand Chili Paste with Garlic measure up to any of those sauces?

I don't think I ever had Lan Chi brand Chili Paste with Garlic. Since you brought it up, I should look for it and sample it to give you my eval. :biggrin:


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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A recent trip to the 99 Ranch Market, I walked down the isle that showed all kinds of Chinese hot sauces.  I thought I was in heaven!  :biggrin:

Here are some of the hot sauces that are interesting:

gallery_19795_2817_7442.jpg

These are hot sauce "paste".  Typically used as condiments in Vietnamese food (e.g. Pho and Vietnamese BBQ).

gallery_19795_2817_39348.jpg

Similar hot sauce "paste".  Popular with Southeast Asian food.

And in case you are wondering:  yes, I have bought some of these hot sauces.  I am going to post some of my evaluations on different brands and different types of hot sauces.

Thanks for the hot sauce/condiment tour Ah Leung. That aisle sounds like heaven indeed. I look forward to your evaluations of the different brands and the how you use them.

I have a question about the sriracha sauces depicted. I recognize the one with the rooster on the label (the company is Huy Fong?) But I'm intrigued by the other bottles of sriracha you photographed with the different colored caps and different flavors with the duck on the label. I've never seen these before. Do you know the name of the company that makes those?

Also are the sauces that you prefer the most -- Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce and Yank Sing XO Sauce -- widely available across the US or are they only available on the west coast?

Anxiously awaiting your next installment. :smile:


Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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I have a question about the sriracha sauces depicted.  I recognize the one with the rooster on the label (the company is Huy Fong?)  But I'm intrigued by the other bottles of sriracha you photographed with the different colored caps and different flavors with the duck on the label.  I've never seen these before.  Do you know the name of the company that makes those?

Like they show in some movies... I played Dick Tracy and went back to the original digital and blew it up:

gallery_19795_2817_18300.jpg

The brand name you sought is "Flying Goose Brand" (not duck :biggrin: ).

Also are the sauces that you prefer the most -- Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce and Yank Sing XO Sauce -- widely available across the US or are they only available on the west coast?

That's hard for me to tell. Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce is widely available in the Asian markets in both Northern and Southern CA (99 Ranch and others). I have no idea if they made it to the East coast or elsewhere, but I think they probably did.


Edited by hzrt8w (log)

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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I call this "old lady sauce" because of the picture of the old lady on the bottle. The type that also includes fermented beans is AMAZING. It has so much flavor.

[...]

Actually that's pretty close. I am not sure if this brand has an English name. They probably have but I can't recall what it is.

The Chinese brand name is "lau gan ma" [Mandarin], which means "old honorable mother".

I like this brand too at first, until I could taste it that they put a lot of MSG in it. :sad:

Now I don't feel so bad for calling it old lady sauce, I think I will continue to call it that. I was 20 years old when I first tried this sauce so I think it is fair to call it old lady sauce. I also noticed the MSG but I am one of those people who doesn't hate MSG. I like the fact that it includes the chili seeds, sichuan peppercorns, and preserved garlic and beans. one of my favorite dishes to make with this sauce is cabbage and bacon stir fry, yum yum.

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I have a question about the sriracha sauces depicted.  I recognize the one with the rooster on the label (the company is Huy Fong?)  But I'm intrigued by the other bottles of sriracha you photographed with the different colored caps and different flavors with the duck on the label.  I've never seen these before.  Do you know the name of the company that makes those?

Like they show in some movies... I played Dick Tracy and went back to the original digital and blew it up:

gallery_19795_2817_18300.jpg

The brand name you sought is "Flying Goose Brand" (not duck :biggrin: ).

Also are the sauces that you prefer the most -- Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce and Yank Sing XO Sauce -- widely available across the US or are they only available on the west coast?

That's hard for me to tell. Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce is widely available in the Asian markets in both Northern and Southern CA (99 Ranch and others). I have no idea if they made it to the East coast or elsewhere, but I think they probably did.

:laugh::laugh::laugh: Thanks for your detective work Ah Leung. Duck, duck, goose anyone? :biggrin:

Actually I found a link to a company that sells Flying Goose products. Looks yummy:

Flying Goose Products Online

Unfortunately this website is for ordering large quantities of products by stores only and not for individuals. :sad: However, I still found it useful/educational to see the vast array of sauces and other products one might find when shopping for Asian ingredients.

I guess I'll have to do a bit of investigating of my own for those other sauces here on the "left coast."

Thanks again.

Edited for additional comments/clarification.


Edited by divalasvegas (log)

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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~~~~~~~~~ one of my favorite dishes to make with this sauce is cabbage and bacon stir fry, yum yum.

Cabbage and bacon stir/fry? That sounds good to me. Got a recipe?

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Also are the sauces that you prefer the most -- Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce and Yank Sing XO Sauce -- widely available across the US or are they only available on the west coast?

I just have an idea: you may want to call Yank Sing and see if they do mail orders. They just might...

Yank Sing's website including phone numbers


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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Also are the sauces that you prefer the most -- Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce and Yank Sing XO Sauce -- widely available across the US or are they only available on the west coast?

I just have an idea: you may want to call Yank Sing and see if they do mail orders. They just might...

Yank Sing's website including phone numbers

Thanks so much Det. Tracy, er, Ah Leung for the information. I've emailed their sales and marketing representative. Their website indicates that their products can be found in stores all over the US, but if there aren't any convenient to me at least can place an order, if necessary. As for the prices, if they are as delicious as you describe, I think they'd be worth every penny.

Of course since I was on their website I just had to check out their menu and thanks to you, now I'm starving!!! :biggrin:


Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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[...]Of course since I was on their website I just had to check out their menu and thanks to you, now I'm starving!!!  :biggrin:

Well... I gotta warn you. They are a pricey one for dim sum. I have been to their restaurant inside the Rincon center. Not that worths it, IMO. It is a general opinion to some on Chowhound that they are just over-priced. I like them better when they were the small neighborhood restaurant on Broadway... :unsure:

Koi Palace (Daly City) on the other hand has top quality dim sum. While their prices are high too but not not as high as YS and I think it worths it. You can read Koi Palace's menu online too:

http://www.koipalace.com/

Now... only if Koi Palace would package and sell their hot sauce (which is good too, I had tasted it when I had dim sum there) and do mail orders...


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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Well... I gotta warn you.  They are a pricey one for dim sum.  I have been to their restaurant inside the Rincon center.  Not that worths it, IMO.  It is a general opinion to some on Chowhound that they are just over-priced.  I like them better when they were the small neighborhood restaurant on Broadway...  :unsure:

I've been to Yank Sing a couple times over the years and have to agree. It's pretty average dim sum at very high prices.

On the other hand, if you are on an expense account and/or taking guests not all that familiar with dim sum, it is a bit more "user friendly" than some of the other restaurants that serve dim sum. In addition, both of their locations are conveniently located near many downtown hotels, which can be a plus as well.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Hot Sauce Evaluation

Pictures:

gallery_19795_2817_11923.jpggallery_19795_2817_13699.jpg

English brand/sauce name: Ning Chi, Chili with garlic

Chinese brand/sauce name: 寧記, 蒜蓉辣椒

Hotness rating: 5 out of 5

Evaluation: This is a Taiwanese make. It is very hot! Not vinegary, not salty. The label claimed it is made of "heaven pointing" chilis. I can see slices of fresh chilis in the sauce. It contains too many seeds. While the hot sauce is extremely hot, I think it lacks other flavors. The taste of garlic seems minimal. It is rather bland. Selling at US$4 a small jar, I expect something better than this.

Usage suggestions: Condiments or cooking. Good with noodle soup and stir-fry entrees. In cooking, use it wherever a hot taste is called for.


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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~~~~~~~~~ one of my favorite dishes to make with this sauce is cabbage and bacon stir fry, yum yum.

Cabbage and bacon stir/fry? That sounds good to me. Got a recipe?

-3 or 4 strips bacon, or an equal amount of cubed block bacon

-1/4 head cabbage

-1/2tbs each minced garlic and ginger

-(as much as you like) old lady sauce

-a splash of shao hsing wine

-1 pinch salt

cut the cabbage into 1 1/2 inch squares and the bacon in 1 1/2 inch lengths. add the bacon to a very hot wok and allow some of the fat to render. Once about 1/2tbs of bacon fat renders remove the bacon and add the garlic and ginger and then immediately the cabbage. cook the cabbage for about a minute and then splash with the shao hsing and add a pinch of salt. add the bacon back in and cook until the shao hsing has evaporated. add old lady sauce in the last 30 seconds of cooking.

notes: thicker bacon is better. You are not trying to fry the bacon to a crisp, it will still be floppy. cabbage should maintain some firmness. you can substitute red pepper flake for old lady sauce.

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~~~~~~~~~ one of my favorite dishes to make with this sauce is cabbage and bacon stir fry, yum yum.

Cabbage and bacon stir/fry? That sounds good to me. Got a recipe?

-3 or 4 strips bacon, or an equal amount of cubed block bacon

-1/4 head cabbage

-1/2tbs each minced garlic and ginger

-(as much as you like) old lady sauce

-a splash of shao hsing wine

-1 pinch salt

cut the cabbage into 1 1/2 inch squares and the bacon in 1 1/2 inch lengths. add the bacon to a very hot wok and allow some of the fat to render. Once about 1/2tbs of bacon fat renders remove the bacon and add the garlic and ginger and then immediately the cabbage. cook the cabbage for about a minute and then splash with the shao hsing and add a pinch of salt. add the bacon back in and cook until the shao hsing has evaporated. add old lady sauce in the last 30 seconds of cooking.

notes: thicker bacon is better. You are not trying to fry the bacon to a crisp, it will still be floppy. cabbage should maintain some firmness. you can substitute red pepper flake for old lady sauce.

Thanks! Sounds easy AND tasty! I understand about the bacon -- like using 5-flower pork 五花肉 - wu hua rou.

Cabbage is probably the most versatile vegetable there is, and this just proves the point.

I can probably use one of the hot sauces I have, but now I want to buy 'young chick' sauce ---- er --- old lady sauce!!

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[...]If I was making Szechuan, I'd stick with Tobanjon.  For hot chili oil, you can't beat the oil floating atop the Yank Sing Chili XO sauce - like Ah Leung, I think they make the highest-quality product and have used their sauces for years. :)

I have a wild guess that the Korean Tobanjon is the same (or very similar) as Chinese Chili Bean Sauce ("Dou Ban Jiang" in Mandarin). IMO Chili Bean Sauce it too salty to be used as a condiment. It is great for cooking.

Well, this makes me feel good, because I think I've been naively using Korean and Chinese chili bean sauces interchangeably in my cooking. :smile:

I am really enjoying this latest pictorial. Whenever I go in an Asian market, I find myself spending ages poring over the labels of all the jars and bottles in the sauce aisle--so many choices, so little time! :biggrin:

I can just imagine some recent immigrant from China being similarly flummoxed by the big aisle of American-style condiments in a typical Vons/Safeway/etc.--only to discover how *boring* all those different brands of ketchup and American-style barbecue sauce are. :laugh:

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I'll second the Lao Gan Ma Old lady sauce.. It is the best bean+chili combo I've ever gone through. It's uses are endless. That company is Guizhou based, so plenty of heat, and they like their flavours as exciting as possible.

I use this in so many different dishes, it is amazing.

I usually have stock of 2 jars of this stuff and another bag of just the black beans for less spicy or cleaner tasting dishes that require a bit more control

I don't have any experience with the La You sauce.. But the La Zi Ji one is equally fantastic.. This is the one with bits of chicken inside. The leftover meat + chili dishes with this stuff makes a fantastic fried rice the next day.

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      Author(s)

      In the last section, I mentioned an interview with the author. That was somewhat incorrect. There are two authors!
      Lu Yi (卢一) President of Sichuan Tourism College, Vice Chairman of Sichuan Nutrition Society, Chairman of Sichuan Food Fermentation Society, Chairman of Sichuan Leisure Sports Management Society Du Li (杜莉) Master of Arts, Professor of Sichuan Institute of Tourism, Director of Sichuan Cultural Development Research Center, Sichuan Humanities and Social Sciences Key Research Base, Sichuan Provincial Department of Education, and member of the International Food Culture Research Association of the World Chinese Culinary Federation Along with the principal authors, two famous chefs checked the English translations.
      Fuchsia Dunlop - of Land of Plenty fame Professor Shirley Cheng - of Hyde Park New York's Culinary Institute of America Fuchsia Dunlop was actually the first (and to my knowledge, only) Western graduate from the school that produced the book.
       

      Recipes
      Here are screenshots of the table of contents.  It has some recipes I'm a big fan of.
       
      ISBN
      ISBN 10: 7536469640   ISBN 13: 9787536469648 As far as I can tell, the first and second edition have the same ISBN #'s. I'm no librarian, so if anyone knows more about how ISBN #'s relate to re-releases and editions, feel free to chime in.
       
      Publisher
      Sichuan Science and Technology Press 四川科学技术出版社  
      Cover
      Okay... so this book has a lot of covers.
      The common cover A red cover A white cover A white version of the common cover An ornate and shiny cover  There may or may not be a "Box set." At first, I thought this was a difference in book editions, but that doesn't seem to be the case. As far as covers go, I'm at a loss. If anybody has more info, I'm all ears.
       
      Buying the book
      Alright, so I've hunted down many sites that used to sell it and a few who still have it in stock. Most of them are priced exorbitantly.
       
      AbeBooks.com ($160 + $15 shipping) Ebay.com - used ($140 + $4 shipping) PurpleCulture.net ($50 + $22 shipping) Amazon.com ($300 + $5 shipping + $19 tax) A few other sites in Chinese  
      I bought a copy off of PurpleCuture.net on April 14th. When I purchased Sichuan Cuisine, it said there was only one copy left. That seems to be a lie to create false urgency for the buyer. My order never updated past processing, but after emailing them, I was given a tracking code. It has since landed in America and is in customs. I'll try to update this thread when (if) it is delivered.
       
      Closing thoughts
      This book is probably not worth all the effort that I've put into finding it. But what is worth effort, is preserving knowledge. It turns my gut to think that this book will never be accessible to chefs that have a passion for learning real Sichuan food. As we get inundated with awful recipes from Simple and quick blogs, it becomes vital to keep these authentic sources available. As the internet chugs along, more and more recipes like these will be lost. 
       
      You'd expect the internet to keep information alive, but in many ways, it does the opposite. In societies search for quick and easy recipes, a type of evolutionary pressure is forming. It's a pressure that mutates recipes to simpler and simpler versions of themselves. They warp and change under consumer pressure till they're a bastardized copy of the original that anyone can cook in 15 minutes. The worse part is that these new, worse recipes wear the same name as the original recipe. Before long, it becomes harder to find the original recipe than the new one. 
       
      In this sense, the internet hides information. 
       
    • 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 Chocolatemelter
      Hey everyone.
       
      So im looking for the most affordable chocolate shaking table that actually works.. does anyone have experience with the ones from AliBaba or china in general?
       
      i bought a $100 dental table from amazon but i guess its not the right hrtz cause it kinda works, but not well enough.
       
      im looking in the $500 range or under.. any advice? Thanks
    • By liuzhou
      I know a few people here know her already, but for those that don't, she is simply the best creator of Chinese food and rural life videos. It's not what you will find in your local Bamboo Hut! It's what Chinese people eat!
       
      Here is her latest, posted today. This is what all my neighbours are doing right now in preparation for Spring Festival (Chinese New Year to the Lantern Festival 15 days later), although few are doing it as elegantly as she does!
       
       
      Everything she posts is worth watching if you have any interest in food.
       
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