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eG Foodblog: Kerry Beal - ChocDoc in the Land of the Haweaters


Kerry Beal
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Thank you so much for blogging. I also feel like I'm escaping when reading and seeing the pictures. What a beautiful place!

And reading about your poor arthritic finger, the physio in me(physical therapist here in the states) wants you to get an oxo can opener and a paraffin dip stat!

Looking forward to the rest of the week.

I was thinking about that paraffin dip myself today, I could almost smell the oil of wintergreen. I think they have a paraffin bath in the physio dept here.

I hope it doesn't last long enough to need the oxo can opener cause I love my old swingaway.

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As the sun sinks slowly in the west, we discoved the tensile strength of gummy worms in our attempts to divide the bark. 

This is just priceless!!! Mom, Doctor, Chef---it encompasses all your hats at once. Very concise, very Mom-at-the-end-of-a-party, VERY funny.

Lovely party.

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I prescribe glucosamine and chondroitin for your finger. You probably already take it, though.

I'm morbidly curious about the marshmallow/wiener combo. You toast them together so the marshmallow goops all over the hot dog? Then eat the hot dog all sweet and gooey? Say it isn't so!

If you could teach us to make salmon candy so it has the real taste and texture I'd be eternally in your debt!

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Greetings from Hanoi!

I'm another transplanted Canadian living in Hanoi. Today is the first day I've been able to read this thread - internet connections being what they are here. The medical service here is as dicey as always. My husband was hit by a truck the other week, (he's fine now) but rather than taking our chances at the French hospital or taking out a personal loan to go to the SOS clinic, I just sat at home cleaning the gravel out of his abrasions with a boiled pin and alcohol pads. Beats the toothbrush they used on me when I was in South Korea! Liberal applications of Fiducin and much shouting later, he's fine. But a real emergency? :shudders:

Are there any foods you miss from Vietnam? Any Hanoi recommendations for me? Your blueberry muffins made me snuffle a little bit for home. I miss blueberries a lot, coming from Nova Scotia. Blueberry muffins used to be one of my life's great pleasures.

Your daughter is beautiful. I was actually at the SOS clinic last week (on my employer's dime :raz: for a visa medical check) and the only clients there were me and six other baby girls who were being adopted. We all were in line for TB checks! Some of the little babies looked like they hadn't had easy lives of it until then - some of them had traces of what looked like bed sores all over their bodies. And there they were dressed in the most beautiful outfits that had obviously been lovingly packed by hopeful parents in the UK, or Italy, or Germany...

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Hi Kerry,

Tell us about Cafe in the Woods!

My husband is from S. Ontario, and we keep meaning to visit Mantoulin. You have given extra motivation. Looks beautiful.

Cafe in the Woods are a series of small, intimate concerts held at the cross country ski clubhouse during the late fall and winter. Artists and bands come and play to a group of about 40 people. European style desserts and coffee are served. The audience is often heavily weighted with musicians and they frequently end up jamming with the band at the end of the evening. It is a great night out, and the price is right.

Where in S. Ontario is your husband from?

We will have to try to attend one of those next time we are back.

My husband is from London/St. Thomas.

I love the area.

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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I prescribe glucosamine and chondroitin for your finger.  You probably already take it, though.

I'm morbidly curious about the marshmallow/wiener combo.  You toast them together so the marshmallow goops all over the hot dog?  Then eat the hot dog all sweet and gooey?  Say it isn't so!

If you could teach us to make salmon candy so it has the real taste and texture I'd be eternally in your debt!

Actually other than a bit of celebrex I haven't been taking anything cause the finger just started to bother me.

Had a great visit with the physio, he asked me what I had been doing to aggravate it, I couldn't think of a thing, until after I left. Then I remembered the pull taffy. I made it several times in order to get all the photos I needed for the confectionary course, I recall that the tips of my fingers were burning for a few days after, but when I think back, that's when my hands started to hurt.

The weiners and marshmallows don't get toasted, it's a decoration only. Funny I asked her the same thing.

Now Indian candy is brined and smoked salmon. If you go over to the charcuterie thread I believe someone is doing that variation. Basically you brine your fillets overnight, the brine is made with brown sugar and molasses if I recall. Let it sit for several hours to form a pellicle, then hot smoke for several hours. I always used hickory to smoke, but alder for fish might be even better.

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Greetings from Hanoi!

I'm another transplanted Canadian living in Hanoi. Today is the first day I've been able to read this thread - internet connections being what they are here. The medical service here is as dicey as always. My husband was hit by a truck the other week, (he's fine now) but rather than taking our chances at the French hospital or taking out a personal loan to go to the SOS clinic, I just sat at home cleaning the gravel out of his abrasions with a boiled pin and alcohol pads. Beats the toothbrush they used on me when I was in South Korea! Liberal applications of Fiducin and much shouting later, he's fine. But a real emergency? :shudders:

Are there any foods you miss from Vietnam? Any Hanoi recommendations for me? Your blueberry muffins made me snuffle a little bit for home. I miss blueberries a lot, coming from Nova Scotia. Blueberry muffins used to be one of my life's great pleasures.

Your daughter is beautiful. I was actually at the SOS clinic last week (on my employer's dime  :raz:  for a visa medical check) and the only clients there were me and six other baby girls who were being adopted. We all were in line for TB checks! Some of the little babies looked like they hadn't had easy lives of it until then - some of them had traces of what looked like bed sores all over their bodies. And there they were dressed in the most beautiful outfits that had obviously been lovingly packed by hopeful parents in the UK, or Italy, or Germany...

I worked at the other clinic in Hanoi, can't recall the name right now, but it is owned by a wonderful Israeli fellow named Rafi. I did a whole lot of physicals on adoptive kids while I was there.

Actually the fancy clothes are often provided by the parents who are giving up the child. Kira came equiped with a rather fancy little outfit. I noticed a lot of kids have rashes, but they are generally very well cared for before adoption so bed sores would be very unusual.

I miss all the food in Vietnam. I never ate better, but I still lost about 10 lbs because it's so much lower fat than here. Every morning for breakfast I ate pho, my husband ate baguette. We found that every restaurant we went to had just the most amazing fresh food.

I wouldn't want to have a real emergency in Hanoi either. You see the number of people limping around with limbs that were obviously broken and not cared for properly. Apparently there is a hospital there where you can get amazing emergency experience due to the number of serious injuries that come in all the time. Kind of like Detroit Receiving Hospital.

If you get a chance would you describe for eG how the traffic flows in Hanoi. I was laughing constantly at the possibility of gridlock.

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This is my first day reading the thread, but I'm so excited to see something coming from Manatoulin Island! I spent many summers there and on the Bruce.. So many fond memories of hunting for fossils, cliff diving, and great backpacking trips.

It's been a few years since I've been back to that area. Has tourism continued to pick up? It's great to hear that farmers' markets and community gardens have taken root.

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  I always used hickory to smoke, but alder for fish might be even better.

Great blog! I'm really enjoying it. Thanks!

Alder is better for salmon. Cherry and apple are good for other fish depending on what they are.

Edit: Also, try a brine with maple syrup.

Edited by Country (log)
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This is my first day reading the thread, but I'm so excited to see something coming from Manatoulin Island!  I spent many summers there and on the Bruce.. So many fond memories of hunting for fossils, cliff diving, and great backpacking trips.

It's been a few years since I've been back to that area.  Has tourism continued to pick up?  It's great to hear that farmers' markets and community gardens have taken root.

Tourism is alive and well in Manitoulin and is the summer lifeblood of the island. But unlike other tourist areas you don't feel that the locals are just tolerating you. They are just as interested in finding out about you as you are about them.

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Today lunch was Indian Taco's. These are fry bread with taco fixings and man are they good.

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This was a fund raiser in aid of a young man who had a bad motor vehicle accident a few weeks ago and suffered a head injury and a cervical spine fracture.

Apparently he regained conciousness and was acting appropriately, but unfortunately was having some trouble breathing and had to be intubated to breath and therefore sedated. So the final outcome of his injuries is up in the air.

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Today lunch was Indian Taco's.  These are fry bread with taco fixings and man are they good. 

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:huh:

I haven't seen something like that since I was in univeristy. But in northern Minnesota and North Dakota they're not Indian Taco's - they're Oofda Taco's. I had no idea they were in Ontario too. (They were good!)

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Pam, it's Uff-da, and it's a Norwegian term.  But, Kerry, that lunch looks absolutely wonderful!

It's both! :raz: (do a search on oofda taco) - I had one at the Norsk Hostfest. Whichever way, they're good! :biggrin:

Kerry - did they have Beaver-tails too?

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Did Kira like her party?  And, when she fell out of her chair and screamed, was she hurt or mad?

She really seemed to enjoy the party. She loves having other kids around. I don't think she was hurt at all, just accustomed to having someone prevent her from falling all the time. She was just plain pissed I think.

Pam, it's Uff-da, and it's a Norwegian term.  But, Kerry, that lunch looks absolutely wonderful!

It's both! :raz: (do a search on oofda taco) - I had one at the Norsk Hostfest. Whichever way, they're good! :biggrin:

Kerry - did they have Beaver-tails too?

No beavertails today, but I did snap a photo of the beavertail concession in Tobermory on the way up.

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[...]So can I hear your amazing island experience that involves food?  I think this is a perfect place for it, being on an island and all.[...]

OK. My parents, brother and I visited Sumatra in 1976 and spent most of that two-week trip on Pulau Samosir in the Toba Batak land (pulau is Indonesian and Malay for "island"). While we were on a ferry going from Prapat on the "mainland" (in Sumatra but across Lake Toba from Samosir), some friendly Bataks told us that they would be having a second burial the next day and that we should join them as guests. The Batak people disinter the bones of ancestors about 60 years after they have died, rebury them permanently, and have a big celebration. There were two kinship groups represented, the wife-givers and wife-receivers, and one of the groups adopted us for the purposes of the ceremony. There was a lot of dancing and many people were dressed in colorful clothing. Pigs were roasted on spits over wood fires with an amazing mix of spices. The roast pig was so spicy and so uniquely delicious! That second burial has to be the best serendipitous adventure I ever had while traveling.

Great story! Thanks for the telling. It's amazing how good a well roasted whole pig can taste isn't it?

Absolutely! But the spice mixture also had a lot to do with it. So spicy, so tasty!

That Indian taco looks interesting. I've never had anything like that before.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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We gave Kira some left over birthday cake today. She seems to have enjoyed it.

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We headed west from Little Current toward Kagawong.

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We made a quick stop at Freer Point, a biosphere reserve, where I share a piece of land with a group that wish to protect the land from further development. Their website is here.

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It has a couple of cabins, and one of them contains this, which is what convinced me to join in.

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A little further along the road, you encounter the sign for the Manitoulin Chocolate Works, our destination for the day, in the beautiful village of Kagawong.

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Kagawong has some beautiful sights including Bridleveil falls (look carefully you can see the salmon going upriver), lovely old stone buildings and fabulous water views.

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The Manitoulin Chocolate Works is the main destination for me in Kagawong. It's the best place to get coffee on the entire island. There are treats of all sorts, chocolates, fudge, preserves and that fabulous coffee by the pound.

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Sneaking out back we get a chance to see pecan caramel turtles awaiting their enrobing.

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White chocolate almost in temper in a 'Perfect' water tempering unit. And check out the variety of chocolates they have been producing this week.

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The owner Beth and her employee Nora. They had a lovely write up in the LCBO magazine, naming them an Ontario Food Superstar.

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On the drive home I stop to admire the bones of some old trees.

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A final quick stop to the home of my honey supplier, unfortunately she is not at home, and with no answering machine it may take a few trips before I get my next big bucket of honey.

After arriving home we ate leftovers. Fried noodles, spring rolls and hot dogs. A bit later I'll probably have a little leftover cake myself. Bet I don't get as dirty as Kira.

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As requested

Gary's Chocolate Cake

3/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup white sugar

1 1/2 cup brown sugar

3 extra large eggs

3/4 cup cocoa powder (the dark stuff, ie not dutch processed)

3/4 cup boiling water

3/4 cup plain yogurt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 1/4 cup flour

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

Prepare two nine inch cake pans with parchment round and oil or pam. Preheat oven to 305 F.

Pour boiling water over cocoa, mix with whisk. Mix in yogurt and vanilla. Beat shortening and sugars, add eggs and beat until fluffy. Alternate adding dry and wet ingredients to shortening mixture.

Divide batter between the two pans. Drop pans on the counter a couple of times to remove large bubbles. Bake at 305 F for about 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, turn out onto cake rack then flip over once more onto another cake rack so they are right side up. Cool overnight before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream

-adapted from Fine cooking 14 page 18

1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar

1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

14 ounces salted butter at room temperature

5 drops Loranne Chocolate flavour

bring sugar and water to a boil, boil to 240F. Meanwhile beat eggs and yolks with cream of tartar to a mousselike consistancy on high in mixer. When syrup reaches temperature, drizzle it slowly into eggs, keeping mixer beating on high. Continue to beat until cools. Beat in butter, cooled melted chocolate and flavouring.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT put this cake in the fridge. The texture changes and it is not a good thing.

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I can almost conjure up the smell of chocolate by looking at the photos. That smell plus coffee is heavenly.

Looks like it was a beautiful day and drive.

"The bones of old trees". Great allusion.

I have old slides at home from when I lived in the Queen Charlotte Islands and the dead trees there are hauntingly beautiful.

In the Queen Charlottes when you want to see wildlife you go to the dump. Within view you will see hundreds of eagles and at least 5 or 6 bears. We stopped at the dump today, but all I saw was garbage and seagulls. Oh yeah, and the Hats for Hides shed. If you bag a deer you leave the hide in an old freezer at the dump and in exchange you get a hat (bright orange as I recall). The hides are then tanned and used to make various products. We bought a couple of hides last year after we took a moccasin making course.

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Really interesting reading, and lots of beautiful photos!

re: Indian Tacos/frybread - I would argue that these are the quintessential indiginous North American food item, as I've eaten them in the southwest (Arizona/New Mexico), the southern plains (Texas/Oklahoma/Kansas), the Rockies (Colorado/Wyoming), and evidently they're popular way up there in the North. I had always believed that they originated with the Pueblos in New Mexico, but if that's where they started, they're nationwide/continental now. And I've never really had a bad one anywhere.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“A favorite dish in Kansas is creamed corn on a stick.”

-Jeff Harms, actor, comedian.

>Enjoying every bite, because I don't know any better...

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I'm late, I'm late, I know! Kerry, what a great blog! The food looks wonderful, your nanny is wonderful, your refrigerator was a fun before and during post, and, of course, your daughter is hauntingly beautiful. Thank you! Give Kira an extra piece of cake, for me. I can be messy too, at times.

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I miss all the food in Vietnam.  I never ate better, but I still lost about 10 lbs because it's so much lower fat than here.  Every morning for breakfast I ate pho, my husband ate baguette.  We found that every restaurant we went to had just the most amazing fresh food.

I am convinced that pho may possibly be the ideal meal for weight management. Plus it's orders of magnitude tastier than one of those frozen "Mean Cuisine" (pun intended) meals. :biggrin:

This is my first day reading the thread, but I'm so excited to see something coming from Manatoulin Island!  I spent many summers there and on the Bruce.. So many fond memories of hunting for fossils, cliff diving, and great backpacking trips.

Okay, this is at least the second time The Bruce was mentioned, and now I'm curious. I tried Googling "The Bruce" and keep getting "Robert the Bruce" -- fun, but no help there! :biggrin: So what is this "Bruce" you speak of?

re: Indian Tacos/frybread - I would argue that these are the quintessential indiginous North American food item, as I've eaten them in the southwest (Arizona/New Mexico), the southern plains (Texas/Oklahoma/Kansas), the Rockies (Colorado/Wyoming), and evidently they're popular way up there in the North. I had always believed that they originated with the Pueblos in New Mexico, but if that's where they started, they're nationwide/continental now. And I've never really had a bad one anywhere.

And I've been served frybread, as-is and as Indian tacos, at gatherings in Seattle and in Northeast California (near Lassen Volcanic Park). Yeah, I got the vague impression they originated with the Navaho ... they've traveled far, and that's a very good thing as far as I'm concerned. I just hope Taco Bell doesn't find out and get inspired to do a bastardized form of them--that might be really scary. :unsure:

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And I've been served frybread, as-is and as Indian tacos, at gatherings in Seattle and in Northeast California (near Lassen Volcanic Park). Yeah, I got the vague impression they originated with the Navaho ... they've traveled far, and that's a very good thing as far as I'm concerned. I just hope Taco Bell doesn't find out and get inspired to do a bastardized form of them--that might be really scary. :unsure:

Take the beans off it and fold it, and you've got the Taco Bell Chalupa. They've ruined a beautiful thing...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“A favorite dish in Kansas is creamed corn on a stick.”

-Jeff Harms, actor, comedian.

>Enjoying every bite, because I don't know any better...

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So glad to hear the babies are well cared for! I'm covered in a heat rash most of the time myself, so I can see how that would be a problem.

Traffic in Hanoi - how to describe?

Hanoi is a maze of one-way streets, but that doesn't discourage anyone - a quarter of all one way streets in Hanoi is reserved for people going in the opposite direction. I find that once you can accept the fact that anybody on the road can do anything at any given time, and behave accordingly, then driving goes a lot smoother. My husband, who was raised on video games, sees nothing scary about bombing down the Dyke road, dodging oncoming: women with yokes; children on bicyles; wandering toddlers; BMW SUVs driven by part elite; the odd chicken; people driving 20 year old Toyota wagons like they were motorcycles, old men in Viet Cong helmets driving fruit bicycles and three-wheeled motorized carts hauling scrap metal....everything goes in Hanoi traffic.

The introduction of a lot more cars onto the roads in the last three years or so has been disastrous, because there are no formal training plans to show people the differences between driving cars and driving Honda 110 scooters. So everybody drives their car like it's a scooter. We got clipped by an ambulance once who decided it would change "lanes" by suddenly throwing the wheel to the right and crossing to the far right - didn't even look. Actually; nobody looks; they're all too busy text-messaging. This is why Vespas are so popular; they require almost no thought at all to drive.

It's not unusual for a whole family to tool around on a scooter - kids crammed between the parents. Nobody wears helmets.

Fortunately, Hanoi traffic rarely gets above 25k/hr, so most collisions are low speed.

It's considered polite to honk as you drive to let the person in front of you know you are there, especially if you plan to pass them. God knows no one ever looks behind or uses their mirrors. If you don't honk, you run the risk that they will swerve suddenly (to dodge an errant granny; a slow scooter; a dump truck emerging from an alley; tossed waste water). My husband often forgets to honk, as he's still conditioned to use that as a tool of outrage and frustration. So I'm on the back of the scooter, shouting "Honk Honk Honk!" when I feel it's needed, both to get him to honk, and to warn other bikes of our progress.

As well, scooters are used to transport everything in the city, from bags of goldfish, to caged pigs, to old refrigerators, giant buddhas....I thought I'd seen everything until last week I saw someone with giant concrete sections from a drainage ditch.

Er...Food? Right. I've also lost tons of weight here. I could eat rice noodles and Hanoi herbs every day...not to mention all the fresh fruit. Fresh passionfruit juice is my latest kick. The only downside is that I almost never cook anymore. I just need to stumble out of the house, and I can find a decent feed for two dollars. Unfortunately, I've been working so much lately, I haven't had a chance to do any serious food exploring. There's a place around the corner from where I live that is enticingly called "chicken street". I want to go there next...maybe they'll have caramel chicken!

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      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
      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, including her, 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.
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