Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

eG Foodblog: hzrt8w - A week of Chinese New Year celebration


hzrt8w
 Share

Recommended Posts

These looked like hugh green onions.  But the label said "sweet red onion".

gallery_28660_4251_17130.jpg

These look like red bunching onions.

I just turned 48 in January.  I was thrilled to think that I was born in the year of the pig, but then I realized that I was born the year BEFORE the year of the pig, since my birthday happened before CNY.  Right? 

What am I? :blink:

The year of the dog is before year of the pig. So you were born in 1959? Every year Chinese New Year (which is based on lunar calendar) lands on a different date in the solar calendar. If we have access to the lunar calendar back to 1959 we'll know.

Here's a web site where you can convert Gregorian to lunar. Just choose your yr! It looks like the first day of the new yr was Feb 8th in 1959, therefore a birthday in Jan 1959 should be Wu-xu (yr of the dog), correct?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When you go to these farmer's markets, you have to know your stuff.  Often the labels are wrong.  I am not sure what this is.  Some kind of gourd?

gallery_28660_4251_19075.jpg

Butternut squash, "delicata" variety like it says on the sign. It's similar to pumpkin, acorn squash, and kabocha.

And another pumkin like gourd?

gallery_28660_4251_34142.jpg

These look to me like what's sold here as "Korean melons," a mild cucumber-like squash, though I could be wrong.

These looked like hugh green onions.  But the label said "sweet red onion".

gallery_28660_4251_17130.jpg

Perhaps they're the sprouts of red onions -- the stems do appear a bit red.

those 2nd squashes aren't korean melons. They are just some variety of squash. Korean melons are lighter yellow, have smoother skin, and are not as oblong in shape.

I too am born in the year of the pig, so this is my year and I will do my part by definitely eating more pork.

so I think that on chinese new year the chinese eat a red bean based soup? Koreans do the same, except we eat our red bean soup with small mochi balls in it, its very good and good for you. I dont celebrate chinese new year, but I will definitely make this in the new future because its so delicious

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Being that many Chinese don’t want to “kill” on the first day of Chinese New Year, we would be a vegetarian for… half a day.  Last night’s dinner was some simple vegetable stir-fries, Chinese style of course.

I have a question about CNY vegetarian meals. You used dried shrimp and oyster sauce in your dinner. Are those ingredients typically considered "vegetarian" for CNY? (The most popular dish for CNY here is jai.)

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kung Hey Fat Choy!

Ah Leung, I'm just catching up on your blog. What great fun. It's great that we get to share your CNY week.

So judging by your clues. I guess you're 48. We have two pigs in the family--my BIL, and my nephew. I am not a pig, but I certainly acted like one this weekend.

Edited by I_call_the_duck (log)

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would like say I am taking special pride in this blog; it's the last one in which I had a part in the planning, before my personal circumstances made it necessary for me to give up my volunteer work for the eG Society...  A special thanks to you, and Happy New Year.

Hi Susan: It's very nice that you dropped in. Thank you for the invitation to do this foodblog! It is a lot of work but a lot of fun too!

I hope everything works out for you. I am hanging on for the time being, and wondering if one day I may need to give up some volunteer work too. Happy New Year to you!

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kung Hey Fat Choy!

Thanks for blogging. I am looking forward to more of this.

Geekdom, of any kind, is so much fun. And then there's the food.:)

Kung Hey Fat Choy to you too Kouign Aman!

I will get to my "geek" part later on this week. So stay tuned! :laugh:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah Leung, thanks for the suggestions on the markets.  What do you think of the farmers markets on Sundays under the freeway?  It's the only one that I've been to in this area, with the exception of the on on Thursdays out on Florin Rd, which isn't always convenient.  Do you know of better ones in the area?

It's been my understanding that New Canton and Eastern Empire are also top notch Chinese cuisine.  Is that your impression?

Stephanie:

I posted some pictures on my visit to the Sacramento farmer's market yesterday. My overall impression was that the quality of the vegetables I found was just so-so, and the prices I saw was not much better than the ones I had seen in Asian markets such as SF Supermarket. Being that their hours are limited - only once a week in the morning, I don't find the value in going to it.

New Canton - I love it. It is one of the best Chinese restaurants in Sacramento that I know. Unfortunately... they are closed. Has been for 1/2 year or something. I love the dim sum they made. Not sure what's coming in to take its place.

I have not heard of Eastern Empire before. Where is it? May be I can try it out!

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah Leung, Kung Hay Fat Choy!!

...

It's interesting that you say that Chinese restaurants in "Yee Fow" (Sacramento) is second-rate. I'm more familiar with the Chinese restaurants in "Sam Fow" (Stockton) and of course "Dai Fow" (San Francisco or Frisco). I have always wondered what the Chinese community in Sacramento was like, considering Sacramento was supposedly larger than Stockton.

Hey Russell! How the heck are you? Kung Hay Fat Choy to you too!

We ARE about the same age, yaaa? And we should know how to enjoy life! You sure have a much better access to all the top-notch restaurants than me.

The Chinese population in Sacramento, by and large and for whatever reason, has tamed down their demand for the extra edge. In Cantonese, we call it "tsui tsim" (sharp mouth) - meaning the ability to taste even the minute difference in a dish prepared by different restaurants. There are many Chinese restaurants in this area, and many of them have strong patronage. But to me they always seem just one notch below the good ones commonly found in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

To name a few of my personal favorites:

Koi Palace (Daly City)

Asian Pearl (Richmond)

Hong Kong East Ocean (Emeryville)

Fook Yuen (Millbrae)

Zen Peninsula (Millbrae)

Mayflower (San Francisco)

Parc Hong Kong (San Francisco)

There are just too many to mention them all.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

P.S. I'm a foodie and a technogeek--does two out of three count for anything? :laugh:

Hi Ellen! We'll work on the third part and make another honorable Chinese out of you! :biggrin:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, you are not much for sweets. More for me, then! I LOVE egg tarts. LOVE them so much, I could marry a boy who would bake them for me. But, I have trouble telling if they will be good just by looking at them, and sometimes I get some with a chewy pastry and a much too sweet, rubbery custard. YUCK. One reason that I

enjoy Chinese sweets and baked goods is that they are not so sweet.

What you said is very true. In general Hong Kong western pastries are much less sweet. That goes to cakes, tarts, breads, etc.. In fact a unique (I think) Hong Kong adaptation is to use savory fillings to make bread (buns). BBQ pork buns, curry beef buns, hot dog buns - to name a few. I always like those and only the Hong Kong style bakeries would make them.

I am usually disappointed at the bakery items offered at the Taiwanese-run bakery shops. They just do it differently.

As for the egg tarts: You can kind of tell by the look sometimes. Check out the color of the egg tart filling: shinny or dull? any crack? The crust: look flaky or solid? Burnt or too pale? And you can skip those that don't look too appealing.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

gallery_28660_4251_48885.jpg

Minced some garlic and got some small dried shrimp.

gallery_28660_4251_53245.jpg

First fried the dried shrimp on the pan with a couple of teaspoons of oil and let the fragrance develop.

Learning new stuff already! Ah Leung, I notice that, unlike in other recipes, here you didn't soak the dried shrimp before cooking them. Do they plump up a bit when fried without rehydrating? Or get crunchier?

I just adore all the dried ingredients that are part of Asian cuisines. The flavors are more intense and the textures are chewier than their fresh counterparts, which makes them much more interesting to cook with, let alone to eat. My budget loves their low prices, especially considering how big a volume of food they reconstitute to--and then there's the much longer shelf life. Plus I feel so healthy eating them! :laugh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went to do some year-end shopping last week. Here are some pictures that I took.

gallery_28660_4251_74050.jpg

There is a small floral shop in the same mall as SF Supermarket that sells seasonal floral items. I guess I don’t need to tell you their address.

gallery_28660_4251_34347.jpg

Mandarin orange tree. A small tree like this already produces two dozen Mandarin oranges. Buy a Mandarin orange, you can eat for a day. Plant a Mandarin orange tree, you can eat for life!

gallery_28660_4251_39713.jpg

This is the bigger variety: Tangerine.

gallery_28660_4251_4353.jpg

And this is the smallest in the variety: kumquat. Most of the fruits on this tree were still green.

gallery_28660_4251_38776.jpg

Trigs from plum trees. We buy this to decorate at home for Chinese New Year. They usually bloom around Chinese New Year. “Mui Fa”. It is also China’s National Flower.

gallery_28660_4251_20187.jpg

You buy one of these trigs, put it in a large size vase (like the ones in Koi Palace) and add water. Flowers will start blooming in a few days.

gallery_28660_4251_36134.jpg

This is another flower plant that Chinese like for CNY: “Shui Sin”. Sorry… don’t know what the English name is. It has a very strong fragrance. I think some perfume makers extract the fragrance from these flowers to make perfume.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

gallery_28660_4251_36134.jpg

This is another flower plant that Chinese like for CNY:  “Shui Sin”.  Sorry… don’t know what the English name is.  It has a very strong fragrance.  I think some perfume makers extract the fragrance from these flowers to make perfume.

I'm far from a flowering plant expert, but those look very much like some kind of jonquil/daffodil/narcissus relative. A little creative Googling turned up this flowering plant -- is this the right one?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is S.F. Supermarket where I did my Chinese New Year food shopping.

gallery_28660_4251_20512.jpg

It is located at Stockton Blvd crossing 65th Street.

They had all kinds of seasonal candies, sugar-glazed nuts and melons for the new year.

gallery_28660_4251_24760.jpg

Sugar-glazed lotus seeds.

gallery_28660_4251_36229.jpg

Sugar-glazed coconut shreds in different colors.

gallery_28660_4251_72579.jpg

Some toffee kind of candies.

gallery_28660_4251_46703.jpg

Gold coins from large to small. I loved these gold coins when I was a kid. It’s pure chocolate inside!

gallery_28660_4251_5764.jpg

The store sold these gift baskets, already wrapped. I remember when my father took me to visit relatives during Chinese New Year, he always bought some gift baskets filled with fruits, candies. Some even with a bottle of brandy.

gallery_28660_4251_32997.jpg

Sugar-glazed coconut strips.

gallery_28660_4251_31231.jpg

Interesting! They package something into a container that looks like a giant firecracker!

gallery_28660_4251_43494.jpg

Crispy candy. Probably some kind of ground peanuts mixed with toffee.

gallery_28660_4251_31549.jpg

“So Kwok”. These are deep-fried dough with ground peanuts and sugar inside.

gallery_28660_4251_53093.jpg

Chinese call these “Siu Hau Zho” (a jujube date that resembles a smiling mouth). Deep-fried dough with sesame seeds sprinkled on the outside.

gallery_28660_4251_39624.jpg

Sugar-glazed lotus root slices.

gallery_28660_4251_32046.jpg

“Jin Dui” – deep-fried dough made from glutinous rice flower. The filling is sweet, made with smashed red beans. The outside is coated with sesame seeds. And… they are hollow!

gallery_28660_4251_20937.jpg

More sugar-glazed lotus seeds.

gallery_28660_4251_28575.jpg

Sweet ginger. I think these are ginger-flavored soft candies.

gallery_28660_4251_41633.jpg

Roasted water melon seeds. I bought one of these.

gallery_28660_4251_60442.jpg

This is a package for candies and it is shaped like a “Yuen Bo” – the ancient Chinese gold ingot.

gallery_28660_4251_61383.jpg

More gold coins!

gallery_28660_4251_12790.jpg

“Lei See” candies. Not sure what’s inside.

gallery_28660_4251_54912.jpg

Small candies that shaped like gold ingots.

gallery_28660_4251_35212.jpg

Sugar-glazed winter melon.

gallery_28660_4251_38253.jpg

Sugar-glazed water chestnuts.

gallery_28660_4251_56999.jpg

Again, sugar-glazed coconut shreds. I bought one of these because they were the smallest that I could find.

gallery_28660_4251_52636.jpg

You can buy each of the sugar-glazed melons/seeds and candies separately and put them in a serving tray. Or you can buy one of these combinations. The package is the serving tray.

gallery_28660_4251_28691.jpg

Cantonese call these “Tsuen Hop”.

gallery_28660_4251_63963.jpg

Boy… this was the largest that I had seen. Felt very heavy too.

gallery_28660_4251_18661.jpg

If I had bought one of these, I don’t know how long it would take me to finish it.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

gallery_28660_4251_12790.jpg

“Lei See” candies.  Not sure what’s inside.

Can I offer some help? Inside the red and gold foil packets are strawberry-flavoured hard candies that have a chewy centre. A childhood favourite of mine, I still have a soft spot for them when CNY rolls around.

Happy Year of the Golden Boar!

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Rabbit bounding in here to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year!

I am enjoying this blog very much, and appreciate everything I am learning. We have so many Asian markets in the area, but they are very intimidating. The farmer's markets festure a suprising amount of fruits and vegetables from the eastern hemisphere as well. This is helping me get a bit more confident when I walk in the door, or up to the stall.

I am looking forward to the rest of the week. Good job, I know it is a lot of hard work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

gallery_28660_4251_46703.jpg

Gold coins from large to small.  I loved these gold coins when I was a kid.  It’s pure chocolate inside!

I loved those gold coins, too! My parents used to pack the coins in our Christmas stockings, along with an orange in the toe, a Mad magazine, a nutcracker, and an assortment of unshelled nuts - usually walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, and hazelnuts. They would hang the stocking on our bedroom door after we went to sleep. I think they wanted us to stay occupied as long as possible Christmas morning. :biggrin:

Thanks for the pleasant memory!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

gallery_28660_4251_36134.jpg

This is another flower plant that Chinese like for CNY:  “Shui Sin”.  Sorry… don’t know what the English name is.  It has a very strong fragrance.  I think some perfume makers extract the fragrance from these flowers to make perfume.

I'm far from a flowering plant expert, but those look very much like some kind of jonquil/daffodil/narcissus relative. A little creative Googling turned up this flowering plant -- is this the right one?

Looks like a narcissus to me too. Also called PaperWhite. Very strong scent. Some like it, some think it stinks.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went to do some year-end shopping last week.  Here are some pictures that I took.

Trigs from plum trees.  We buy this to decorate at home for Chinese New Year.  They usually bloom around Chinese New Year.  “Mui Fa”.  It is also China’s National Flower.

gallery_28660_4251_20187.jpg

You buy one of these trigs, put it in a large size vase (like the ones in Koi Palace) and add water.  Flowers will start blooming in a few days.

gallery_28660_4251_36134.jpg

This is another flower plant that Chinese like for CNY:  “Shui Sin”.  Sorry… don’t know what the English name is.  It has a very strong fragrance.  I think some perfume makers extract the fragrance from these flowers to make perfume.

:hmmm: Those twigs are so big they look more like the actual trees?

I think the "Shui Sin" is known as "paperwhites"

I have forced them before in time for CNY, but I don't like the fragrance. It gives me a headache. :sad:

It makes me even sadder to see all those beautiful plants standing OUTSIDE while my trees are nekkid!

ETA: Ooopsss...Kouign Aman beat me to the paperwhites.

In addtion to strawberry flavour candies, the package I bought this year were coconut flavoured in assorted coloured foil wrappers. They were a nice change.

Instead of gold coins, I bought gum fah sung (golden peanuts) for my grandson. The chocolate they use is terrible tho'.

Edited by Dejah (log)

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A rooster wheezing in to wish you Kung Hei Fat Choy Ah Leung! I have been monitoring your blog for the past couple of days but couldn't post because of my asthma attacks. I am so happy to see you blogging. I have always pointed out your pictorial recipes to my hubby and ask him to choose what he wants for our supper tonight. :biggrin: I call you my "Master" and hubby calls me your grasshopper. LOL

Most of the Chinese candies you have featured can be found in the Philippines too. I think I have sampled the chocolate coins, candied coconut (yuck!), candied ginger and chest nuts, watermelon seeds (salted but not dyed red); we even have pumpkin seeds too. Like you, I don't have a sweet tooth (considered a black sheep in my sweet tooth family). Anyway, here's to more blog posts and scrumptious pictures.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In addtion to strawberry flavour candies, the package I bought this year were coconut flavoured in assorted coloured foil wrappers. They were a nice change.

Instead of gold coins, I bought gum fah sung (golden peanuts) for my grandson. The chocolate they use is terrible tho'.

Heads up Dejah and any other Chinese-Canadians: during CNY, Purdy's sells gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins that are of fairly good quality milk chocolate, better than a lot of the generic ones that I've tasted. I've tried those coconut-flavoured lucky candies; they're okay, but I much prefer the strawberry ones.

Like Domestic Goddess before me, I'm also a Rooster... Earth Rooster to be exact. My husband is an Earth Pig and our son is a Fire Snake. Keep up the great blog!

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never seen the coconut in different colors before. We've only had the white color. I'm not a huge fan of the sweets myself, so my favorite were the seeds.

What we were discussing this weekend was the different translation of some of the animals. Pig-boar, sheep-ram-goat, rooster-cock, cow-ox. What is this all about? Is it just in the translation?

(BTW, I'm a sheep. baa)

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      Sea fish in my local supermarket
       
       
      In the past I've started a few topics focusing on categorised food types I find in China. I’ve done
       
      Mushrooms and Fungi in China
       
      Chinese Vegetables Illustrated
       
      Sugar in China
       
      Chinese Herbs and Spices
       
      Chinese Pickles and Preserves
       
      Chinese Hams.
       
      I’ve enjoyed doing them as I learn a lot and I hope that some people find them useful or just interesting.
       
      One I’ve always resisted doing is Fish etc in China. Although it’s interesting and I love fish, it just felt too complicated. A lot of the fish and other marine animals I see here, I can’t identify, even if I know the local name. The same species may have different names in different supermarkets or wet markets. And, as everywhere, a lot of fish is simply mislabelled, either out of ignorance or plain fraud.
       
      However, I’ve decided to give it a go.
       
      I read that 60% of fish consumed in China is freshwater fish. I doubt that figure refers to fresh fish though. In most of China only freshwater fish is available. Seawater fish doesn’t travel very far inland. It is becoming more available as infrastructure improves, but it’s still low. Dried seawater fish is used, but only in small quantities as is frozen food in general. I live near enough the sea to get fresh sea fish, but 20 years ago when I lived in Hunan I never saw it. Having been brought up yards from the sea, I sorely missed it.
       
      I’ll start with the freshwater fish. Today, much of this is farmed, but traditionally came from lakes and rivers, as much still does. Most villages in the rural parts have their village fish pond. By far the most popular fish are the various members of the carp family with 草鱼 (cǎo yú) - Ctenopharyngodon idella - Grass Carp being the most raised and consumed. These (and the other freshwater fish) are normally sold live and every supermarket, market (and often restaurants) has ranks of tanks holding them.
       

      Supermarket Freshwater Fish Tanks

      You point at the one you want and the server nets it out. In markets, super or not, you can either take it away still wriggling or, if you are squeamish, the server will kill, descale and gut it for you. In restaurants, the staff often display the live fish to the table before cooking it.
       
      These are either steamed with aromatics – garlic, ginger, scallions and coriander leaf / cilantro being common – or braised in a spicy sauce or, less often, a sweet and sour sauce or they are simply fried. It largely depends on the region.
       
      Note that, in China, nearly all fish is served head on and on-the-bone.
       

      草鱼 (cǎo yú) - Ctenopharyngodon idella - grass carp
       
      More tomorrow.
    • By Duvel
      The first week of November are „autumn holidays“ in the area where I live. We wanted to use that time to go to Paris, but when my parents-in-law somewhat surprisingly announced they‘d be coming over from Spain for the whole of November, we scrapped that idea and looked for something more German …
       
      So … Berlin. Not the best time to travel (cold & rainy), but with a couple of museums for the little one and the slightly older ones to enjoy together, plus some food options I was looking forward it was a destination we could all agree on. The Covid19 warnings in the Berlin subway support that notion …
       

       
    • By liuzhou
      Big Plate Chicken - 大盘鸡 (dà pán jī)
       

       
      This very filling dish of chicken and potato stew is from Xinjiang province in China's far west, although it is said to have been invented by a visitor from Sichuan. In recent years, it has become popular in cities across China, where it is made using a whole chicken which is chopped, with skin and on the bone, into small pieces suitable for easy chopstick handling. If you want to go that way, any Asian market should be able to chop the bird for you. Otherwise you may use boneless chicken thighs instead.

      Ingredients

      Chicken chopped on the bone or Boneless skinless chicken thighs  6

      Light soy sauce

      Dark soy sauce

      Shaoxing wine

      Cornstarch or similar. I use potato starch.

      Vegetable oil (not olive oil)

      Star anise, 4

      Cinnamon, 1 stick

      Bay leaves, 5 or 6

      Fresh ginger, 6 coin sized slices

      Garlic.  5 cloves, roughly chopped

      Sichuan peppercorns,  1 tablespoon

      Whole dried red chillies,   6 -10  (optional). If you can source the Sichuan chiles known as Facing Heaven Chiles, so much the better.

      Potatoes 2 or 3 medium sized. peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

      Carrot. 1,  thinly sliced

      Dried wheat noodles.  8 oz. Traditionally, these would be a long, flat thick variety. I've use Italian tagliatelle successfully.    

      Red bell pepper. 1 cut into chunks

      Green bell pepper, 1 cut into chunks

      Salt

      Scallion, 2 sliced.
         
      Method

      First, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and marinate in 1½ teaspoons light soy sauce, 3 teaspoons of Shaoxing and 1½ teaspoons of cornstarch. Set aside for about twenty minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

      Heat the wok and add three tablespoons cooking oil. Add the ginger, garlic, star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, Sichuan peppercorns and chilies. Fry on a low heat for a  minute or so. If they look about to burn, splash a little water into your wok. This will lower the temperature slightly. Add the chicken and turn up the heat. Continue frying until the meat is nicely seared, then add the potatoes and carrots. Stir fry a minute more then add 2 teaspoons of the dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of the light soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of the Shaoxing wine along with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium. Cover and cook for around 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are done.

      While the main dish is cooking, cook the noodles separately according to the packet instructions.  Reserve  some of the noodle cooking water and drain.

      When the chicken and potatoes are done, you may add a little of the noodle water if the dish appears on the dry side. It should be saucy, but not soupy. Add the bell peppers and cook for three to four minutes more. Add scallions. Check seasoning and add some salt if it needs it. It may not due to the soy sauce and, if in the USA, Shaoxing wine.

      Serve on a large plate for everyone to help themselves from. Plate the noodles first, then cover with the meat and potato. Enjoy.
       
    • By liuzhou
      Way back in the 1990’s, I was living in west Hunan, a truly beautiful part of China. One day, some colleagues suggested we all go for lunch the next day, a Saturday. Seemed reasonable to me. I like a bit of lunch.
       
      “OK. We’ll pick you up at 7 am.”
       
      “Excuse me? 7 am for lunch?
       
      “Yes. We have to go by car.”
       
      Well, of course, they finally picked me up at 8.30, drove in circles for an hour trying to find the guy who knew the way, then headed off into the wilds of Hunan. We drove for hours, but the scenery was beautiful, and the thousand foot drops at the side of the crash barrier free road as we headed up the mountains certainly kept me awake.
       
      After an eternity of bad driving along hair-raising roads which had this old atheist praying, we stopped at a run down shack in the middle of nowhere. I assumed that this was a temporary stop because the driver needed to cop a urination or something, but no. This was our lunch venue.
       
      We shuffled into one of the two rooms the shack consisted of and I distinctly remember that one of my hosts took charge of the lunch ordering process.
       
      “We want lunch for eight.” There was no menu.
       
      The waitress, who was also the cook, scuttled away to the other room of the shack which was apparently a kitchen.
       
      We sat there for a while discussing the shocking rise in bean sprout prices and other matters of national importance, then the first dish turned up. A pile of steaming hot meat surrounded by steaming hot chillies. It was delicious.
       
      “What is this meat?” I asked.
       
      About half of the party spoke some English, but my Chinese was even worse than it is now, so communications weren’t all they could be. There was a brief (by Chinese standards) meeting and they announced:
       
      “It’s wild animal.”
       
      Over the next hour or so, several other dishes arrived. They were all piles of steaming hot meat surrounded by steaming hot chillies, but the sauces and vegetable accompaniments varied. And all were very, very good indeed.
       
      “What’s this one?” I ventured.
       
      “A different wild animal.”
       
      “And this?”
       
      “Another wild animal.”
       
      “And this?”
       
      “A wild animal which is not the wild animal in the other dishes”
       
      I wandered off to the kitchen, as you can do in rural Chinese restaurants, and inspected the contents of their larder, fridge, etc. No clues.
       
      I returned to the table with a bit of an idea.
       
      “Please write down the Chinese names of all these animals we have eaten. I will look in my dictionary when I get home.”
       
      They looked at each other, consulted, argued and finally announced:
       
      “Sorry! We don’t know in Chinese either. “
       
      Whether that was true or just a way to get out of telling me what I had eaten, I’ll never know. I certainly wouldn’t be able to find the restaurant again.
       
      This all took place way back in the days before digital cameras, so I have no illustrations from that particular meal. But I’m guessing one of the dishes was bamboo rat.
       
      No pandas or tigers were injured in the making of this post
       
    • 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 led 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 serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...