Archives For Authentic Chinese food

During my last trip to China, when I stayed in Beijing, I ended up staying at a different hotel. The hotel I usually use was being remodeled, so I used another one close to the normal one. There was a restaurant at this hotel, so I thought I would give it a try. Do you know what I found?

How Did He Make That?

In the open kitchen area, they were making their own noodles. If you have been to China, you probably know noodles are quite popular and common for any meal of the day. I don’t know how they take the large balls of dough and get to separate into the individual noodles, but the gentleman in the photograph above has mastered it!

How Did He Make That?

As you can tell from the size of these pots, they make a lot of noodles at one time. Sometimes the noodles are served cold, but I prefer mine to be hot.

How Did He Make That?

For those of us that aren’t overly skilled with chopsticks, there is a slight challenge with eating noodles. Sometimes you get too big of a group with your chopsticks, and there seems to be no end to the noodles you are eating. So, what do you do? Well, you have two options — you can either bite off the noodles and let them fall back into the bowl, or you can just slurp it all up. By far the most common practice is to slurp it all up with no hesitation.

How do you like to eat noodles?

One of the holidays celebrated in China during the fall is called the Mid-Autumn Festival or “Zhong qiu jie.” I have celebrated many of them in China, and one thing I can always count on is there being many moon cakes sold, served, and given as gifts. So, have you seen a moon cake?

Have You Ever Heard of Moon Cakes?

I think you can tall from the photograph above how they got their name! Moon cakes come in two main styles: one has a very flaky white exterior, and the other has a golden exterior with a beautiful design. The filling within the cake can have many different exotic flavors.

The ones I like the best are strawberry and fig. I have also had some that were made with pecans, and another type with peanuts that was quite tasty as well, but that is about my limit of the ones I have enjoyed. I have had various ones with filled with some type of cream filling in either white, pink, or violet. Honestly, I have no idea what is in some of the moon cakes — but they are still a beautiful gift to receive!

Have You Ever Heard of Moon Cakes?

The moon cakes above were for sale at a local street market. I am not sure what fillings they had, but they looked delicious that rainy morning!

Have You Ever Heard of Moon Cakes?

As you can see, the moon cakes can come in different colors and packaging. The Chinese are wonderful hosts, so they enjoy giving the foreigners moon cakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival.

If you are ever around China during the “Zhong qiu jie,” you simply must try a moon cake. It is one of the great traditions of China, and 1.4 billion people can’t be wrong!

Have you ever had moon cakes?

As someone who considers himself a fisherman, I often enjoyed the views I had from the area around the campus where I was teaching.  There was a dirt road that ran along the east side of the campus, and the building where I lived was right beside the dirt road.  My apartment was high enough to look out and have a fantastic view of the best sights in the city.

On the other side of the dirt road was a river.  It wasn’t a large river or a deep river, but the fishermen must have had good luck fishing there, because they spent so much time there.  In fact, they set up fish camps and lived out of them.

These fish camps came in various shapes and sizes, and I found them very interesting.  Some looked like enhanced tents, some were just huts, and others appeared to be larger and have a more stable structure.  Here are some of the fish camps I saw frequently while living in China:
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As you can see, one camp had an area like a fisherman’s squatters neighborhood.  The people living here were also gardeners, as you can tell from the previous picture.  The large and old bulldozer in the photo never moved.  I imagine it helped grade the dirt road and just died there.

These homes may not have had all of the modern conveniences we enjoy, but they did have an amazing location.  They were right on the river, so their views were wonderful every day, and they had the peace and quiet of being away from center of the city!  I can easily understand why they chose to live in their fish camp beside the river!

Yum! Guo Bao Rou

July 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

There are so many things to enjoy while traveling in China… especially the food! One of my favorite dishes is sweet and sour pork or “Guo Bao Rou.” When you dine in China, you will see many dishes that look like Chinese food you enjoy in the states, but I promise you, it will taste ten times better in China. I don’t know what the differences are, but the same dishes we love in the states are significantly better in China.

Guo Bao Rou is a slice of pork which has had all of the bones and fat removed. I am guessing that it is then seasoned a little and cooked in a wok or a frying pan to sear it and seal in the moisture. I think it is then cooked at a lower temperature in the glaze, which is where most of the flavor comes from. The sweet and sour port differs slightly from city to city or even restaurant to restaurant, but it has always been good to me. Sometimes the glaze is a little tangier than others, and then again, sometimes the glaze is a little thicker, but it has never disappointed me.

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Often the plate on which the sweet and sour pork is served will have some type of garnishment on it to make it as beautiful as it is tasty. So, the next time you are in China, I encourage you to order the Guo Bao Rou and enjoy it!

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