Archive for December, 2008

Michelin honours Chinese chef – Part II

Posted by Fuchsia on December 13, 2008
Chefs, Chinese cuisine, Chinese restaurants, Hong Kong, Restaurants / 4 Comments
A rubbery sea cucumber

A rubbery sea cucumber

I promised to write a little more on this story, and ended up doing a piece for the Financial Times, which you can read here. It was an interesting subject to research – and I had a very robust discussion on the phone with the director of Michelin guides, Jean-Luc Naret. I pushed him quite hard on the subject of rubbery things, which I honestly don’t believe most Europeans can appreciate (it took me years). His argument was that Michelin inspectors, as professionals, are duty-bound to understand the cuisines they assess – including alien aspects such as texture foods. Which conjures up a rather amusing picture of Michelin inspectors munching their way through piles of fish maw, sea cucumber and bird’s nest, trying to grasp the finer points of slitheriness…

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Through Chinese eyes

Posted by Fuchsia on December 11, 2008
People / 2 Comments
Columbia Road Market, London

Columbia Road Market, London (www.icimages.com)

A Chinese woman I met the other day has fallen in love with London. Why?

Because ‘it’s so crappy and dirty, the streets are narrow and you see old buildings all around. It reminds me of Beijing in the 1980s. Nowadays you can’t find anything like this in Beijing, it’s all modernity and skyscrapers.’

I was amused by her comments – but not entirely surprised. They brought back vivid memories of my tour of California with three Sichuanese chefs, who were looking for the American Dream and bitterly disappointed by the reality of modern America.

The tables are really turning. Westerners go to Shanghai to ride on the Maglev train at 400km an hour and to drink cocktails at the top of the Hyatt. Chinese people come to Europe for a glimpse of primitive, olde worlde charm! Continue reading…

Hungry women

Posted by Fuchsia on December 07, 2008
Uncategorized / 1 Comment

A while ago a friend of mine took me to an evening of American cabaret at a tiny theatre in central London. One song in particular made me laugh – and I’ve since found it available as an mp3 on the internet. It’s called Hungry Women, and sung here by Eddie Cantor. Do listen to the lyrics – they’re hilarious! (Is this what people think, I wonder, when they take me out for dinner?)

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Christmas with Chinese characteristics

Posted by Fuchsia on December 06, 2008
Chinese cuisine, Recipe, Sichuanese cuisine / 3 Comments

The Financial Times this weekend has published one of my articles, about how most of my Christmas recipes have been infiltrated by Chinese ingredients and cooking techniques. Even that archetypal English staple, mince pies – for years now, I have made them in the shape of Chinese jiaozi dumplings. If you follow this link to the FT website, you will be able to see some lovely colour photographs of a salad made with leftover turkey and some jiaozi mince pies. Otherwise, here are the basic recipes: Continue reading…

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Michelin honours Chinese chef

Posted by Fuchsia on December 04, 2008
Chefs, Chinese restaurants, Hong Kong / 3 Comments

For the first time, Michelin has awarded its maximum honour, three stars, to a Chinese chef - Chan Yan Tak of the Lung King Heen restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel in Hong Kong. The amazing accolade came in the first Michelin Guide to Hong Kong and Macau.

I had lunch at the restaurant in May, and briefly met the chef himself. As this was at the tail end of an exhausting gastronomic tour of China, I wasn’t capable of embarking on a full tasting menu, but enjoyed some of his delicate dim sum.

I’ll be writing more about this later, but wanted to flag up an interview I did for the BBC last night – not sure how long it will remain on their website, but you might just catch it!

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The pleasures of tea (and Chinese breakfast)

Posted by Fuchsia on December 02, 2008
Breakfast, Tea / No Comments

Last week I dropped in on Postcard Teas, the amazing little teashop in London run by Tim D’Offay. At the moment he has an exhibition of traditional crafts from Japan, and when I visited I met Takahiro Yagi, an artisanal maker of teacaddies from Kyoto who is the SEVENTH generation of his family to work in this business. He was showing handmade caddies made from silver, copper and brass, and lined with tin – beautiful. We drank a delicious roasty oolong tea from Wuyishan in Fujian Province – just one of the fine teas that Tim selects on his travels to China, Taiwan, Japan and India. As always, a visit to Postcard Teas felt like a tonic, and I forgot about the wind, rain and darkness outside, not to mention the frenzy of harrassed shoppers in the West End. Continue reading…

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Christmas book round-ups

Posted by Fuchsia on December 02, 2008
Books / 1 Comment

Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper was mentioned by Bee Wilson in her round-up of the year’s best food books in the Sunday Times this weekend. And Sam and Sam Clark of the Moro restaurant in London say they’ve been reading my Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook.