Archive for March, 2010

Chinese food in Sydney

Posted by Fuchsia on March 27, 2010
Chinese cuisine, Chinese restaurants, Ingredients, Restaurants / 3 Comments

There’s a piece by me in the Financial Times today, about the way Chinese and Asian food has been localised in Sydney…

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The wrong kind of recycling

Posted by Fuchsia on March 19, 2010
Food and health, Food safety, Ingredients / 1 Comment

The China Daily reports that one in ten meals in China may be made with old, recycled and potentially carcinogenic cooking oil. The State Food and Drug Administration was so disturbed by the results of a study by a food science expert at Wuhan University, He Dongping, that it has issued an emergency notice to restaurants nationwide warning them against using recycled oil. According to the newspaper, recycling oil is a lucrative business, but the resulting product contains aflatoxin – one of the nastiest of food nasties.

Has anyone heard of this practice in other parts of the world?


Should China grow GM rice?

Posted by Fuchsia on March 15, 2010
Agriculture, Development, Environment, Ingredients / 3 Comments

There’s an interesting piece in the China Daily today that brings together three contrasting views on China’s decision to allow the cultivation of genetically-modified rice. Continue reading…

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So it’s not just the Chinese…

Posted by Fuchsia on March 12, 2010
Environment, Ingredients, Shark's Fin / 2 Comments

…who have been eating bits of endangered shark (as I think I mentioned once before). According to this piece in the Daily Telegraph, around 20,000 tonnes of spiny dogfish, a.k.a. rock salmon, is eaten in the EU, despite the fact that the species is classified as ‘vulnerable’, and ‘endangered’ in some regions. In Britain, the article says, the meat tends to go into fish and chips.

Fortunately, efforts are underfoot at at CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) to restrict trade in the fish.

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Grapple factor

Posted by Fuchsia on March 10, 2010
Language, Writing / 4 Comments
Grapplous crayfish in Hunan

Grapplous crayfish in Hunan

I’m pleased to see that an American blog has picked up on the term ‘grapple factor’ – a term invented by my father to describe foods which are very complicated to eat, like tiny birds and shell-on prawns. I find it an invaluable term, myself. What about you?

And have any of you invented any useful words or phrases that you use for food or cookery?


Gong Bao chicken

Posted by Fuchsia on March 05, 2010
Cooking, Recipe, Sichuanese cuisine / 18 Comments

I’m quite chuffed to read this thread on a Chinese web discussion board about Gong Bao chicken (apologies to those of you who can’t read Chinese). The poster said she’d tried more than ten different recipes without any success – until she tried mine from Land of Plenty/Sichuan Cookery, which she said produced as good as dish as one in a good Sichuanese restaurant!


Of vinegar and other matters

Posted by Fuchsia on March 02, 2010
Chinese cuisine, Chinese food culture, Cooking, Ingredients / 7 Comments

There’s an interesting, and at times hilarious, thread on Chinese cooking tradition on Chowhound – lwong’s dryly witty comment had me laughing out loud:

‘We see that the posters here on the “Home Cooking” Forum are a very tough bunch. Especially when 1400 years for the technique of “stir fry cooking in a wok” is not considered a sufficient time to have passed the “long test of time” in terms being considered a classic cooking technique, nor the introduction of the New World foods, which would only be in the neighborhood of a mere 700 years.’

It reminded me of the fact that many of the professional Chinese cooking manuals I have encountered in my work begin their introductions with an account of the discovery of fire, the moment when human beings ceased being savages who 茹毛饮血 (literally ‘ate feathers and drank blood, i.e. ate birds and animals raw), and embarked on the path of civilisation by cooking their food. It also reminded me of the late Chinese premier Zhou Enlai who, when asked for his assessment of the 1789 French Revolution, supposedly replied that it was ‘too early to say’. Continue reading…

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A drawing

Posted by Fuchsia on March 02, 2010
Uncategorized / 3 Comments

Sometimes I just have to draw, like today (although it’s the first time in ages). More than anything, I like drawing faces, and so, when like today I am working at home alone, I have little choice but to draw myself in the mirror. So here it is, another quick self-portrait to add to the hundreds I’ve produced since I was about seventeen!

I don’t know why, but it’s put me in a really good mood.

To cook a camel

Posted by Fuchsia on March 02, 2010
Unusual delicacies / 2 Comments

I’ve been discussing camel cookery with my friend Anissa Helou, an expert on Middle Eastern food, and Charles Perry, an expert on Medieval Arabic food, on Anissa’s blog. I would love to post a picture of a dead camel here, but unfortunately it’s from my pre-digital period and I don’t have a scanner!