The real spring roll…

Posted by Fuchsia on April 05, 2014
Chengdu, Chinese cuisine, Cooking / 3 Comments

…or at least the most ancient kind. You can read my piece about fresh, unfried spring rolls in today’s Financial Times Weekend magazine – it includes recipes based on those from Every Grain of Rice. As I mention, it takes a little experimenting to get the knack of making the pancakes. The dough needs to be the right consistency, and the hotplate the right temperature – not too hot or too cool. Here’s a video of a professional doing it, a street vendor in Chengdu. Isn’t she wonderful?!


Curbing our greed for meat

Posted by Fuchsia on February 18, 2013
Banquets, Chengdu, Chinese food culture, Development, Environment / 6 Comments

Scientists are again urging people in the developed world to eat less meat for environmental reasons. Here’s a quote from a piece on the Guardian website today, which outlined some of the environmental consequences of our addiction to cheap meat:

The answer, [Prof Mark Sutton, lead author of a UN Environment Programme (Unep) study published on Monday] said, was more vegetables on the plate, and less animal protein. “Eat meat, but less often – make it special,” he urged. “Portion size is key. Many portions are too big, more than you want to eat. Think about a change of culture that says, ‘I like the taste, but I don’t need so much of it.’” Continue reading…

Quiz time!

Posted by Fuchsia on May 01, 2011
Banquets, Chengdu / 8 Comments

Can anyone guess what this is? (see picture on the right)

Clue: I was given it at the end of a grand banquet in Chengdu a few weeks ago, and I was the only guest at the table to receive one.

Good luck!

P.S. Apologies for my long absence from this blog. I’ve been busy in China… I’ll try to catch up now!


Revolutionary dinner parties

Posted by Fuchsia on June 21, 2010
Chengdu, Restaurants / 4 Comments

I’ve been going through some old notebooks, and found an account of a supper I had in 2005 at a crazy Chengdu restaurant called ‘The mess canteen 伙食团’. Its name was a reference to the mess canteens of the revolutionary era, and all the dishes on the menu were named after revolutionary slogans. So you could order ‘The fragrant grasslands 芳草地’ (a lettuce stem salad), ‘Years and years of peace 岁岁平安’ (stir-fried long beans with minced chicken), ‘Chaos 乱七八糟’ (stir-fried chicken offal), ‘Atom bombs 原子弹’  (meatballs), or – my favourites – ‘Fire-exploded embassy 火爆大使馆 or ‘Dry-fried embassy 干煸大使馆’.

All the waiters and waitresses were kitted out in army gear, and announced the arrival of new guests with a loudhailer. The boss (who you can see in the picture above, with me), was known as the ‘Village Chief’, and prefaced every sentence he uttered with a line from Mao’s little red book.

The restaurant originally occupied a sort of shack in an alley opposite the Sheraton Hotel, but later moved to a new location (pictured). Does anyone know if it’s still there, somewhere?