I’m currently in Shanghai, after the end of my first gastronomic tour with WildChina! I spent ten days or so introducing a small group (ten guests) to the amazing diversity of Chinese cuisines. We began in Beijing, where we tried famous Shandong dishes, Beijing folk cookery, Mongolian hotpot and Peking duck, and then flew to Xi’an, where a trip to see the Terracotta Warriors was bookended by slap-up feasts of local specialties. In Chengdu, we sampled xiao chi (‘small eats’), hotpot and many traditional dishes, enjoyed a glorious formal banquet and attended a hands-on cooking class; and in Shanghai and Hangzhou we scoffed fabulous dumplings and many local delicacies. All in all, if you count street snacks, we tried over 300 dishes. Continue reading…
Chinese food culture
Chinese cuisine, Chinese food culture, Chinese restaurants, Regional cuisines / 11 Comments
Chinese cuisine, Chinese food culture, Interviews / No Comments
Here’s a video interview I did about Chinese food:
Some tables of food offerings outside shops and restaurants in Tainan, southern Taiwan:Continue reading…
I’m very happy to report that I’ll be leading a gastronomic tour of China from October 13-24 this year, in conjunction with WildChina, a specialist travel company based in Beijing. We’ll be eating our way around Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Shanghai, as well as visiting amazing sites such as the Terracotta Army and the Great Wall. I’ll be arranging menus and explaining the food. Should be fun! Please go to the WildChina website for more details
Chinese food culture, Cooking, Festivals, Sichuanese cuisine / 12 Comments
Last year I gave you a few photographs of Chinese New Year in Hunan, 2004. This year, here are a couple of photographs of Chinese New Year meals in the far north of the country, in a remote part of Gansu Province in 1995. They were taken in the village that is the subject of the chapter ‘Hungry Ghosts’ in my book Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper. (Please forgive the poor quality of the images! I may try to scan them properly another time!)
On the right, you can see a pair of fish (fish are an almost obligatory part of New Year’s Eve dinners because nian nian you yu is a phrase that can mean both ‘fish every year’ and ‘plenty every year’: so the dish is an auspicious play on words.) Continue reading…
The Browser have just published an interview with me about five books on Chinese food.
My piece about inviting some chefs in Shaoxing (known for its stinky beancurd and other smelly fermented foods) to taste a selection of fairly whiffy Neal’s Yard cheeses appears in this weekend’s Financial Times magazine. It was fascinating to be able to witness some very accomplished Chinese chefs tasting cheese for the first time in their lives, and gave me a new perspective on one of my favourite types of food.
“Hmm, this black garlic is delicious.”
“Actually it’s made from the single-cloved garlic of Sichuan.”
“Is that like the wild elephant garlic of Iran?”
Such is the conversation when you invite the cookery writer Anissa Helou over for a quiet Sunday night supper. I’d promised her something very casual, but ended up thinking about the menu all weekend, of course. This is what we had:
A sweet, treacly black garlic clove each: these were a gift from the Sichuanese chef Yu Bo.
Smacked cucumber with a Sichuanese chilli-oil dressing.