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 cuisine, Chinese food culture, Chinese restaurants, Regional cuisines / 11 Comments
You can read my piece about making cheese in Lunan County, near the Stone Forest in Yunnan Province, on the BBC website, or listen to the podcast of my voice on the same page. As you’ll see/hear, the kind of cheese they make there is a fresh, unsalted goat’s cheese that is somewhat reminiscent of Cypriot Anari. It’s delicious pan-fried and served with a dip of sugar or salt and Sichuan pepper; steamed with Yunnan ham; or stir-fried with other ingredients.
Another kind of Yunnan cheese just mentioned in passing in that piece is a speciality of the Bai people in northwestern Yunnan, especially Dali. I didn’t make it up there on my most recent trip, but came across it on the streets of Kunming. It’s a really unusual form of cheese known as ru shan 乳扇 (‘milk fans’). Continue reading…
A few pieces in the press over the Chinese New Year:
Chopstick tourism – about regional government restaurants in Beijing. You can see on the right some of the extraordinary ‘four-horned beans’ (si jiao dou 四角豆) we tried at the restaurant in the Nanjing Great Hotel. Don’t they look like dancing figures? They remind me of Matisse’s ‘Dance’ paintings. Below left is a pic of the fabulous steamed lamb with flower rolls at the Ningxia Hotel, and on the right some of the wheaten staples served in the same restaurant. (Financial Times)
Sizzling Sichuan - eating in my old home-from-home, Chengdu. (Observer)