I like congee. When my western friends reach for pizza or tomato soup as comfort foods, I do find myself missing that fragrant rice porridge with its accompanying bowls of tasting toppings. It seems I am not alone. I’ve been seeing a lot of social media and articles discussing this south-east Asian dish. They mainly focus on it being the secret of a healthy life, and a pick-me-up when you’re ill. Whilst all of this is true, I can’t help but feel that these representations are somewhat missing the main point, and perpetuating some misperceptions. The Chinese, for one, eat congee as an everyday staple, some even consider a delicious treat. With family roots across central, northern and southern China, I have grown up with a variety of experiences of the 粥zhou (Mandarin for congee).
Posted in Culture and tagged Cantonese, Chaozhou, china, Chinese, congee, cuisine, culture, food, jook, Teochew, tradition
Usually, “fusion food” is a worrying term for me. However, having come across the cheeseburger dumpling, it seemed like a dongsi recipe that could work well, so we tried making them at home.
Posted in Culture and tagged cheesburger, china, Chinese, culture, dumpling, food, fusion food, Jiaozi, recipe
Summer is finally coming into full swing this year in the UK. Summer is my favourite season. It’s a time that always reminds me of my hometown, the subtropical city of Guangzhou. A while ago, I was thrilled to find that as part of the renovations of London’s Chinatown, southern Chinese dessert parlours were finally coming to Britain. So as a follow-up to Sweet & Sour, which talks about traditional desserts, let me introduce you to some of the delights of contemporary Chinese sweet treats that are now well within your reach.
Posted in Culture and tagged china, Chinese, culture, desserts, food
Chinese New Year is becoming one of few times of the year when the world takes an interest in Chinese culture. Whilst I have always considered this a good starting point, there is so much more to China beyond Spring Festival. Like all live cultures, Chinese culture is developing organically every second, having sprouted thick branches across different regions within China, and new branches in different communities around the world. Over the last decade or so, China is increasingly featuring in not just current affairs, but in the arts around the UK. Media that present an overview of these events from different parts of the country, through the year, is much harder to come by. So this year, I have curated my own selection, not only for China-enthusiasts, but for anyone who is interested, curious, or just fancies a little different. I hope you will find it useful.
Posted in Commentary and tagged 2019, arts, books, china, Chinese, culture, film, food, games, theatre, UK
After the delays due to the World Cup, I am very happy to see “Incredibles 2” released at last. The major reason for my anticipation for seeing this film in the cinema, is the short preceding the main feature, “Bao”, the first Pixar production with a female director, and one of Chinese heritage, no less. Needless to say, my expectations were high, and this adorable work has met them.
Posted in Commentary and tagged animation, china, Chinese, cinema, cuisine, culture, Disney, film, food, Pixar
Being a purist and a classicist, I have stayed away from “fusion” cuisines in the past, having previously been unimpressed by certain Asian specimens of these in London. However, with the opening of Shikumen, now one of my favourite places for Dim Sums in this city, I became more convinced that Chinese cuisine could be reinterpreted and modernized without losing its essence. I decided to try Hakkasan, Hanway Place at last, with a friend.
Posted in Commentary and tagged china, Chinese, cuisine, culture, Dim Dum, food, Hakkasan, restaurant, review
As we settle into autumn and those first chills in the air make us long for snug jumpers and steaming hot soup, it’s the perfect season for hot pot. 火锅 Huo Guo or Hot Pot is a Chinese cuisine whereby thin slices of food is cooked very quickly in boiling hot soup and consumed simultaneously during the act of cooking. It’s warming in the winter, a very social way of eating to be enjoyed slowly, offers an effective way of detoxing in hot and humid weather, and a great way of sweat out those germs in the system if you’ve caught a winter bug.
Posted in Culture and tagged Cantonese, china, Chinese, cuisine, food, hot pot, Sichuan
It has been lovely to hear about Brian Goldberg, who studied in Beijing in his youth and had grown to love the Jianbing so much that he spent almost 14 years studying the art of making this delicious pancake breakfast, and now brings it to the public on the streets of NYC, offering adaptations of the dish with more filling that are great for lunch or dinner. Let me tell you a little about the origins of the Jianbing.
Posted in Culture and tagged china, Chinese, culture, food, Jianbing, pancake, snack, street food
If you’re reading this you probably already know about Chinese New Year, so I won’t spoil the festive occasion with too much scholarly detail. 8 is the lucky number in China so here are 8 festive foods and 8 festive traditions for Spring Festival. Since CNY is as big as Christmas and China is vast, every region has its variation of customs. Having a northern mother and southern father, mine will be a mixture of northern and southern broadly speaking, leaning towards southern because that’s where I spent my childhood.
Posted in Culture and tagged china, Chinese, Chinese New Year, culture, festival, food, Spring Festival, tradition
I select restaurants to review for various reasons. Reccomendations, publicity, invite, occasionally just simple coincidence. We came across Shikumen due to a huge advert in London’s free morning paper. With an enticing dim sum menu, and a website littered with Shangai calendar pics, we thought it would be worth a trip to their Ealing branch.
Posted in Commentary and tagged Cantonese, china, Chinese, cuisine, culture, dim sum, Ealing, food, restaurant, review, Shanghai, Shikumen, Tianjin