Forgive my lengthy absence from the blog desk. As those of you who also read Mike’s blog know, I’ve been up to my eyeballs for the last month finishing a couple of major business projects and wearing my SB Choral Society President and soprano-in-the-chorus hats getting our Verdi Requiem behind us (which, as he’s already blogged about, was a smashing critical success, thank you very much) and as such all work on my blog got pushed to the back burner. Mea culpa!
Then before you could turn around and catch a breath, we were off on this trip to China.
We’ve never traveled in the East before and it has been something we were looking forward to doing, particularly as it involves food and nutrition. One big surprise has been the food. I came expecting rice and noodles and vegetables and not much in the way of protein and boy was I wrong.
I would have to say that rice or noodles have been a side dish, not a main dish, at most of our meals here. And there has been plenty of fish, poultry, beef, and pork…often all four at one meal.
For instance, the day we were in Jiang Men, we were treated to lunch at a Dim Sum restaurant. I was concerned that it would be all rice and dumplings with little tidbits of meat here and there.
The meal began with steamed stuff clams and fish cakes. Followed by a couple of dumplings
And the food just kept on coming.
Most of the food appeared in plates to be shared, placed on the giant lazy Susan always found in the center of a Chinese dining table. But everybody got his or her own ‘main dish’ which at this lunch was steak.
You’ll notice that there are a few fries artfully arranged (practically into a Chinese character) on the plate. That’s how many came with the steak. There were eight or nine (both lucky numbers in China–eight for wealth and nine for long life) fries about an inch and a half long on the plate. That’s it. Contrast that with the mountain of fries you’d get with a ‘steak frite’ in the West.
Then a shared chicken dish that was just yummy…
and one of scallops and broccoli…
…and a shared plate of corn and a purple sweet potato that is a locally grown specialty. I don’t eat much corn (though I love it) so I passed on the corn on the cob, but I tried a little of the purple sweet potato. Its consistency and taste is pretty much just like an orange one, but purple through and through, like a beet.
And finally some little sweets, which I admit to having a taste of, just to try. They were actually quite hard to get into. The outer sticky rice ‘bread’ is soft and cold and really stretchy, a lot like the Ethiopian bread, called Injera, if you’ve ever had that. It was a struggle to get the thing open, but we weren’t alone; the locals struggled a bit, too. Inside was lightly sweet cream and bits of different kinds of fresh fruit, including watermelon.
Quite a feast…and for lunch, no less! Wait until Mike blogs about dinner that night. Sakes alive, what a meal!
Off to London this afternoon. Will be dining at The Fat Duck, so be prepared for a blow-by-blow on that experience.