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Author Topic: What's Fer Dinner?  (Read 24880 times)

Raoul F. Duke

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What's Fer Dinner?
« on: April 17, 2007, 09:53:03 AM »

This is starting off as a compilation from the "What's Fer Dinner" thread in the old original forum, but it eventually became such a wank magnet that it wasn't very useful any more. Since it's edited and moved, the conversation may jump around a bit...

One of the hardest things for me to do as an Expat is to dine alone in a restaurant. English menus can be rare, often include about 10% of the total choices, and sometimes have higher prices than the Chinese menus.

Often, you find yourself eating the same few dishes over and over until you're ready to shoot the next waitress who brings you a plate of them.

No, if you want to eat decently in a restaurant, you need to know some dishes. In this section is a collection of Chinese dishes that are Barfly Approved...or at least that we consumed and lived to tell about.

I'm starting the ball rolling with some classic, standard dishes that a) I personally like a lot and b) are easy to find all over China. I'll add more as time goes by...

You're invited to add to this list, too. ONE RULE: If you don't know for sure how to write it in pinyin, complete with tones, please find out before posting it. You can probably find a real Chinese person around somewhere. The idea here is to make this list useful...(I know, a Saloon first)...and if you can't say it so people will understand you, it ain't useful. (Speaking of useful, you'll need to know how to read pinyin for this list to be useful. 'Fraid you're on your own there...)

Also, please give a brief description of the dish. If you know it's a
regional dish, please give the region it's from so people don't go trying to find Xinjiang dishes in a Dongbei restaurant.

NOTE: Just as in our own countries, most recipes are not carved in stone. There are endless variations on dishes in every town, every house, and every restaurant. Ingredients, spicing, sauces, etc. can vary wildly from place to place. For example, Gong Bao Ji Ding served in its native Sichuan can set your whole head on fire, while by the time it gets to Shanghai it's not especially hot. Usually. Making matters worse, different dishes (and even basic ingredients) have different names in different parts of China. TIFC (This Is F*cking China). We all do our best.

Chopsticks Kuai4 Zi
Fork (You weenie!) Cha1 Zi
Knife Dao1 Zi
Spoon Tang1 Shao2
Plate Die2
Bowl Wan3
Paper napkin Can1 Jin1 Zhi3
Salt Yan2
Black Pepper Hu2 Jiao1
Soy Sauce Jiang4 You2
Rice Mi2 Fan4
Fried Rice Dan4 Chao3 Fan4
Cup or Glass Bei1 Zi
Green Tea Qing1 Cha2
Black Tea Hong2 Cha2
Beer Pi2 Jiu3
Cola Ke2 Le4
Bottled water Ping2 Shui3
Iced/Cold Bing1 De

Bon appetit!

OK, let's eat! (WARNING: I really like hot peppers!)

Gong1 Bao3 Ji1 Ding1
Known abroad as "Kung Pao Chicken". Possibly the most common dish ordered by foreigners in China. A Sichuan classic that has spread widely across China- availaible almost everywhere. Boneless chicken breast, diced and stir-fried with peanuts, onions, and hot peppers in a rich brown sauce.

Ma2 La4 Dou1 Fu, aka Ma2 Po3 Dou1 Fu
Another Sichuan original that's taken root across China and is found everywhere. Cubes of tofu cooked with diced pork and hot peppers in a light sauce.

Yu2 Xiang1 Rou4 Si1
It means "Fish-Fragrance Shredded Pork", but there's no fish- or fish fragrance- anywhere in it. Go figure. Shredded boneless pork stir-fried with hot peppers and ginger in a tangy, peppery sauce. Don't let the fish thing throw you...seriously good stuff.

Jiao1 Yan2 Pai2 Tiao2
Another Sichuan dish widely found elsewhere. Strips of pork are breaded and deep-fried. They're placed in a dish and topped with lightly-cooked peppers, onions, ginger, and spices. Beware the small bone frequently found under the breading at one end of the pork strip- apparently there just to see if you're paying attention.

Tang2 Cu4 Zhu1 Rou4 aka Tang2 Cu4 Pai2 Gu3 aka Tang2 Cu4 Li4 Zhi3 aka Gou3 Bao3 Rou4 aka Gou3 Lao3 Rou4
The most common Chinese dish outside of China- Sweet and Sour Pork. Probably Cantonese in origin but now universal. A thousand variations here, but usually cubes or slices of pork battered and fried, and served in a sauce made with sugar, vinegar, and a dash of tomato ketchup for color. Often served with chunks of pineapple and green pepper. Usually boneless, but not always.

Hui2 Guo1 Rou4
It means "return-to-the-pot meat", and is rendered in English as "Twice-Cooked Pork". I think this is a Hunanese dish that again is found everywhere. Thin strips of rather fatty pork are cooked briefly, removed from heat, and then stir-fried with hot peppers, cabbage, onion, and ginger. Sauce, if any, is very light.

Kao3 Yang2 Rou4
Literally means "roast mutton", but refers to those heavenly lamb sticks. Originates from Xinjiang, but now seen all over China. Available in Xinjiang restaurants but a favorite street food, it's found in every town in China being roasted on a grill right on the sidewalk by guys in funny hats, often with a boom box blaring Boogie-Uygur music while you eat. Cubes of mutton and mutton fat are alternated on a skewer, then roasted over hot coals while being heaped with exotic Central Asian spices. If you say "la4" they can make it hot for you. Wonderful hot off the grill with triangles of fresh Xinjiang bread.

PROUST added:
Yummy! Let me add a cold-weather favorite in Shanghai: Xiang1 Gu1 Mian4 Jing1 Mian4. Noodles in broth with black mushrooms. Cheap and filling. Best with a couple of dashes of vinegar [cu4] and a spoon or two of chili sauce [la4 jiang4].

NATE M added:


ILUNGA added:
How popular is the mongolian style hotpot (huo guo) where you guys are?I love the outdoor places in summer where you can get the fresh beer, kao yang rou and, my absolute favourite thing, cao niu yu (grilled catfish). (Kao3 Nian2 Yu2? -Ed.)
Hotpot's great for warming you up in winter as well. Just stay clear of the sheep eyeballs 

How can food this good be so cheap?

RAOUL added:
Glad it's useful, Gmat. Really hoping this stuff will be. And kudos, Nate, on a great find. Thanks.

OK, let's talk about Hot Pot (Huo3 Guo1)...it isn't seen much in the West (at least not in America) because the insurance companies would just poo.

There is a "Mongolian" tradition of hot pot, but the one widely seen in China comes from the fiery kitchens of Sichuan. It's wildly popular in every part of China I've seen so far. It was big (nay, ubiquitous) in the far-northeastern city of Changchun, which is bitten hard by the winters, but it also packs them in in Shanghai in the summertime, when it's hot enough outside to boil a monkey's bum. I can't hang with this one in the summer.

In most Huo Guo restaurants, you'll be seated at a table with a hole cut in the middle of it. Beneath the hole is a gas burner connected to a small tank of LP gas. Your waiter will light the burner and fit a large metal pot filled with soup into the hole. A popular choice is Yin-Yang Hot Pot (yuan1 yang2 huo3 guo1), in which the pot is divided into 2 halves, in the classic yin-yang shape, by a metal divider. The red side is an extremely spicy-hot soup; the white side is a mild neutral broth with- I am not making this up- a whole fish in it. It's just there to flavor the soup. As the soup boils, the staff will come by occasionally and add more broth to the pot or to adjust your fire.

The ordering part mostly consists of selecting which platefuls of paper-thin-sliced meats, vegetables, noodles, etc. you're going to eat. You may also have a number of dipping sauces to choose from...my favorite is the peanut sauce or the red tofu sauce. All these dishes are brought to the table completely raw.

After a few minutes the soup will start to boil. Some of the meat and vegetables is added to the soup. Many will be ready to eat when the water returns to a boil, but some things such as potatoes will need to boil for a minute. Fish the bits out with your chopsticks, dip them in your sauce, and eat. Really great stuff....especially on a cold day.

You'll be glad you brought some antacids with you...the red soup is really hot! The Changchun restaurants will bring by tiny scoops of ice cream from time to time to help you put out the fire in your mouth...

ILUNGA added:
That all sounds familiar Raoul. Apologies for my awful pinyin.
I think Mongolian and Sichuan hotpot must be pretty similar. Although I guess the Sichuan variety will be a lot spicier.
The standard hotpot in Luoyang is practically the same as the one I had in Hohhot. It has a spicy and non-spicy section, and you've got the sesame sauce and another one I'm not too keen on. There's separate restaurants for the fish hotpot.
My favourite is a three-way hotpot place which is split into chicken, tomato and spicy flavour soups. I love the tomato flavour. Sometimes I don't bother with the food and just drink the broth.

STEVE added:
Great eating! Let me add a few of my favorites to the list:

Yu[2] Xiang[1] Qie[2] Zi
This is a spicy eggplant dish in fish flavored sauce. They chop the eggplants into small pieces, and the flavors mix very nicely. For some reason it goes great with rice!

Lan[2] Zhou[1] La[4] Mian[4]
This is a tasty beef noodle dish from Lanzhou and practically every city, town, and village has a small restaurant named after it. Add hot peppers to the noodles for more zip. It is also entertaining to watch them slap the dough on the table as they make the noodles.

Ding[1] Ding[1] Chao[3] Mian[4]
A Xinjiang dish that resembles Macaroni and Cheese. Far better than Kraft Dinner, these small chopped noodles come with a sweet sauce and green peppers.

La[4] Zi Ji[1] Ding[1]
Small pieces of chicken buried in a densely packed array of hot peppers. There are so frickin many that you literally have to fish for the chicken among the peppers.

Ji[1] Ding[1] Mian[4]
Same as the 'kung pao' chicken in Raoul's post, except this is made in a noodle dish.

Nan[2] Xiang[2] Xiao[3] Long[1]
The famous dome-shaped street dumplings from Shanghai, except they really come from a suburban town called Nanxiang which is 20km out of the city. The school I taught at last year was very close by, so we
often got discounts. Great food and highly recommended.

Gou[1] Lao[3] Rou[4]
Your standard sweet and sour pork dish

Fan[1] Qie[2] Chao[3] Dan[4]
Another simple dish, this is fried eggs and tomatoes. If you're in
Shanghai and really want to impress a waitress, say "Fei Ga Tso Dei", that's the Shangainese.

Jia[1] Chang[2] Dou[4] Fu
A nice mix of thick tofu pieces, green peppers, and mushrooms.

Xi[1] Gua[1]
Good watermelons for dessert


RAOUL added:
Nice additions, Steve...thanks!

I also like another vegetable dish similar to one Steve mentions. I like Si1 Gua1 Chao3 Dan4 even better than the tomato version. Si Gua ("silk melon") I think is technically a kind of gourd, but don't be put off...works really well with the eggs.

I just tried donkey meat for the first time. It's pretty good. There are apparently several varieties, each of which is very expensive.
Ethically, compared to eating dog, this is a piece of cake.

RAOUL added:
Yeah, donkey meat is really pretty good. For a long time I was pretty adamant that it should be left safely inside the donkey. I was converted by those luscious DongBei donkey-meat dumplings. (I'm considering A Fridge-Full of Donkey Meat Dumplings as a title for my book...)

Speaking of dumplings, Chinese food has about 100,000 items that translate into English simply as "dumplings". Here are a few of the best-known ones.

Jiao3 Zi A staple of Northern food, but a traditional Spring Festival food throughout China. Various combinations of minced meat and/or vegetables are mixed together, placed into a thin wheat flour-based wrapper, and the edges of the wrapper are crimped tightly to seal in the contents. These are thrown into boiling water...each time the water returns to a boil, the boil is doused with a little cold water. As more dumplings are cooked in the water, it becomes a light soup. The 3rd time the soup comes to a boil, the filling is thoroughly cooked and the jiaozi are served. Jiaozi are drained and put on a plate. They are always eaten with a dipping sauce, which can be as simple as a bit of red vinegar or soy sauce. My favorite sauce is made with equal parts of soy sauce and either red or white vinegar, a drop of sesame oil, and a manly dollop of chili sauce. In the north jiaozi are often served with minced garlic you can add to the sauce. This is also quite good, and allows you to smell like your neighbors. Jiaozi are often served with a bowl of the boiling soup on the side- considered extremely nutritious.

Hun2 Tun2 The Southern version. Known as "wontons" in the West. Functionally identical to jiaozi. The wrappers for huntun are thinner than those for jiaozi, and also larger. Pieces of the wrapper tend to fall off in the soup and become noodles. Unlike jiaozi, huntun are not drained- they're served in a bowl of the soup they are boiled in. You can add chili sauce, red vinegar, soy sauce, and/or powdered soup base to the soup. Huntun are divided into 2 size classes- Da4 Hun2 Tun2 (big wontons), which are typically 2 bites, and Xiao3 Hun2 Tun2 (small wontons) coming in at a single bite.

Guo1 Tie1 The "potstickers" often served in western Chinese restaurants, only better. They're basically jiaozi/huntun, perhaps with a bit thicker wrapper to stand up to the extra cooking. They are boiled to cook the filling, then fried in oil on one side. (Leftover jiaozi or da hun tun often become guo tie the next day.) Like jiaozi, they are dipped in a sauce when eating them. Beware the screaming hot oily "soup" that cooks up inside the dumpling- it tends to squirt everywhere when you bite into the dumpling. The soup is much prized by the Chinese, but I tend to poke a hole in the wrapper with my chopstick and let it drain out. By the way, IMHO guo tie are about as good as Chinese food gets at breakfast.

Bao1 Zi Maybe more a "steamed bun" than a dumpling? A patty of meat and/or assorted vegetables is wrapped in sheets of a yeast/flour dough, formed into a dome shape, and steamed. Sometimes you'll see a sweet version filled with red bean paste. Can vary in size from a small 1-2 bite affair, to monsters the size of your head.

Xiao3 Long2 A beloved favorite of the Shanghai region. Meat and/or vegetables are placed in a thin flour wrapper, formed into a dome shape, and steamed. Typically dipped in red vinegar or other sauce when eaten. I've seen foreigners (not me) devour 50 of these rascals in a single sitting.

Zong3 Zi Associated with Summer's Dragon Boat Festval. A payload of meat, red bean paste, or a sweet Chinese date is coated with a layer of sticky rice to form a cake, which is shaped into a thick triangle. All this is wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed. The sweet ones, sprinkled with a touch of sugar, are acceptable at breakfast.

Tang1 Yuan2 Typically somewhat sweet, these are associated with the Lantern Festival that ends the Spring Festival season. A bit of sweet filling such as red bean paste or a peanut-and-sesame paste is somehow wrapped in a doughy mass of glutinous rice and formed into a ball. (There are also non-sweet tang yuan with meat) These are then boiled to cook the rice paste, and served in a bowl along with some of the water used to boil them. I like the peanut ones OK. However, to me they visually resemble a big bowl of boiled eyeballs...and they are often served at breakfast. Mmmmm.
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: What's Fer Dinner?
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2007, 09:57:14 AM »
RAOUL added:
OK, kids, I recently had the best dish I've ever encountered in China, maybe even the world.

I was in Hangzhou last week. I finished my business and told a taxi driver to take me somewhere with lots of restaurants. He suggested "Laowai Lu"....I thought this sounded like me, so I agreed.

He took me to Lou Wai Lou...a 150+-year-old restaurant right on one of the more picturesque edges of West Lake. And there on the menu, finally, was Beggar's Chicken- Jiao4 Hua1 Ji1. Turns out Lou Wai Lou is very famous for this dish. I'd been wanting to try it for years.

A lot of towns claim to be the birthplace of this dish; Hangzhou seems to be winning by sheer tourist volume. The story goes that a starving beggar had poached one of the Emperor's (or some other guy with whips and spears) chickens. As he was looking for a place to cook it, he heard soldiers coming...and holding this chicken would have meant his head. The beggar wrapped the bird in river weeds, coated the whole thing with mud, and threw it into the fire. When the guards rode up, he was in the clear. After they left, he fished the mudball out of the
fire. Too hungry to not eat the chicken, he broke open the mudball...and was captivated by the odor of the cloud of steam that emerged.

Today the chicken is cut into pieces and seasoned with herbs, salt, and wine. The whole thing is wrapped in palm leaves (seems a hygienic layer of plastic wrap is also added now?) and then coated with clay mud. The whole thing is baked. When the chicken is cooked, the dish is brought to your table. A hammer blow cracks open the mud, and the wrapped chicken is extracted and set before you. The wrapping is cut open with scissors....and all these many years later, that steam cloud is still a rush.

By all means, try this dish if you can find it. Indescribably superb.

If you can't get to Zhejiang Province, a lot of Chinese cities have Hangzhou, Shaoxing, or Zhejiang restaurants that can cook it.

RAOUL added:
Our good friend Ruth, whom I already liked a lot anyway, suggested I copy my "Pot O' What" method of cooking here. I'm expanding into a discussion of rice in general.

Cooked rice is mi2 fan4
Uncooked rice is da4 mi2

Rice really is THE staple food of China. It's ubiquitous in the North despite all those wonderful wheat noodles, while in the South not eating rice with a meal is apparently considered a sign of a mental disorder and may be grounds for institutionalization. Despite what you may hear abroad, the Chinese generally don't eat only a bowl of unadorned white rice...but sometimes the diet for the poorer classes comes close to this. Mealtime for the masses still consists of a small bowl or two of white rice, with some vegetables and perhaps a few bites of meat on top. This is the "healthy Chinese diet" you hear so much about...very few expats eat this way, and the number of Chinese who do is decreasing with growing prosperity.

The small bowl of rice often sort of serves as a personal serving dish- a few bites of the other courses are often scooped onto the rice bowl, then eaten from there. It makes a great "staging area" for handling difficult bites with chopsticks, and the juices from the other food adds flavor to the rice. The dishes aren't generally mixed into the rice- there's usually a residue of plain white rice at the bottom of the bowl that is eaten to finish the meal. This apparently harks back to a time when meat and the more complex Chinese dishes like those familiar to Western diners were expensive treats- one would eat all the meat and delicacies one could, then when those ran out one would "fill up the corners" with rice and soup. In fact, soup is often added to the rice bowl to finish a meal even today.

Never stick the points of your chopsticks into the rice in a bowl so that the chopsticks stand on end. It resembles the incense offerings given the dead and is unsettling to your fellow diners.

There are many varieties of rice here! Although China now grows so much rice that they can export it, rice from Thailand is highly prized here for its flavor and aroma. Oddly enough, the best Chinese rice seems to come from the dry, cold Northeast- Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces.

Ask a friend to help you find some Jilin Pearl rice sometime! Almost every place in China has its own local rice, and odds are it will all be better than what you got back home. For general dining the Chinese like a short grain rice cooked firm and not too sticky. There are also sticky rices here that are used for such dishes as Zong3 Zi; you may know this kind of rice from sushi as well. There's also a beast called glutinous rice that cooks up into an amorphous mass with no traces of individual grains left. This is used by the Chinese for a variety of snacks and dishes. I often wish they wouldn't, myself.

Chinese rice is invariably polished white. Unpolished brown rice is considered appropriate fare for religious ascetics and farm animals.

One highly recommended purchase is a rice cooker. Few Chinese homes are without one, and it makes the process of cooking perfect rice automatic. Take out the metal pot inside the cooker. Measure the amount of rice you want into it and wash the rice clean with a little tap water, draining off the wash water. Then pour in around twice the volume of water you used of rice. (TAP WATER IS FINE HERE! IT WILL BOIL!) The water should generously cover the rice in the pot. Put the pot into the cooker and put on its lid, plug the cooker to electricity, and push down the lever/button on the side of the cooker. The light on the side of the pot will change and you will hear a click. After a while, when the rice has boiled a bit, you'll hear a click and the light will change back. When the rice has sat another 15 minutes, unplug the cooker and the rice is ready to eat. Once you learn your preference for the rice/water ratio, it's almost impossible to mess up rice cooked this way.

Most rice cookers will come with a steamer basket that fits over the rice pot; the cooker lid will fit on the steamer. You can steam meats, vegetables, dumplings, Chinese breads....all manner of things in here with or without rice also cooking down in the pot.

Occasionally I'll cook up what I call a "Pot O' What" (In honor of Oklahoma's Potawatomi Tribe)...throw in the rice, then add some meat (smoked sausage and frozen shrimp are excellent together) and some chopped veggies, chicken powder, and spices, pour in some water with a bit of Shaoxing wine and soy sauce, press the button, and it's off to the Saloon until 15 minutes after the lights on the rice cooker change.

Shamefully easy and the results are heavenly. You can make this dish as simple or as complex as you want...the above is just my own approach. I like it...a simple, delicious, potentially healthy and inexpensive way to eat. Ruth and others have reported good results too!

RUTH added:
Thanks for the recipe, Raoul, and for the commentary on rice.

We were given packets of glutinous (or sticky) rice wrapped in leaves on Dragon Festival/dead-poet-guy day in June. Tradition has it that rice was thrown into the river so that the fish would eat the rice instead of the drowned poet (can't remember his name, sorry). Our friends told us to steam them and then eat the rice with sugar. Could have sunk a battle ship with how heavy they are. The taste is okay if you can get past the texture.

XIAOYU added:
I absolutely adore hot pot. Though I honestly don't think that the spicy side is very spicey. I had to ask the waiters up in DongBei to make it very spicey, and even then it didn't go above and beyond. I do love the dipping sauces (the tofu raoul mentioned i believe is fermented to a certain extent).

Other great foods (IMHO):
Turtle soup (Sichuan style) is called "jia yu tang" in Shenyang and Panjinshi (but i can't find the tonal specifications and i just say it.... believe it is 1,3,1)

Spicy Cabbage (Korean style) is called "la4 bai2 cai4"


RAOUL added:
Thanks, guys, for keeping this thread going. All y'all please add more when you find a new dish you like.

A few new additions...

I've come to really like the standard green beans dish here...they're stir-fried with chopped garlic and sometimes a little chili pepper.

Turns out the name for this depends upon how the beans are cut.

It's Si1 Ji1 Dou1 if the beans are cut into short pieces as usually seen in the west.

It's Chang2 Jiang1 Dou1 (like the river) if the beans are left in long (4-6 inches) pieces.

Given that wonderful Chinese logic, if the restaurant is serving short beans and you ask for the long ones, or vice versa, the waitress will simply say "mei you" ("Ain't got it, pal"), so you should know both terms.

There's a great egg dish...Pao3 Dan4 consists of scrambled eggs cooked into a round disc like an unfolded omelet. Here in my neighborhood a big load of shrimp meat is cooked into it. Sure, it's about a 2-week ration of eggs, but don't worry- Chinese food is healthy, right?

I also recently tried an extension of the Pot O' What cooking method.

Try adding half a pound of red or black beans (pre-soak them to shorten cooking time) and using less rice. Throw in some sausage and shrimp, onion and garlic, and a larger dose of hot peppers, and it's the closest Chinese food may ever come to Cajun.

RAOUL added:
Another good one! A bakery chain here in Suzhou sells some innocuous-looking bun-things called Jia1 Cai4 Rou4 Si1 Bao1, or "Home-Style Vegetable & Shredded Pork Buns"...apparently to distinguish them from the vegetable & shredded pork buns served in places like Spago or Maxim's.

A layer of bread surrounds a filling of pickled veggies and meat. It's very slightly spicy. Apparently the whole thing is fried because the bread is a bit oily. So here you have the greasy decadence of donuts, the balanced nutrition of pickled vegetables, and the general deliciousness of Chinese anonymous meat-filling products.

Great stuff for breakfast- it's fast, portable, and surprisingly filling, and it'll give you the strength to go out and survive in the harsh and bitchy world of offshore English education.

The local bakery chain selling them is called "I Will"; perhaps they are in other towns too. Worth having a look for in your local bakeries.

RAOUL added:
Some more great dishes for ya. For my birthday I took my co-worker John (some of you met John at the party...) to dinner in a little DongBei restaurant I discovered in my neighborhood. I lived my first year+ in China in DongBei, and John is a Heilongjiang native, so this was a nice find.

I asked John to order all dishes I'd never had before (other than a healthy plate of stir-fried spinach- bo3 cai4). I told hime to stay away from bones, organs other than liver, and slimy gelatinous bottom-dwelling aquatic creatures.

John did great. He made sure I got my birthday long noodles (long noodles for a long life...) but said nothing and seemed a little surprised I knew the custom. He's a nice guy and a good friend. We had:

Niu2 Rou4 Fen3 Ci1 Bao3, Beef with Potato Noodles. Sliced beef and qing1 cai4 (a small cabbagey leafy vegetable) cooked in with potato noodles. Some hot peppers added for bite and a rich brown sauce cooked into it. Potato noodles are clear and look a little alarming but taste wonderful. They seem to be about 6 meters long and are a bit unwieldy to eat. This dish was worth the work. A DongBei specialty, but there are DongBei restaurants everywhere.

Bao4 Chao3 Zhu1 Gan1, Pork Liver with Peppers. Apologies to those who don't like liver but heaven for those who do. Slices of pork liver stir-fried with green bell peppers and a few red chiles, light sauce added.

Rou4 Mo4 Shao1 Qie2.Zi, Eggplant with Pork. Pretty straightforward- stir-fried eggplant pieces seasoned with bits of pork.

A fellow diner had a dish that intrigued us- sounded interesting but we didn't try it this trip. Bo1 Luo1 Chao3 Xia1 Ren2, Stir-fried Shrimp with Pineapple, looked pretty good.
<Tried it later; it was OK...>

DR. GONZO added:
A few Shanghai faves were Suan4 Xiang1 Gu3, deep fried lean meaty pork ribs, marinated in garlic and fermented red tofu. Fantastic. And Hao2 You2 Niu4 Rou4, incredibly tender beef slices quickly stirfried with oyster sauce. Also the ubiquitous Suan1 La4 Tang1, hot and sour soup, which we make successfully here back home.

Loved Raoul's succinct and accurate piece on "dumplings" and steamed buns. I breakfasted on Guo Tie most mornings, though they were hard to find in summer.
We had a local Hun Tun franchisee with over 50 varieties of the 2 bite variety: you could dine in for a huge bowl at 3Y, or take out a frozen pack. We always kept some handy.

In addition, the Lanzhou Hui minority La4 Mian4, fresh wheat noodles in a peppery beef broth with bits of beef and a handful of fresh coriander. The fried version, featuring tomatoes, more vegetables than noodles and chilli [if desired] was great too. In Guangxi they use rice noodles for similar dishes.

Chinese street food is ace.

RAOUL added:
<Someone on the China Teachers' Forum (The Forum Formerly Known As Machinecat) was asking about making and using sauces. If this was good enough for them, it's good enough for you lot.>

Basic sauce:
After stir-frying your dish, remove the solids from the wok. Pour away the excess oil/food juices but leave enough to more than cover the food.

Mix a little cornstarch in a little water. Restart the fire, if it's out, and bring the wok liquids to a boil. Gradually pour in the cornstarch mix...stir quickly and thoroughly. Add a little soy sauce.

As the liquid returns to a boil, return the solids to the wok and mix them into the sauce. Turn off the heat as the liquid starts to thicken.

Sweet-and-sour sauce: To a bit of hot meat juices/oil, add vinegar and sugar. Add some tomato ketchup for color and flavor. Thicken with cornstarch as above as the mix starts to boil.

Soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, etc.: Buy them at the store. Any of the first three make good additions to the Basic Sauce.

Apologies...I don't measure any more. A little experimentation leads to fast results.

I love soy sauce and I put it in just about everything I cook. Salt these days is reserved for french fries and tequila shots.

Fish sauce is a lot like soy (to me, anyway) but I like soy better.

Oyster sauce is great. Stir-fry up a bit of beef with onion, mushroom, and green pepper, drain the excess liquid, and douse it with some oyster sauce- treat as the Basic Sauce above. Serious stuff.

Hoisin sauce is really sweet...the stuff you use in Beijing duck. Good for dipping meats sometimes.

The big surprise for me is red vinegar (hong2 cu4). When I first came here, and for my first couple of years in China, I couldn't stand it. Now I can't imagine a day without it.

I use it for many things, especially The Perfect Dumpling Sauce:
1/2 soy sauce
1/2 red vinegar
as much red hot chili paste as your nervous system will tolerate
a generous dollop of sesame oil

Stir and you're ready to dip! Required for jiaozi, xiao long bao, guo tie, etc.
Option: a mess of fresh chopped garlic is good in here, too.

RAOUL added:
More dishes. A waitress at a neighborhood restaurant is aware that I am trying to enlarge my dining repertoire and has started recommending dishes that she thinks I may like. It's nice to have allies.

Xiao3 Cong1 Chao3 Rou4 is pork with green onions. Chunks of pork are coated in flour that seems to be sweetened a little. Well, this is the Shanghai area... The pork is fried to a golden brown; at the last moments some sections of fresh green onion are cooked in a little. The result is served without a sauce. I've seen a variant that used fatty pork and no flour coating, but I like the first version a lot better.

Good stuff.

This restaurant also makes a kickass Pi2 Dan4 Dou1 Fu- Tofu with Thousand-Year Eggs. It's been discussed elsewhere on the Saloon but should be formalized here. A block of cold fresh tofu is set upon a bed of a dark, slightly sweet sauce and covered with slices of thousand-year eggs, fried-and-dried pork fat bits, and chopped green onion. Stir it all together and eat with a spoon. Cool and creamy- a nice summer dish.

Thousand-year eggs are really only about a month old. Fresh eggs, usually duck, are coated with a special, highly alkaline mud mixture and allowed to sit for a month. Yeah, this sounds a little startling, I know. They also look a little startling- egg-shaped brown glass with a green ball in the center. However, they are delicious and make a nice seasoning for tofu, soups, congee, etc. You also probably don't want to make a meal of the fried-and-dried pork fat bits, but again they are a good seasoning.

When Lager visited El Rancho Raoul a few days ago, I took him to this restaurant and ordered both of these dishes. He gave them the Laowai Seal of Approval.

RAOUL added:
2 new dishes....

Can you handle a little heat? Don't think green beans can be exciting?

Check out Spicy Stir-Fried Green Beans, Gan1 Bian2 Si1 Ji1 Dou1! Fresh green beans are stir-fried longer than usual...the beans look slightly wilted from the cooking. To this are added strips of onion cooked crispy, lots of red chilies, and numb peppers crystallized in salt. It's a pretty bold combination but it works like a charm.

Numb peppers are slightly anesthetic and often cooked into hot spicy foods. It's believed that the numbing effect makes the food a little less fiery- like so many things here this belief is of course bullpoo.

They are like little peppercorns, and have a strong, peppery, bitter, somewhat mediciney flavor. Definitely an acquired taste, but they do work with the beans. Numb peppers are what put the "Ma (numb)" in dishes like Ma Po Dou Fu or Ma La Tang, the spicy soup used to cook Sichuan-style hotpot.

The other dish was originally a mistake. I was just trying to get some Cold Spicy Cucumber to go. When I opened the boxes at home I found I had been given Shou1 Ba3 Cai4. The best name I can give this is "Do-It-Yourself Vegetable Rolls".
I got two boxes of big chunks of raw cucumber, green pepper, and green onion. I got a big stack of squares of tofu skin, which is the dry outer surface resulting from producing fresh tofu. There was also a cup of an intense, rich sauce that appeared to have scrambled egg in it.

Take a square of tofu skin, put some chunks of veggie on it, add a dab of the sauce, roll or fold up, and eat.

It started as a mistake but I went back tonight and asked the name...it was wonderful. Cool and healthy, too. And cheap!

Numb peppers are "hua1jiao1". Or at least that's what they call them in Shaanxi.

That ganbian si ji dou is pretty good. A variation is gan1 bian2 niu2 rou4. A crispy beef strips thing with numb peppers, a poopload of chilli, a bit of onion and some green peppers. Probably a lot of salt too.

Good with beer and a lot of rice.
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: What's Fer Dinner?
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2007, 10:03:32 AM »
MR. NOBODY added:
There was/is a takeaway place for late night fried thingies in HK a short distance from my usual hotel in HK. Next door to it was a small shop that specialized in stinky tofu.

It is hard to explain my thoughts on the initial contact with my nose, then over the weeks and repeated visits to HK, I still regularly walk down that street. (it is directly between the hotel and my friends studio) It is still hard to explain my thoughts. I would have thought "Oh no, that poor lady is eating dog poo" but then, I am not as nice a guy as Newbs.

I have vowed to try it one day, but the rest of my body appears to be in no hurry.


Headmaster took us out tonight to suck up for the extra summer workload. Our hotpot was graced with a turtle, brought to the table intact. They tore off the shell, and Mandi couldn't even look from that moment on. They had to turn the pot around so that the side without turtle was facing us.

No one else had tasted turtle before, either. The word on the street is that, since turtles live so long, eating turtule will help you live longer.

TIFC- I've heard worse logic.

So my piece had a back leg on it. Accustomed as I am to eating disgusting things in China, I tried it. The meat is splendid. The fat: Instant gag reflex; one of the most foul, unnatural tasting things I've ever put in my mouth. The meat, as delicious as it was, will never pass my lips for fear that a crumb of turtle fat might tag along.

I would eat a turtle TURD before turtle fat. Consider yourselves warned.

RAOUL added:
2 more dishes for youse....

Huang2 Gua2 La4 Pi2 is shreds of cucumber with a little shredded pork (enough to add a little flavor), and a little garlic. Some bites were spicy hot. Everything is shredded very fine so it's hard to tell if there are other ingredients too. The pork is fully cooked, of course, but the whole thing seems to be either only lightly stir-fried or somehow marinated. The cucumber was a bit limp as if it had been cooked, but the dish was served slightly cool. Anyway, it was quite good.

I had dinner tonight in Suzhou's Ya Ke Xi Xinjiang restaurant- the one we went to May Day- with my friends Sanjeev and Sophie. I was late (try getting a Suzhou taxi from the Dong Gang in the rain!) and when I arrived they were already elbow-deep in a dish the waitress told me was called Le1 Shi2 Kao3 Rou4. It was thinly sliced and deep fried potatoes, somewhere between potato chips (crisps for you Commonwealth types) and home fries. The potatoes were covered liberally with some kind of highly spiced ground meat mix with onion and garlic, with a crumbled-sausage-like effect. VERY spicy and rather hot. This dish rules and comes especially highly recommended.
Next time I may take along a little grated cheddar to put on it...

SETH added:
A few of my faves;

you1rou4...literally 'oil meat.' Cuts of pork with about an inch of fat left on them, and usually the skin, served in a thin garlicy sauce. It sounds disgusting but it's so good. The fat is creamy, not gristly like bacon fat. Supposedly it was Chairman Mao's favorite dish but he had to stop eating it when his health went downhill. Certainly not something you'd want to make a habit of eating.

Pao4 Mo3 is the famous 'bread soup' of Xi'an, but I've seen it in other central Chinese cities. Bits of flatbread with lamb broth, served with pickled garlic and cilantro. For some reason it's served in a ridiculously large bowl, like noodle dishes tend to be. If you can eat a whole bowl of it, you are a better man than I. In Luoyang a gigantic bowl of it was 8 kuai, a smaller one (but still huge) was 6.

xiang2chang1 (literally translated as 'fragrant intestine'!) are those little red sausages, I loved them. I think they're made sweet with baijiu but they don't taste like baijiu to me.

In central China open-air grill restaurants seem to be popular. I went to a lot of them in Luoyang, but I didn't see any in Hangzhou. Raoul mentioned the grilled lamb bits, which are awesome. I wish I knew what spices they put on those things, I'd make it every day. I once went to one deep in the Muslim part of town where all parts of a lamb were grilled on sticks with that certain spice mixture. Eyes, tongue, kidneys, stomach, you name it. The eyes were chewy.

Grill restaurants in the summer, hotpot in the winter.

There was also a rumour going about Luoyang that another local specialty was mouse fetus soup.

Hopefully my pinyin numbers are right...I keep getting 1 an 2 confused.

MR. NOBODY added:
I have an inordinate fondness for stuffed chillis, stuffed fried tofu,
stuffed mushrooms and so on. Yummy.

Stuffed chilli = la4jiao1 niang4
mushrooms = mo2gu1 niang4
tofu = to4fu4 niang4

hope i got it right.

Can buy them fried, or buy them uncooked, then steam, fry or deepfry to your hearts content. I am going to try baking them sometime, also, to reduce the fat content.

Eating them fried will definitely interfere with any diet plans.

ILUNGA added:
Fortunately I haven't come across the 'mouse faetus' (sp?) soup.

The outdoor bbq places are everywhere in Luoyang. Love 'em! Yang rou chuar washed down with zha pi mmm. One thing I saw a lot of in Wei hai was man tou - grilled and seasoned. In Luoyang we have shao bin but it's not as good. The eyes are a bit chewy for me. Never been brave enough to try the 'ji ji/ yin jing/whatever you wanna call it'

Two of my favourite dishes are 'tie ban shao zhi qie' (really good eggplant and meat dish. The eggplant has black skin and it comes wrapped in tin foil) and 'yu wong su pai' (very tasty ribs)

MR. NOBODY added:
Yeah, I like the 'fried steak' (But i would call it fried spare ribs - any flesh will do). shuan4 xiang1 gu3.

RAOUL added:
More dishes!

Congo and I hit the wonderful little DongBei restaurant here in the DongGang last night. We had the usual run of dishes listed in here. However, to mark the honor of having _2_ members of this forum in the restaurant, the laoban brought us samples of the things they were eating. These are very much DongBei specialties, so only look for them with any hope in one of those restaurants.

We were both blown away by both of these dishes.

Sa1 Zhu1 Cai4 is pig's blood soup with cabbage. (Get over it, newbies, this stuff kicked ass!) Cubes of pig's blood, and perhaps bits of other thankfully anonymous organelles, joined about 20 kilos of shredded cabbage per small rice bowl, all in a wonderful rich broth. Neither of us are exactly big fans of pig's blood, but we lurped this stuff down with enthusiasm. Conelrad said he'd had the same dish in DongBei...but not this good. This soup is full of the rich hearty nutrition you need to go back out in the cold and grow more cabbages.

Jiu3 Cai4 Huar1 is a thick grass-green paste. It appears to contain cucumber, loads of garlic, perhaps a bit of chive, maybe a dash of chili oil, a ton of vinegar, and about 2 tons of salt. The effect is somewhere between pickle relish and wasabi. More a pickle or palate-cleanser than a dish, it was absolutely luscious. 2 thumbs up from the Dong Gang.

RUTH added:
Was taken out to dinner last night by the parents of a private student.

Amazing 12 year old chatters away in English non-stop. Great little translator she is.

Anyway, we had 'fish skin' as one of the 9 main dishes. We were very leary of what it could possibly be before it arrived. Sure enough, it was fish skin, in small strips. No scales. No idea what kind of fish. It was fried and spicy. Lots of garlic and hot peppers and something else we couldn't identify. Too spicy for me, but Lei Shan liked it. The texture was chewy and not very fishy tasting. I'll edit in the name of it when I get it. <No, she won't...>

ARLIS added:
Some additions around my area in Qingdao. Please note that the tones may not be 100% correct as my listening sucks and I can't confirm it with any chinese people I trust.

Ga2 La4
A Shandong cuisine (or so I'm told) of fresh clams boiled in a light broth with plenty of red peppers and a bit of ginger. The result is a spicy burst of seafood that's heavenly when chowed down with a cold Tsingtao by the beach. Long lunches often result in my consumption of about 40-50 of these suckers (and I'm the one with the smallest pile!)

Suan2 La4 Tu3 Dou4 Si1
Another spicy favourite to be consumed outside with a cold one while a refreshing breeze rushes through you. The dish consists of a multitude of very thinly sliced potato slivers that's been cooked with red peppers, vinegar, and garlic. A friend I know orders one at every meal and whines if there is none.

Ba1 Xi1 Kao4 Rou4
Brazilian BBQ. This particular pork bbq variety is very localised and is not presented on sticks but on a plate surrounded with mantou that's been cut into slices and quickly deep fried in oil. The bbq pork itself is spiced (with unknown heavenly spices), tender, and scrumptious to eat. However, an additional spicy (and slightlys sweet) sauce on the side allows for dipping of the meat or/and bread to really elevate this from a normal bbq dish. (may be a restaurant specialty)

San1 Xian1 Yun1 Do4
Fried Green Beans. Strangely enough, every chinese student/colleague/friend that I've sat down to eat this with has never eaten this dish before in their life. Yet it's the first dish to be completely and utterly finished before others. Green beans are stir-fryed together with minced meat, clams (without the shell), century eggs, soy sauce, and possibly garlic. The result is amazing and as I stated, it is the first to be devoured before other dishes whenever I order it at a particular restaurant. (may be a restaurant specialty)

Ga4 Li1 Fan4 or Ga4 Li1 Niu2 Rou4 Fan4
Curry Rice. Hasn't really been mentioned, not so much a Chinese dish but I've noticed a number of small, hole in the wall restaurants offering this so I'll say it anyway. One of my favourite non-chinese dishes that I've tried for the first time in my life (though I found them China). The curry is not so much Indian curry but similar to japanese-style curry without the mind blowing spice (yes it's spicy, but spicy in a delicate way). Anyways, found with a few varieties including a potato pancake variety I found at a japanese curry restaurant in Qingdao (see the Qingdao post in city specific info).

It's great, it's fantastic, and every person I've taken there for the first time (chinese and foreign) has liked it tremendously.

Bon apetit!

RAOUL added:
I have a new one.

Mu4 Shu1 Rou4 is pretty good stuff. It's pork shreds stir-fried with leek, scrambled egg, and wood ears. You may recognize it as "Mu Shu Pork", a popular favorite at least in the States, except that here it's generally served without the pancake and sweet hoisin sauce that generally accompany it there.

Aaaaand another one. Kind of an odd dish but good if you can figure out how to eat it.

Ba2 Si1 Xiang1 Jiao1 are a sort of caramelized banana fritters. Banana chunks are battered and fried and placed in a dish. Caramel is poured over them, and the whole thing is sprinkled with sesame seeds. They are served with a small bowl of cool water...dip your bite in the water to solidify the caramel and keep it from stringing everywhere.

The same treatment is given apples (ba2 si1 ping1 guo3) and potatoes (ba2 si1 tu2 dou4). All are pretty good but the banana is my favorite.

Problem is, this is a hard dish to eat. It's served at a precise temperature of 1450 degrees Celsius...the caramel is pliable enough but Westerners need to wait about 45 minutes for it to cool. When it actually IS cool enough to eat, the caramel has hardened to the consistency of granite. You need a hammer and cold chisel to eat it.

Anyway, if you can sort out the puzzle, it's a pretty good dish. It's a definite favorite in the Northeast; my local Dongbei restaurant does it really well too.

RUTH added:
We had all of those during bootcamp - apples, bananas, sweet potato.

VERY popular. The trick is to get the pieces dipped into the water before they all harden together.

RAOUL added:
Sweet potatoes...haven't seen that yet but sounds good. Ba2 Si1 Nan2 Gua1.
Ruth hits on the problem...this dish must be eaten quickly upon
serving. But it's served at the temperature of molten lava...

If you ask for ba si nan gua up in my neck of the woods you will end up with caramelised pumpkin! Sweet potato up here is gan1shu3 or hong2shu3.

Why is tomato called different things in different places as well?

DR. GONZO added:
Mao's favorite: Hong2 Shao1 Rou2.
Thre's no real recipe. Just buy a few pork hocks, with hair removed. Place in a liquor of around a cup of dark soy sauce, a few big spoons of sugar and a smattering of star anise [cloves work too. Fill with water until the hocks are covered. Bring to the boil, then simmer covered on very low for several hours, topping up the liquid if needed. The meat should be very tender. Good, basic [well off] peasant tucker!

RAOUL added:
Yeah, a good one.

I usually see it cooked with a lot of ginger and hot peppers along with the ingredients that The Gone One lists.

My biggest problem with this dish is that it's usually made with fat pork...as in pork pieces that are about 90% fat and skin, with a tiny bit of real meat. These pieces are eaten whole. Sometimes you can convince the cook to substitute lean pork in this dish, but they will look at you like you're crazy.

There's a great variant that will also guarantee you a place in the cardiac ward: whole shelled hard-boiled eggs are cooked in along with the meat. Anything this dangerous HAS to taste good, right?

I do chicken wings in this first.  I don't put in the sugar but I do add about a 1" piece of ginger. Then do the pork in the same liquid as a second cooking. Been making this in Canada for Years and Years. Super GOOD  Got the receipe from some Hong Kong students when I lived in Calgary (>1979).

RAOUL added:
Here's a delicious dish, a great winter warmer...and a definite challenge for some of you. This dish may strike some as a good exhibit in your kid's school's Halloween Spook House. It contains things I normally won't touch...but they're great here.

Chuan2 jia1 fu2 is served in a giant crockery or metal dish, sometimes over a brazier. It starts with a basic white cabbage soup, but is heavily laden- and I do mean PILED- with some combination of most if not all of the following: sliced pork, sliced beef, chicken breast, pink ham slices, various meatballs and fish balls, whole shrimp, quail eggs, egg dumplings, tofu-skin dumplings, brown mushrooms, wood ears, bamboo shoots, green onion, pork tripe, beef tripe, pork intestines, pork blood, chicken feet... and who knows what else.

The whole thing presents as a thick, complex soup that you can eat with chopsticks. It's definitely extremely nutitious and will keep you vigilantly guarding the People's Revolution against the forces of reactionaryism long into the night.

This stuff is really good despite some ingredients that might strike many as a bit repugnant. The squeamish might be able to get the chef to edit the ingredients a bit. Ya wussy. 

Will share one simple recipe - when you dont have much time, tired, lack creativity and want to *feed a man*.
Cut beef into pieces and soak it in a decent amount of Maggi seasoning sauce, mixed with some black pepper and 5-spices powder. Put it in microwave for 2 mins (medium heat).
Cut onions, garlic, broccoli and potatos.
Heat up some oil in a pan and put in the meat. Stir it occasionally for 17 mins, then add garlic and onions, stir it again for another 5 mins. Then add some water with salt in it and let it simmer for 15 mins. Add broccoli and potatos. Add a bit more water, cover up and let cook on low fire for 15-20 mins (till meat gets all tender and soft and other ingredients are cooked). If you have dry or fresh dill - throw it in in the end. TA-DA!  Simple and yummy. Instead of Maggi seasoning you can use soya sauce and teeny bit of vinegar.
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: What's Fer Dinner?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2007, 10:05:21 AM »
RAOUL added:
After recounting the delights of pigs-blood-and-chitlins soup, the next dish will give the squeamish a break...

My housekeeper proudly announced tonight that she had cooked Zhu1 Pai4 for me. Turned out to be basic breaded pan-fried pork chops...would have been comfortable on any Western table.

ACJADE added:
A recipe for simple bliss.

Cucumber sandwiches.

One French sliced loaf.
One cucumber freshly purchased from the village.

Thin the bread slices with a good bread knife. Spread thinly with butter.

Peel the cucumber and thinly slice into a bowl and sprinkly lightly with salt.

Layer the cucumber between slices of buttered bread.

Tape the pantry and fridge doors open to prevent the jars and packets of chillie jumping out.

Serve with a freshly made pot of tea. Put your legs up in front of the tele and watch Titanic for the fifth time since last week telling yourself it was the 94th anniversary last week and it's as good as a memorial service.

This would have to come close to what would be The
Raoul's Saloon Birthday Dinner with a Southwestern U.S. twist.

Shrimp with Tequila Cocktail Sauce followed by
Margarita Shrimp Salad
The main course would be
Tequila Chicken Wrap
and what's a birthday w/o a cake.
Tequila Cake with Glaze

Recipes follow.
Bon apetite!!

Shrimp with Tequila Cocktail Sauce

From The Tequila Cook Book
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 29, 2004 12:00 AM

1 package shrimp boil (sold in the spice section of most supermarkets)
2 lemons (one cut in half, one quartered)
24 jumbo shrimp (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (use more or less, depending on how hot you want the sauce)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon tequila

Fill a large pot with water. Add shrimp boil and lemon halves. (Save quartered lemon for garnish.) Bring to a boil and add shrimp. Boil for about 7 minutes or until shrimp turn pink.

Divide the chopped celery among stemmed glasses. Arrange the shrimp in the glass or hang them over the side.

Combine ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice and tequila. Spoon sauce over the shrimp. Garnish with lemon wedges.

Makes 4 servings.

Approximate values per serving: 259 calories, 3 g fat, 259 mg cholesterol, 26 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 996 mg sodium, 11 percent calories from fat.


Margarita Shrimp Salad

From Mark Simonek of Coach & Willie's
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 29, 2004 12:00 AM

2 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces peeled shrimp
1/4 cup tequila
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 cups torn iceberg lettuce
2 cups torn romaine lettuce
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1 cup chopped mango
1/2 cup chopped jicama
1/2 cup chopped avocado
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Salad dressing of choice

Coat a saut?? pan with olive oil. Over medium-high heat, saut?? shrimp in tequila, pineapple juice and lime juice until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.

Drain shrimp and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients and toss well. Add shrimp to salad.

Makes 2 servings.

Approximate values per serving (excludes dressing): 409 calories, 7 g fat, 172 mg cholesterol, 26 g protein, 47 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 184 mg sodium, 18 percent calories from fat.

Tequila Chicken Wrap

From Mark Simonek of Coach & Willie's
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 29, 2004 12:00 AM

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped cooked chicken
1 pinch garlic powder
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup tequila
2 slices (about 1 ounce) jalape?0?9o Jack cheese
1 flour tortilla
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1/4 cup diced tomato

Coat a saut?? pan with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Saut?? chicken strips, garlic powder, lime juice and tequila until warmed through and liquid cooks off a little. Top mixture with cheese; heat just until cheese starts to melt. Spread mixture on tortilla and top with lettuce and tomato. Roll up and cut in half.

Makes 1 serving.

Approximate values per serving: 538 calories, 19 g fat, 90 mg cholesterol, 33 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 418 mg sodium, 43 percent calories from fat.

Tequila Cake with Glaze

From The tequila Cook Book by Lynn Nusum
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 29, 2004 12:00 AM

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup tequila

For the glaze:
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup tequila
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Cream sugar, butter and eggs together in a large bowl. Stir in milk, then add flour, baking powder and salt, and beat. Add tequila and beat well until smooth and shiny.

Fold batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Remove from oven, let cool, then turn cake out onto a serving plate.

For the glaze, pour the sugars, water and salt into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture becomes semi-caramelized (the sugar melts and mixture starts to turn clear), about 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove from heat; stir in tequila and Grand Marnier. Pour over cake while glaze is warm.

Makes 8 servings.

Approximate values per serving: 791 calories, 26 g fat, 156 mg cholesterol, 9 g protein, 121 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 502 mg sodium, 31 percent calories from fat.

MR. NOBODY added:
Yao juan

A local dish. Made from minced pork with herbs and spices made into a long thin roll like a sausage, then battered and deep fried. It is cut into slices, and dipped into a sauce made from sweetening white rice vinegar.

Delicious, and has both of the major food groups, fat and oil, in abundance. There are some green herby bits in the mince, so even meat and vegetables are catered for. A perfect and well balanced food.

I could hear my arteries hardening just looking at it.

MERMAID56 added:
Hei1 bai2 cai4 BLACK AND WHITE VEGETABLE. If done right it is chinese cabbage chao'd with reconsistuted wood ear mushroom. at least here in Canton.....delicious and healthful

Ping2guo2 niu2rou4 (apple and beef) suan yi huang gua (fresh cucumber in sesame vinegar with loads of garlic) for dinner tonight. The restaurant I go to for this gives a free bowl of soup and a discount on the bill as well.

MERMAID56 added:
Suan1 la4 tang1 Hot and sour soup, sorry, not cantonese, they just look at me funny when I try to order it. My students have never heard of it.

THe dried kind is ok, I make it and pour it over cooked glass noodles, the noodles suck up the flavors, a little spicy, a little squishy.

Doesn't compare with the real thing. Really good hot and sour soup in Beijing.

I went online. Sichuan is definitely the origin of hot and sour soup.

They also talk about white pepper instead of chili for the heat.




Once you can make it the way you like, then Mrs N will be able to find it again.

I think what you may be talking about is 'jian4 bing1'. Made on a large hotplate, crepe mix poured over the hotplate, flipped, egg broken over it, sprinkled with bits and pieces you choose, plus level of hot sauce you want, then the crispy bread stuff (bit like a brown papadam), all rolled together into a semisquare??

I used to have these for breakfast if I could be bothered to get up early enough. Yummy.

They were made by a deaf couple who would come to the uni each day on their tricycle with burner, flat hotplate, food mixes etc. They had cooperation down to a fine art with the mixing, pouring, flipping, stirring stuff. After the first time they remembered exactly how much hot sauce and chili I wanted and were quick at whipping them up. And she would hop from foot to foot doing little dances while she cooked.

Cost 1Y. The taste was worth it, plus the little dances and smiles made a good start to the day.

MR. NOBODY added:
Down here they are apparently called:

yin4du4 pao1bin3

means 'hindu fried pancake' or some such.

I think some parmesan would go well on it. Yum.

ACJADE added:
Fruity cocktail.

1 cup watermelon chunks
2 sticks celery
1 large bunch of red grapes
2 apples

blend and then process through the juice extractor.

Return to blender and add 1 shot of Pimms, 1/2 cup white wine and two to three kiwi fruit icy poles cut from the stick.

Pour over crushed ice and serve in a tall glass.

Meant to look up this vegetable for weeks. ..Ober started a thread about cat and dog meat that led to Still talking about local dishes that included Kong1Xin1Cai4. As Raoul points out, still in season. In English, this is known as Water Spinach and in some locals "Swamp Cabbage."
Back in my newly renovated apartment and enjoying my own cooking.

Following my recent whine about migrating topics under headings to make them more searchable...... I move it all here.
It's for dinner! Bon Apetite!

Jun 9, 2006, 9:41am, stil wrote:Hey Og, to give you an idea of a

typical meal in my area:

We had frog, pig intestine, okra, kong xin cai (don't know the English name for this veggie. Anyone know it?) pig liver, ducks feet and some salted peanuts as an appetizer. As this is Hunan, everything is cooked with peppers. A couple of beers and you have a typical, cheap and delicious dinner in my area.

Jun 10, 2006, 1:07am, Raoul Duke wrote:I'm not sure kong xin cai (the name means "empty heart vegetable" because the stems are hollow) even HAS an English name. But it's a long-standing favorite...wonderful stir-fried with garlic. Check it out while it's in season!
Empty-heart vegetable (thing) by schist (1.3 mon) (print) ? 1 C! Tue Jan 08 2002 at 20:30:40

This green vegetable is a favorite in Chinese cuisine. Its competing botanical names are Ipomoea aquatica and Ipomoea reptans. It has triangular pointed leaves of a dark green color, and its stems are light green and hollow, hence the name kong1-xin1 cai4, "empty-heart vegetable". It is sometimes used as a symbol of heartlessness in love-songs.

The leaves and stems are eaten. The root is said to have some medicinal uses - for women's yeast infections, among other things. I can't vouch for that. It has a white or pale red flower, but most Chinese people know it best from the leaves seen at market and on the dinner table.

Another name for it is weng4-cai4, which seems to mean "vat-planted vegetable' (although a different Chinese character with the same sound is generally used). It can grow directly in water without soil, and so is popular for cultivation in poor areas. In some places it is planted between the boards of special rafts that float on ponds and lakes. The English names "water spinach" (independently noded) and "swamp cabbage" are also used for this plant, as is the market name ong choy, which is
simply the Cantonese pronunciation of weng4-cai4.

The leaves are soft and cook quickly. It is therefore a favorite of
small restaurants that want to save on cooking fuel. It is very tasty, especially when stir-fried with garlic or with fermented bean-curd (see also the recipe for stir-fried parsley).
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: What's Fer Dinner?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2007, 10:07:44 AM »
Finally learned the name of a dish I've had several times before. It's a Sichuan specialty called Ma2 La4 Niu2 Rou4, and it can be found in many Chinese restaurants. Thinly sliced beef is laid over a thick layer of bean sprouts, and sprinkled with garlic, spring onion greens, numb peppers, and lots and lots of red chili peppers. I think some soup stock may also be added. The whole thing comes to the table simmering in a rather oily and spicy soup. It's quite good, but be warned that it runs very much to the spicy side!
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)


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Re: What's Fer Dinner?
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2007, 04:47:08 AM »
Let's write a book already: "How to feed yourself in China"  afafafafaf


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Re: What's Fer Dinner?
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2007, 05:09:23 AM »
Let's write a book already: "How to feed yourself in China"  afafafafaf

Pamphlet version : Yell 'Fuwuyuan!' and point at other peoples' food.

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Re: What's Fer Dinner?
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2007, 12:43:06 PM »
Please, I humbly and gently beg you, stay on-topic in the Liberry... bjbjbjbjbj
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

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we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)


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Re: What's Fer Dinner?
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2007, 01:39:49 PM »
Raoul, it IS topic related. Ordering food and cooking at home is a very very sensitive subject for us! Until now I can't order Chinese food. For the simple reason - I barely eat it  bfbfbfbfbf But I promise to post here few nice and easy recipes that you use wherever you are.

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Re: What's Fer Dinner?
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2007, 03:08:11 PM »
A cookbook is a marvelous idea. Let's start a new thread on it!

It's been our experience that conversation, while wonderful in itself, tends to bury useful information people will hopefully be coming here to find.
There's plenty of room here to do BOTH!  agagagagag
« Last Edit: April 19, 2007, 03:10:20 PM by Raoul Duke »
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

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Re: What's Fer Dinner?
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2007, 01:12:21 PM »
There's a goose dish that is popular around Foshan. NOt sure where else, but it's a doozy.

It is a rich hotpot and served only for special occasions. Goose and potato. E2 yu4 tou2. Much better than it sounds. Something special even though I have been in China for quite a bit. Take a few friends, it uses a whole goose. They do take the feathers off, though. That's probably a side dish.

Cantonese Glazed goose is another popular one with my wife - cao3 e2.

Just another roadkill on the information superhighway.


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Re: What's Fer Dinner?
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2007, 10:20:30 AM »
Not sure abou the tones and spelling of some of these...but I thought I'd share anyway

TEI BAN...This is a style of cooking rather than a dish name.Precooked meat,veggies and sauce are brought to your table and flash fried on a hot iron grill.My  favourites....Tei Ban Niu2 Rou4(beef) and Tei Ban Hai Xiang(seafood).

Some good Xingjian fried noodle dishes....

SUI ROU BAN MIAN...spahgetti-like noodles fried with hamburger,diced green peppers  and diced tomatoes

CHAO LA TOU-same noodles but fried with flat strips of beef and onions

CHAO MIAN PIAN-Flat,wide noodles fried with beef and veggies

A few other dishes....

TU DOU DU NIU ROU...Chunks of beef and potato stewed in a rich broth
XI HONG SHI DU NIU ROU...Beef and tomato soup
HAO YOU NIU ROU...Beef fried in oyster sauce
XIAN GU LI JI...salty pork fried with mushrooms,onions and green peppers
WO TOU LA ROU....bacon,green peppers and crunchy corn bread
HONG SHAO PAI GU...pork ribs in a rich garvy like sauce
HONG SHAO DA YU...a big fish covered in a sweet red sauce
BAN HUANG GUA...diced cucumbers in a garlic and vinegar sauce
QING JIAO TU DOU SI-shredded fried potatoes...basically hard hash browns
MA ZHANG DOU JIAO-green beans in garlic and sesame sauce
CHONGQING DA PAI-A giant rack of pork ribs...a carnovores delight
ZHENGZHOU LA ROU...bacon fried with an assortment of spicy and non-spicy peppers

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: What's Fer Dinner?
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2007, 11:36:45 AM »
Many good ones!
Please add the tones as you can. Try to find a Chinese person somewhere.  uuuuuuuuuu
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

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we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)


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Re: What's Fer Dinner?
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2007, 08:49:02 AM »
One thing I have learned is to watch for the differences in common dishes from province to province. I ordered some yu xiang rou si the other night. Got it home to find it packed full of eggplant (I HATE eggplant). They never put eggplant in it in Jiangsu. Another thing I ordered was Kung Pow Chicken. Found it full of peas (I hate peas too). So knowing the names of these dishes is great but remember that from place to place, the may alter a bit.
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Re: What's Fer Dinner?
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2007, 08:55:11 AM »
That is so true. Mao's favourite dish has as many recipes as there are cooks. I had it two days ago, nicest version so far. Previously been served what amounts to boiled pigs blubber. Same name. Same city. Not the same taste.
Just another roadkill on the information superhighway.