Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Chinese Home Cooking’ Category

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to go grocery shopping in Qingdao, therefore we are running desperately low on meat of any sort.  I can definitely get pork at any of our local JiaJiaYue supermarkets, but I have trouble justifying the purchase of meat that sits out all day being poked and prodded by masses of people who probably haven’t washed their hands in over a week and a half, and refuse to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing.  Call me picky, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. At the XinHai market there are several concrete bomb-shelter-like looking buildings full of cages of hens, roosters, and some other small mammals.  I hadn’t purchased one yet, because I assumed that I would need to kill and clean it myself.  I’m sure I could handle that, but plucking feathers off a bleeding-out chicken on a Wednesday afternoon just didn’t seem like my idea of a fun and productive day spent.

It wasn’t until last week that I learned they will kill, clean, and remove the lower digestive system for me.  Perfect!  I can handle that.  The rooster costed more than I would’ve expected (about 20 USD), but it was more than worth it to know it was fresh and only handled by one guy after it was killed, AND that I got to watch the who process.  This just isn’t something you see back home when you go to Giant Eagle (grocery store) to pick out a chicken.

I went with my friend A.  Her driver always helps a ton with these traditional Chinese things.  He asked if I wanted a boy or girl chicken.  Well that wasn’t a question I had ever been asked before?  I asked him which one was good?  The hens were much smaller, but the A’s driver picked out a big rooster and said they are let out to walk around more and the hens just sit around and eat.  Does this make it better?  I have no idea.  Now I want to clarify, when I describe these conversations that I have with just about any Chinese person in Haiyang, it’s usually a mix of my broken Mandarin, their local Haiyang dialect, and a lot of funky charades.  Thankfully, most of the drivers that work for us Westerners have learned a small amount of English, making something like buying live poultry MUCH easier!   But, as you can imagine, I don’t really know how to ask “will they take off the feathers and remove the sh*t from the rear end of that bird?”  Between my Engl-ese (opposite of Chinglish), and some creative chicken dancing, I usually can figure out what is going on.

After we picked out a rooster, the owner pretty much ripped the wings off to put it on the scale. I was taking video the entire time. If you are a fan of PETA, you might not want to watch these videos. Since I’m a fan of People Eating Tasty Animals, I have posted these videos and will share them with you.

After I paid for my bird, he slit the neck and put it into a rotating drum to bleed out.  From there my rooster and some other guy’s chicken were put into a vat of boiling water.  Unfortunately the other bird was still very much alive.  After that there was another drum for defeathering.  Also, notice the gutted dog hanging in the middle of the room.  This is the first one I’ve seen.  (This may be offensive to some individuals, watch at your own risk.)

And finally, removing the intestines, etc…

Alas, I brought my rooster home to the roaster:

Dinner

Read Full Post »

 WARNING:  THIS POST CONTAINS IMAGES THAT MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME INDIVIDUALS.

DO NOT CONTINUE IF YOU HAVE A QUEASY STOMACH OR SMALL CHILDREN ARE NEAR.

Meat table at the market

Delicious, Pig Heart

And finally, this pitiful creature was hanging in the “store” (more like a concrete bomb shelter)   where I bought a live chicken…

Yes, That's a Dog

Read Full Post »

We’ve had our fair share of rare and unique foods here in China.  Everyone knows about the chicken feet – which I still haven’t had a chance to try, but there is SOO much to choose from aside than chicken parts.  As you know we had pig tongue and stomach on New Years Eve, and both were really good.  After returning home to Haiyang and getting our driver, he and his family invited my husband and me to eat lunch at their home.  The house was larger than the one we had seen in Shanghai, but much less comfortable and lacking most amenities.  As usual, the master bedroom is also the living room and we started lunch by sitting on the master bed, basically a hot water heated surface with a thin pad overtop, to drink tea.  Once lunch was mostly prepared, we moved to the dining room and took our seats for the food to come out.  At lunch was our driver, his wife, his mom and dad, and two of his dad’s old classmates (at least that’s who I think they were, haha!)
The meal consisted of a normal assortment of fish, pork, warm and cold vegetables, dumplings, and… silk worm pupae…   I had the intent to try these eventually but wasn’t really prepared for it at that moment.  His family seemed perplexed that we were hesitant to dive into the giant bowl of creepy looking brown insects.  I explained to our driver in my broken Chinese that Americans do not like to eat insects.  I think he understood.

Silkworm Pupae

Unfortunately the conversation at this lunch was irritatingly difficult.  I only speak basic conversational Mandarin and my dear husband speaks almost none.  He tries to use google translate on his phone to start a conversation – this usually causes more confusion than results.

I watched the mother and wife make dumplings for a little while.  I would’ve helped but didn’t want to mess them up!  The best part :  They were making them on the master bed in the master bedroom.   Yup.

Drivers Mother & Wife Making Dumplings

Drivers Mother & Wife Making Dumplings on the master bed

All of the food was really good.  I’ll admit that the Silkworms were not bad.  You don’t actually eat the outside shell, which is tough, but not hard or crunchy.  The inside was the part to eat.  There wasn’t much taste and it had a consistency between that of scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes.  Would I eat them again?  Yeah, I probably would if they were served at someones home (out of politeness), but I will never willingly order them at a restaurant.

As with every Chinese meal with friends, they served alcohol.  We started with some warmed up brown alcohol.  It was ok although I don’t know what it was.   There was some wine then another alcohol that tasted like a sweet plumb wine although it had images of deer and chickens on the front of the bottle.  I thought for sure there must have  been some animal parts in the brew…

We left there feeling very full and comfortable and VERY ready for a nap!

On a side note:  don’t think it would be that uncommon for a Chinese liquor to contain animal ingredients.  They do, after all, eat every part of everything that had ever breathed, swam, flown, walked, grown, lived, or is still living.  We did not have this liquor at our driver’s house but he has a very strong opinion about it…

I’ve seen it featured on two different TV programs.  First, it was a segment on National Geographic Channel’s The Witch Doctor Will See You Now.   The next time I heard about it was when my husband was watching an episode of “The League” (if you haven’t ever watched this show, it’s funny – you need to see it.)  So what am I talking about??  THREE PENIS WINE of course!!!!  I understand… you don’t believe me…

Ohhh, but it IS true!

ChangYu Three Penis Wine

Three Penis Wine Ingredients

This particular brand of Three Penis Wine contains a brew of seal penis, deer penis, and Cantonese dog penis.  The intent of this “wine” (really it’s more like rice wine/liquor) is to provide male virility to the drinker.  I found this small bottle at our local JiaJiaYue (the grocery store literally means “family family happy”).   No better way to make a family happy than to make your wife happy by consuming some good ol’ Three Penis Wine!  I picked it up and showed my driver.  Without skipping a beat he said (in slowly pronounced English) V e r y G o o d !   I giggled and bought a few bottles.  Now before I go on, my dear husband has not yet tried this stuff.  I had to!  In all honesty, the taste is much better than baijiu (white liquor / moutai).  It has a bit of molasses/sweet taste to it.  Put it this way – if you had no idea what was added during the original brewing process you would never know you were drinking fermented animal privates.

Life in the Middle Kingdom is never boring!

Read Full Post »

新年快乐. Xin Nian Kuai le.  Happy (Chinese) New Year!

Chinese New Year was celebrated on January 23rd this year.  Husband had the week off so we went to Shanghai to celebrate with some delicious Western food and delicious Western drinks!  January 22 was also my 28th birthday – so I was thrilled when the most populous country on the planet decided to set off fireworks and celebrate with me.  😀

The highlight of our trip was a traditional New Years Eve dinner at Huband’s Co-worker’s Wife’s family home.  In the time I have spent in China so far, this was my first visit to a family home.

Friend's Mama Cooking in the Kitchen

The only problem there was communication.  Her family, being mostly without higher education and living in Shanghai their entire life, spoke only Shanghainese, not Mandarin.  However, there is always one international language found at Chinese meals – and that is the language of alcohol.  The family broke out the beer, the wine, and the dreaded baijiu (white alcohol / mautai).  I accepted a little mautai at the beginning – but after the first ‘ganbei’ (toast), realized it wasn’t a good idea to be drinking rubbing alcohol so early in the night.  *bleh!*  The food was delicious and just kept coming…  Two of the most unique dishes we tried were pig tongue and pig stomach and they were suprisingly tasty!  Just LOOK at ALL THAT FOOD!!!!

New Years Eve Dinner

So you want to know about a Chinese home?  I imagine this apartment is pretty typical for the older generation living in Shanghai.  Small.  Very small.  The entire space was probably about 40 square meters and costed MORE than our home and property back in Pittsburgh.  When you walk in the front door, you enter the dining room…

Dining Room / Entry Looking towards Bedroom (also livingroom) entrance

To the left was a kitchen and a bedroom.  To the right was a bathroom and the master bedroom (which is ALSO the living room).  When we first arrived, the whole family was sitting on the master bed watching TV like it was a couch.  To them it was!  After dinner they invited us to sit on the bed and watch TV with them.  A nice gesture but we found the custom a little strange, not to mention we couldn’t understand the CCTV programming that was on…

Friend's Mama on the Bed (also the Couch) watching CCTV after dinner

Our friend had bought a cake to celebrate my birthday.  Let me tell you how funny it is to have people singing to you in two different languages on your birthday!  It was probably one of the best cakes I’ve ever had.  I’m not a fan of super-sweet icing, and (to my disbeilief) the icing was perfect.  The numbers on the cake are 28 AND 29, because I am considered 29 in China.  (They consider the first 9 months in the mom’s tummy as a first year… somehow…)  (To my brother – When a Chinese girl tells you she is 18, be careful, she may really mean 17….)

My Birthday Cake

Once it was time to leave, the 4 of us decided to try and find a bar to celebrate the rest of New Years Eve.  Unfortunately, since most Chinese go home for the New Year (much like us Americans do for Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving), the vast majority of the bars in Shanghai were not open that night.  We ended up at Big Bamboo on Hong Mei Lu Entertainment Street.  Most of the bars and restaurants here were closed but there were still several open.

The coolest thing on Chinese holidays are fireworks!   I’ve heard they are banned in Shanghai, making them “illegal”, much like driving on the wrong side of the road is “illegal”, also like blowing past red lights, driving on the sidewalk, speeding, smoking in stores, and pretty much disobeying every common civilized country’s code of conduct.  But in China, if you’ve lived or visited here, you know they are mere suggestions of conduct… It is only suggested that you drive on the correct side of the road… Police man sees you, no problem…  So!  Alas!  We saw many fireworks – VERY CLOSE UP!   I think back to Pittsburgh where any of the township’s fireworks are very safe…  everyone stays very far away from ground zero… by law…   HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.!!!! …   Watch my youtube videos from Chinese New Years….

More to come…. takes an eternity to upload from China….

Read Full Post »