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Posts Tagged ‘chinese cooking’

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

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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….

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It has been a long time coming…  TOO long.  My original plan was to do all grocery/general shopping via bicycle, as I had done in Qinhuangdao.  Even though I had been told by husband’s boss and his wife that it wasn’t really practical, I was determined…  Then I learned the awful truth.  Just because you’ve lived here before doesn’t mean you know about a town with 100 empty booze bottles, random missing shoes, and used hypodermic needles on the beach in front of your apartment.  Very True.  We requested a driver from Avis (vendor to the Company) a few weeks after arriving.  That was a good bit ago.  Many weeks later they provided us with 3 drivers to interview and choose.  Our first choice was a highly recommended driver with *GREAT* English skills and experience driving in all of the major cities around us.  Basically – perfect.  Apparently there is a “guanxi” issue between the driver we picked and Avis.  To this day I wonder why they sent us a perfect driver to interview that THEY had not approved… THIS IS CHINA.  Regardless, My husband’s boss’s driver had recommended a friend to the company, and we also interviewed him.  I was very impressed with his enthusiasm – even though he knows little English.

Food From our Driver!

Food From our Driver!

There were two veggies I was not sure how to cook… Asian Taro and Chinese white radish…   Thank the Good Lord for Google!!!

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