Sunday, July 18, 2010

a few things about Chinese cooking, or, eating

  • If you use a non-non-stick wok, buy a non-non-stick spatula, a metal one.
  • By the way, a non-stick wok is pointless and sissified. (Since girls and boys are virtually indistinguishable these days, the word sissy shouldn't be considered sexist.)
  • The trinity of Chinese seasoning: scallion (green onion), ginger, and garlic.
  • The five-spice powder is no mystery; the five are clove, cinnamon, fennel, anise, and coriander (cilantro seeds).
  • The secret to a good stir-fry is turn the heat on HIGH, then stir fast and furious continuously.
  • Of all parts of chicken, breast is the cheapest in China. Wings, legs, feet, and necks are in much more demand than breasts, which are consider "dead meat," while other parts are "living," because the chicken used them to move, that is, when it was still living.
  • Chinese eat their/our soup at the end of the meal. Actually, we drink the soup, and slurping is acceptable. In Japan, slurping is encouraged for the expression of delight. At least that's what I heard.
  • I ate a frozen persimmon today. Here's how: in the fashion of taking off the cap of a jar, lop off the top with a knife, let the fruit thaw till a spoon can be inserted and scoop out the flesh like you would ice cream. When I was a child growing up in the northern-most region of China, frozen pears and persimmons were among the festive staples during the New Year holidays.
  • The sweetest Chinese dessert isn't nearly as sweet as a moderately sugared American fare in the same category.


  1. non-non-stick wok - check
    non-non-stick spatula (actually, when we bought it they called it a 'chan') - check
    requisite seasonings and spices - check

    Now - send recipes! :-) I'm afraid ours are just "too American!"

    We have a very nice Chinese restaurant here, but they always serve the soup as the appetizer! I guess I should ask about that.

    And fried wontons - you know, those cream cheese deep fried things? I'd commit crimes for them...

  2. So you like Chinese food? That bit about non-non-stick sptula was self-addressed: I need a metal one to replace the the lame plastic one I currently have. You're better equipped.
    I'll send you my "basic fried rice" recipe and show you how you can make lettuce wraps with it. As for soup, all American Chinese restaurants adapted and place it ahead of meals. Fried wontons, like fourtune cookies, are a strict cultural mutation - you can't find them in China. And I don't have recipe for them.


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