11/15/07

---小吃---

If you see a busy restaurant in Beijing with crowded tables, 串(Chinese meat on a stick called "chuan") grilling outside and bamboo steamers filled with 饺子 (thinly wrapped steamed pork dumplings) being quickly rushed in from the coal-filled steel drum outside, chances are the place is a good choice. These are 小吃店,or "little eat" restaurants that make simple, homey dishes and are common in both traditional neighborhoods and apartment blocks. They are usually open late and serve predicatable Chinese comfort food. Like anything, some are great and some suck horribly. Below are some examples of what you can order:

  • 宫保鸡丁 (or "Kung Pao" chicken as we call it) This is a dish I outlined in the last entry, a sweet and spicy mixture of cucumbers, chicken, peanuts and chili.
  • 回锅肉 (or "Twice cooked pork") A wonderful dish using the pork belly drenched in chili oil and fried with fermented black beans and lots of green onion.
  • 麻婆都府 (or "Grandma's tofu") A mix of soft tofu and beef served casserole style. Has a strong 麻辣, or "spicy numbing" taste due to the Sichuan peppercorns.
  • 鱼香肉丝 (or "fish fragrant shredded pork") A sour/sweet pork mixture cooked with dried shrimp to give a slightly fishy taste.
  • 東坡肉 (or "Dong Po pork") If done well, this is the best pork you'll ever eat in your life. It's mostly the fat right below the skin with a small piece of meat hanging off. It's cooked in anise and cinnamon until it's extremely soft.
  • 山西刀前面 (or "Shanxi style knife-cut noodles") This is like Chinese chicken n' dumplings with large cut dough pieces, dried soybeans, bok choy, bits of pork and vinegar in a salty broth. The noodle place near where I work makes this excellently.
  • 包子(or "bao zi") These are big, puffy dumplings that are a little yeasty. The local ones are huge, like a sandwich, and usually contain diced Chinese spinach. Dip the doughy goodness in vinegar and chili flakes. Yum!
  • 粥 (or "rice porridge") A typical breakfast dish, or late night snack, zhou is a healthy soup make with leftover rice or beans and many, many kinds of additions. There are lots of restaurants that only serve zhou and have literally 100 variaties.
  • 串(or "meat on a stick") Ubiquitous snack that shows the ancient influence of the middle east over north China. Usually lamb, but sometimes chicken, pork of veggies are available.
  • 红烤牛肉面 (or "red cooked beef noodles") These are awesome when made well. Homemade noodles with bits of beef bone and meat cooked in a number of Chinese spices.
  • 炒饭(or "fried rice") Wonderful and usually made with a number of additions. Common choices include pickled vegetables, beef, sausage or egg n' tomato. Very different from our Western Chinese restaurant counterpart.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Dear. Today Miami is colder that ever in 2007. It was one of those days where you wouldnt go to work.We would have breakfast before work and you would just call in> How is yoga?
how are you?
I lvoeyou Ross.
I miss you!

about us said...

miami is still experiencing beautiful weather; both days of the weekend were filled with sun, scattered-cloud skies, and temperatures under 70 degrees!'
truly the only time of the year that miami feels receptive to everyone~!

on another positive note, yesterday, i -for the first time- went to pick up the prganic produce from this shared cropping, local cooperative i joined and it was awesome...lots of unusual stuff but also lots of radishes, dill, garlic chives, squash...etc. today i already made a super-yummy dish that was so simple! i must revisit your recipes, for grand cooking ideas! if there is any one in particular you should suggest, let me know...
kisseshugsandbugsalways,

Silvia Elena said...

yum 宫保鸡丁!
I cannot wait for our Thanksgiving. Later today I'll be sending an e-mail your way about the different dishes. Maybe I'll go to your guys' house real early and we can clean and figure out what cute things we can use to decorate. I'll buy squash. Maybe we can make a paper cornucopia? That sounds very Thanksgiving.
and we must make some of those hand turkeys.