Tuesday, May 04, 2004

surviving northern Chinese cooking

one thing to get used to in Beijing is the TOTALLY different style of cooking. we in S'pore are used to southern Chinese style (more like Hong Kong or Teochew) of cooking which is lighter in taste and emphasised bringing the flavours of fresh ingredients. after about a week in Beijing, most of the food here is heavy on oil and salt. and most Singaporeans (and even Malaysian) here told us that it takes a lot of getting used to...

another thing to watch out for is the liberal use of Szechuan peppercorns (must pronounced in "Yan can Cook" accent!) in spicy dishes. Tried what I thought a safe dish the other night from the food court stall, Kung Pao Chicken. Bite into this unidentified black thingy, it was like a grenade of taste sensation had exploded in my mouth. my tongue was numbed, no feeling. it wasn't spicy hot, quite difficult to explain. needless to say, it was a very different dish from a S'pore Chze Char stall...

been buying dinner from a Taiwanese foodstall in the foodcourt near the hotel. was talking to the Taiwanese aunty owner and told her I was based in Taipei for a while. A few hokkien phrases also scored points. Gave the aunty feedback that I really appreciated the lighter taste of Taiwanese cooking and complained that cannot tahan local style of drenching dishes in oil and salt. She said the locals not used to Taiwanese preferences. some even asked for more salt. adoi!

another lucky find was a Hong Kong style joint taht served nice dim sum and shiok Cantonese style desserts. My cantonese was also put to good use chatting with the Hong Konger owner. can't wait for my shipment to arrive. got curry spices and even Jacobs cream crackers...drool...


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