Hello Uncle Foreigner

food

Oct 9, 2011

That Luzhou smell

Ganbei!

It's strong stuff, be careful

Luzhou is actually a pretty clean city. There really isn’t much pollution, which is a pleasant surprise; I think that it’s mostly the eastern cities that have the smog. But there is something in the air here: Luzhou Laojiao. This is a kind of white liquor that the city is famous for. Some translate it as wine, but it’s really more of a digestif-type thing, like ouzo or a punch in the throat. I think it’s distilled from rice or sorghum, and the Sichuanese have been making it since the Ming Dynasty in the 1500s.

We live right near the main brewery (which is a popular tourist destination we’re hoping to hit soon). You can definitely smell when the liquor is in production, and it doesn’t smell great. Kind of like rancid salami. But the taste? Nothing like salami. Not really like anything good, but not salami. We’ve only had pretty low-end stuff, but I’m not optimistic about the good stuff. Peter actually likes it OK, mixed with mango juice - which is not traditional.

So, come quaff with us! It’ll help us forget the smell.

Oct 6, 2011

A tofu success

Get there early, fools

We found the tofu and cooked it all up

We’ve had kind of a problem finding tofu around here, which was kind of surprising as it’s a Chinese dietary staple. Turns out, we were getting to the market too late, when everyone was sold out.

This is smoked pressed tofu (which is exactly what it sounds) with cabbage, green beans and peanuts over noodles. Instead of our pre-made chilli sauce, Peter used fresh hot pepper, garlic, scallions and ginger. Spicy goodness.

Oct 5, 2011

Return of the son of the dumpling

We're at it again

Handmaking dumplings
Check out a slideshow of our dumpling making.

So we did it again, and took photographs. We’re not quite up to Gourmet Magazine food photography quality, but they tasted good.

Oct 5, 2011

To market

Give us some food

We’ve done a lot of shopping in the larger supermarkets around here, but mostly for supplies like paper towels, a broom, etc. They also have a good supply of import goods (like ketchup and peanut butter), that we may go for if we’re feeling homesick. For our daily food, however, we’ve been hitting up the local produce market.

We muddle through with a lot of pointing and gestures. As for the exchange of money, I try to get a glimpse of the scale so that I can see the price. If I miss that, I’m learning the hand signals for numbers. If that doesn’t work, I just hand them a 10rmb note and let them make change. It’s worked so far, and I always make sure to say thank you.

Buying Eggs
This actually is just around the corner from the market. But we wanted eggs and we saw eggs, so we went for it. I picked out 6 from the tray, and she’s weighing them in that blue bag. Later, we found out, these are duck eggs. Still delicious.
Market view one
This is the market proper.
Here's some chicken
This is the window where you can buy a whole bird: chicken or duck.
An actual meat market
It’s pretty common to see just meat pieces sitting out. Organs, too. It’s all fresh, though, so it doesn’t smell as bad as you might think.
Turns out, almost every culture loves garlic
Here, I’m buying garlic. This guy has all kinds of spices, nuts and beans.
Market view 2
More veggies.
Fresh pasta, yes please
This guy makes fresh pasta in the room behind the little girl. You can get all sizes of noodles, as well as dumpling and wonton skins.

Oct 3, 2011

Dumplings

Kind of

Tonight we made dumplings! They weren’t exactly Chinese; Peter made a filling of potato, scallion, garlic, soy sauce, something called Five Spice and Shu Wei Yuan seasoning (which is a chili sauce) and it was vaguely Indian/Middle Eastern. Our host/bosses left us a big thing of peanut oil to cook with, and that actually worked rather well.

The skins held, and we’re perfecting our folding technique. Tomorrow, we’re doing it again, and we’re planning on documenting the whole process. Stay tuned!

Oct 2, 2011

Dinner time

Have some stir fry

Here's our dinner

We seasoned our wok and Peter’s now cooking real dinners!

Sep 29, 2011

A fruity mystery

Would you eat this? I did.

It's a dragon!

What is this fruit!