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China December 2019


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#1 Daniel

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 05:06 PM

Just got back from a week long trip...  I would eat at this little cafe by my office there... Simple food done really well.. 

 

These were pork and mushroom dumplings, of course housemade, some cabbage and twice cooked pork and fish head.. The fish heads were really good,, Pickled peppers.. It's like my ideal dish.. I love fish, I love pickled peppers.. I could eat this several times a week and not be bored... Well, until I am... 

 

Crispy salty pork, cabbage cooked with some fermented bean in a brown sauce.. A hit of sichuan peppercorn, its delicious. 

 

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dumplings.. Homemade, simple, light, again, delicious. 

 

Vinegar and chile paste dipping sauce.. Then eventually, i added some to the fish head broth.. 

 

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It cause quite a stir adding to the fish head.  

 

Funny as when you ask what kind of fish, the answer is always "Local Fish"  And depending on where you are, it's some times scary.. When you are in some nameless interior little village and it's surrounded by factories and little scummy ponds, you are like, oh wonderful, local fish... 

 

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Gosh, I miss that sauce... My next chinese recipe I am learning is this... It's so easy and so rewarding..I am guessing it's wine, a few canned peppers and like fermented bean and some soy... I have these hatch new mexico chiles, maybe do a version like that.. .And of course, in typical american fashion, I will add a bunch of other shit and maybe dumplings or noodles, or clear noodles too.. 

 

But yeh, this is so good. 

 

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#2 Daniel

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 05:16 PM

Same cafe... Here the replicated a very common dish in the area.. Celery and tofu with some sort of vinegar dressing.. Either served hot or cold, it's very common around those parts.. Here, it's a tweak, instead of tofu, they have found a way to mimic the tofu using egg whites.. they must have been in a mold and then seasoned with soy as it's browned like the tofu.. then sliced then like tofu and added to a salad of mainly cilantro, raw red onion, raw garlick, red pepper.. Really lovely. 

 

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This is like an orange beef.. Lots of crushed tomato, hint of orange, hot pepper and enoki mushroom.. Brothy and delicious and more enoki mushrooms than you could eat.. Probably like three packs worth of them in this soup... I have had better versions but, this was simple, honest and flavorful... Very satisfying as it's cold there, you are sitting in a cold room on wooden benches and this huge bowl of warm soup just hits the spot.. 

 

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Steamed wheat buns that are inverted on one side so you can fill them with things.. Here it was a spicy pork..most likely more fermented bean, muhroom, soy, garlc,chive, pork. 

 

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#3 Daniel

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 05:23 PM

Same cafe, different lunch.. This was maybe my favorite dish from the place.. This was spicy beef parts.. I when I say parts, all of them.. Lots of internal parts, super spicy.. With spicy raw garlic, onions, celery, cilantro.  This was so damn good.. 

 

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Fish balls in a parsley sauce, or cilantro sauce with musrhooms.. I don't remember.. but, the fish balls were the softies, almost like glutenous little balls as opposed to spongy.. i don't know how they created that texture.. But, the dish was so subtle and delicous.. Huge fan of this dish too.. Classic french cooking here :-) 

 

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Tomatoes and eggs.. Simple, delicious. A very common dish. Like, even served on every hotel breakfast buffet menu in the area

 

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Pork in a brown brother with tons of shredded carrots and noodles.. I add a little vinegar. Noodles obviously made in house.. 

 

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then not photographed.. Romaine lettuce simply cooked with a ton of raw garlic added at the end.. Almost tasted like a caesar salad. 


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#4 Daniel

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 05:33 PM

Same cafe, different lunch... 

 

Pig ears in that same comibination of vinegar, cilantro, raw garlic,raw onion, salad... Here, it almost felt thai.. If there were lime juice and thai peppers.. But, yeh, this was great.. I love pig ears, nothing is better with a beer than pig ears..Fish head and pig ears, it's a party.. This may have been my favorite dish from this restaurant.. 

 

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Eggplant and green beans:

 

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Spicy clam and tomato soup with woodear mushrooms, homemade knife cut noodles and some bok choy

 

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Celery and tofu.. I love celery, i love chinese celery.. This is perfect for me and so much fun to eat with chopsticks. You feel like a pro at using them.. and being able to pick up individual pieces.. You can see the usefulness and fun of eating with chopsticks in this dish:  the pig ear dish too.

 

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This sauce is just ok for me.. Starchy, a brown slurry.. Kind of boring, it's not spicy, or particularly flavorful.. It's certainly good but, not a lot of pazazz. 

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Simple fried rice.  You know, i am not a huge rice guy, it's ok but, i much prefer noodles and well, it's a waste of room.. I eat rice sure but, when the table has other things, this is low on the list. if you like fried rice, you would love this. 

 

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#5 Daniel

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 05:51 PM

If i were to be in the witness protection program in China and post this lunch, my cover would be blown.. This meal is very much a Yangzhou Meal..When I think of these dishes, I think of this city.. The small shelled shrimp, served simply.. I add vinegar but, many people just eat them as they are.. This time, they smelled fishy, almost soy where I didn't eat them but, i was assured by my host.. And the flavor, well, it tasted less fishy.. Shrimpy, i would say.. Once tasting, I was not nervous.. Again, not too exciting but, also kind of exciting to be served shrimp where I wasn't obligated to peel myself.. Depending on the prep, sometimes i eat the shell, or part of the shell, or I can do the trick where I can deshell a shrimp in my mouth and spit the remains on the table like a proper local.. But, there is something enjoyable about eating a small spoon of like 8 shrimp at once.. 

 

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Cold salted goose.. God I love this.. I could eat this all day.. It's rich and fatty and I love the sauce, it's slightly sweet and has some anise and well, it's just so decadent.. I love this dish.. 

 

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Twice cooked pork with green beans.. The pork was delicious and crispy in parts and chewy in the other... Salted and well, yes, yes, yes.. Everything twice cooked pork should be. 

 

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If have spoke about these shredded tofu noodles on other trips.. Specific to Yangzhou, or I should say, only good in Yangzhou.. I can buy these hard little brittle dry tofu strips at my local chinatown super market.. they come in the fridge, wrapped in plastic bags and they last for a year in the back of your fridge and you bust them out in hot pots or other things but, they suck, and make you sad but, not these guys.. These are the soft and chewy and melt in your mouth and have such a wonderful texture that nowhere else in the world seems to be able to repilicate.. But, yes, this is the best.. And in a chicken broth and you add some vinegar and eat some bok choy and well, you can't get this anywhere else and it's just so damn good.. 

 

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I had this dish served three times on this trip.. This was by far the best..Completely deboned.. perfectly fried fish with sweet and sour sauce that was super well balanced and fresh crunchy and piney pine nuts.. 

 

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Yanghou Lion Head Meatball.. I can't describe how different this dish is here than it is anywhere else.. It's a textural thing but, also like a cooking thing.. It's the only almost medium rare thing i am served in china.. the middle is just like a different texture and it's so soft and juicy and well, yeh, another thing I am going to say I haven't had as good outside of Yangzhou.. And I say it everytime, there is nothing like eating it here. .

 

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big old bowl of bok choy in chicken broth.. I don't know exactly how the broth is made but, there are always these yellow soups in Yangzhou.. I don't know how they are made, i mean, it's chicken base but, that shocking yellow, is it all chicken, i doubt it. 

 

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yangzhou fried rice.. with 1000 year old egg and other things.. This is where the dish originates and they take pride in this.. lots of restaurants specialize in it and have various versions.. again, it's fried rice, i am not too excited about it but, people certainly are.. 

 

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i didn't record all my lunches but, those were some of the good ones.. 


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#6 prasantrin

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 12:39 AM

Is that fried fish with sweet and sour like sauce named something like squirrel fish (the name of the dish, not the type of fish used)? It's one of my dad's favorite dishes, but hard to find in my 'hood.

And do you ever see chicken and salted fish fried rice on menus? I suspect it's Cantonese, but one of my favorites. Who doesn't love salted fish?

#7 mongo_jones

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 05:52 AM

you can see a picture of squirrel fish halfway down the slideshow in this post.


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#8 Daniel

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 01:09 PM

You are totally right! Another great thing about this dish is, it’s deboned. Also, Because of the way the fish is cut, it allows for maximum fried surface area. It’s also cut in a crosshatch way where it’s really easy to pick one little crispy square out with your chopsticks without disrupting the entire fish. This makes it easier for people with not the best chopstick skills to get themselves a little crispy and sweet bite of fish. Again, for many people who hate bones, this is a nice reprieve.
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#9 Daniel

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 01:45 PM

And in typical creepy internet fashion, Air France sent me a squirrel fish video/ad on their website
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