Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Feeling the heat and dancing with noodles at Haidilao hotpot

The world has fallen in love with Szechuan cuisine. At least on the London, New York and KL circuit (which is some distance) everyone's going on about the yin-yang hotpot (or steamboat as us Malaysians call it). We seem addicted to the fiery, peppery, numbing concoction which is achieved by mixing exorbitant amounts of Szechuan peppercorns (or prickly ash, according to mainland Chinese) to give us ma (numbing, tingly); and dried chillies for la (heat). Other key ingredients are fermented chilli bean paste, black beans, ginger and garlic to add different layers of spice and heat.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Qin Tang Fu: Introducing the Shaanxi Province

So here I am in Beijing. Even just after 3 weeks, it’s been one helluva ride. This city is a whirlwind of excitement and activity and I’m lured in by everything I can see. And of course, eat.

I always knew that mainland Chinese food would blow me away, though of course I was never to know the extent. Being Malaysian Chinese, I think of Chinese food staples as rice and noodles. Here in North China, they are very much a noodle and bread bunch. In literally all shapes and sizes.

Shaanxi province, west of Beijing is China’s noodle specialist. Cast away any preconceptions that noodles are long, thin strips – in Shaanxi they can be wide, flat and short, rough blobs that look like play dough or tiny cubes. And made from all types of wheat/flour/bean/legume!