For years I’ve been attempting to explain (and cook) the differences between real Chinese food and American Chinese food. At first, it surprised American friends to discover that the Chinese have never heard of dishes like Crab Rangoon, General Tso’s Chicken, Egg Rolls, Egg Foo Young, and Chop Suey. All were created in America for American taste buds.
Crab Rangoon was actually an American creation that has been served in San Francisco since the 1950s.
Egg Foo Young was an adaptation on a real Chinese dish and made its American debut in the 1930s.
General Tso’s Chicken [pronounced ‘TSAO’] was coined after a famous Chinese general but the people of his modern-day hometown in Xiangyin, Hunan province have never tried it before! (See Jennifer’s talk below)
I’d like to thank all AL.ME fans and followers for their support, comments, and sharing over the years. It’s been a wonderful hobby of mine to share experiences from my life in Asia since 2007 and earlier. I plan to keep the blog going strong even though I’ve moved back to America.
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Over the past few years living in China, the air pollution conundrum (among many development issues) has been a major concern for expats and locals alike. Just last month (October 2013) an “airpocolypse” shrouded the city of Harbin in northeastern China at a level of around 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter! That’s off the charts and about “40 times the safety level recommended by the World Health Organisation” reports the Guardian newspaper.* Obviously this is (and will be) a major cause of lung cancer in the future, along with the effects of circa-1950s attitudes toward smoking.
Whenever I cook for friends and family I’m always asked about the ingredients I use and where to get them. And since visiting an Asian market alone can be a little overwhelming for some, I decided to put a short introduction together for buying my most common ingredients online. If you’d like to see some recipes first, here are a few on Asianliving.me.
Let’s start with a few well-known online shops in North America:
Amazon.com’s grocery section is loaded with Asian food options. If you have Amazon prime you obviously won’t have to worry about the cost of shipping. It’s probably worth visiting Amazon first to see if you can find what you are looking for. For those in select areas, you can try Amazon Fresh which is just like Peapod or FreshDirect.
Asian Food Grocer is a trustworthy shop that provides much of what you expect to find in a standard Asian market. Here are a few products that I commonly use in my cooking:
Lee Kum Kee’s Hoisin Sauce is something I use for a sweet, seafood flavor.
Actually, just about everything in the Asian Food Grocer’s “Quick and Easy Asian Cooking” section is delicious and, as the title implies, very easy to use.
Marukai’s eStore is a Japanese food shop online which serves North America. Some of my recipes have ingredients that you can find at their shop. Check out their amazing variety of fish options for at-home sushi making!
On September 24, 2013 I started my repatriation experience after 8 years of Asianliving (mostly in China). Before leaving China I was told numerous times by foreign, non-Chinese friends and colleagues that I would be back in 6 months… tops… and I told them all I wouldn’t just cave and go back any time soon.
So, how am I holding up…?
Well, after a month in NH and Boston I’ve had a lot of time to prepare for a new career and new living situation. It’s been GREAT seeing my family and helping them whenever possible. I would never take that back. But there have been times when I’ve really missed China.