Asian Secret #25 Making Vegetables Taste Good

Cauli-sausage! Yum!

Boiled peas and carrot cubes might be easy to make, but they taste like wet socks to kids and not much better to adults. If you have children there’s a way to get them addicted to vegetables and I believe Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese have the solution.

The #1 best way to get kids to eat vegetables is to connect them to their favorite meats. Try cooking sliced pork, sausage, steak, or chicken with almost any vegetable you plan to serve. Blurring the flavors of these two foods will get any meat-eater to eat all their veggies.

If you’d like help with the first dish, try my great Cauli-sausage recipe.

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Green Tea To-Go!

Green Tea To-Go

All of my guests who have visited China notice the basics: delicious food, hospital people, beautiful landscapes, questionable hygiene, and ancient customs. One aspect of Chinese culture I often get asked about is tea culture. One specific part of the tea culture has been left untouched on AL.ME for years: Green Tea To-Go! So today I finally weigh in on an ancient custom that has been born through thousands of years of medical practice and remains a cornerstone in modern Chinese culture.

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Which would you choose? Dinner for $1.69 or $.79

Duck, Pork, and Cabbage with Rice = $1.69

Good food on a budget is a specialty not only in China, but across the developing world. In countries which have recently joined the world economy, or only within the past 20-30 years, local food traditions have stayed strong. And although Western food is becoming more popular in these countries, their preference for local traditional dishes is unlikely to change in the near future.

The one common remark that students studying abroad make about their experience is that food doesn’t meet their standards. For example, the pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and salads option that fill cafeterias in the US provoke a homesickness that is unavoidable. Looking at the common dish I had for dinner last night, could you blame them for missing home?

Right outside my apartment is the “Sichuan Room”, a Cantonese-style Sichuan restaurant which serves amazing food at a low price.

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Pictures of Life in North Korea

North Korean Woman in Uniform

What is life truly like in North Korea?

We often default our answers to “full of misery and poverty,” or at least I usually do. It would be a surprise to see smiles in a place many Westerners consider to be a cold, unforgiving dungeon. But in this place which seems to be sealed off from the rest of Asia, and the world, glimpses of internationalism can still be found. Children play, common people go to work, elite students may learn English, and so, the Pyong Yang streets resemble a typical city in modern China.

Of course, the pictures you are about to see have been officially produced, censored, and posted in the news section of the most popular Chinese website, QQ.com (Chinese Link). I found them simply by signing into the 400 million+ member IM service and clicking their News pop-up. These are images that at least a few hundred-thousand people have seen within a few hours, and probably millions more by the end of today. This is the perception that Chinese have about North Korea.

So, what is life truly like in North Korea? Well, I guess it depends on which news site you prefer to read…

Click to visit slide show on QQ

Fire Cupping and Back Scraping Could Save Your Life!

Fire Cupping (bá guàn)

Back in 2005 I thought I was going to die… literally, it was the worst Flu I had ever experienced. Maybe it was from the new environment in China, or perhaps it was a random winter bug! No matter where it came from, it kept me in bed very achy muscles. I couldn’t get out of bed to visit the bathroom- it was that bad. I quickly decided that I would need help or else I’d be a goner. At the time I was dating a Vietnamese girl who was studying at the Southern Yangzte University of Wuxi, which is what I called home for the first month I was in China. After a distress call she immediately came to my apartment, flipped me face down, and started scraping my back with a washed coin. She poured White Flower Oil (白花油) all over my back during this process. It sucked. It burned. And I could be forgiven for thinking that she was helping the flu kill me even faster!

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