Fibs are for Friends: Dishonesty a Virtue in China

Saving Face

The other day I found myself in a taxi on the way to pick up my girlfriend. It was raining heavily and a we were on the way to the Zhuhai North light rail station. I knew the taxi was a little grimy inside and the driver was smoking a cigarette, so I thought I should dump it before picking her up. At first I thought, “maybe I should tell him a lie to make a stop somewhere so that I can politely switch taxis. After all, this is China and this kind of excuse should be common to save the other person’s (the driver’s) face.”

I texted my girlfriend to call me and ask me to stop somewhere in order to make the deceit believable. Her reply was something like “What are you talking about?” She was confused, at first and didn’t go along with the plot.

After I managed to find a good enough “reason” why I needed to get out early, I called her and said, “Why didn’t you go along with my fib?” Continue reading Fibs are for Friends: Dishonesty a Virtue in China

Yum! Southern China’s Soup Culture

After getting to the real Southern China (Guangdong, not Shanghai) in 2006, I never became too fond the local pension for homemade soup. I knew it was a great excuse for parents to invite their kids home for a weekend visit and I knew there were loads of health benefits too. But I personally never preferred to eat soup as a meal, except as a free side to Chinese fast food. It was only recently that I discovered how easy it was to make and enjoy. Now it has finally found its place among the other great discoveries here on AL.ME

Maybe I avoided it because it was so Cantonese and I missed the Mandarin world a little. Making soup (煲汤) and Morning Tea (早茶) are very Cantonese and have slowly found their place among my all-time favorite Chinese weekend activities. Now, or when I’m ready to move on, they will join me as I explore the rest of China (and the USA).

Soup Ingredients

Continue reading Yum! Southern China’s Soup Culture

Asian Food Markets

Click here to find your nearest Asian Market

Most cities with at least 50,000 people in America are bound to have some kind of Asian market. It might be Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, or any other Asian nationality. That shouldn’t be a problem because all Asian food is awesome!

The map to the right will help you find your closest Asian food market. Just keep clicking in the area of your city or town to eventually find it! If you are good with Google, you could substitute “usa” with “[your town]” to search faster. Continue reading Asian Food Markets

Wok or Pan?

japanese wok
Japanese wok

So, when I cook in China, I use a simple wok that cost about $5 at the local supermarket. Maybe your local Asian market has this kind… If not, just find something black that is curved all the way down to the center/middle. There shouldn’t be any wide-flatness to it. It shouldn’t look like a big “V” either… I’ll upload a photo of a common wok later.

There is no science to using a wok. It’s just like another pan in your kitchen. Use it to cook various simple recipes in this blog and find new ways to cook foods you already eat a lot (like eggs). Get yourself a metal spatula too. “Teflon” isn’t really important either. It’s an expensive alternative that takes 1 minute off of clean-up time, but won’t make food taste any better.

Remember: Many of the “poorest” people in the world are eating healthier than many of the “richest” people in the world.