I wasn’t exactly festive this past weekend. #badchinese. I blame Voldemort’s red haired cousin for sending me down that black hole of despair.
But then my partner shared this little bit of news with me. And it was good news. Berliners had warmly embraced the Syrian bakery. How amazing is that? Even in Europe where nationalist movements are threatening economic and political cohesion, cultures are coming together around food. Similar things happened over Thanksgiving dinners in North America last year.
Breaking bread together isn’t the panacea for world peace (because we all know that aliens arriving is pretty much the only solution). But coming together over food is a step towards embracing diversity, welcoming new arrivals, and truly being unified. Eating across continents is a rebellion in the face of vracism and oppression. It’s also the kind of behaviour that keeps us all kind.
So celebrate all the cultures. Eat all the foods. It’s not exactly lobbying your Congressperson (do that too), but the child who remembers the falafels traded for ham and cheese sandwiches in elementary school cafeterias, or all the Chinese takeout that comes with life, are probably apt to make better choices in their adult life.
And on that note, I wanted to share some of my favourite, and some of my more aspirational Chinese recipes. Having spent an adolescence trying to distance myself from my family’s culture and then finding myself completely immersed in it as an adult basically means I’m playing catch up with all the food things. It also means I’ve got a roster of favourite Chinese heritage food bloggers that I occasionally deep dive into when I’m missing mom’s cooking. I absolutely invite you to eat all of these faves. Then go to your neighbour’s house, borrow their spices and create the best delicious crazy thing ever (see: all the Chinese hyphenated cuisines). Gong hay fat choy!
Chinese noodles are AH-mazing. Handcut chinese noodles though. They kind take me through the roof. I’m aspiring to make these guys happen this year. And then I’m going to hop on the Xi’an noodle train and make those too.
Or if I’m lazy, I might just make what some would call Chinese “spaghetti bolognese.” But please don’t call it that. I hate it when people do.
Sweet and sour pork is a Tsang family standard. This recipe very accurately replicates the one I helped my mom with.
As is this whole steamed fish. Because who doesn’t like a lucky fish?
And I cannot forget dumplings. Who could ever forget the potsticker?!?! My mom’s trick is to use chicken stock in place of water in the “pot sticking” process too!