Food

Food

As Wuhan emerges from the shadow of coronavirus, a familiar face is missing
As traffic jams and other trappings of urban life return to the streets of Wuhan, something in the city’s old town feels off. Where is Auntie Xiong? Before the coronavirus outbreak forced the city into a monthslong lockdown that was lifted on Wednesday, Xiong could be seen every day at her breakfast stall at a bustling corner on Shenyang Road. She was there every morning, standing behind a wok of sizzling oil, dripping in sweat and frying one of Wuhan’s best-known breakfast snacks. The snack, called mianwo, is a savory, doughnut-shaped bun that pairs with Wuhan-style rice wine or hot-and-dry noodles, a famous breakfast staple in Wuhan.  Xiong, in her fifties, had been at it for more than a
Coronavirus could cause ‘disastrous’ global food shortages
The coronavirus pandemic could disrupt global food supply chains and send prices soaring, international agencies and experts have warned. Export restrictions imposed by major producing countries could especially hurt economies with vulnerable supply structures, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said last week. And the UN Committee on World Food Security warned that “disruptions at borders and in supply chains may cause an echo in the food system with potentially disastrous effects.” The warnings highlight the potential damage of the coronavirus outbreak beyond its immediate toll on the at least 700,000 people it has sickened in nearly 200 countries. “Coupled with the curr
Meet the chef who once cooked for Deng Xiaoping
Liu Guo-zhu is the executive chef of the two-Michelin-star Golden Flower restaurant in Macau, specializing in imperial Tan cuisine, which comes from Beijing and has aristocratic roots. In an interview, he talks about cooking for China’s late paramount leader and why traditions are essential for Chinese chefs. What was it like cooking for Deng Xiaoping? He loved dishes with chili because he was from Sichuan. He liked to enjoy a bit of alcohol as well. Back in 1981, there was a big military exercise for six days and he insisted on watching over the whole thing. The exercise was in Zhangjiakou, near Inner Mongolia, and the weather was cold. The quality of lamb from Inner Mongolia was known to
The secret links between Chinese and Thai food
Chinese and Thai cultures are linked for more than just their love of food. They have also been trading cooking styles and ingredients for generations. Traders from both regions often traveled between the two countries, bringing spices and cooking techniques to the other. You can taste it in Thai cooking today. We meet a Thai food expert in Bangkok to find out where these links come from and the Chinese culinary traditions hidden in plain sight in Thailand.
Rich Chinese diners can’t get enough of this musky ‘white gold’
Averaging €300 for 100 grams (about $1,350 per pound) – but with the largest specimens selling for substantially more – highly sought-after white truffles from Italy’s northern Piedmont region are commonly called “white gold.” The Chinese love affair with these musky-tasting truffles has given rise to a niche industry of cooks, businessmen and millionaires from Shanghai to Singapore. They have become the main buyers of the expensive delicacy and the major protagonists in the annual truffle drama – the yearly auction in the Piedmont town of Alba. “Each year in Alba we stage the white truffle global auction, and for the past 15 years it has been held simultaneously through streaming in Hong Ko
The unexpected history of Chinese-Canadian food (Hint: it’s not ‘fake Chinese’)
Chop suey, chow mein, egg foo yong, deep-fried lemon chicken, spring rolls, stir-fried beef and broccoli. These are all dishes typically found on the menu of a Chinese-Canadian restaurant. They may not be authentically Chinese, but they are culturally distinct. Vancouver-born journalist Ann Hui, 36, took an interest in the culinary curiosities after learning that many immigrant restaurants in Canada’s Chinatowns were closing down or being repurposed as non-Chinese restaurants or bars. When Hui, a reporter for Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, dug deeper, she discovered there were many such restaurants across the country. In some cases, they were the only restaurant in town. That inspir
Hong Kong brewers match beer with Chinese food
Chef Jowett Yu’s pairing of grilled New Zealand fatty lamb ribs and an especially brewed beer has been years in the making. Years ago in China, the Hong Kong restaurateur had eaten lamb ribs at Guanguanji, a restaurant in Shanghai. The lamb had been slathered in cumin, fennel and chilli powder, and he had wanted to wash it all down with an ice-cold beer – which the restaurant did not serve. Now, however, Yu has finally been able to marry the two together. Dad Bod, a beer brewed in Hong Kong by Young Master Brewery, is sold exclusively at Ho Lee Fook, Yu’s modern Chinese restaurant in Soho – an upscale entertainment district in Hong Kong. Dad Bod is a pale ale made with guava that “cuts throu
India, empire and China: the story of masala chai
India and masala chai are inextricably linked in the popular imagination. Across the country, the sweet and spicy aroma of chai (which means tea) wafts out of homes, offices and railway stations.  Its rich, creamy consistency invokes comparisons to coffee, and even in Starbucks it is as much a part of daily life as its bean-based competitor. And if we read the tea leaves closely, we will see that the history of masala chai is intertwined with China and its own troubled history with the British Empire.  The mythology of tea dates back to the story of Bodhidharma, an Indian monk who traveled to China in the late-5th or early-6th century. The monk, credited with founding Zen Buddhism and Shaol
How to travel as a vegan in Asia
Visiting foodies in search of gratification are spoiled for choice in Asia.  From dim sum in Hong Kong and pho in Vietnam to sashimi in Japan or tom yum goong in Thailand, there is no shortage of taste-bud tingling experiences to write postcards home about.  But what about vegan and vegetarian visitors? Can a region best known for its meat-based offerings cater to those living on a purely plant-based diet? Increasingly, yes. 9% of the Asia-Pacific population identified as vegan in 2016, which means abstaining from consuming food, wearing clothes and using products that come from animals, according to online statistics portal Statista.  The region has the largest share of plant-based consumer
The Hong Kong bakeries supporting protests with creative designs
What’s inspiring some of Hong Kong’s cake designers? The ongoing anti-government protests. One cake with a political message even found its way to Cake International in the UK over the weekend, where it was disqualified from the confectionery competition because the entry’s content and message behind it “has been viewed as offensive and led to complaints from attendees,” according to an Instagram post quoting the organizer. Here are some of the bakeries that have taken dessert decorating to another level – and what inspired their creations. Amai Workshop Known for its signature marble fondant cake, Amai Workshop’s bespoke cake designs have been wowing customers since 2015. Its protest themed