Food

Food

Move aside KFC, Chinese fried food fit for a president
During his time in office, US President Donald Trump drummed up news at such a volume that individual moments that would otherwise define any other presidency were lost in the avalanche.   One such moment was when the Clemson Tigers college football team, fresh off their national championship, was served fast food in the form of McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King during their White House visit.  The photos went viral because it highlighted the government shutdown at the time, but it also seemed to have been a good decision. It was also a reminder that Donald Trump may enjoy fast food more than any other president gracing the oval office.  Trump is also famously partial to KFC, which is som
Stinky tofu and mapo tofu are wonderful. Why haven't they caught on in America?
Tofu is deeply ingrained in the culinary landscape of East Asia. Unlike in the West, it is not usually considered as a meat substitute, but rather just another great source of protein. The food has been around for centuries in Asian countries, including Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Thailand. It is an essential ingredient that can be made into stir-fry, soups, buns, noodles and desserts.  So how did tofu make its way to the United States? The first well-known American to document tofu was none other than founding father Benjamin Franklin, who wrote to a friend – and even sent him some soybeans – after reading about tofu in a book while in London in the 1760s. “Franklin read about tofu in a bo
Hairy crabs make an unusual tool for corruption in China
Hairy crabs, a popular delicacy famed for its creamy orange roe and juicy, protein-rich meat, are sought-after gifts in China during the fall season.  The crustaceans are so prized that they have in the past been used to bribe government officials. Like clockwork, the Communist Party’s corruption watchdog sounds the alarm every year and warns against potential legal troubles caused by sharing luxury crabs. Chinese authorities have published several officials during anti-graft campaigns for receiving high-valued gifts such as hairy crabs. But despite that, Chinese people still try to win favors from powerful people by sending them the crustaceans.  For example, in Hangzhou, in the eastern pr
A cake full of love, delight – and calories
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features a single, illuminating number that helps you make sense of China. 800: The number of calories in a lotus paste mooncake with double egg yolks. Chinese people eat more than a billion mooncakes around the annual Mid-Autumn Festival to celebrate the full moon and the coming together of families and friends. The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. Its exact origin is a mystery, but people in China have been marking the day by holding family reunions, carrying lanterns and eating mooncakes for hundreds of years.  The traditional delicacy of mooncake is also one of the most unhealthy festival foods, and increasin
From bone marrow to shortcrust: the history of the egg tart
With their silky smooth, eggy custard filling and flaky pastry crust, Cantonese egg tarts are hard to resist when walking past a Hong Kong-style bakery. It’s even harder when they’re fresh out of the oven. For customers at Tai Cheong Bakery, one of Hong Kong’s oldest egg tart shops, the Cantonese treat isn’t just a delicious dessert, it’s the taste of their childhood. “It’s the sweet and savory mixed together. It’s very nostalgic for me,” says one hungry customer in between bites. “When I was young, my mom would come home every day with a box of egg tarts.” “It’s the Hong Kong tradition. That’s why we love it,” says another. “We grew up eating this like a dessert or teatime treat.” Found in
A wine renaissance in Taiwan
Chen Chien-hao, a 53-year-old winemaker in Taiwan, has won gold medals at a prestigious wine competition in Paris with his Vino Formosa. He has vowed to revitalize the lost wine industry in Taiwan.
‘Tear gas’ flavor for Hong Kong frozen treat
The owner of a gelato shop in Hong Kong is making a political statement by offering “tear gas” flavored gelato to his customers. The city's police force frequently used tear gas to disperse crowds during anti-government protests that broke out in 2019. The shop owner wants to use the unusual frozen treat to educate people about the pro-democracy movement.
China to pay farmers to move away from wild animals
A Chinese province has become the first to say wild animal farmers will be paid compensation if they cease operations and start raising other animals instead. The move comes as the country tries to end a multibillion-dollar industry blamed for endangering public health while also attempting to appease the millions of workers whose livelihoods depend on the trade. The Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed at least 318,000 people worldwide, has been linked to wild animals carrying a coronavirus that jumped to humans. Under pressure to contain a worsening outbreak in February, the central government said it would ban the trade and consumption of wild animals. China has not publicized the progres
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