Monday, February 18, 2008

China Local Delights

The idea of vegetarian (吃素) is still not very common to China Chinese. So, if you ask for vegetarian meals, to them as the word "素" means plain, simple, most likely you will just get simple boiled or stir-fried vegetables. They do not seem to know that you could cook the vege with sweet & sour sauce or chilli sauce.
It will especially be patheic if you are the only one alone like in my earlier tour to GuiZhou but fortunately in this recent tour I joined, there are 4 of us who requested vegetarian meals:-) so we get to sit in a small table by ourselves and get to enjoy at least 4 dishes while our other tourmates get to enjoy at least 7 dishes.
However, some of the dishes which looks vegetarian from a glance at my other tour mates' table like sweet & sour or spicy toufu dishes were still not served to us. Our Toufu is always plain toufu:P Fortunately, the vege in China are fresh so sometimes simplicity is all it needs. For e.g. below is the stalk of "Pang Cai" (which we usually use it to boil simple/fish soup) which is slightly larger than what we usually get from Spore market & is crunchy when you bite it.

Celery with carrot. The color of the carrot there is very beautiful, would have mistaken it as the red lantern chilli.
But occasionally, there are surprises in some of the vege dishes. E.g. Stir fried cabbage with black vinegar sauce. Very unique idea, usually we would only think of it to add in noodles or soup. With a bit of starch, the vege mixed with the black vinegar actually makes the vege very appetising and will be a new dish at my home:-)
This is served at one of the better restaurants: lotus roots with orange sauce & is a cold dish. Quite a refreshing taste.
Pumpkin is a common dish served at almost every meal & by plain steaming is always sweet by itself. However, there was once that one of the chef added sugar to it & we thought oh gosh it wld taste horrid but surprisingly the sugar further enhanced the sweetness of the pumpkin to bring it to another state of sweetness that tasted wonderful.
Mushroom (different types) is easily available at Sichuan & is a common dish at our meals.
I enjoyed the mushroom steamboat during one of our cold journey. There are several types of mushrooms plus lotus roots plus cauliflower plus some spinach like vege plus dried wolfberries. No flavouring is added to the soup but when it is well-boiled, naturally, the soup is flavoured by its natural ingredients.
On the whole, I quite enjoyed my vegetarian trip this round as we had more variety of dishes compared to my last trip being only one requesting vegetarian meals alone. During our meals, we also exchanged pointers on vegetarian dishes such as how we could have used the same ingredients to create more dishes besides boiling & stir-frying it and also where are the nice vegetarian eatery places in Spore we frequent.


Crystal @ Blog*Spot said...

Hi Sunny

Wow, thanks for the info. You did a great job in promoting vegetarianism beyong here, yes, only thru sharing and that we can further enhance the veg. cuisine and generate more and new veg stuff.

Shall re-read your post later, to digest more.

Cheers :)

Sunny said...

Well, I actually recommended them to your blog:-)where the gems are:-)


Crystal @ Blog*Spot said...

Oh, my god! Thank you.

You make me blushing now, I must pull my sock up and do a better job.

Anyway, if they see the list of the vegetarian eateries with website listed in my blog, there is where the gem is. Beautiful pictures plus lots of different type of cuisines.

Have you let them know your blog plus the other food floggers. These are good stuff.

cheers :)

dreamy said...

The pumpkin and sugar didnt go well with me too, but strange sounding combinations sometimes taste really wonderful. I remember that time I was in china, almost every meal we will have a certain type of vegetable. And towards the less developed areas, there isn't and mock stuff, juz veggies veggies and more veggies... hahaha

Sunny said...

I love the vege in China, so green & fresh & organic too in those less developed areas. Although almost most vege are repetitive for almost every meal. I am actually glad to be away from mock products for a while.:-)
Now, mum starts to cook them again although I had told her I don't like mock products, just fresh vege will do, she thinks that I will not have enough nutrition from just vege:P