Mention Beijing cuisine and Peking duck immediately comes to mind. It conjures the image of sumptuous palace fare and complex cooking techniques. This dish is considered the ultimate of Chinese cooking wisdom and knowhow. Perfectly roasted duck with a lacquer-like glaze covering the skin is the definitive Beijing delicacy prized by connoisseurs. But one would be hard pressed to find another dish from Beijing cuisine that stands out like the duck.
My family is originally from the coastal Chinese province of Fujian. Traditionally our noodles are cooked in soup, boiled unadorned except for seasonings, or stir-fried in a wok with a thin sauce. When I was about ten years old my family went to a Cantonese dim sum house in Singapore, which at that time was an exotic excursion for a family accustomed to mostly eating Fujianese food. We were served a pan-fried noodles dish of delicious seafood vegetable sauce dripping all over thin golden brown crispy noodles. That was the beginning of my life long love affair with Hong Kong pan-fried noodles.
As promised I have randomly selected a winner, or rather Warren did, for Diana Kaun’s new book The Chinese Takeout Cookbook. The winner is “gryhndldy.” Let me congratulate “gryhndldy” and I will be contacting you for your mailing information. Diana’s book is a wonderful collection of classic Chinese takeout recipes that you can reproduce at home. Diana’s recipes are easy to follow and use ingredients readily available in your local markets. For those who did not win the book go out and buy a copy. Make takeout Chinese food you can enjoy while controlling the quality of the ingredients, and not worrying about whether your neighborhood restaurant slipped in some MSG unannounced.
For millenniums the Chinese prepared their meals with the express purpose of maintaining a healthy constitution. In fact the earliest texts of Chinese cookery read more like a pharmacologist’s guide than recipe book. It is not surprising that this practice has become a formalized discipline known as food therapy, and making herbal soup one of its best-developed aspects.