Since the last time I blogged about our food in China, there's been a lot of noteworthy food.
Somehow I ended up with the Hult Thanksgiving celebration on my shoulders, and ironically, most of the people who helped me make it a success weren't American. We made oven pans of pumpkin/butternut squash pie, a pyrex of apple pie, whipped cream, and stuffing, all of which disappeared in a rather quick manner with the turkey we'd commissioned a nearby sandwich shop to make for us.
Tangent: I made this Thanksgiving YouTube playlist which you are welcome to use at future Thanksgiving celebrations.
I made my mom's potato orange rolls for Michael's class to enjoy after a test. Yum.
Honestly, we didn't try the food (just hot chocolate), but we liked the atmosphere of this cutesy place called "A Room." And on the way to finding it with Michael's cousin Jiu-yi, we accidentally walked into someone's house. Ha ha ha.
I went to a German program and immensely enjoyed the breakfast (and German).
I went to a German Christmas dinner and immensely enjoyed the food (and German).
Claire came to visit and we were so hungry while looking for dinner that we settled for a tourist-trap place called "More Than Toilet" that is toilet-themed. Unfortunately, the food itself wasn't much more than toilet.
In January, my friend Kate showed me all the expat shops in Shanghai and I almost died when I found all the Dominosteine leftover from Christmas on sale. And then after I recovered, I almost bought all of them.
They also had a giant Lindor ball!
After Thanksgiving, one of the Hult employees, Lucia, asked if I could teach her to bake. We made cookies a few months later.
Strangely, all the brown sugar I've seen in China has hard lumps, and without a mixer, it always took me forever to get out all of the unsmashable ones and smash the others.
Also, it took me a long time to adapt my chocolate chip cookie recipe to China. It turns out that the best thing to ensure success is to freeze or at least refrigerate the dough so that the butter doesn't have time to melt all over the pan before the cookies finish baking.
Here's the weird final version:
Michelle's Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe for China:
- 113 g. softened butter (½ cup, a little less than half of a Chinese stick, one stick in the U.S.)
- (1/2 c.) of sugar, ⅓ of which is brown sugar (the rest is white sugar)
- Cream together with a wooden spoon, taking out brown sugar lumps that won’t go away, until there are no sugar crystals
- One egg
- About 1 c. flour
- 2.5 ml (½ tsp.) salt
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 5 ml (½ Tbsp.) vanilla
- 2.5 ml (½ tsp.) almond
- chocolate chips
- Chill the dough for 24 hours
- Don't grease the pan and wait until the oven is all the way heated before inserting the pan
- Bake at 176 Degrees Celsius for about 10-15 minutes. The cookies will be darker than expected, but leave them in until the middles don’t feel squishy anymore.
Lucia and I also made apple pie.
Hult scheduled an activity for students to learn how to make jiaozi at a nearby restaurant. This flat pile of dough is the result.
While eating at that restaurant, we ordered Di San Xian (地三鮮—"earth three fresh"), a fried mixture of potatoes, eggplants, and peppers with brown sauce. I liked it so much that I looked it up online and taught myself how to make it.
And then I started adding other things to Di San Xian because the sauce is what makes it so good. It turns out that chicken, tofu, green beans, and carrots all are really good in this dish. Basically, you'll fry each of the chopped items separately (I find it's good to start with some chopped onions and garlic and make sure that the potatoes stay in long enough to be soft), with peppers being last and shortest in order to reserve some of the crisp. Then you pour them all in to the frying pan together with a solution of dark soy sauce, hot water, and sugar. You mix all of it until the sauce thickens, then eat. Yum!
Michael found taiyaki in Shanghai. Cream-filled pastries will always be a favorite of mine.
Everything at Pure and Whole, a vegetarian restaurant with a sister sushi restaurant next door, from which we also ordered, looked this great.
We tried a lot of Pure & Whole's amazing food with anime films running on the screen behind us.
Claire brought a big bag of shredded Costco cheese to us from Taiwan. Oh, the joy. Our whole diet completely changed. It turns out you can use half a pan to make enchiladas.
Cheese on taco omelets!
Cheese in burritos!
Michael likes to make food look pretty (and he does a good job).
Cheese with eggs and peppered ham on toast.
I started checking out the Shanghai bakeries, most of which were near Changshu Road and the Shanghai Library, like this one, Farine.
I was happy to finally find an eclair at Sunflour on Anfu Road, though it was a bit pricey at 16 RMB (nearly 3 USD).
Why does the atmosphere of a place make such a big difference? I took Michael on a tour of the bakeries I'd found one morning and we quite liked Baker & Spice as well.
Then one day I saw that a Chinese bakery on Wulumuqi Road had eclairs! I was so surprised and I went straight in to buy one (I think it was between 8 and 12 RMB). Unfortunately, the "cream" had been whipped too long and I felt like I was biting into butter with each bite.
My mom sent us a whole bunch of American goodies, like Cheese Fantastico.
She also sent cherry pie filling, which I put into use on my birthday.
And she sent pickles, which were used with the cans of tuna that Claire brought us. When the pickles ran out, I thought, "Why shouldn't I be able to re-use the juice?" I googled it and ended up chopping up cucumbers and making more pickles a few more times (yum!), until someone stole the whole thing while we were in the Philippines. :(
Blue Frog had a pretty good burger.
My friend Kate gave me a cooking magazine from Australia and I had to give these mint chocolate biscuits a try. Of course, the mint-chocolate combination is one of my favorites, but the Europeans who tried them seemed a bit doubtful.
Michael's cousins kept bringing us noodles from Taiwan. When I discovered that they tasted pretty much like any American pasta, but that they cooked in about two minutes, I was very happy to keep making them.
Interestingly, I compared Chinese and American Hershey's, and the Chinese version is better.
I absolutely fell in love with these Dove bars that were sold at every store in Shanghai. Wow, there was this amazing melty-honey taste that I could never get enough of.
We probably had Indian food more than we had Chinese food.
At a Hult event, I won a gift certificate to a Mexican restaurant called "Mexo at the Bund." Not only was their logo design gorgeous with chairs upholstered to match it, the food was pretty, too. This chorizo was to die for.
We had this lemon ice cream pie at Mexo at the Bund. They poured dry ice on it and eating it was so weird, but it definitely tasted good.
Michael picked up some Cheetos at Carrefour a few weeks ago. It was only after he'd arrived back at the hotel and looked at his receipt that he said, "These Cheetos must cost one RMB each!" Then he proceeded to jump every time I accidentally dropped one. "These are precious!" he said, "We can't lose a single one." Ha ha.