Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Hot and Wet

What little is still functioning in the bowels of the UK government has managed to excrete this travel warning.

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Same every year.

Random Photograph 87 – Basket Case

Random Picture No. 87 is one in a series of pictures, taken in Liuzhou, which amuse, baffle or otherwise interest me.

basket case

Friday Food 166 – Quinoa – Chia

Friday Food is an occasional article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This time, we are looking at so-called superfoods, Quinoa and Chia Seeds.

I suppose it had to happen sometime. Trendy Liuzhou residents can now enjoy ancient Andean foodstuffs, along with the rest of the world. Given that Chinese culture deems all foods to be medicinal, it would hardly be surprising if they didn’t fall for the baloney about these two foods.

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Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), Chinese: 藜麦, the South American pseudo-grain is cooked like rice and used in similar ways. In its raw state it is high in nutrients, but most of these don’t survive cooking.

In a 100 g (3.5 oz) serving, cooked quinoa provides 120 calories and is a moderate source (10-19% of the Daily Value, DV) of protein, dietary fiber, folate, and the dietary minerals, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese.

Quinoa

Quinoa

Also, now available in Liuzhou are Chia seeds (Salvia hispanica); Chinese 奇亚籽. Also from the same Andean region, these seeds are said to be high in the B-vitamins, thiamine and niacin as well as being a particularly rich source of the dietary minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.

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The seeds can be added to bread doughs, breakfast cereals, smoothies, etc.

Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds

Both these items are available from here.

I’d take a lot of the supposed health benefits with a large dose of salt. Where are al the super healthy Incas now? Extinct.

Quinoa comes in 500g packets for ¥38; chia seeds are ¥40/500g.

Remain

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Random Photograph 86 – Ram

Random Picture No. 86 is one in a series of pictures, taken in Liuzhou, which amuse, baffle or otherwise interest me.

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Not what you expect to meet in down town Liuzhou. This ram has been tethered for about a week on the bridge leading from Bubgao shopping mall to Liuzhou People’s Square. They were having some kind of street food festival featuring that old favourite 羊肉串 (Grilled Mutton Skewers). They helpfully provided the ram in case you weren’t sure what kind of animal mutton comes from.

Yesterday when I passed all the stalls had been removed and only this fellow remained. He eyed me most suspiciously.

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At the same time as they are promoting mutton

The Chinese government has outlined a plan to reduce its citizens’ meat consumption by 50%, in a move that climate campaigners hope will provide major heft in the effort to avoid runaway global warming.

New dietary guidelines drawn up by China’s health ministry recommend that the nation’s 1.3 billion population should consume between 40g to 75g of meat per person each day. The measures, released once every 10 years, are designed to improve public health but could also provide a significant cut to greenhouse gas emissions.

More here.

Random Photograph No. 85 – Terraces

Random Picture No. 85 is one in a series of pictures, taken in Liuzhou, which amuse, baffle or otherwise interest me.

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Rice terraces in Rongshui Miao Autonomous County, Liuzhou – May 20, 2016

Friday Food 165 – Worcestershire Sauce

Friday Food is an occasional article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This time, we are looking at something that sounds suspiciously English.

You’ve probably wondered if I am completely losing the plot. This is meant to be a series about food in China – what are you doing wittering on about classic English delicacies?

Well, it may surprise you but Worcestershire Sauce is very popular in parts of China, particularly Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Lea and Perrins’ invention was introduced to Shanghai by the British back in the 19th century and the locals took to it, adapting it to their dipping sauces. Then they decoded the recipe and started producing it themselves. The most popular brand in Shanghai is, no surprise, Shanghai Worcestershire Sauce.

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It is known in Chinese as 辣酱油, which leads to some confusion, as 酱油  is also used to refer to soy sauce. This product contains no soy. In fact, 酱油 just means ‘sauce’, but the ubiquity of soy sauce in China has lead to the name almost being appropriated by just one sauce.

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The Shanghai version is slightly spicier and less sweet than Lea & Perrins’ original.

The English on the bottle lists the ingredients as:

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The Chinese ingredients list is more forthcoming, adding dried chilli, onion, mustard seeds, tangerine peel, cape jasmine and bamboo shoot to the list.

Note the lack of anchovies, the main ingredient in the original

In Shanghai, it is mainly used with fried, bread-crumbed  pork chops or as a dipping sauce for  生煎包 aka 生煎馒头, or fried soup dumplings – a popular breakfast item.

Shanghai Worcestershire Sauce is available in Liuzhou. ¥8.50 for a 630ml bottles from here.

PS. I’ve never met anyone outside England who can actually pronounce Worcestershire Sauce properly. P.G. Woodhouse drops a huge clue, doesn’t he Bertie?

Here We Go Again

I’m sure these images need no comment from me.

After days of torrential rain, it is only to be expected. Although I have seen what looks worse in the past, in fact, things are getting worse. They keep raising the flood protection barriers etc, but it’s never effective for long. If they hadn’t raised the barriers the whole city would be inundated by now.

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Another Load of Balls

Bubugao Plaza celebrated Children’s Day by building this large pit and filling it with thousands of plastic balls. Rather idiotically, they sited it right beside the main entrance to the shopping mall, effectively blocking entrance to their over-priced, under-populated stores.

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It took them about a week to work out why the place was even more empty than usual.

They have now moved the ball park inside the building and into the large empty space on the first floor. Now everyone can get into the place. Not that many want to.

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I’m still mystified as to how the place exists. Apart from the restaurants on the top two floors and the supermarket and cheap noodle joints in the basement, every retail outlet appears utterly devoid of customers. I’ve visited at all hours of the day and it’s always the same.

It doesn’t make any sense.

UPDATE June 18th

A week has passed and they have moved the damn thing back outside to block the entrance again! I guess they don’t know what they are doing.

Friday Food 164 – Chrysanthemum Leaf

Friday Food is an occasional article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This time, we are looking at chrysanthemums, but not the flowers.

Unfamiliar greenery was the first thing I remembering noticing in Chinese markets. What the hell is that and is it really edible. Variety after variety of the great unknown green stuff.

Here is one example.

Chrysanthemum Leaf

Chrysanthemum Leaf 菊花菜

In Chinese it is 菊花菜; in English they are chrysanthemum leaves. All those years you went not knowing that one of the most common flowers has edible leaves. In fact the whole plant is edible. But of course, the Chinese have known that for millennia.

The leaves are stir fried, boiled or steamed as with any green vegetable. Dirt cheap. I paid the equivalent of ¥5 per kilo, but a kilo would feed the entire neighbourhood. A huge bunch (the image only shows less than half) cost me ¥1.10. Widely available.


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