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Old 06-06-2016, 04:38 PM
 
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Four Great Traditions
Jiangsu / Zhejiang / Shanghai (淮扬菜 "Huiyng ci", 苏菜,"Sū Ci", Huaiyang cuisine): Huaiyang cuisine tends to have a sweet side to it and is almost never spicy. Pork, freshwater fish, and other aquatic creatures serve as the meat base in most dishes, which are usually more meticulous and light compared to the more "brash" eating styles of northern China. Huaiyang cuisine also includes several breakfast choices such as crab soup dumplings (蟹黄汤包 "xehang tāngbāo"), thousand-layered cake (千层糕 "qiāncng gāo"), steamed dumplings (蒸饺 "zhēngjiǎo"), tofu noodles (大煮干丝 "dzhǔ gānsī"), and wild vegetable steamed buns (菜包子 "ci bāozi").
Cantonese / Guangzhou / Hong Kong (广东菜 Guǎngdōng Ci, 粤菜 Yu Ci): the style most Western visitors are already familiar with to some extent. Not too spicy, the emphasis is on freshly cooked ingredients and seafood. Dim Sum (点心 Diǎnxīn), small snacks usually eaten for breakfast or lunch, are a highlight. That being said, authentic Cantonese cuisine is also among the most adventurous in China in terms of variety of ingredients as the Cantonese are famous, even among the Chinese, for their extremely wide definition of what is considered edible.
Shandong (山东菜 Shāndōng ci, 鲁菜 Lǔ Ci, Shandong cuisine): Although modern transport has greatly increased the availability of ingredients throughout China, Shandong cuisine remains rooted in its ancient traditions. Most notable is the staggering array of seafood, including scallops, prawns, clams, sea cucumbers, and squid.
Sichuan (川菜 Chuān Ci): Famously hot and spicy. A popular saying is that it is so spicy your mouth will go numb. However, not all dishes are made with live chilies. The numbing sensation actually comes from the Sichuan peppercorn (花椒). Sichuanese food is widely available outside Sichuan and also native to Chongqing. If you want really authentic Sichuanese food outside Sichuan or Chongqing, look for small eateries sporting the characters for Sichuan cuisine in neighborhoods with lots of migrant workers. These tend to be much cheaper and often better than the ubiquitous up-market Sichuan restaurants.
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Old 06-06-2016, 08:37 PM
 
1,424 posts, read 737,938 times
Reputation: 508
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingsaucermom View Post
One of the reasons why I want to learn more Asian dishes is so I feel comfortable shopping at non-western grocery stores. It probably won't make as much of a difference now, but I still want to keep our food costs down.

I actually have a weekly menu that I'd like to keep (note: there used to be but one "Asian" night):

Monday: pizza,
Tuesday: Hispanic
Wednesday: Asian
Thursday: Soup & Sandwich/salad
Friday: Leftover or eat out
Saturday: Asian
Sunday: Pasta (Italian, not Asian noodle)

This is just a guide, the actual dish I choose for each category changes weekly... but you can see why I was wondering about pizza sauce, cheese and tortillas

We have a fancy food co-op that offers an extensive selection of cooking classes and I was able to get into 3 of them for the summer. The one I really think would be helpful, Dumplings and Spring Rolls, was full... I'm on the waitlist though!

What kind of fruits are common in China/Asia?
All fruits found in America are also found in China.
Sometimes China has more varieties.

The most common ones are also the same: apples, oranges, bananas, .... but there are much more Asian pears than American pears. China has a kind of small cherry which I have not seen here in America.
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Old 06-06-2016, 10:22 PM
 
662 posts, read 588,324 times
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My best advice to you would be to have a local friend try and set you up with a Taobao online shopping account. Its super convenient (but its in Chinese language) and they deliver right to your door. Costco has a site in China as well, but selection isn't great and the just increased their prices. Certain foods your use to in the U.S. will be very expensive in China, but you can easily start to buy more local fruits, vegetables and other food that are just as good. Like all of the other comments, if your family likes stir-fry, that is by far the easiest to cook. Lots of options with vegetables, meat and then just have steamed white rice and your good to go. Best of luck and if you need any help with anything, please message us directly. They're are a number of Americans living in Guangdong who can help you out.
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Old 06-07-2016, 06:19 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,289,596 times
Reputation: 7587
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingsaucermom View Post
One of the reasons why I want to learn more Asian dishes is so I feel comfortable shopping at non-western grocery stores. It probably won't make as much of a difference now, but I still want to keep our food costs down.

I actually have a weekly menu that I'd like to keep (note: there used to be but one "Asian" night):

Monday: pizza,
Tuesday: Hispanic
Wednesday: Asian
Thursday: Soup & Sandwich/salad
Friday: Leftover or eat out
Saturday: Asian
Sunday: Pasta (Italian, not Asian noodle)

This is just a guide, the actual dish I choose for each category changes weekly... but you can see why I was wondering about pizza sauce, cheese and tortillas

We have a fancy food co-op that offers an extensive selection of cooking classes and I was able to get into 3 of them for the summer. The one I really think would be helpful, Dumplings and Spring Rolls, was full... I'm on the waitlist though!

What kind of fruits are common in China/Asia?
There is no such thing as "Asian" food. It is like saying European food, it gives little information.
And what exactly is Hispanic food? Pizza, sandwich and pasta are very specific on the other hand.
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Old 06-07-2016, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
5,182 posts, read 5,121,444 times
Reputation: 6399
Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
There is no such thing as "Asian" food. It is like saying European food, it gives little information.
And what exactly is Hispanic food? Pizza, sandwich and pasta are very specific on the other hand.
When you go into an American grocery store they will separate ingredients and group them according to if they are commonly found in certain areas of the world. The two most common ones I see are "Asian" and "Hispanic", but they also group European, Indian and Jewish foods in some places as well, and sometimes there will also be a sign for these groups, but most often not. As you can imagine, in the "Asian" section that is where you go to get your sesame oil, soy sauce, rice noodles, oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar, etc. I go to the "Hispanic" section to get my tortillas, refried beans (I usually make my own), green chilis, dried peppers (if I make my own salsa rojo), enchilada sauce, salsas, moles, dried corn husks, etc. This is also where they store the imported brands from those areas of the world. I am not familiar with the Asian section as I am the Hispanic food brands. In the Hispanic grocery aisles you find names like Bimbo, La Victoria, Abuela, San Mateo, etc..

Hispanic food includes a lot of pinto or black beans, long grain white rice, tomato, jalapeno, masa harina, banana, cumin, chiles, white onions, garlic, green onions, corn tortillas (Texmex uses flour tortillas), they like to make pico de gallo and salsas.

So when I say I want to familiarize myself with "Asian" foods I mean I want to learn how to use all the ingredients that my grocery store puts in the Asian section of the store. I mean nothing else by it.
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Old 06-10-2016, 12:53 PM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,289,596 times
Reputation: 7587
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingsaucermom View Post
When you go into an American grocery store they will separate ingredients and group them according to if they are commonly found in certain areas of the world. The two most common ones I see are "Asian" and "Hispanic", but they also group European, Indian and Jewish foods in some places as well, and sometimes there will also be a sign for these groups, but most often not. As you can imagine, in the "Asian" section that is where you go to get your sesame oil, soy sauce, rice noodles, oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar, etc. I go to the "Hispanic" section to get my tortillas, refried beans (I usually make my own), green chilis, dried peppers (if I make my own salsa rojo), enchilada sauce, salsas, moles, dried corn husks, etc. This is also where they store the imported brands from those areas of the world. I am not familiar with the Asian section as I am the Hispanic food brands. In the Hispanic grocery aisles you find names like Bimbo, La Victoria, Abuela, San Mateo, etc..

Hispanic food includes a lot of pinto or black beans, long grain white rice, tomato, jalapeno, masa harina, banana, cumin, chiles, white onions, garlic, green onions, corn tortillas (Texmex uses flour tortillas), they like to make pico de gallo and salsas.

So when I say I want to familiarize myself with "Asian" foods I mean I want to learn how to use all the ingredients that my grocery store puts in the Asian section of the store. I mean nothing else by it.
I understand what you are saying, but that is only because the "Asian things" in American grocery stores are very ... how to say, rudimentary. There is very little variety which is why they just put everything together. I live in Toronto and there are "Asian" section in mainstream grocery stores too, do I ever go to them? Not even once.


I don't intend to preach or anything, but the word "Asian" food sounds funny to Asians (maybe not to Americans). Just don't say eating Asian food when you are actually in Asia. Chinese food alone offers a dozen vastly different cooking styles and choices of ingredients, so to say I eat Asian food every Tuesday, although not wrong, carries no meaning. It is like I tell you "I'm listening to western music now".
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Old 06-10-2016, 10:45 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,998 posts, read 70,827,066 times
Reputation: 77012
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingsaucermom View Post
Wow! I will have to come back and look at this again and again!

-I don't know how long we will be there. He will have a C-level position in a Chinese company with no contract limitations. Historically my husband moves around a lot as he climbs corporate ladders, but there won't be much more room for growth at this point.

-I am highly motivated to learn Mandarin. I think it would be a complete disservice to the experience and my future neighbors if I don't at least try, but I know to have realistic expectations and that even two years of formal language study and still isn't workable knowledge... I did a BA in Spanish and after my second year traveled to Granada, Spain for 6 weeks... I couldn't understand anything! It was very, very different than the Spanish I heard at home (Texas).

-I am hoping we get an apartment with an oven... I prepare most of our food by hand and it's an important tool for me. This is in part why I am asking how to make Chinese food... I have time to experiment and see if I can reduce my reliance on ovens.

-My husband is Mexican and I grew up in Texas.... we will ABSOLUTELY make it a point to visit your Tex-Mex restaurant. Probably a lot
I disagree that it's a difficult language. What's challenging, though, unless you have a good visual memory, is the writing system.

If you have a university in your area, consider taking a university course in it. They spend more class time on it than community colleges do, and you get more practice speaking as you go along acquiring vocab and grammar skills. Some universities offer accelerated courses, where you cover the first two years in one academic year (two semesters/three trimesters).

Are there any Chinese people in your community? Look around; there may be someone who offers an occasional cooking course.
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Old 06-11-2016, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
5,182 posts, read 5,121,444 times
Reputation: 6399
Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
I understand what you are saying, but that is only because the "Asian things" in American grocery stores are very ... how to say, rudimentary. There is very little variety which is why they just put everything together. I live in Toronto and there are "Asian" section in mainstream grocery stores too, do I ever go to them? Not even once.


I don't intend to preach or anything, but the word "Asian" food sounds funny to Asians (maybe not to Americans). Just don't say eating Asian food when you are actually in Asia. Chinese food alone offers a dozen vastly different cooking styles and choices of ingredients, so to say I eat Asian food every Tuesday, although not wrong, carries no meaning. It is like I tell you "I'm listening to western music now".
Oh of course it would sound weird! No, we don't say that here either... You can't even go out for "Asian" food.. that would so not work!.... which "Asian" would I be referring to???

Earlier I said we like to eat Pho and Thai... we plan to try to our local Dim Sum place tomorrow.


When I say I'm cooking Asian on Tuesday.. I am likely to pick one of these recipes:

Asian Archives - Budget Bytes

I think you are being a little unfair in the sense that I am an American in America that never needed to buy much beyond soy sauce. The "Asian" section of my mainstream grocery store has been, up to this point, very sufficient for my needs. For you it's not even worth while to step into.

Last edited by flyingsaucermom; 06-11-2016 at 06:01 PM..
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Old 06-11-2016, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Taipei
6,781 posts, read 5,139,654 times
Reputation: 4582
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingsaucermom View Post
Oh of course it would sound weird! No, we don't say that here either... You can't even go out for "Asian" food.. that would so not work!.... which "Asian" would I be referring to???

Earlier I said we like to eat Pho and Thai... we plan to try to our local Dim Sum place tomorrow.


When I say I'm cooking Asian on Tuesday.. I am likely to pick one of these recipes:

Asian Archives - Budget Bytes
Moderator cut: discuss the topic, not other posters

There's nothing wrong with terms like 'Asian food' or 'Asian restaurant' or 'Asian market'. They are totally sensible and people say them all the time.

Last edited by Oldhag1; 06-11-2016 at 07:43 PM..
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Old 06-12-2016, 05:56 AM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
9,783 posts, read 13,379,062 times
Reputation: 11313
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greysholic View Post
There's nothing wrong with terms like 'Asian food' or 'Asian restaurant' or 'Asian market'. They are totally sensible and people say them all the time.
Yup. I don't really understand why anyone would make this an issue.

Hate to be the contrarian here, but in GZ as well as every other first- or second-tier Chinese city, there are "Asian" restaurants that have huge pan-Asian menus that cater more or less exclusively to Chinese people. Chinese-style variations on Vietnamese and Thai dishes, sushi, Korean fried chicken, etc.

There are "Western Restaurants" in Asia, and people will say that they like or don't like "Western food." Some restaurants have a "western" or "European" section on their menu that includes stuff like spaghetti, mashed potatoes, toast, pizza, chicken nuggets, hamburgers, steak, etc. Go into a supermarket here, and there will likely be a "Western" section that has pasta and pasta sauce, ketchup, a basic assortment of spices used in Western cooking, etc.

Outside of China but still in Asia, "Chinese food" would be a general term; the average Asian person isn't much better versed on the intricacies of China's regional cuisines than anyone in the EU or NA and is probably thinking of fried noodles, ma po tofu, kung pao chicken, or maybe hot pot.

I think that for some people who are Asian-American/Canadian, who have less attachment to their ancestral culture but feel as though they've never been truly a part of their home culture, these things are a much bigger pressing point than they are to an actual Asian person, who wouldn't even blink at such terms or think of them in a degrading or offensive way.
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