Category Archives: Chinese

learning chinese cooking from the best: zha jiang mian

A happy consequence of spending time with my mother-in-law is continuing to learn her recipes. During my last few visits to the Bay Area, I had zha jiang mian on my brain. It’s what I consider to be Chinese comfort food. My husband loves it, my brother-in-law makes it regularly for my nieces, who love it, we eat it at family gatherings, and everyone loves it. Zha jiang mian is universally loved in the family.  Continue reading learning chinese cooking from the best: zha jiang mian

tsui family’s spicy vinegar sauce

I recently spent some time in California in my mother-in-law’s kitchen. Her kitchen is a familiar place for me. Prior to moving to Portland two years ago, I spent a lot of time in my mother-in-law’s kitchen.  It’s in that kitchen that we would stand side by side and I would make sure she was measuring everything she was making so I could properly document her dishes and turn them into written recipes. It’s in that kitchen that I learned so many of my husband’s family dishes.  Continue reading tsui family’s spicy vinegar sauce

father-in-law mapo tofu

My father-in-law lives in a ‘small village’ outside of Shanghai. He moved there from Taiwan to retire. The first time my husband and I went to visit him years ago, we were both expecting the quintessential village he made his new home of Kunshan out to be. I still tease my father-in-law about his misrepresentation of his village, because it’s in fact a mid-range (by China’s standards) city of 1.65 million people. I guess it’s all perspective. When you live in a country of 1.3 billion, a mere 1.65 million can take on more of a village feel.  Continue reading father-in-law mapo tofu

a portland chinese new year

On the eve of Chinese New Year I’m feeling that twinge. The twinge of wishing I was back in the Bay Area at my mother-in-law’s house making dumplings for the holiday. The twinge of wishing I was hanging out with my husband’s family celebrating the new year. Instead, we are going to check out a promising Taiwanese/Chinese restaurant in Portland. They make their own Chinese sausage and serve a lot of my husband’s Taiwanese favorites. I’m hoping we’ll be able to talk to the owners and find out where they source their ingredients and if they’re interesting in adopting a Caucasian daughter figure. Ok, maybe not the latter, but I definitely would love to talk with them.  Continue reading a portland chinese new year

knife-wielding children and tofu

I have a friend who shares the same name as my husband. Both first and last name. Confusing? Sometimes. Hilarious? Definitely. I’ve accidentally tagged them incorrectly on Facebook and I have a note in my phone differentiating the two so I won’t embarrass myself with an inappropriate text to the one who’s not my husband.  Continue reading knife-wielding children and tofu

learning chinese cooking from the best: lion’s head

Lion’s Head, or shi zi tou is a rustic home cooked Chinese dish that evokes tasty memories for my husband. Over the years I’ve heard about his mom’s Lion’s Head, and I’ve also heard my husband’s numerous requests for her to  to make it for him. So when my mother-in-law suggested we make it together, I was excited to learn. The pork meatball and cabbage dish is slow cooked in a pot. The meatballs are meant to represent a lion, and the shredded greens its mane.  Continue reading learning chinese cooking from the best: lion’s head