Posted by: travelrat | June 16, 2014

Peking Duck and Chopsticks.

2014-05-05 11.01.23

‘I like Chinese food’ said Tina, the other day ‘But, I couldn’t eat it for three weeks straight, like you did’.

I don’t blame her for making such a comment. Before I went to China, I’d have said pretty much the same thing. But, as in English … or just about any cuisine … there’s an almost infinite variety. If there’s anything you don’t like, you can always have something else.

Like anywhere else, Chinese food has its regional specialties, too. On our first night in Beijing, we had Peking Duck (you knew, didn’t you, that Peking and Beijing are the same place?). Unlike Bombay Duck, though, it really is a duck! The way to eat it … they gave us a demonstration … is to roll it up in a little pancake, with strips of onion and cucumber, with a drizzle of soy sauce.

Now, I seem to remember reading (I think Ken Hom said it??) that soy sauce should always be used as a cooking ingredient; never as a condiment. But, I saw Chinese and Europeans alike happily splashing it on their food, so maybe Ken Hom (if it was him) was wrong. Or, I’m wrong!

You might notice, too, that most of us are eating with chopsticks. Contrary to popular belief, it’s quite easy once you’ve had a little practice. But, you have to learn the chopstick etiquette as well; don’t use your chopsticks to take food from the communal bowl; never point at anyone with your chopsticks and never stick your chopsticks upright in your food.

(For details on how to use them, and more chopstick etiquette, may I direct you to  http://www.wikihow.com/Eat-with-Chopsticks ?)

But, to avoid making too much of a mess on the table cloth … reducing the distance between the plate and your mouth is quite acceptable!

Chopsticks

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