Monday, January 10, 2011

Back in the USA, with a few highlights from the past two weeks

I'm back!!  I flew from Shanghai this morning - thanks to the time zone difference, the entire 10.5-hr flight actually resulted in a 4-hour "time travel" backward.  The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of memorable family, fun and food experiences, so the latter will be dominating this blog for a little while.  I'll start off with a few highlights - sort of a preview of what's to come - before delving into individual meals.  First off, my single favorite dish: Nanxiang xiao long bao (little soup dumplings) in Shanghai.

Next, the second-most-esoteric thing I ate during the trip: whole sea cucumber in Shanghai.  (The first-most-esoteric I'll discuss later).  This kind of sea cucumber that is served whole, instead of chopped into pieces as is usually eaten, is apparently quite a delicacy.  Sea cucumber itself has no taste, so these dishes - especially such a simple presentation - rely on great sauces.

Third, the most fun home-cooked meal of the trip: hot pot at my grandma's in Xiamen.  Lots of seafood and vegetables that we cooked in a rich broth, along with stir-fried rice noodles.

Fourth, the best dessert I ate during this trip: egg tart in Shanghai, from a bakery in the food department of one of the Wujiaochang department stores.  This tart was the best egg tart I have ever eaten - the pastry was more puff pastry-like than the tart crusts normally found in dim sum.  Perfectly crisp and flaky, and the very middle was almost (but not quite!) liquid.  Fantastic.

Stay tuned for details on some of the above meals, and much, much more!