tasty bytes from China

February 2013
« Jan   Mar »
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 6:15 pm

There are a few things that are not allowed in China.
Facebook. Google. Honey-Boo-Boo. And in our home?

BoomBoomDay<br />

This freak of nature fruit looks like something from an old
sci fi movie.

BoomBoomDay<br />

The venus fly trap fruit opens up to reveal creamy albino pods.

BoomBoomDay<br />

Inside the slimy center of each pod is a large almond shape pit.

BoomBoomDay<br />

But the real mystery is the smell.  Durian would be the kid in your class with the
Body Odor problem,  forever making it
hard  to make friends. It’s uber pungent, like papaya, onion or a  fart in an small elevator.

BoomBoomDay<br />

Nothing is worse than over-ripe durian. Beware of buying
 it pre-packaged from street vendors  on a hot sunny day. If it’s wrapped under a
few layers of cellophane, it was for a good reason.

But I took a liking to durian. 

BoomBoomDay<br />

Jeff will allow it in the house, or actually,
on our balcony.

BoomBoomDay<br />

But only on a very windy day..

1 comment
Minority Village People
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 4:29 am

Minority Village<br />

After three years living here, I finally ventured to the Minority Village. It’s Kunming’s
Disney-like park that contains reproductions of homes of the various ethnic groups scattered around Yunnan
Province, with one big difference:

Minority Village<br />

Minority Village had western style toilets.

The the most popular minority at Minority village was me. Stop staring, already!

Minority Village<br />

This lady had to call and tell her friends  that she
saw a Meiguoren (an American)

Minority Village<br />

This guy would call his friends if he could get up.

Minority Village<br />

I learned about all of the minority groups in Yunnan, like the Mongolians. They are the people group that they ran away with the circus.

Minority Village<br />

But instead of performing tricks, they put on a cooking show.

Minority Village<br />

The chickens weren’t so happy about the concessions.

Minority Village<br />

The Miao people go to church.

Minority Village<br />

Their communion wine is a bit stronger than grape juice.

Minority Village 055

You can also take in some of the unique ethnic apparel of
China at Minority Village, including this plaid  squirt, striped sock combo, a common look for the young fashion-challenged school girl.

Minority Village<br />

Or the bootleg designer bag  with the traditional ethnic outfit.  Fashion no-no.

Minority Village 046

This reminded me of Halsted Street in Chicago.

Minority Village<br />

This reminded me of the Detroit Tigers. Now I’m hungry for hot dogs.

Minority Village<br />

The admission to Minority Village during Chinese New Year’s week was 65
RMB, or about $10.

The best part is, you can walk for hours without fear of getting hit by a

However, you could get trampled by an elephant.

Minority Village 002

Or a rickshaw.

Minority Village<br />

Or another rickshaw.

Minority Village<br />





1 comment
Boom Boom Day
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 6:27 am

What is New
Years like in China?

Times this
video by ten hours.

Last night,
China ushered in the year of the Snake. The celebration started around dusk and
fireworks went off non-stop til about 3 am, purchased at stands like this

BoomBoomDay<br />

At six, the firecrackers began. It is customary for the Chinese to set
off some firecrackers at their doorstep to keep away evil spirits.

And, set
off a few car alarms.

It’s also a
day for everyone to dress up in red and black and hang out at Green Lake Park.
I didn’t dare enter the labyrinth of people, vendors and gardens. Instead, I
watched the human parade from the outside.

BoomBoomDay<br />

BoomBoomDay 068

BoomBoomDay<br />

Check out
this elderly woman’s shoes. Ouch!

BoomBoomDay<br />

Kids would try
their luck hooking a gold fish in the Kunming’s City Center. Good luck for the kid, bad luck for the fish.

BoomBoomDay<br />

Chinese New Year customs include spreading pine needles on your floor to
promise a year of evergreen, whatever that means. Also,
  if you were born in the year of the Snake,
you’re supposed to wear red underwear all year long.

Either it
will give you good luck or a very bad rash.

would touch the Good Luck “Fu” sign hanging on the city center’s doorway.

BoomBoomDay<br />

Tibetans have a tradition of making jiaozi (homemade dumplings) and hiding a
nugget of cow dung in one of them.

If you find
it, it’s supposed to mean good luck.

If that’s
what the lucky guy gets, I’d don’t want to know what’s in the rest.




1 comment
Life in the Express Lane
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 4:35 pm

One thing I learned living in China. Avoid going to Walmart
or Carrefour the week prior to New Years. Every person who is not at the
airport or train station is packed in the aisles.

I decided to brave Carrefour, a French superstore chain in
Kunming, and give you a peep of what the store is like.

The floor plan isn’t that much different than a Krogers or
Albertsons. You have your end aisle displays, free sample ladies, the seasonal
items and a mountain of Budweiser. What is different is the meat section. You
have your choice of shriveled chickens and dried yak wieners or, you can pick a
handful from the “blood and guts” pile.

Yes, I spelled wieners incorrectly on the video.

Just consider it part of the Chenglish experience.

There is also a flipping fish section, a huge display of
dried seeds, dried fruits and of course, tea.

While the video captures the sights, it can’t record the
unique smells of a Chinese grocer, even Wal-mart or Carrefour.

It’s a fragrant mix of dried sea creatures, durian and
overly ripe shoppers.

Also, count how many westerners you see.

That’s right.



Kitchen Gods
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 7:38 am


Today might be Superbowl Sunday in America but in China
it’s the Little New Years. It’s the Sunday before Chinese New Year
 or Chūnjié
. This massive celebration is full
of firecrackers, food and traditions.

Some of those traditions start today.

It is customary for Chinese to so spring cleaning today, get their haur cut
(except for that long one that dangles from their lucky mole) and to offer
sweets to the Kitchen Gods.

Yes, Kitchen Gods.

Traditionally, families offer this god a bowl of sweet sticky
rice or candy as a way to say “thank you”.

But if you ever tasted Chinese candy, you could see why I
opted to make home-made strawberry jam for this Domestic Deity instead. Yunnan has the best
strawberries this side of Berrien County, Michigan. I bought a kilo  for about
three American dollars at the  local market near our home in Kunming.

And along with appeasing the Kitchen God, the jam made Jeff
quite happy as well.

Now, you think the Kitchen God would
be assigned by a Chinese Betty Crocker or someone from the cooking channel. Not
so. According to Chinese tradition, this god was assigned by Yu Huang, the emperor of heaven. 

Yu will watch
our home throughout the year, making sure that the parasites that invade our
intestines are happy ones.

Another tradition is to eat long noodles, which symbolize a long life.

And to eat Round oranges, which  are a sign of completeness.

But what did we eat?

Tacos. Which is a sign that Jeff brought back way too many corn tortillas from Las Golondrinas at Christmas.

Oh. The Chinese also decorate their door
with signs that have the word “fu” .

F.U.  means good luck and happiness in China, unlike
what it means in America.

The other tradition is that everybody head to Carrefour to
stock up for the holiday.

I mean everybody.

Chinese New Year kicks off on New Years Eve, Saturday,
February 9th and will go until the 24th. 2013 is the year
of the snake.



1 comment