So I have a confession to make:
As a Westerner, I am guilty of saying
like it’s all one thing, but you
guys, it’s so varied depending on the
region. It’s a huge area! Of course all
the food is not the same! And this is
something that I really came to
appreciate on my recent trip to visit my
buddies in Beijing, China. We went to
Shanghai as well, and Suzhou, and we went
on this awesome food tour in Shanghai, by UnTour that specifically showcased the
different regions of China. Calling all
of those different kinds of food just
“Chinese food” is like calling all Western
food (Italian, French, American)
“Western food,” right?
It doesn’t work, there’s so much intricacy and nuance and
deliciousness inherent within. Right now
I am at Hutong, which is an amazing
restaurant here in London
featuring Sichuan cooking. This kind of
food is particularly known for its
spiciness. I think that this is probably
my favorite regional cuisine, if I had to
choose a favorite, so I’m thrilled to be
here. A little bit later, chef is going to
show us one of his signature dishes here,
Red Star Noodles. So, come along for the
ride, won’t you?
Now let’s rewind back to my trip in Shanghai with these cool foodies!
Hi, I’m Kyle, from Oregon, I’m Jamie, from Tennessee.
-And where do you live now? -We’re in Shanghai!! -Yeah! For 10 years!
-We own a food tour company, UnTour Food Tours. – We’re ready to eat!
Basically it’s the best job ever because our research and development
program means we get to eat at every
restaurant around town.
We offer three different types of tours in Shanghai, two in Beijing, then our nighttime tours are a
little bit more rowdy… we get on to the
baijiu in the huangjiu.
-I think what’s really awesome to introduce people to is baijiu,
-*lip smacks* -Hoo!
It is the world’s most consumed liquor
by volume and most people haven’t even
really heard of it, because it’s
basically all consumed in China. It’s
really fun to show people how locals
really eat on a day to day basis because
that’s where the good food is. Regional
Chinese cuisine is as different as, I
would say, is… so you have to think of
China as kind of the same size as Europe,
it’s actually a little bit bigger, but as
different as German food is from French
food from Italian food, that’s how
different regional Chinese cuisines are.
The big ones are really easy to find in
Shanghai and they’re amazing. So you have
very spicy food from Sichuan, that
you’ll try tonight, so you’ll have a
little mouth numbing, a little bit of
fiery food. -This Sichuan restaurant is
also where we were served rabbit head,
covered in the Sichuan peppercorn, ma. At first, I
was a little squeamish… -I feel so bad! I mean, it’s dead… but… -It was tasty.
-In terms of squeamishness, Tom definitely took a cake on that. -Ooo!
And then you’ll have food from around this area, the Jiangnan region of China.
Which is more subtle flavors, more about letting the ingredients shine. Lots of fish from both
the ocean and the rivers, as well as pork.
So just wildly different, and then all
the way out northwest China where it’s
halal and there’s no pork, so you get
lamb and bread and things that you don’t
necessarily think of as Chinese food, but
after you’ve had it, you’ll know! -So many people, you know, they have Chinese food back in
their home countries and it’s usually
southern Chinese food, more Cantonese
style, that’s the first wave of
immigration out of China, and so that’s
what most of your Chinese takeout shops
are a version of that. And really it’s
just so different when you actually come
being here. -And we were so lucky to have
friends living in China who gave us the
-Dip this in there. -Oh, I dip this in that? -I like to.
This is my best friend, Jake, and he ordered like a master for us.
He would get things on the table and in
front of us that were so unexpected and
incredible that I would have never even
known to ask for them. This was one of my
favorite meals of the trip, a typical
northern Chinese meal in Beijing, and
another favorite was this food from a
Xi’an restaurant: cold noodles with a
meat sandwich called roujiamo, and spicy
fish soup. But walking around — yeah it was
really polluted, hence the face mask — I found myself
really craving Sichuan cuisine. So back
in London, I wasted no time and going to
Hutong restaurant and talking with
Chef Fei Wang:
And everyone, I want you to meet Grace –
because she’s translating everything
that chef is saying! So thanks, Grace! -Hi!
Chef took me back into his kitchen to show me
how he makes one of his most popular
dishes: red star noodles. As I was
shooting and observing, I realized that
the simplicity of the ingredients he
uses means that I can realistically make
this stuff at home. With Fuchsia Dunlop’s
books as an incredible resource,
I’m totally motivated to take what I
learned at Hutong and start
experimenting at home. And did you wonder
why it’s called red star noodles? It’s
because when the dish is served, the
peppers are rotated outward and form a
big red star! But not for very long,
because then it’s time to dig in!!!
Alright, I really hope you liked this
video, I also hope that I’ve maybe opened
your eyes and hearts to different parts
of Chinese cooking you may not have
known about. I really love it, I hope you
Thank you so much for watching, as always, and keep it quirky!
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