Monday, June 23, 2014

The Colonel Sanders of the late Qing dynasty

I have taken a new job which is sending me to Exotic China! The Pearl of the Orient! The Red Dragon! The Middle Kingdom! The place with the chopsticks! It's also where my mom grew up.

After a long trip out there I have decided that our General Tso's chicken is much better then theirs.

Me: I WANT A GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN!(It helps to yell when people speak another language)

Them: Oh yes great General Tso, very famous warrior.


Them: He had a chicken?

The Colonel Sanders of the late Qing dynasty

While I didn't get any General Tso's Chicken while I was in China I did have a LOT of amazing food!

Maybe amazing wasn't the word for these chicken feet

Chicken feet are a prized delicacy in China. I was told that a whole chicken with feet on sometimes costs less then just the chicken feet sold alone. Don't get me wrong, I do love chicken feet in the right preparation. Served hot simmered in dark sweet deliciousness, I love them. But I'm pretty sure I would love my loafers cooked that way.

This preparation however is cold, vinegary, spicy and the chicken feet themselves are damn near inedible. the skin hasn't really broken down and I was left gnawing. However this was my handler's (we're going to call him Tom) favorite preparation so we had to give it a try. I'll admit it has it's own charms. Does anyone wear charm bracelets anymore?

Ginger Boiled Chicken

This is a deceptively tasty dish I call ginger boiled chicken. It's a young chicken that is lightly boiled with a lot of ginger root. Served cold. It's good, as long as that head doesn't give you the evil eye.

Now THIS dish was a revelation. Heavily smoked chicken breast served with a chili sauce which could strip the paint of a Lamborghini. The tea pot has cold plum tea. When you take a bite of chicken the smoky tang hits you first and it's absolutely fabulous chicken, then with a sip of the sweet plum tea the whole flavor changes and you do a double take. The whole flavor has now completely changed and matured into... something else, it doesn't taste like smoked chicken and it doesn't taste like plum tea. This is food pairing at it's highest level.

That is my wrap up of the chicken portion of my 3 week excursion, don't worry, there are plenty more things coming up which will hopefully be taking you out of your comfort zone. Nothing says blog success like making your readers uncomfortable.


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