Black Fungus Salad | 凉拌木耳 | Liángbàn Mù’ěr & Beijing Photo Tour

Don’t shy away from tasting this lovely Black Fungus Salad called  Liángbàn Mù’ěr. This mushroom salad is slightly crunchy, refreshing, and perfectly paired with a spicy soy sauce and rice vinegar dressing.

Beijing is like the Liángbàn Mù’ěr, or Black Fungus Salad. It looks scary and intimidating at first sight, but if you get over your fear and peel away the layers, you will be rewarded with enchanting and beautiful flavors. Right now everyone is asking me how my trip to Beijing China was. The problem is I cannot respond with a short answer. I just can’t. You better be ready to pull up a chair and listen to me go on for a few minutes.

Yes I loved my trip but it was a shock to the system at first. Your social and cultural compass gets completely off track and it takes about three days for your brain to stop having a ‘deer in headlights’ reaction, only then can you start going with the flow. And you don’t even really realize you are in a culture shock at first, you only realize it later….

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Black Fungus Salad

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Chinese Laba Garlic | 腊八蒜 | Laba Suan & a Beijing Foodporn Diary

Pickled Laba Garlic is ready to eat when it has turned green. That goes against everything else we know about green food! And it pairs perfectly with greasy meat dishes such as dumplings.

My new Chinese friend Kerry took me to a dumpling restaurant for lunch on my first day in Beijing. The tables were so low there was no way you could even slide your knees under. Awkwardly seated, we chose 4 different dumpling varieties. It was worth the back breaking position, we were rewarded with delicious jiaozi  (dumplings). I asked Kerry what on earth were those green things floating in the brown liquid in the three huge jars placed inside enclaves in the wall. He said it was pickled Laba Garlic and right away he called over the waitress to bring us a few green jewels on a plate.

I was on a exotic tasting role that day so I grabbed one with my chopsticks and bit down…

laba-garlic

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Punschtorte, an Austrian Punch Cake

The Punschtorte is a classic Austrian cake with a big boozy punch! A thin cake sandwiches a rum punch filling, and finished off with a thick pink fondant icing.

No one knows for sure the origins of this Punschtorte cake but it may have been introduced to Vienna in the Middle Ages by the Ottoman armies some time during the 17th century. The components include cake crumbs, chocolate, rum, apricot jam, citrus juices. It is a kick-ass cake! Individual pastries are known as Punschkrapfen.

punschtorte inside

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Cold Sour Cherry Soup (Hideg Meggyleves)

Cold Sour Cherry soup, or Hideg Meggyleves, is the quintessential Hungarian summer soup. Made from fresh sour cherries, spices, a touch of sugar and sour cream, you are sure to fall in love with the delicate tartness and slight sweetness found in every chilled bite.

A fruit soup you say? Oh yes they are very common in Hungary. In fact while in Budapest a yogurt elderflower soup and a strawberry soup crossed yours truly’s lips. These summer soups are served mostly as an appetizer and only sometimes as a dessert. It does throw a North American palate for a loop at first but I was hungry for more in no time. This cold sour cherry soup is a bit more tart, making it a great starter dish.

cold sour cherry soup

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Curious about Spätzlesalat (Cold Spätzle Salad)?

Want to surprise guests with a new kind of cold salad? Then try this Spätzle Salad, a special egg noodle, served with fresh veggies, bacon, cheese and a light dressing.

My new food obsession is spätzle (or spaetzel)! I consumed large amounts of it during my summer vacation in Austria and Hungary. What are they? Well they are like a cross between dumplings and soft egg noodles. You will find them in almost every plate served to you in Central European countries. Spätzle means “little sparrow”. Almost all countries have the same spelling, yet in Hungary they are usually called nokedli. After reading this post you will be able to prepare your own delicious cold spätzle salad which will be a hit at your next pot-luck party.

And finally, a bonus at the end of the post with a few pics from my summer vacation! 🙂

Spätzlesalat Cold Spätzle Salad mit basil
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Watch me Skip across the Alps like Maria

Actually do not imagine that at all, it would be really scary!

But just wanted to let you know I will be away for the next couple of weeks as I head off on holiday to Austria and Budapest! I am so excited!

im-on-vacation-sign-hseelwxiy

You will get a very special new post on June 14th 2016 so keep an eye out for that. And I will be back at the end of the month with my contribution for Food ‘n Flix (which I am hosting so join us) with the movie ‘I Am Love’.

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Maritime Road Tripping and Lobster Overdosing

A glorious pictorial Maritime Road Tripping tour of Nova Scotia & New Brunswick via fishing villages, spectacular coastlines, seafood galore and libatious finds!

I know, my title is technically false. How can anyone overdose on lobster! I was so happy to devour luscious lobster in some form for 6 out of my 9 travel days. I would have to say instead I had to face lobster withdrawal once back to routine and reality!

The docks of the fishing village Peggy’s Cove NS

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Today I plan on overdosing you on pictures! Very few wordy paragraphs, instead you will get loads of pictures with a quick commentary. Enjoy!

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