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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Huāshēng Bǐng | 花生饼 | Chinese Peanut Cookies

Xīn Nián Kuài Lè! 新年快乐 ! Happy Chinese New Year!  Today marks the beginning of the Spring Festival as we welcome the rooster. What better way to celebrate than with these addictive Chinese Peanut Cookies.

These beauties are called Hua Sheng Bing, 花生饼 in Mandarin. It translates as peanut cake but clearly they are wonderful cookie bundles. One can find them in homes and markets in China during the Lunar New Year. If you love peanuts you will adore the texture and massive dose of peanut crumbs. In fact these Chinese Peanut Cookies take cookies to a whole new level of  peanut. They are just fabulous!

Chinese peanut cookies

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Zha Jiang Mian | 炸酱面 | Chinese Fried Sauce Noodles

Zha Jiang Mian, or Fried Sauce Noodles, is a classic Chinese comfort food made from a luscious dark soybean sauce and ground pork, served over a bowl of thick wheat noodles. This recipe pumps up the meat and veggies per bowl to make a complete main dish serving.

So you know those tubs of black bean paste or sauce you see in Asian grocery stores? Well drop that can and walk away from the bean aisle in your regular supermarket if in a pinch because these are not black turtle beans at all! Nope and hopefully I am not the only one that feel a bit dumb right now. Turns out the main ingredient of these pastes/sauces is fermented black soybeans (douchi in Chinese). They are the base of many Chinese dishes with their sharp, salty and pungent flavors. Black bean sauce is truly the backbone of the Zha Jiang Mian dish.

Zha Jiang Mian Chinese Fried Sauce Noodles

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Do You Want to Discover China’s Finer Teas?

Toss those supermarket teas in the trash and discover the thrill of finer teas. A high quality sourced tea is so much more refined, pure and crisp. It will change how you look at tea forever.

One of my colleagues jokes that his mom kept a pot of orange pekoe tea boiled strong in those old Pyrex tea pots. She just added water and boiled away all day long. That is fine if you have zero care in the world for what tea should actually taste like. But let me tell you, once you have experienced several cups of finer teas the rest pales in comparison. An excellent tea is like enjoying a top vintage wine. Today I want to introduce you to five higher grade teas, all of which are harvested in China.

finer teas keemun imperial black tea garden

Source: teavivre.com – keemun imperial black tea garden

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Montreal en Lumiere 2016

We are about half way through winter and here in Montreal that means one thing: the Montreal en Lumiere festival is just around the corner with loads of fun outdoor activities, shows and culinary treats.

Since we live in winter mode for so many months out of the year here in Montreal, we like to celebrate and even have a winter festival named Montreal en Lumiere. You will find all kinds of fun outdoor activities, many free, and lots of paid shows and food related events. But just an evening walking around the site is fun, just get a couple of snacks from the food stands and enjoy the lights! Just dress well to stay warm. Here is what this year’s Montreal en Lumiere has to offer, from February 18 to March 5 2016.

Montreal en Lumiere 2016

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Chocolate & Tea Pairing

Do yourself a favor and give in to one of the latest trends: Chocolate & Tea Pairing. You will be blown away by the wonderful flavor combinations you may create.

I have been back from my vacation for a week now already and I am having the hardest time ever getting back to real life and routine, including blogging. But worry not I am getting back into the swing of it and I will soon bring you a slew of new posts; from great new recipes, the continuation of my broth series, and of course a post about my South and Central American cruise. In the mean time I would like to share with you my newest experiment of mixing teas and chocolate.

Green and Black’s Organis Chocolate

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