Spicy Beef Noodle Soup with Chinese Hand Pulled Lāmiàn

This Spicy Beef Noodle Soup, with homemade hand pulled noodles, will leave your tummy happy and your taste buds dancing with a fragrant broth packed with garlic, star anise, ginger and numbingly warm Sichuan peppercorns.

One of the dishes on my China travel bucket list was a Lanzhou Beef Lamian soup. I saw so many videos about lamian, aka hand pulled noodles, I was dying to taste them. It is said that for a person to be considered a master at lamian, they should practice the craft for about 10 years. When I finally got my bowl I was blown away by the soft and silky feel of the noodles and the lovely broth. I could see a lot of love and technique went into making the lamian. I had to try my hand at it and I chose a lovely  spicy beef noodle soup to accompany these flat hand pulled noodles.

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

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Chinese Snacks, What a Weird Taste Testing Adventure

I love my friend so much I inflicted Chinese Torture on her! How? By making her taste a bunch of weird Chinese snacks on video! Have a laugh at our expense!

They say when in Rome do as the Romans! Well I was in China so I did as the Chinese when it came to tasting Chinese snacks. The Chinese’s idea of how snacks hit the taste buds is very different than the West. Some snacks were really tasty and fun. Others were just plain weird. Many we only found out what they were until we put it in our mouths.

This week I am serving up a recipe for laughter with a 4-part taste testing series.

Tasting Chinese snacks food

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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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