Sweet Tooth: Tian Jiu (Sweet Rice Wine)

Tian Jiu, otherwise known as fermented cooked rice, is a popular southeast Asian tradition, as it has many uses in addition to being a great-tasting rice pudding. Many people will eat it in the winter as a way to keep warm, and mothers who have just given birth will also eat it, as it’s said to be good for the body as it recuperates. (And apparently it’s good to use as a face mask!)

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Wanderlust: Guangzhou’s dim-sun, desserts & more (part four)

And finally, here’s the last post in the Guangzhou/Xiamen series (that, honestly, I should have posted a loooong time ago, but got caught up in some other things…) Anyways, on the rest of the post:

Dim sum is a style of Chinese cuisine prepared as small bite-sized portions of food served in small steamer baskets or on small plates and is popular particularly in Guangdong. Dim sum dishes are usually served with tea, and together form a full tea brunch, although nowadays it really doesn’t matter what time of the day you crave dim-sun; you’ll always be able to get some.

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Wanderlust: Guangzhou, the food city of China (part three)

I spent about a week in Guangzhou, China, last month (which you can read all about here and here). Guangzhou is the third largest city in China, but I daresay the food there is best in the nation. There’s a popular Chinese saying — 食在广州, which literally translates to eat in Guangzhou — that best testifies to the idea that the food scene in Guangzhou is spectacular.

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Sweet Tooth: Chinese Egg Tarts

Chinese egg tarts are popular treats found all over Chinatown, particularly in tea houses as a dim sum dish. Egg tarts are prominent in Guangzhou’s food scene, and scholars call it the “quintessential symbol of the fusion between Cantonese and Western cultures.” I grew up eating these, and distinctly remember always asking my mom to buy me some whenever we went to Chinatown. Now, we tend to make our own egg tarts, and because they’re actually quite simple to make, you should definitely try them out too!
Ingredients
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed and refrigerated
⅓ cup plus 1 tbsp (80g) white sugar
⅔ cup (150g) warm water
⅓ cup (75g) evaporated milk
2 large eggs & 1 egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Completely dissolve the sugar in the warm water. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Roll out the pastry dough to 12 x 12 inches and cut out 9 circles using a 4 inch cookie cutter. Gently press onto tart tins and place on baking sheet.
  4. Whisk the eggs, egg yolk, evaporated milk and vanilla together. Stir in the cooled down sugar solution. Strain the egg mixture into a large measuring cup through a fine sieve. Carefully pour into tart shells, filling to just below the rim.
  5. Bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes until the edges are lightly brown. Please keep an eye on the tarts as they are baking. As soon as the custard starts to puff, open the oven door 2-3 inches to prevent the filling from puffing up too much and collapsing when cooled.
  6. Once the edges start to brown, reduce the heat to 350F and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the custard is done. Test the filling by inserting a toothpick into the custard; if it can stand on its own, it’s done.

(Recipe adapted from Little Sweet Baker.)

Wanderlust: Gulangyu (Xiamen), the piano island (part two)

Just off the coast of Xiamen is Gulangyu, a pedestrian-only island that is also a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. At only 2 km2 area and home to about 20,000 people, Gulangyu is a major domestic tourist destination and is one of China’s most visited tourist attractions. However, all cars and bicycles are banned on the island, which helps to preserve an air of antiquity and tranquility.

Shuzhuang Garden

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Wanderlust: Xiamen, the gateway to China (part one)

After spending almost four days in Guangzhou, we took a high speed train to Xiamen. Xiamen, located in Fujian Province, is a coastal city, and as such, has been an extremely important port in China for centuries, as well as one of China’s earliest Special Economic Zones. Translated directly, Xiamen means “door to the house”, referring to the city’s centuries-old role as a gateway to China.

Yongding District of Longyan

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Wanderlust: Guangzhou, the city of the five lambs (part one)

It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to post about my travels, but now that I’m back home, I finally have some time to get all my photos sorted out. I spent the last three weeks or so along the Southeastern coast of China, in Guangzhou and Xiamen, so the next few posts will be sharing my experiences there.

Lingnan Impressions Garden

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Sweet Tooth: Double Skin Milk & Ginger Milk Pudding

Double skin milk is a popular Cantonese dessert made of milk, egg whites, and sugar, and my mom absolutely loves it. It kind of reminds me of panna cotta, because it’s essentially just a velcety smooth milk custard with two skins — the first one forms when the boiled milk is cooled; the second, when the cooked custard is cooled. I’ve also included another recipe for ginger milk pudding, since the two can often be eaten together. Ginger milk pudding is another popular Cantonese dessert made from ginger, milk and sugar.

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