the stuff that finds us

17 May

My mother expressed some interest in seeing photos of Jiujiang University, so last Friday when I met with Rosabel, I took quite a few pictures.

The university sits right at the foot of Mt. Lu.

Before I left the U.S., I spent some time trying to find my school, Jin’an Senior High School, on google maps sattelite view. I never managed to find my neighborhood, but you can clearly see the University’s track. Here it is in person.

Rosabel’s dorm. Except for the laundry, it looks just like a dorm building in America. Funny how that works. 🙂

This week, after our lesson, Rosabel and I went for jiaozi (dumplings) and I remembered to take pictures of the food this time! These were filled with pork and spring onions, which is typical in this part of China. We ate them with a vinegar and chili sauce which was quite delicious! This particular style of jiaozi is named after a flower or a butterfly or something, because of the intricate way the dough is folded at the top. (Sometimes it starts to seem like everything is named after a flower or a butterfly here.) There are a lot of different ways of folding dumplings, and some of them are very complex.

While I’m posting about food, I have become obsessed with the cold vegetable dishes they serve here. They don’t really eat a lot of raw food in China, and I’ve found a sort of horrified fascination with the idea of salad. People bring it up all the time, asking me, “Do you eat salad? Do you like salad?”

So no raw vegetable dishes, but they do eat a lot of cold vegetable dishes–at least in this part of China. Which I think is interesting, because I don’t think I’ve ever been served a cold dish at a Chinese restaurant. I don’t feel like it’s something we associate with Chinese food or Chinese cooking. But here, almost every meal start with cold dishes which you eat before you move on to your hot dishes. And the cold dishes are delicious

I’m especially enamored with this garlic and cucumber dish which might be the most perfect garlic dish I’ve ever eaten. My friend Julia gave me her recipe, and, at it’s core, it’s really simple. Smashed cucumber, garlic, rice wine vinegar, chili sauce, soy sauce, and salt. Very lightly blanch or saute the cucumber and garlic, stir it all together and serve. The rawer the garlic, the better. I’ve made it a few times now, each time tinkering with the ingredients, but it’s really a perfectly simple dish and I think my attempts to improve it have only hurt it.

Here’s a photo of my latest batch.

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One Response to “the stuff that finds us”

  1. kjschnur June 1, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    cold cooked cucumbers?

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