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Try it if you dare: China's potent and most popular liquor will soon be offered in the U.S.
Only the bravest American drinkers should test the limits of Chinese baijiu, to be offered soon on U.S. shelves.
If you think you can handle the strongest of liquors, think again. Chinese baijiu, or Chinese firewater as it’s more commonly known, will soon reach American grocery store shelves in an attempt to boost the spirit’s sales.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., Chinese firewater is a flammable and pungent white liquor at 110-proof. This extremely strong competitor surpasses beverages like 20-proof Belgian style beers and 80-proof tequila, though not as strong as Everclear, topping at 190-proof.
Michael Pareles, manager at the U.S. Meat Export Federation in Beijing, described the liquor to taste like “paint-thinner” at first, although he eventually grew to appreciate the taste. To accommodate untrained American taste buds, some distillers have found a way to refilter the liquor, according to the New York Daily News.
Even though Chinese firewater is the world’s most heavily consumed liquor (selling more than 11 million liters in 2012), the popularity of the drink is diminishing thanks to new foreign liquor imports to China. This means Chinese firewater makers are betting the future of the spirit in the hands of the overseas buyers.
Chinese Almond Cookies
Simple, elegant, delicious, and buttery Chinese Almond Cookies melt in your mouth and are a perfect addition to any occasion!
Almond cookies have multiple variations all over the globe. From Italy to the Far East, these delicious cookies have been made for generations. One of my favorite types is Chinese almond cookies.
These cookies have the ability to provide a subtle crunch and melt in your mouth all at the same time. T hey are given as gifts around the Chinese New Year as a way to bring good fortune, but you can find them all year round throughout the world.
To carry on with the almond theme, try pretty as a picture almond cookie recipe, almond crescent cookies or melt in your mouth almond shortbread cookies. They’re all fantastic and compliment any occasion.
Let’s head to the kitchen and bake up a batch!
Grocery store shelves are bursting with pasta here's how to use them best
Ironically, in this era when every other person seems to be avoiding carbs or gluten, the pasta aisle at the grocery store offers more excitement than ever. Imported dried pastas, in a vast variety of shapes, sizes and flavors and brands, line huge sections of the shelves. Pasta shapes, heretofore relegated to fancy Italian restaurants, such as orecchiette, tagliatelle and pappardelle, prove relatively easy to find. Refrigerated cases boast stuffed pastas and tender sheets for lasagna. Then, there’s the every-growing selection of whole grain pastas, gluten-free pastas and vegetables sliced to resemble pasta noodles.
It can’t be true that the average household has given up pasta in favor of low-carb options. Pasta is simply a great ingredient worthy of our time in the kitchen and a place on the dinner table. There are a number of studies that say everything in moderation is the way to live long and prosper.
So, we happily employ pasta to solve our time-pressed weeknight dinner dilemmas. Spaghetti with buttered breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley and hot pepper flakes never fails to comfort both the cook and the table companions. Linguine with clam sauce (made with good-quality tinned clams and dry white wine) tops our hit list for dinner in less than 30 minutes. Same for penne with bottled tomato sauce and Parmesan. Leftovers make great lunch.
Most experts consider dried pasta equal to, or superior to, fresh pasta in terms of flavor and texture. What a relief! That means I can stock several shapes in the pantry and have dinner options at the ready.
To enjoy our pasta sans guilt means thinking seriously about portion control. Restaurants serve far more than the recommended serving size. At home, it’s much easier to avoid the temptation to overeat. I figure that 1 pound of dried pasta serves 8 — especially when accompanied by vegetables or a salad. Unless I’m planning on leftovers, I usually cook only a portion of a packaged of dried pasta. I store the remaining pasta in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
For main-dish pasta dinners that serve 4 nicely, I like a ratio of 1 1/2 to 2 cups sauce for every 8 ounces of pasta. When the sauce contains chunks of vegetables and bits of protein, then 3 cups seems right. For lower-calorie family meals, I opt for a tomato-based topping. Rich and creamy additions suit entertaining or special occasion entrees.
At this point in our food-centric country, everyone should know not to overcook pasta to soft mush. The correct way to cook pasta is al dente — toothsome in the center when you bite it — but not at all crunchy or raw. The only way to be sure that the pasta is cooked enough is to keep tasting as it cooks. It’s better to err on the side of undercooked rather than over — the pasta will soften a bit from residual heat and from the hot sauce.
Cooked properly, there are two professional tricks to up your pasta game immensely: First, always reserve some of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta this starch-laden water not only can be used to thin the sauce, but it actually helps the sauce adhere to the noodles. Second, always add the hot pasta to the heated sauce and simmer them together briefly to help the sauce cling. This is the point at which you can add dribbles of the pasta-cooking water to achieve a proper sauce consistency.
The recipes that follow are designed to be flexible — for the shopper, the cook and the eater. Change up the pasta shape as desired, and change up the protein to suit your tastes and dollars. Buy the best pasta you can afford. To me, that includes imported pasta made from durum wheat semolina.
The orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta) recipe is delicious made with other shapes, such as rigatoni, penne and trottole — a sort of curlicue shape imported from Italy. I like the Pomi brand of marinara sauce imported from Italy for its bright tomato flavor (no citric acid) and mild spicing.
When company’s coming, I treat everyone to the pappardelle pasta recipe that follows — long, wide elegant noodles with shreds of duck tucked between them, along with golden nuggets of sweet prunes and sharp turnip. A bit of cream ties it all together.
For convenience, I like the frozen duck leg confit from Maple Leaf Farms. The package contains 2 legs of duck cooked slowly in its own fat. Super moist and tender, a little goes a long way. Smoked chicken is delicious here instead same for cooked pork carnitas or roast turkey. Sliced, smoky steak bits would be delicious as well.
Cooking Oil's Surge Shows How Inflation Hits Chinese
SHANGHAI—These days, Liu Chuansheng nervously scouts five locations before he buys cooking oil, illustrating how a sudden spike in the price of the Chinese kitchen's most vital ingredient has become close to a national crisis.
On a recent Friday, the balding 33-year-old, who runs a breakfast stand with his wife, wheeled a shopping cart into the aisle of a C.P. Lotus Corp. superstore in northern Shanghai, eying only prices. In seconds, his wife emptied the shelves of its 11 remaining bottles of Cofco Ltd. "Five Lakes" soybean oil, the discount choice at 47.90 yuan, or about $7.20, for five liters (1.32 gallons).
At the checkout, Mr. Liu separated their $79 purchase into three batches to sidestep the store's four-bottle maximum and government bans on hoarding. To transport the provisions to their food stand, Mr. Liu placed two bottles into the basket of his blue electric scooter and balanced nine more on the running board. His wife plopped on back.
Mr. Liu's livelihood is now just as precariously balanced. He reckons his cooking-oil costs shot up 27% in 2010.
Rising food prices helped push China's consumer price index to a two-year high of 5.1% in November, and nowhere are the pressures felt more deeply than with cooking oil, more vital in Chinese cooking than even rice. Rising oil prices mean daily hardship for Chinese on meager incomes. And though food represents only about one-third of the CPI, it accounts for about 75% of the index's recent rise.
3 China has no punishment for wrongdoers when it comes to pet food safety
Since there are no regulations in place to monitor pet food production, no laws are being broken when unsafe pet food is produced. As a result, companies or individuals producing tainted pet food are not being punished. Without punishment, these people and organizations are free to continue making a profit by producing tainted products.
What does this mean? It means that companies can (and likely will) continue to produce tainted food. So, long as there is a profit to be made and no consequences for wrongdoing, there is no deterrent for questionable production methods.
8 Hot and Sour Soup Varieties by Region
- North America – The broth can be either a meat or vegetarian broth. Typical additions to the soup include bamboo shoots, toasted sesame oil, wood ear or cloud ear fungus, vinegar, egg, cornstarch and white pepper.
- China – This soup is claimed by both Beijing and Sichuan as a regional dish. Common ingredients include the same mushrooms above, bamboo, tofu and also may have day lily buds and pork blood.
- Japan – The Japanese add ramen noodles and call this soup Suratan-Men.
- India – Includes ginger, chilis, carrots, snow peas, vinegar, sugar, tofu and soy sauce.
- Vietnam – Fish, shrimp, tomatoes, pineapple, bean sprouts and possible other vegetables. This soup also includes tamarind and lemon-like herbs.
- Cambodia – This countries most popular sour soup is Samlor Machu Pkong, which translates to ‘Sour Shrimp Stew’. This soup typically includes lemon, chilis, prawns and/or shrimp. You will see this served on special occasions as well as a street food.
- Thailand – Tom Yum is a popular Thai soup here in the States which includes lemon grass, lime, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, fish sauce and chilis.
- Phillipines – Sinigang is a typical national soup that gets its savory and sourness from tamarind. If you want to learn how to make tamarind paste, click here.
This version of Hot and Sour soup is very easy and is great for both beginner and experienced cooks alike. It has fresh, real ingredients but is not complicated and cooks up pretty fast.
I used my microplaner as seen below to mince the ginger. If you don’t have one or want to really hit the easy button, look for the minced garlic in a jar which you can find in most markets. You may be able to find it in the produce section.
You can go really authentic by searching for less common but authentic Asian mushrooms known as wood ear or cloud ear fungus. I am a little challenged where I live so I used baby bella mushrooms. Shiitake would also work well. If you are even more challenged than I am, use white button mushrooms, it will still turn out great and I don’t think anyone would really notice.
Sambal Olek is a hot chili paste common to Asian markets but is now found on American supermarket shelves.
The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Chinese Food for Chinese New Year
In the Chinese zodiac, 2021 is the year of the hardworking, honest ox! Food is a big part of Chinese New Year – it’s said to be the most important meal of the year in Chinese culture – and although every region and household has different customs, this special meal will usually include delicious spring rolls, dumplings, noodles, and much, much more. Want in on that? We put together this guide for a vegan Chinese New Year celebration that you can have at home.
Vegetarian meat can be traced back as far as the banquets of mediaeval Asia and the Tang dynasty, but here’s how you can veganise your Chinese New Year in 2021:
Off the Shelves
M&S Plant Kitchen has a must-try vegan version of a Chinese takeaway favourite. Its Sweet ’n’ Sour No-Chicken is the perfect vegan takeaway treat, made from pea-protein and with eggless fried rice. Pick it up at your local store for a great main dish at your New Year’s feast.
If you love a veggie spring roll, you’re in for a treat with Iceland’s No Duck Spring Rolls. Traditionally eaten on the first day of spring in Southern China, spring rolls are a popular dish that often feature in Chinese New Year celebrations. Yum.
You can grab vegan chow mein right off the shelf from Asda and have oodles of noodles in minutes! Chow Mein is a well-loved dish in China and around the globe, so if you’re thinking of adding it to your table this Chinese New Year, try Asda’s Plant Based Veggie Chow Mein.
Ready to Go
The beloved bao bun originates from China, but these cloud-like buns have been enjoyed across Asia for thousands of years. Itsu’s delicious steamed buns can be ready and on your plate in 60 seconds and are even marked with a little green dot so you know they’re vegan. Did you know bāo means treasure in Mandarin? You can go treasure hunting and find them in a supermarkets such as Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, and Ocado.
Linda McCartney has made it super easy to assemble vegan hoisin duck pancakes from your kitchen in just a couple of minutes. One of these kits gives you everything you need – from the vegan duck to the Chinese-style pancakes. Keep an eye out for these magical boxes in supermarkets such as Asda, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s.
We’re so, so excited about this brand and can’t wait for it to hit UK supermarkets! These handmade dumplings are filled with OmniPork and diced carrot. Loved in Northern China, dumplings are a must-have at Chinese New Year. Occasionally, a coin is placed in one of the dumplings, and whoever finds it in theirs will have great luck that year. Not if they choke, though, so be careful out there.
Do It Yourself
CRISPY CHILLI TOFU
BOSH! has an extensive range of recipes, including one for the perfect Chinese takeaway – Crispy Chilli Tofu. Made with orange juice and sweet chilli sauce, it will definitely leave you wanting seconds.
VEGAN CHINESE NOODLES
Jamie Oliver has created an easy, speedy, super-tasty vegan Chinese noodle recipe. Packed with mushrooms, spinach, courgette, chilli, and spring onion, you can serve up to four people at your Chinese New Year feast with this delightful dish.
KUNG PAO CAULIFLOWER WITH RICE
Co-op’s Kung Pao Cauliflower is a vibrant vegan take on Chinese Kung Pao chicken. This is an exciting main that you can make with simple ingredients from your local Co-op, or you can just make the cauliflower and have it as a delicious side dish.
BBC Good Food
You don’t need any extra equipment or hard-to-find ingredients for this simple BBC Good Food Vegetable Gyoza recipe. With easy step-by-step instructions, you can have 18 homemade vegen dumplings in 30 minutes. All you need is plain flour, cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, ginger, sesame seeds, and soya sauce. Get creative with your dumpling shapes and have fun making them as well as eating them!
GIANT SPRING ROLLS
If bite-sized spring rolls aren’t hitting the spot for you, try Katy Beskow’s Giant Spring Rolls. This recipe is from her 15 Minute Vegan on a Budget cookbook, so it’s quick and easy. The recipe calls for tortilla wraps to hold all the veggie goodness together, making the ingredients easy to find.
SALT & PEPPER TOFU
The Hungry Gecko
The Hungry Gecko has created a perfect dish for your banquet. This Salt & Pepper Tofu recipe is fresh and crunchy with a good kick of chilli heat. Another easy dish that can be ready to serve two to three people in just 15 minutes.
About CHEF ONE - Chinese dumplings
Explore Cultures All Over the World In One Bite.
Taking inspiration from different cultures around the world, Chef One has been New York’s staple provider of Chinese dumplings, egg rolls, and spring rolls since 1999. Focusing on high quality and exceptional taste, the Chef One team works continuously to develop and curate a perfect blend of authentic Asian recipes through fresh ingredients and delicious flavor. In just a few years, we became a leading Chinese food distributor, with our products featured in restaurants all over New York City.
Taking our love of dumplings to the next level, Chef One founded National Dumpling Day and the NYC Dumpling Festival in 2009, with all proceeds benefiting Food Bank for New York City. The festival serves as a celebration of all things dumpling, from its rich origin dating back 1000 years to the many variations of dumplings around the world. Along with its popular Dumpling Eating Contest, the festival has attracted thousands of dumpling lovers and has raised over $250,000 for charity.
Today, Chef One’s production continues to expand to meet the growing needs of our business, restaurant, and consumer clients. Armed with greater resources, our Asian food wholesale is now available throughout the US and internationally.
Chef One’s founding principle speaks to EVERYONE: the bustling restaurant, the high-volume food service business, and the individual preparing meals for the family. Our exciting flavors and easy preparation brings out the chef in everyone!
When we first began perfecting our dumplings and rolls, we knew how imperative it was to develop authentic flavors. But, how can a chef create that sense of authenticity in their own dishes? We answered that question by developing all our recipes through a fusion of cultural spices, seasonings, and ingredients. Chefs tell stories through their dishes, so we want to give everyone who buys our cuisine the chance to share and create their own story.
Today, Chef One has not only become one of the most well-known frozen food suppliers for restaurants, but an industry trusted name offering only the best Asian wholesale food.
K-pop boy band BTS faces boycott calls in China over Korean War comment
SEOUL — Last year, it was the NBA. Last week, it was India. And this week, China aimed nationalistic anger at the massively popular South Korean boy band BTS.
Some in China are calling for a boycott of BTS, after one of the band’s singers paid tribute to U.S. and South Korean troops who fought in the Korean War. The conflict is officially remembered in China as a war of American aggression in which Chinese troops died defending their North Korean socialist brothers.
The offending remark was made by BTS member Kim Nam-joon — better known by the stage name RM, or Rap Monster — in a recent acceptance speech for an award from the Korea Society, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization.
“We need to always remember the history of pain shared by the two nations, and sacrifices of many men and women,” he said, referring to the United States and South Korea.
The comment hit a nerve with some in China, coming as the country holds nationwide memorials this month for the 70th anniversary of its entry into the Korean War. From 1950 to 1953, China and North Korea fought South Korea, the United States and their allies to a stalemate.
“Chinese fans give you so much money each year, and you turn around and give it to the United States,” one Weibo user wrote. “What are Chinese fans then?”
Another wrote, “Nearly 200,000 Chinese troops died in the war. Every Chinese person must remember this number.”
What followed was the latest example of the pressure on global brands to toe China’s political line.
Samsung Electronics pulled a BTS-branded purple smartphone and ear buds from its official stores and other e-commerce platforms in China. South Korean auto giant Hyundai Motor removed advertisements featuring BTS from its Chinese social media outlets. Spokespeople for Samsung and Hyundai declined to comment on Tuesday, as did Big Hit Entertainment, BTS’s management label.
Suddenly, BTS had joined a long list of brands including Versace, Gap and Marriott that have triggered consumer blowback in China after — in the words of state mouthpieces — hurting the feelings of the Chinese people.
The kerfuffle sparked a media frenzy in South Korea, where BTS’s members are beloved K-pop heroes. A front-page headline in the mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo newspaper on Tuesday read: “China is censoring even BTS’ award acceptance speech.” The paper voiced concerns about Chinese fans’ BTS boycott as a deja vu of economic fallout from a missile-defense dispute in 2017.
Vegan brand Vevan Foods made its retail debut at natural food chain Sprouts this month with a line developed by traditional artisan cheesemakers to closely mimic dairy in texture and taste. Its inaugural launch at all 300 U.S. Sprouts locations includes shredded and sliced cheddar, mozzarella, and pepper jack — all made from plants — as well a collection of snacking cheese cubes paired with dried fruit and roasted nuts. The brand, a subsidiary of Wisconsin-based dairy brand Shuman Cheese, initially rolled out to foodservice locations in February 2020.
U.K. vegan meat brand VBites will expand into Spinneys — a supermarket chain with locations across the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Lebanon, Oman and Pakistan — and Waitrose supermarkets in Dubai this year. Spinneys is also running a special promotion to highlight plant-based products through Feb. 14, with available brands including Beyond Meat, Meatless Farm, Quorn and Violife.
Meanwhile, UAE-based Halal brand Al Islami launched its first vegan burger in January, the first of several plant-based frozen food launches it's planning for 2021. The brand's heat of marketing says his team believes "the plant-based food trend is here to stay."
Featured image courtesy of Impossible FoodsMary Mazzoni
Mary Mazzoni is the senior editor of TriplePundit. She is also the co-host of 3BL Forum: Brands Taking Stands LIVE! and the producer of 3p’s sponsored editorial series. She is based in Philadelphia and loves to travel, spend time outdoors and experiment with vegetarian recipes in the kitchen. Along with TriplePundit, her recent work can be found in Conscious Company and VICE’s Motherboard.