Merchandise in the old towns of Dali and Lijiang, in Yunann Province, China, is colourful and tempting. Lijiang is a Unesco World Heritage site with an altitude of 2,500 meteres above sea level. It can get cold at night, even in summer. Both towns are popular with young Chinese travellers, particularly on the weekends, when they come to party and shop. The cobblestoned streets are closed to traffic, making the evening promenade a pleasant experience. An appealing travel challenge from Ailsa this week.
In My Kitchen this month I am listening to the music of Jiang Yang Zhuo Ma. I can’t start the day without her deep voiced Tibetan ballads stirring my spirit. With a cup of tea in hand, the first of many, I drift away and travel back through Szechuan Province in China. Then the kitchen business day begins.
In keeping with the Chinese theme, we have some very good Chinese tea, gifts from our dear friends in Chengdu. It tastes of Spring and flowers. The tea shops in China are surprisingly beautiful. Some teas cost a fortune.
On our road trip through the north of Szechuan Province, we visited a Szechuan pepper oil factory. Back in Melbourne, I immediately sourced a bottle ( sadly not from the same factory). Used like sesame oil, it provides a deep, peppery finish to MaPo Dofu or drizzled over stir fried wongbok cabbage, for example.
I have a slight obsession with these vintage floral tin plates from China. Produced during the period of the Cultural revolution ( 1970s), they have become quite rare. I use them as prep plates, or as trays to cart things outside, or to collect, then wash, greens from the garden.
I also have a big pile of these Chinese fish patterned bowls as I am sure many others do. They are economical and handy for one bowl meals.
I found this Chinese thermos in Labuan Bajo, Flores, Indonesia in the hardware store for $6.00. I had to buy it, even though it meant lugging it back to Sanur, Bali, before heading home to Australia. I fill it up in the morning and drink tea the Chinese way, topping up the same leaves.
I always keep a kitchen Buddha nearby to help with the day. My Chinese kitchen sits very comfortably within my Australian kitchen, alongside the Italian cuisine, when I’m not cooking Turkish. Thanks to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting the ‘In My Kitchen’ monthly, thus allowing me to expose my love of China. Visit Celia’s site and open the many links to worldwide kitchens.
After an enforced absence from posting due to internet censorship in China, with no access to Google, Gmail or WordPress, I re-visit my blog tentatively, my brain now wonderfully word slow but over stimulated with image and colour.
This week, Ailsa, from Where’s My Backpack, has chosen World Cups as the travel theme. With all the tea in China, beautiful cups are never far from sight.
The cups above graciously decorate a Tea House in Chengdu, Szechuan Province, China. The cups below wait for the return of Mao in a well preserved Tang dynsasty courtyard house in Langzhong, an ancient city in the north of Szechuan. Mao visited this particular courtyard house on the Long March. Mao memorabilia is now quite scarce in capitalistic China.