Tag Archives: shanghai

(Pork) Belly In My Belly

There’s some things I won’t ever understand. I don’t get people who roll toilet paper under, Asians who refuse to pronounce Shanghai correctly, girls who don’t wear heels (jk!), boys who complain instead of following their dreams, and eaters who take pictures of their food. But most of all, I don’t understand people who don’t like to cook.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like lighting my money on fire and I don’t like paying other people to wipe my butt. In unrelated news, I don’t like overpaying for what I can cook at home.

Sexy Cooking Time with M (part )
Red Braised Pork Bellies – Hong Shao Rou
This is a Shanghainese specialty. We men cook in Shanghai, among other things. Requires some tenderness, some patience, but most of all, requires lots of soy sauce.

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Yes, I cooked that. Yes, you can stay the night.

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Step 1:
Get some raw pork belly, but not the thin kind – you might have to brave the smell and go to Chinatown for this. Wash it and chop it up into cubes (better than I did) big enough that they can stand up on their own and still fit in your mouth individual. Save the jokes. Leave the fat. Yes, I know. Just trust.

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Step 2: I hope you bought some soy sauce in C-town, the dark kind. Douse your cubes until it gets covered 2/3 of the way up. Shanghainese people eat everything sweet, so make it authentic, mix in some sugar. To make it unauthentic, I prefer brown sugar.

How much? That’s the other beauty of Chinese cooking – there are no standard measurements, you do it by taste and experience. So just put enough to see it melt.

Let it sit for a few hours on one side with the fat and then overnight on the side with the meat. At the minimum, do 30 minutes each side.

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Step 3: Get your trusty wok and heat it up dry. If you want to be non-Asian you can add some oil, garlic, cloves if you want. But to do it right, just throw in the cubes in and toss around for a few minutes on high – the fat that you didn’t cut off should help here. Then turn it all the way down and pour in a new soy sauce, sugar mixture, cover maybe 1/2 of the way up. Cover the top and go do something else.

I’m not sure how long to cook it, I just check up on it every 10 minutes. Basically, the lower the heat, the longer you can cook it, the better it is. This is the time for your dining companion to contribute some concoctions of her own and you can add in some bamboo, tofu, eggs. Anything that tastes good when salty goes.

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Step 4: How do you know it’s done? It’s brown on the outside, it’s tender on the inside, your kitchen smells amazeballs, and it tastes like real meat but not too salty. Again, I kept it simple, but feel free to add embellishments – just add it a bit later in the process so it won’t soak up all the soy sauce-ness.

Finale: Look, like all things in life, there’s a short way to do this (just throw in more soy sauce to get taste salty) and a long way to do this (soak overnight). There’s a fancy way (pressure cooker?) and a cheap way (any frying pan will do). But either way, it’s relatively easy to prepare and clean up. You can pair it with veggies or with wine. Customize to your heart’s content. Best of all, there’s way too much meat for one person to eat, so invite someone over to eat your meat deliciousness with you.

And finally, if it’s good enough for Eddie Huang, it’s good enough for me:

Reflection and Food, Lots of Food

As the final winter break of my undergraduate career nears an end, (actually school started 3 days ago but I’m still bumming around at home), I can’t help but to look back at the last 8 years of my life in Shanghai, the greatest city in the world. Coming to Shanghai as a white-washed, narrow-minded 8th grader was no easy transition. The pushing and shoving on public transportation, the lack of hygiene, the pungent smell of public bathrooms, the hideous local girls, and the even the China man squat that I would later come to love and adore was all too much for me at first. Every day I could come up with a handful of different reasons as to why I wanted to go back to the States.

But as time went on, I found it harder to come up with reasons to leave Shanghai and easier to find reasons to stay. I had found a new home. A home that has met and exceeded any crazy expectations I’ve ever had. It’s no surprise now that when people ask me where I’m from, I say I’m from Shanghai, even though I’ve lived in America for longer.

I can go on and on about everything Shanghai has given me, but the one gift that stands above all  is that it has given me a truly global view of the world. My biggest fear coming to Shanghai was that I would miss out on all the experiences my friends back in the States were having and that I’d turn super chinky and fobby and I would forget English and start peeing on the streets (I was really cool in 8th grade). Shanghai has done the opposite for me. Going to an international school allowed me to meet people from all over the world and opened my eyes to all the different cultures, not limited to just American or Chinese, and it’s given me the knowledge and comfort to interact with individuals from various backgrounds. I couldn’t have asked for a better time and just want to thank everyone who has made this journey extremely memorable and worthwhile.

Now, to thank you for bearing with me and listening to my rant, here is a shit ton of food pictures to look at. It’s all the stuff I documented this past break. Includes food from Bali, Singapore, and Shanghai. Enjoy!

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