Shanghai Farewell Tour: Cooking with Gas

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The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor. ~Chinese Proverb

I am not a foodie: I consider dry Cheerios a good snack food. Maybe it is the result of years of believing that black coffee and cigarettes was the breakfast of champions, or maybe it’s because I have a palate made of plastic and titanium, whatever it is, food is not a primary concern of mine. But when travelling I do like to sample the local fare and one of the best ways to do so is to take a cooking class that combines local food and shopping at the market for the ingredients. In Shanghai, the go to place is Cook in Shanghai. Helen arranges 4 hour classes of 6 people; the classes start at the local wet market where you shop for ingredients and learn about Chinese vegetables, poultry, meats and seafood.

Ingredients fresh from the wet market.

Ingredients fresh from the wet market.

Our menu consisted of Baozi, fried egg and black fungus and Chinese spring rolls
After purchasing the ingredients we walked to the local apartment where we would prepare and consume our meal. (We walked past a group celebrating Eid al-Adha on the way to Helen’s apartment, but more on that later). Arriving at the apartment we changed into slippers, washed our hands and had a traditional Chinese tea ceremony before beginning food preparation. Following instructions from the chef we sliced, diced and minced the scallions, black fungus, ginger, garlic, pork, tofu and eggs and we kneaded dough and rolled rice paper into delicious buns and rolls. Once everything was cooked we feasted on great food, green tea and black rice wine.

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