Last info & Time to say goodbye

Time passes so fast, doesn’t it? I still remember the day I published my first post in January, and that was an extremely nervous moment for me. But now, the May is coming soon, and everything seems much easier for me.

After a four months sharing, I really hope that you gained something special about East Asian foods, or something makes you feel happy from my blog, cause this is the main goal that I’ve set up for myself at the very beginning.

Today, before we say goodbye to each other, I have my last information for you and hope it can bring more happiness to your summer time.


– TASTE of Tippecanoe –

TASTE of Tippecanoe is coming soon on June 17th, 2017. Not like its name, this event is never limited in foods but more entertainment things to help improve the diversity of residents life among Tippecanoe County. It’s a good time to enjoy music, food & drink, live art, and fireworks in the same day.

As described in the event calendar of Lafayette, the event contains features live music on multiple stages, food booths by local restaurants, fireworks, children’ s activity area and beer and wine gardens.

Time and location:

From 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m.

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Downtown on 2nd, 3rd, 4th and Main and Ferry Streets. James F. Riehle Depot Plaza, John Myers Pedestrian Bridge, and West Lafayette Tapawingo Park. (They haven’t made their new map yet, so I put an old version one above)

Information about the food and drink:

All food and beverage vendors accept tickets only.
Tickets are $1 each. No ticket refunds.
Ticket sales start at 4:00 p.m., and end at 11:30 p.m. (on July 17th)

The event also sales alcoholic beverages (21 and Over, must provide ID)

For more information about other events in TASTE of Tippecanoe, you can visit their official website at tasteoftippecanoe.org

I think it’s a nice event for those who live in Tippecanoe and also the students who will stay here for summer courses at Purdue. I’ve tried some restaurants here around Tippecanoe with my friends these two years, and most of them are in a very good taste and full of unique characteristics, which you may give yourself a chance to try them during the event. The TASTE of Tippecanoe can be a good opportunity for you if you haven’t tried many foods from various cultures, or even from different areas around America.


Yesterday I saw an advertisement on Youtube. It was a short story of a chef from Europe who was traveling in Japan to find new tastes for his own dishes. And one phrase has left me a deep impression was that: the most beautiful thing to the chef was diversity. In fact, it should be a common belief for everyone who loves foods. So I think I should share it with you guys in my last post.

Although it’s time to say goodbye to the “Taste of East Asia,” but your pace of tasting different kinds of foods around the world should never stop. Food brings us friendship, brings us broad vision, also brings us inclusiveness and understanding. Enjoying the food is also the way you enjoy your life. Hope to see you again maybe at a small restaurant in America, in France, in China, or anywhere else around the world.

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Thank you so much for sharing your comments and time with me!timg

This ingredient cannot pass the border check?

A few days ago, a Chinese woman was bringing some packs of monosodium glutamate (MSG) when she went back to American. However, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) indicated that those MSG were refused to enter the country and would be confiscated.

Why does this normal ingredient cannot pass the border check? Translation problem.

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The MSG brought by the woman was called “Ji Jing” (鸡精) in China, translated as Chicken Monosodium Glutamate. The reason given by the USCBP was that it had to be treated as an animal product and shall not pass the border check because there was a “chicken” in the name. However, Ji jing is just a kind of MSG contains a much stronger chicken flavor because of the high level of nucleotides inside. It has nothing to do with those live chickens which have wings on their body. Chinese people love using it because it will add more delicious chicken flavor to the dish. My parents will use it sometimes when they cook soup.

This news was quite popular in China these days because of its interesting reason. Actually, it was not the first time that translation problem brought misunderstanding among people. Lots of comments under this news showed many interesting stories like this. Such as the “Herbal Turtle Jelly,” another a bit confused translation.

Herbal turtle jelly is called Guilinggao (龟苓膏) in Chinese. “龟” means turtle; “苓” is the abbreviation of a Chinese herb used in Guilinggao; “膏” has a meaning of jelly, but jelly is not perfectly matched with the Chinese meaning. It used to be a very precious Chinese medicine supplied for imperial family.

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The most traditional Guilinggao is a mixture of a bit powdered turtle shell and amounts of medicinal herbs, such as the wolfiporia extensa (土茯苓), dried rhizome of rehmannia (地黄), and so on. However, due to the high cost of turtle shell and animal protection issues, most of the Guilinggao today are made by the herb powder and some additives that have the similar taste with the traditional one. Although the ingredients are changed, most of the companies retained the traditional name Guilinggao to show the authenticity of their products.

According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guilinggao is a kind of medicinal dessert with some medical effects, including relieve the extra heat (therefore, lots of people will eat it in summer), eliminating wetness, enhancing blood circulation and the growth of muscles, easing constipation,preserving a good look and refreshing oneself, etc. Although it’s considered as a dessert, Guilinggao is not sweet at all. The best and the most simple way to make it more delicious it to add honey on top.

(Chicken MSG sales in lots of Asian markets, such as Better World Market in West Lafayette. Since some people may still have problems on accepting the ingredients of the turtle jelly, so I will not put any specific link or info of the market here. If you are interested in Herbal turtle jelly, you can find them online or at some local markets.)

42nd Annual Food Bazaar at Purdue

Spring always couples with positive words, somehow, so does food.

April 8th, a warm sunny Saturday with a gentle breeze. I went to the 42nd Annual Food Bazaar held by the International Center of West Lafayette (ICWL) at the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church with my friends.

We tried lots of delicious and special foods not only from East Asia, but from more different countries around the world. Such as the kimchi pancakes made by South Korea, the winter roll at Vietnam booth, the hazelnut torte from Switzerland, Taiwan braised pork with rice, rice pudding at Indian table, and so on. Although the foods were the main characters of the event, however, I got more than that. My friends and I also met some new friends there. We spent a long time sharing some fun cultural facts and our feelings of the foods. One of them gave me their food tickets as a gift when they left.

This experience actually reminds me a sentence said by one of my friends. She once told me that: “the stories and feelings behind the things always add more beautiful meanings to them.” Sometimes, people will focus more on food itself, such as its recipe, taste or price, rather than its inside. However, food could contain more than just food itself. With this idea, I made a simple short slideshow to share the joyousness, enthusiasm, and kindness carried by the food in this year’s food bazaar with you guys. Let’s start the journey:

If you are also affected by the warm and happy atmosphere of the food bazaar, don’t miss it next year in the early spring day. It always held at the same time as the Purdue Spring Fest. Remember to bring some cashes with you to buy the tickets ($1/ticket; the food price is from 1-4tickets).

Cuisine + New Media = One Click to Know the Food around World

Media is amazing, the more you use it, the more you can feel about it. I always believe in this idea and have never doubted it. Cooking video is a good example. Here I’m not talking about those fancy and super professional videos made by some famous chefs or restaurants. What I’m focusing on is the video made by the we-media (the general public who shares their own facts and news through medias). Personal interest is the starting point for most video producers rather than commercial interests. They will gradually expand their influence and get sponsorship funds through high-quality videos and friendly communication style.

New media has provided a fertile ground for the growth of cooking video, and it’s getting more and more popular these days everywhere around the world, so does it in China, Japan, and Korea. The low threshold of the new media has given countless amateurs (who may not have funds or stage) lots of equal opportunities to show their abilities and interests to a larger audience. Actually, this is not only a good thing for the video producers, but it also provides an excellent chance to help those who can’t visit other countries individually understand foreign cultures better.

Video, images, sounds, and native speakers are sometimes stronger than my monotonous narrative words. Therefore, today I will introduce some my favorite cooking video Youtubers who not only have unique personal styles, but also contain a lot of their own national cultural characteristics at the same time. And of course, based on my blog beat, they are all come from East Asia area.

Amanda Tastes (曼食慢语)

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Amanda’s video is based on culinary skills teaching and recipe sharing. The videos in her channel include traditional Chinese food and desserts, Japanese and Korean cuisine, Western bread desserts and dishes, food travel, and kitchen tools introduction. Her tutorial is simple, straightforward, very well-organized and has no nonsense. She will analyze each failure reasons for the viewers as well.

The founder, Amanda, is a Shanghai girl who is now living in England. She loves cooking and also enjoying learning new recipes from foreign cultures. Most of her videos have English subtitle which is really helpful for those who don’t know Chinese to learn the recipes. The quality of the video image is extremely high, the shooting and editing are also very good. However, the biggest weakness of Amanda’s video is the duration of the video. Since the content is too detailed, it barely possible for her to make quick tutorial videos.

Peaceful Cuisine

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Peaceful is not a purely cooking channel. The Youtuber, Ryoya Takashima, is from Japan. All of his cooking videos are vegetarian food (because he used to work as a vegan chef and is vegetarian himself). He will also share travel vlogs, DIY and pottery throwing on his channel. His cooking videos cover a wide range of cuisines, and he is very good at combining different foods in various culture to create new dishes. If use clothing fashion to describe Ryoya food style, it must be normcore style – unpretentious, normal-looking, like the sea breeze, although it is only simple wind, it can make people feel very comfortable and relaxed.

Peaceful Cuisine’s videos are almost around 6-10 minutes, which I think is quite appropriate for a cooking video. The decoration of Ryoya’s kitchen and the hue of the video are both perfectly matched with the channel’s name – peaceful. Watching him cook is already interesting enough if you do not want to learn those recipes.

Cooking Diary (日食记 )

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Cooking Diary is a very traditional East Asia type cooking channel. The reason I summarize it is because the founder only focuses on traditional East Asia food, which is good for those who interested in East Asia food culture to watch. The founder, Laodao Jiang, had adopted a stray cat (named 酥饼, pastry in English) when he first started to create his Cooking Diary series. The biggest highlight of his video is that he shows his living environment and his cat in the video, which built a comfortable living atmosphere that can resonate with many viewers. Except for cooking and enjoying the cuisine, it concentrates more on promoting a positive attitude to our own lives.

Cooking Diary is very popular among Chinese. If you have Chinese friends who use Weibo (kind of like Twitter), there are 80% of the possibilities that they will know about this channel. Although their primary platform is Weibo, they also have a well-operated Youtube channel, which made me feel surprised when I saw it on Youtube after I came to U.S. However, they have a huge problem of providing subtitle for their videos. Even the video has no voiceover and contains only a few words, it still hard for those who don’t speak Chinese to understand the ingredients they used. However, Jiang’s video has a great feeling like drinking a cup of hot coffee at night, its warm and feels like home.

Dumplings

After 2 years’ life in America, I notice that dumplings could be listed as one of the most popular Chinese foods around America. Because most of the people will mention it when they talk about Chinese food. I still remembered my first semester at Purdue. I was surprised that they served dumplings at some of the dinning courts. And the dumplings were always hard to get because once they came up, people will take all of them in ten minutes during the meal time.

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But have you ever thought about how does dumpling come to this world? You may think it is just a kind of food that people create long time ago. However, this explanation may match with lots of other foods, but not for dumplings.

8435e5dde71190ef6927cc69ce1b9d16fcfa60a3Dumplings have an extremely long history in Chinese culture. It was created by a famous doctor called Zhongjing Zhang in Eastern Han Dynasty (around 1,800 years ago). What does it mean that dumpling was created by a doctor? You may guess the answer – dumpling was not a kind of food at all when it was first created, but was a kind of medicine.

Dumpling formerly known as “Jiao Er” (娇耳) at the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty. According to the ancient records, lots of states were in wars at that time period. People were suffering from disease and hard to live because of poverty. Zhang was not only famous about his medical skills, but also well know about his equal treatment of the poor and the rich.

55b1OOOPIC19One year when he ended his official term and went back to his hometown, he saw lots of poor people suffered from hunger, and many of them even got frostbite on ears. Zhang decided to save his folks’ life and release their painfulness. So he asked his disciples to set up two big pots near the city gate. One pot was used to cook mutton, chili, and some medicine could cure cold and frostbite with water. After the foods were well cooked, he asked his disciples to take out the ingredients, wrap them with thin doughs, and then boil them in another pot. Each person who came for food and medicine would get two dumplings and a bowl of hot soup for free. Patients’ body and ears became warm after they had the dumplings and hot soup. The frostbite was soon cured.

Within nearly two thousand years after the Eastern Han Dynasty ended, the shape of dumplings has changed, and it has gradually become a real food but not medicine anymore. Chinese will eat it during winter solstice and lunar New Year. One explanation is that Zhang gave dumplings to the folks from the end of December till the new year day.

What Does Chinese University Dining Court Look Like?

Today, I will not write the general cultural knowledge that you might see somewhere else before. Instead, I’m gonna to introduce something more authentic and more closely related to Chinese young generation’s eating habit – what does Chinese university dining court look like?

I had studied in China Agricultural University (CAU) for 3 years before I transferred to Purdue. During that time, I preferred order food online rather than went to the dining court. Because the food can be delivered within 30 minutes. But if you meet the meal time, there will be tons of people in the dining court and you have to wait for a long time to get food. Some of those people are the students of our university, others may be the local residents or students from nearby schools. This is mainly because the food provided by CAU’s dining court is not only delicious, but also very cheap.

I have tried all four main dining courts when I still studied in CAU, and today I will use the Second Dining Court, the most popular one, as a representative.

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Most of the typical university dining courts in China are managed by the school, or contracted by small catering company. And most schools will receive the financial subsidy given by the government, therefore, the price of food is much more lower than the restaurants or any other dining institutions. One of my friend’s university is serving vegetable dishes at 2 yuan/plate (about $0.3) and meat dishes at 5 yuan/plate ($0.7). However, as the price is relatively low and some of the contractors or schools are lack of experiences and effective management, the taste of some dishes are not very good.

The Second Dining court is actually running by a professional catering company (this is also a popular business model used among university dining courts), which is selected through the market tender, rather than running by school itself or small companies. So it has a bit higher price, but also a much better quality of the dishes.

The Second Dining Court is separated into several areas: staple food area (rice, mantou, noodles and so on); meat area; vegetable area; fruit area; dessert and beverage area; soup and porridge area; and appetizer area. The dishes which are largely demanded by customers and more similar to the traditional university canteen foods will offered by the staffs behind the glass cabinets. Other featured dishes will be placed in the open area, and people are free to choose whatever they want because those dishes are served in small individual plates.

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If you have a bigger appetite as I do (I usually ate more than all my other friends when I was in CAU), the advantage of price will be immediately reflected. I often take two meat dishes, one vegetable, a small cake, a bowl of soup, and a plate of noodle (I love noodles). All those stuffs will cost me about only 25 yuan ($4). The outside restaurants near CAU, such as a Korean restaurant that I have ordered a lot, one Spicy Korean Beef with rise will cost me about 20 yuan ($3). So that you can understand why there are so many people having meals in the school’s dining court.

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Students and the university faculties can save money in their ID to pay for the meal. Other people who are not belonging to CAU can use cash instead. People have to take an orange plate at the entrance of the dining court and then take whatever they want at different food areas. The dining court offers 6 cashiers. The cashier will calculate the price by the types of dishes in the orange plate, which is quite simple. This method will also make it easier for you to control the amount and price according to your eating habit.

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I asked my friend Xi Li in China to help take all those nice photos of the Second Dining Court for me last Sunday. Hope those pictures and my post can bring some new and unique knowledge about Chinese food to you. Compared the Chinese dining court with the U.S. one, there are many differences as well as common points. I really like the dining courts at Purdue, and if you are planning to visit China one day, try China Agricultural University’s Second Dining Court in Beijing and it will be a very special journey for you.

Noodle & I

West Lafayette was in a great sunny and warm weather last Sunday. My friends and I were planning for a long time hoping to try the new restaurant called Noodle & I located just across from the Maru sushi restaurant.

Noodle & I contains different kinds of noodles, pho, vermicelli, and some appetizers. Its food types basically belong to East Asian and Southeast Asian specialties. Although they are trying to diversify the noodle types, the taste is not that traditional than the restaurants who are focusing on only one area’s noodles.

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This was the first time we actually came to visit the restaurant, therefore, their menu looked like a treasure map for us and we had no idea about which one was the best noodle here. So we followed our intuition and made our choices. Two of us ordered Korean type vermicelli, one was seafood, and the other was beef with fried egg. I had the Vietnamese Pho with beef. The last person of us ordered a Japanese Miso Ramen.

Over all, the taste of the noodles are good, especially the appetizers they provided for the noodles and pho. And Noodle & I has a very fast service. The noodles are also not expensive, which may be very appropriate for students. It locates at 111 N Chauncey Ave., not far away from the Chase bank. They also offers delivery service. You need to download Ricepo for ordering.