Monthly Archives: March 2011

The well-fed poor man: Spaghetti with fried eggs

I stumbled upon a “minimalist” pasta recipe on NYTimes a few months ago, tried it, and was immediately hooked. It is essentially a healthier version of carbonara, but even without any meat or dairy, this dish is surprisingly rich. Although it’s supposedly known as “poor man’s spaghetti”, we tend to think of this dish as a treat, partly because it uses a fair bit of oil, and partly just because it’s so damn good it feels wrong.

I’ve always loved cream-based pasta (mmm fettucini alfredo) but have tried to avoid it ever since I realized how fattening it is. So I was happy to find such a simple recipe that gave me that creamy-pasta fix without any cream or butter or cheese. It can’t be mistaken for the “real thing”, that’s for sure, but this leaves me feeling full and light rather than full and heavy.

Here’s my modified, somewhat healthier take on the recipe posted by Mark Bittman, though I’m sure his is delicious as is. My version uses less oil, more garlic (without wasting it!), and adds a couple servings of vegetables for a well-balanced meal/so I don’t have to eat a salad on the side.


Spaghetti with fried eggs

1/2 pound spaghetti (whole-wheat if you like)
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 head garlic, lightly smashed and peeled
4 eggs
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetables of your choice, diced (I like broccoli, onion, green pepper, tomato, carrots)
Various seasonings

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Begin the next step, and start cooking the pasta (and carrots, if used) when the water boils.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in pan; cook vegetables and season. Transfer from pan to serving dish.
3. Combine garlic and 4 tablespoons of the oil over medium-low heat. Cook the garlic, pressing it into the oil occasionally to release its flavor; it should barely color on both sides. Transfer the garlic to the dish of cooked vegetables or use in garlic bread.
5. Fry the eggs gently in the oil, until the whites are just about set and the yolks still quite runny. Drain the pasta, and toss with the eggs and oil, breaking up the whites as you do. If the pasta has been sitting for a while, keep the heat while doing this. Season to taste, and serve immediately with vegetables either mixed in or as a side.

There are lots of other “poor man’s pasta” recipes online but a lot of them ask for bacon or cheese, based on the assumption that you’d have them lying around in the pantry or freezer. That’s kinda bougie if you ask me.

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Getaway extended: Taco night

I’d picked up some avocados and corn tortillas on my way home on Thursday, so for dinner last Friday we made another stab at what I would classify as Mexican food… namely tacos and salsa.


(That’s Sean’s plate with all the cheese.)

The stuff cradled inside the avocado is my attempt at pico de gallo, a mixture of tomato, cucumber, red onion, garlic, and cilantro. Once again, the tomato was a bit mushy (why is it so hard to find firm, crisp tomatoes here?!), but the garlic, cilantro, and onion pepped it back up, and the cucumber provided the crunch.

The tacos, bursting with flavour and colour, were a messy but yummy affair.

Most of the tortillas quite literally burst, though, even before we got our hands on them. I’d been looking around online for advice on how to reheat frozen corn tortillas, and a couple people advocated putting them in a steamer (or microwave) wrapped in a “clean kitchen towel”. Uh, we do have 3 or 4 kitchen hand towels in rotation but none of them can be considered clean in the sense that I’d wrap/cook my food in it — the washed ones have been collecting dust on a shelf.

So we used paper towels, wrapping 4 or 5 around a dozen thawed tortillas. I put the steamer basket with the tortillas in the rice cooker, brought the water to a boil, then after a minute pulled the plug and waited another 15. Maybe half of them came out intact, but a bunch of them had developed rips and we suspect a few disintegrated entirely, as we definitely didn’t end up with twelve tacos. They were warm and soft, though, so we were willing to make do.

Since we had filling left for a second round, we microwaved our next batch with dampened paper towels to see if they would fare any better. They came out worse, like cardboard. Thankfully, the tasty vegetables were able to save them from the garbage can.

I’m not sure how I feel about corn tortillas. Sure, they’re more “authentic” — and healthful — than the flour variety, but the flavour and texture, at least of these ones, were a bit lacking. I’m sure it has to do with them being pre-frozen and made in China and reheated incorrectly though. I’ll consider investing in a brand new kitchen towel for our next endeavour.

Oh, and I’m making burritos after I get my hands on some more flour tortillas! At least I can reheat those on a pan. (Yes, I’m totally trying to make up for lost Mexican food time. And yes, I know burritos aren’t “really” Mexican, according to some people. But I don’t really care :)



Taco filling
Vegetables of your choice, diced (I used garlic, onion, yellow squash, zucchini, tomato)
1 can red kidney beans (or other bean of your choice), drained and rinsed
Salt, paprika, cumin, basil (or spices/herbs of your choice)
Bit of cilantro, chopped
Olive oil

1. Heat a bit of oil in pan. Cook onion and garlic first for a few minutes, then add other vegetables (we’ll count tomato as a vegetable) and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Add beans, seasonings, cilantro. Be liberal with the seasonings.
3. Serve with salsa, avocado, sour cream if you can afford it, and properly reheated tortillas.
4. Forgive me for the wishy-washy recipe. I didn’t really follow a recipe, and there are a million ways to do this, so have fun making up your own! :)


Where to find…

  • Corn tortillas (frozen): Avocado Lady (274 Wulumuqi Lu), 28 RMB/~3 dozen
  • Cilantro: any vegetable market and probably supermarket, 1 RMB/lots
  • Red kidney beans (canned, local product): Parkson Supermarket (100 Zunyi Lu near Xianxia Lu), 5 RMB/can

  • Relevant resources:

  • The pico de gallo recipe I used, with some modifications (took out peppers, put in cucumber; lemon juice instead of lime, but only because they don’t stock limes in the fruit store)
  • Reheating corn tortillas; reheating corn tortillas

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    Lab-grown meat? Why not try less meat?

    A China Daily article (well, podcast transcription, whatever) from February titled Artificial Meat May Answer Food Crisis, which I only recently discovered, left a foul taste in my mouth. Apparently scientists are now researching “in-vitro meat technology” as a solution to the food crisis, which will enable them essentially to grow meat in labs, freeing up valuable land (hopefully to grow other things… but probably to build luxury condos, at least in China).

    While the concept of growing meat (as opposed to growing animals) is still at the research stage, and it may be a while before we see the meat section overtaken by “lab-grown lamb loin” and “petri-dish pate”, just the idea that a bunch of smart people believe we will (have to) settle for artificially grown meat just because we NEED to eat meat is disturbing to me.

    There is also a “yuck factor” to overcome when people know that meat is grown in a lab, although other foods like yogurt have been cultured for years.

    “One of the biggest things that people enjoy as a comfort thing is food,” said Sam Bowen, a bar manager in Columbia, South Carolina.

    “And until people grow up with the idea of artificial meat, it’s going to be hard to convince people otherwise.”

    I do love my beef brisket and char siu and smoked salmon and honey garlic chicken wings and… I could go on, but this is because I grew up eating these things and finding comfort in them. It reminds me of childhood, of family, tradition. But now that I’m starting to realize what a drastic effect meat eating around the world is having on, well, the world, I can make a conscious effect to at least reduce the amount I eat. And have my future children grow up not with the “idea of artificial meat”, but rather the idea that plants can be yummy, and that meat is a treat and — like processed junk food — isn’t really necessary at all, at least in the quantities we consume.

    I’m not saying everyone needs to go vegetarian — I myself am not prepared to give up meat entirely for the rest of my life — but why not try to be more aware that meat doesn’t need to be present at every meal, for example? Or even every other meal? The Meatless Monday movement is a good start, and for people who make most of their meals at home, it can be easy or even fun to find other ways to put protein on their plate. I think the point is to shift the way we think about meat, from something we take for granted to something we have to make a conscious decision to consume, whether we are cooking at home or ordering at a restaurant. We’d need some help from restaurants, though, which aren’t going to want to change until/unless demand changes.

    You can call me hypocritical: I still eat some dairy products and believe my life would be incomplete without eggs. For now, for me, the line is drawn there. And yet I have a happily, healthily vegan friend; how does she do it? I guess it comes down to how much each of us wants to contribute, to give up — to contribute by giving up. And it’s okay to keep some of our traditions and habits as long as we’re continually introducing new, environmentally- (and health-)friendly ones. While we can claim “but this is our culture!”, we must also accept, and even promote, the fact that culture evolves. The question, as the article suggests, is whether we want a food culture of more vegetables or of in-vitro meat.

    Consumption of all kinds is a mark of one’s standard of living, and we are loath to give up the variety in food we have come to acquire through decades, centuries of hard work. As China has been growing increasingly wealthy, for example, its people are consuming more meat and a wider range of foods than ever. But what if we can find ways to be better to the environment — by eating, as Michael Pollan suggests, “mostly plants” — without sacrificing that VARIETY we crave? Even just the past few weeks of culinary exploration has revealed half a dozen plant foods I’d never before considered incorporating into my regular diet.

    Here’s another way to think about it: if we all eat less meat, we can all keep eating real meat.



    (As a side note, the New York Times seems to be going vegetarian — all of their “recipes for health” lately have been vegetarian (or even vegan?), and there was a mouth-watering article on the growing popularity and variety of veggie burgers in the US. I’ll put my support behind those creative veggie burger chefs long before I’ll start believing in lab-grown meat as the answer to our world’s food problems.)

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    The little flat bean II: Lentil curry

    After brunch on Wednesday, we went out to do some shopping in Xujiahui, stopping by Carrefour on our way home. I’d originally intended to make a quick stir-fry with lentils and vegetables, but it ended up becoming a lentil curry, which we ate with some freshly baked Xinjiang nang, for which I’ve briefly professed my love before. Looks like this:

    The soft boiled egg went delightfully with the mild curry — as eggs tend to do with almost everything it seems.

    It was freaking delicious, even if — as I realized in embarrassment the next day at work — maybe a bit of a fibre overload (hah, TMI?). May have to rethink portions/proportions on that one.

    Sean finished off the leftovers with brown rice for dinner the following night (and lunch the day after that) and was nice enough to take a picture for me:


    Lentil curry with chickpeas

    4 cups hot (drinkable) water
    1/2 pound dried green lentils, washed and inspected
    2 small carrots, diced
    1 head garlic, peeled and chopped up
    2 small (or 1 large) onions, diced
    2 green peppers, diced
    2 tomatoes, diced
    1 can chickpeas, washed and drained (replace with other vegetables if you can’t handle the fiber)

    1 tbsp curry powder (adjust according to preference)
    2 tsp cumin
    1 tsp paprika or chili powder
    2 tsp cornstarch
    Olive oil, as needed
    Salt & sugar to taste

    Eggs (1 per diner)
    Nang (1-1.5 per diner), or other carb if unavailable

    1. Put water and lentils in large pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook for 25 minutes.
    2. Add carrots into lentil pot — earlier if you like ’em soft, later if you like ’em harder. (I like mine as soft and bland as possible).
    2. Heat a bit of oil in pan on medium heat. Add garlic and onion, fry until lightly browned.
    3. Add peppers, chickpeas, and seasonings and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
    4. Add tomatoes, lentils, and carrots into pan. Pour in some of the nutritious lentil/carrot water.
    5. If sauce is too runny, mix cornstarch with a bit of cold/room temp water, and pour into pan. Mix thoroughly until sauce reaches desired consistency. Cook for about 10 more minutes.
    6. While curry is cooking, boil eggs in a small pot (put eggs and cold water in pot, bring to a boil, lower heat and cover for 5-10 minutes depending on desired consistency of yolk).
    7. Serve hot with nang.

    Prep time: ~40 minutes
    Makes 4 servings.


    Where to find…

  • The best nang in Shanghai: outside a small Xinjiang restaurant called 新疆风味 (I think) on 51 Maotai Road (茅台路), between Loushanguan Road (娄山关路) and Zunyi Road (遵义路) in Puxi, 3 RMB each.
  • Dried lentils: City Shop, 14 RMB/454g bag.
  • Canned chickpeas: Carrefour, 6 RMB/can.


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    Mid-week brunch

    Since I accrue a generous 1.75 days of vacation a month, I was “forced” to take a day off before the end of March, which also happens to be the end of the fiscal year. My boss sort of just decided that I’d take it on Wednesday, which was perfect since Sean also didn’t have work that day. So we made brunch, using up all the produce we had lying around:

    Sean usually lets me do my thing in the kitchen, but that morning he joined me and it was fun.

    Chives & eggs (韭菜炒蛋):

    Basically an omelet using the fragrant/pungent Chinese chive. Normally a dish served with rice, we decided this could also be a breakfast food.

    Blueberry-banana-pear smoothie:

    Smoothies are Sean’s specialty. He’s been drinking them almost daily, even in the dead of winter, ever since we bought a blender back in 2009. It’s simple, refreshing, and, as he likes to say, a quick and delicious way to get in multiple servings of fruit. Our 99rmb blender has withstood the abuse pretty well.

    Home fries:

    We don’t eat potatoes as much as we’d like, because it’s a bit of a pain to cook (wash-peel-cut-boil-fry), but we lurve our homefries! We didn’t have onions so we threw in a bit of extra chives for flavour. We also accidentally left the potatoes in the pot too long so they got mushy, but the two of us still gobbled up all six potatoes.


    Chives and eggs

    A handful of Chinese chives (I don’t weigh my food, sorry. A good measure would be as much as you can wrap your fingers around with leaves extended)
    4 eggs
    1/2 tbsp milk
    1 tbsp olive oil
    1 tsp cornstarch
    1 tsp salt

    We used a variation of this Chinese recipe.

    1. Wash chives thoroughly, removing any bits that are brown or yellow. Chop into 5cm lengths.
    2. Heat oil in pan, throw in chives and add cornstarch. Fry for about a minute.
    3. Beat eggs and milk in bowl.
    4. Arrange chives in pan into a thin flat layer. Pour eggs evenly into pan, add salt, and let cook for about a minute.
    5. When bottom of egg begins to solidify, flip the mixture (cut it into 3 pieces with spatula first if need be), pressing lightly on egg to force water out.
    6. Continue flipping until both sides are cooked and water has evaporated.


    Fruit Smoothie

    1 cup milk
    2 ripe bananas, peeled and broken into quarters
    1 pear, peeled and cut into medium-sized pieces
    A handful of blueberries (or strawberries), washed

    1/2 cup sweetened yogurt (optional)
    Ice cubes (optional)
    Honey (optional, if fruit isn’t ripe/sweet)

    1. Put fruit and milk (and optional ingredients) in blender.
    2. Blend for one minute (longer if you use ice), or until smooth.
    3. Drink immediately. (You won’t be able to resist anyway!)
    4. Adjust proportions to your preference.

    Makes 2 large glasses.

    You can pretty much use whatever fruit you like in addition to bananas. We prefer berries, (Asian) pears, peaches, and mangoes, whenever they are in season. (We’ve noticed that a lot of fruits only appear in fruit stores at certain times of the year. Thankfully bananas seem to always be in season!)


    Home fries

    4-6 potatoes, peeled and diced
    1 onion (or green onion or chives), peeled and cut
    1 green pepper, peeled and cut
    Olive oil
    2 tsp black pepper
    2 tsp salt
    1 tsp other spices (paprika/chili flakes/basil/dill/cumin/etc.)

    2 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
    Ketchup

    1. Boil a few cups of water in large pot. Add potatoes, bring to a boil, and cook for another 5-10 minutes, depending on size of potato pieces.
    2. Heat 1 tsp of oil in pan, put onion in and fry for 2 minutes.
    3. Add green pepper and fry for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
    4. When potatoes are almost cooked (before they turn mushy!), turn off heat and drain. Throw them back in pot and add salt, pepper, spices, 1 tbsp olive oil. Toss until evenly coated.
    5. Heat 1 tbsp oil in pan, add potatoes. Move them around every 30 seconds until sides are browned. (If not using non-stick pan, flip them more frequently so they don’t burn!) Add more oil if necessary.
    6. When potatoes are sufficiently browned, pour onion and pepper mixture back into pan. Remove from heat when potatoes are fully cooked.
    7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with ketchup.

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    Weekend getaway II: Quesadillas

    Sean has a break on Sunday afternoons so he usually comes home for lunch. He bought some cheddar cheese on his way back last Sunday and we made quesadillas using leftover chili. I’d been craving a quesadilla since the New York Times did a column on it.

    Wanting to make this as healthy as possible, we were careful with the cheese and liberal with the filling…

    …which made it too watery and messy to eat politely.

    Much tidier omelet-style.

    Unfortunately, even with the conscious rationing of cheese, it (I suspect) still made me break out a day or two afterwards, so this won’t be done again for a while :'(


    Relevant resources:
    This is the recipe I started with, which is kinda messy
    This is the method I switched to

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    Weekend getaway I: Black Bean Chili

    It’s been an exciting week. Even as I settled into the routine of work, we managed to sneak in a weekend getaway… to Mexico! Well, maybe closer to Texas or CA, but somewhere in that general idea. I explored a few new foods and new possibilities that I’d never considered affordable, like quesadillas, which might be mundane for some people cooking in North America but is kind of a huge deal over here. Tortillas? Avocados? They’ll add up quick, and you might as well go out for an overpriced meal at a mediocre-but-trendy “Mexican” restaurant. (There is an affordable burrito place near my office that I’ve been meaning to check out, though!)

    But I found a few of those elusive ingredients at the Avocado Lady, and realized it was possible to venture beyond the 10 or so veggies that feature in our stir-fry rotation (eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, garlic, onion, green pepper, carrot, potato, tomato [not a vegetable but whatever]). Having educated myself on the benefits of beans and prompted by a recipe my sister e-mailed over, I decided to make black bean chili for dinner last Saturday. I’ve probably had chili about once in my life, and it hadn’t been a very memorable experience, but it seemed like a practical way to make something of 300g of dried black beans.

    I put them to soak in the morning. A couple hours later they started looking like pill bugs, ughh.

    We prefaced the meal, which ended up not being ready til 9pm, with a mozzarella-tomato-basil appetizer which I’ve always loved but never felt “western” enough to make. Unfortunately, the tomato I used was a bit overripe, making the whole thing mushier than it should be; also, I realized how hard it is to slice mozzarella. Excusing the crappy presentation, the combination of flavours, especially the bit of salt that brought out the sweetness of the tomato, was still fantastic.

    As we continued to wait for the beans — which I’d forgotten need 2 hours to cook — to be ready, we dug into the ripe Mexican avocado that I’d gotten at the same store (10 RMB). Sean spread his half on toast but I ate mine right off the spoon with a bit of salt (I know I’d said we were conserving, but sometimes there’s no alternative!). I don’t remember the last time I was able to take such liberties with an avocado. It’s always so stingily laid out inside overpriced “gourmet” sandwiches.

    With about 20 minutes left on the beans, I started getting to work on the chili. I set diced carrots to boil in clean water, chopped up garlic, onion, tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, and green pepper, and fried them (minus the tomatoes) in some olive oil.

    When the beans and carrots (in separate pots) were done, I drained them and put them back in the large pot along with the tomatoes, vegetables, and a bunch of spices (red chili powder, basil, cumin, paprika, dill, black pepper, salt). Also poured most of the water I’d saved from boiling the beans/carrots, and simmered for half an hour.

    I’d bought a pack of frozen tortillas (10RMB for 12) so I thawed a bunch and reheated them one at a time on a non-stick pan on low heat, flipping every 20 seconds or so.

    The chili ended up looking more like soup than my idea of chili, but I ladled it into our bowls with a slotted spatula so the water drained back into the pot. It was colourful, hearty, and warming, and delightful wrapped in soft tortilla.

    The best part: after stuffing ourselves, we had a giant bowl of the stuff left over! We rarely have leftovers, so that was exciting.




    This is the recipe I used (thanks Florence!), with modifications in parentheses:


    Black bean and vegetable chili

    1 cup dried black beans, rinsed (~1.5 cups)
    3 tbsp olive oil
    2 cloves garlic, minced (1 whole head)
    2 stalks celery, sliced (skipped, yuck)
    2 large carrots, diced
    1 cup each diced zucchini, onions, mushrooms, bell pepper (1 yellow squash, 1 zucchini, 1 large red onion, 2 green peppers)
    1 can tomatoes, chopped (3 fresh tomatoes)
    1 1/2 cup water or vegetable stock (water from boiling carrots & beans)
    1/2 chopped parsley (skipped)
    1 tbsp chili powder
    1 tsp each dried basil and oregano
    1 tsp each salt and ground cumin
    1/2 tsp pepper
    (I at least doubled all of the spices coz it turned out to be a huge pot)

    – Cook black beans (or used canned). Drain.
    – In large pot (or saucepan), heat oil over medium heat. Add all vegetables, stir for about 7 min or until softened.
    – Add beans, tomatoes, water, spices. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 30 min or until cooked.


    Where to find…

  • Dried black beans (organic): City Shop, ~18 RMB/330g [Edit: Trust Mart, 10.80 RMB/350g]
  • Fresh mozzarella: Avocado Lady, 17 RMB/100g
  • Avocado: Avocado Lady, 10 RMB each
  • Flour tortillas (frozen): Avocado Lady, 10 RMB/pack of 12
  • Yellow squash/zucchini: Avocado Lady, ~4.5 RMB each
  • Basil, paprika: Carrefour, 13-14 RMB/jar

  • Relevant resources:

  • How to cook black beans
  • Mozzarella-tomato-basil appetizer


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    Will pedal for (good) food

    Today was grey and drizzly but I still managed to get about an hour of biking in (5th day in a row, yay!) in a quest for yummy edibles.

    I set out first to find some 枣糕, a cake made with dates whose moist, spongy texture, at once fluffy and dense, makes it a winning substitute for even-harder-to-find banana bread. Not to mention it also tastes healthier coz of the dates, heh. I’d fallen in love with it about a year ago but hadn’t had it in months, since the shop at the intersection of Yuyuan and Zhenping (super convenient as it’s on my bike route 90% of the time) was transformed into yet another duck neck shop, 绝味, a couple weeks ago.

    I still haven’t figured out why duck neck is soooo popular here, maybe coz I’ve never managed to muster up the appetite for it, but REALLY?! The date cake shop (a chain called 枣糕王) always had a line of people waiting for the next freshly baked batch: they couldn’t even make ’em fast enough. How could’ve they have lost out to this stupid duck neck chain??

    Needless to say, I’d been devastated, especially as this closure came with a slew of other ones: my go-to shaved ice cafe, go-to massage place, go-to cheap delivery (Lanzhou Lamian—it’s under renovation now so hopefully it’ll be reincarnated as the exact same thing. Not gonna bet on it though). So today I finally looked online (dianping.com) for other shops in the chain. I scribbled down the two closest addresses and off I pedaled.

    There was no sign of date cakes anywhere along the street of the first one. Disappointed and hungry (it was lunchtime), I set off on my second quest of the day, planning to hit up the other address on my way home.

    Destination number two was Tsui Wah, the Hong Kong chain that’d made its way up to Shanghai. I’d come here a few weeks ago with some friends and bought a pineapple bun for the ride home, and have been craving it ever since. I suspect anyone growing up in HK or in a HK family will have developed a certain snottiness as regards their borlor and other baos, and will prob agree that Shanghai is hugely lacking in that department. The one at Tsui Wah, though, is good. Really good.

    The bun was warm, mildly sweet, chewy, and bouncy, and the sweet crust had the requisite crunch, which is where—along with over-dryness or -oiliness—most wannabes fail.

    I also got a cocktail bun, which was decent except for a bit of a cardboard texture on the bun’s outer edges. Either way, miles ahead of Shanghai buns, although maybe it’s just that we favour what we’re used to :)

    My third mission was to find the Avocado Lady at on Wulumuqi Road, widely known among and loved by expats in the city for selling a variety of “western” products both packaged and fresh—including avocados!—at lower-than-supermarket prices. I’d read lots about her shop but since it’s a bit out of the way on my usual shopping route, never ventured over til today.

    What began as a vegetable shop has become the destination for westerners looking for quality, reasonably priced ingredients from home. I won’t say much about it since many others have (just google “avocado lady”), except that it was especially heart-warming to see piles of yellow and green squash and fresh herbs. Although the prices weren’t displayed, both salesladies were friendly and helpful, and I left the shop 75 RMB lighter but carrying a heavy bag of goodies for my black bean chili and tomato/mozzarella/basil (just for the hell of it) tonight.

    Which is when I saw… a DATE CAKE SHOP. Right next to the Avocado Lady. Well, technically it called itself a 老婆饼 (“wife cake”) shop—which is probably why I didn’t see it online—but the date cake was all I cared about. This place didn’t seem half as popular as the one on Yuyuan, since there was almost a full sheet just sitting there, but that was just fine with me.

    10 RMB got me one 斤 (basically a pound) in a plastic baggy.

    Ten seconds in the microwave will bring back its freshly baked warmth and bounce, and it goes down fantastically with a cup of tea.




    Where to find…

  • Hong Kong buns: Tsui Wah, 291 Fumin Lu (富民路291号) near Changle Lu, 6 RMB and up
  • Avocado Lady: 274 Wulumuqi Lu (乌鲁木齐路274号) near Wuyuan Lu
  • Date cake: right next to the Avocado Lady, 9.8 RMB/jin. Other shops scattered around SH.
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