Entries Tagged as 'Food & Drink'

Manfulou, uno de los templos culinarios de Pekín

Manfulou, uno de los templos culinarios de Pekín

Escrito Por Fu Dawei

El restaurante Manfulou está situado en el corazón de Pekín, a pocos minutos caminando de la ciudad prohibida y en una zona donde aún se puede pasear por los hutong, los callejones tradicionales de muros grises tan característicos de la capital china.

La suntuosa decoración interior de Manfulou se inspira en los palacios de la China imperial. Tanto en la planta baja como en el primer piso, (al que se accede en ascensor) hay amplios salones y acogedores reservados con decoración tradicional china. Una de las sorpresas que reserva Manfulou es su espectacular terraza con vistas directas al parque de Beihai, y en especial a la pagoda blanca que corona este antiguo parque imperial.

Manfulou se especializa en huoguo, o “caldero mongol”, uno de los platos más típicos de Pekín. Pero más que un plato en sí, el huoguo es una manera de comer. Consiste en una olla llena de agua con determinados condimentos que se pone sobre la mesa al fuego hasta que hierve. Entonces se van introduciendo los ingredientes crudos en la olla para cocinarlos al momento. Una vez hervidos, se sacan de la olla, se mojan en una salsa especial (la tradicional es una salsa de sésamo a la que se añade perejil y cebollino chino picado) y ya están listos para comer.

Las ollas de Manfulou son las tradicionales de cobre, aunque en lugar de una gran olla por mesa para compartir son pequeñas ollas individuales.

Los ingredientes que se pueden comer de esta manera son muy variados: todo tipo de verduras, setas, tofu, y, sobre todo, carne de cordero y ternera. Al comer huoguo, lo mejor es hacer una selección equilibrada de ingredientes, pidiendo carne, verduras, setas, tofu, bolas de pescado o marisco e incluso fideos chinos.

La calidad y frescura de la materia prima y la selección del producto son la insignia de Manfulou, que ofrece carnes de cordero y ternera procedentes de lugares famosos por sus pastos, como Mongolia Interior e incluso Nueva Zelanda. La carne es fresca, o congelada, pero siempre cruda para hervirla en el huoguo.

La cocina china es famosa por aprovechar todas las partes del animal. De hecho, para los no escrupulosos, el corazón de cordero cortado en tiras es una de las elecciones más recomendables para el huoguo. Otra de las estrellas de la carta son las bolas frescas de calamar, elaboradas artesanalmente y sin fécula.

La excelente calidad de sus productos, su espectacular decoración y su ubicación hacen de Manfulou una parada obligada para los que quieran captar la esencia de la cultura culinaria pekinesa.

Precio aproximado por persona: 120-150 Rmb

Platos recomendados: Huoguo (caldero mongol). Ingredientes recomendados (para el huoguo): Cordero lechal fresco, corazón de cordero cortado en tiras, ternera grasa, bolas frescas de calamar y setas negras chinas (xianggu).

Jellyfish Salad (Haizhe)

Jelly Fish Salad

One of our favourite Chinese cold dishes is Jellyfish Salad. Haizhe or Haizhetou as its called on most Chinese menus. The salad usually comes accompanied with golden needle mushrooms (Jinzhengu), Soya Sauce, rice vinegar and topped with fresh coriander and a pinch of MSG. Some variations add sesame oil and cucumber. Sichuan Restaurants tend to liberally lace the salad with fiery chillies. Yum!

Jellyfish salad is a fantastic way to start a meal. The crisp and crunchy texture of the jellyfish contrasts with the much softer texture of the mushrooms. At the same time it absorbs and is enhanced by the strong flavours of the soya sauce, sesame oil and vinegar. To wash it down I’d recommend an ice cold (bingzhen) Snow, Yanjing or Qingdao beer as the perfect accompaniment for this dish.

Depending on where, and sometimes when, the jelly fish can either be dark brown and served in chunky pieces or it can be transparent and cut up into thin strips. The Rhipolema esculenta is the most common edible type. The good news for those with withdrawal symptoms, like myself, edible jellyfish can now be found in many Chinese grocery stores in most major cities around the world. Unless it is already precooked and packed, (often the transparent variety), you usually have to soak it before use.

Living Madrid we are lucky enough to have a number of Chinese restaurants that serve a pretty decent jellyfish salad. My Chinese friends told me that the Chinese have been exploiting jellyfish for more than 1700 years and swear that it has medicinal properties. Especially for the bones they claim. I only know that it is delicious.

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Wine and Cheese in Paradise

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The bar was pretty cool; just a few wooden tables with simple but stylish decoration. We ordered a bottle of dry red wine and savoured the moment as the dark burgundy liquid filled our glasses. We toasted and rejoiced that we had chosen well. But the best was yet to come. The cheese, beautifully presented and excellently cut, looked as if it had arrived straight from Castilla la Mancha. The fried cheese sticks were scrumptious too. With a little bit of imagination we could almost feel as if we had been transported to one of those lazy, boozy days kicking back in Spain. But actually we were at 3,200 meters above sea level, not too far from the Tibetan border in the Yunnanese town of Zhongdian. The wine and the cheese where both local products; the latter 100% yak….

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For more go to: HolaChina: Your Gateway to China

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Cizhong and Tibetan Wine

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In the next week a new article will be posted on HolaChina.com Your Gateway to China about the remote Tibetan village of Cizhong in Yunnan province and Tibetan wine.

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The area has a tradition of wine making ever since French missionaries came to the region more than 100 years ago. The village of Cizhong also has a beautiful Catholic church built in traditonal and local style.

Pidan / Songhua Dan or 1000 Year Old Eggs

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Just the name is usually enough for most people to distort their faces in a display of disgust and exclaim: “YUCK”, “URGH” or “revolting”! Quite often this reaction is repeated when they are seen and smelt for the first time, lying on a plate, dark, slimy and odorous. However, if this initial repulse barrier can be overcome and the diner is persuaded to try them, then the reaction is usually, “ah delicious”, “yum”! And a new convert has been won.

The Chinese translation for what we in the West call “thousand-year-old-eggs” is “pine-flower-eggs” (Songhua Dan), due to the flowery patterns resembling pine needles that…….. For more go to: HolaChina: Your Gateway to China

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Nihao XiaoChi

The authentic Chinese Restaurant Nihao XiaoChi, located in Calle Silva Just off the Gran Via in Madrid, closed down a few months ago. It has since resurfaced as Nihao Huoguo in the same street. The food is still great with the added plus that real Sichuan dishes have been added to the menu.

The Chef is from Chongqing and will happily make the authentic fiery Sichuan Huoguo (Sichuan hot pot). See you there!

Huoguo

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Huo Guo, the fiery hot pot from Sichuan and Chongqing, is undoubtedly one of those great culinary experiences you should try when you visit China. It’s not a meal to have on your own, but something to share and savour in the company of friends. I’ve found that between 4 – 6 diners is about the perfect number, but on many occasions it’s simply a case of ‘the more the merrier’.

What exactly is a Huoguo?

A Huoguo is a giant pot of boiling broth….

For more got to: HolaChina: Your Gateway to China

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Chinese Vegetarian Food

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It may look like Pork, taste like Pork, but it sure isn’t! In a country where nearly every part of an animal is eaten and where nearly any animal is seen as edible, it comes as a surprise to find so much good quality vegetarian food.

For more go to: HolaChina: Your Gateway to China

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Shaoxing & Huangjiu

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The smell of the wine hung heavy in the bar and impregnated the old wooden tables, chairs, floor and beams. Old and young took large gulps and slurped the wine from ceramic bowls. Mah-jong blocks crashed on the table, and chopsticks raced with each other to pick up the last piece of stinky tofu. The owner smiled and exposed his blackened teeth, more bowls of wine were ordered as new customers replaced departing ones. Welcome to Shaoxing and it’s wine….

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For more go to: HolaChina: Your Gateway to China

Sichuan Teahouses 四川茶馆

Sichuan Teahouses 四川茶馆

There are few pleasures more enjoyable in China, than reclining in a bamboo chair sipping freshly brewed tea from a porcelain cup in an traditional, old teahouse. Whether you are just people-watching, reading a book, planning your next destination or chatting with friends, it’s one of those memories that will stay with you, long after you have left China. Teahouses are commonplace throughout China; Beijing, Shanghai and other big cities all have their own, and many are extremely fashionable, but it is in Sichuan where you will find the genuine article. Many Sichuan teahouses have managed to retain the timeless atmosphere we associate with Ancient China and continue to form part of people’s daily lives.

Teahouses in Sichuan can range from the humblest hovel to a restored Qing mansion, a converted old theatre or a Buddhist or Taoist temple. The simplest teahouses are often set in rickety, old, wooden buildings on the verge of collapse, they…

For more go to: HolaChina: Your Gateway to China