Saturday, March 24, 2007
Back in Canada I knew my way around a grocery store blind, but living in China is like being on another culinary planet - I can hardly identify many of the products, or read much of their labels. Many things I do recognize are used in completely new ways. Grape tomatoes, for example, are a fruit - they decorate pastries and take dips in chocolate fountains. This plant is another example. I was looking for a green vegetable and bought a rag-leafed plant called you cai, or oil vegetable. This ended up being nothing more than canola, which we grow great huge fields of at home with the sole purpose of harvesting it for oil. Here it is eaten just as it buds, and is my new favourite green - lots of flavour without being overly bitter or grassy. I like it more than spinach, raw or cooked.