30 April 2008

The Starved Beast

How ironic! Bush whines that there are no easy fixes to the nation's economic woes that his profligate leadership has been responsible for.

How ironic that the Conservative philosophy of "starve the beast" that he has implemented to kill social programs and leave Medicare's and Social Security's long term prospects in jeopardy should have taken away most of the levers of power that might be quickly applied to alleviate the misery that his tax breaks for the wealthy and insane war against Iraq have engendered.

19 April 2008

Huoguo Shacha 火锅沙茶 Chinese Hotpot

People enjoying Chinese firepot 火锅 at a large restaurant.

For hotpot, broth is kept simmering in a hot pot in the center of the table into which thin strips of meat and pieces of vegetables are dipped to cook and then dipped in sauces. My favorite was always sha cha sauce 沙茶酱--a dark brown, pungent, thickish dip that has a somewhat gritty mouth feel. The Chinese characters of the name mean "sand" "tea" "sauce". The sauce is made from flatfish, shrimp, soybean oil, chilis, garlic, and shallots. It is also known in southeastern China in the Min dialect as "satay." The food, after being cooked quickly in the hot broth, is whisked out on one's chopsticks and dipped in the sauce which often has had a raw egg stirred into it and then popped into the mouth and eaten.

Canned shacha sauce -->

A fancy hotpot & Shacha sauce with raw egg--below.

Pineapple shaved ice 鳳梨刨冰

Pineapple shaved ice 鳳梨冰
Originally uploaded by fuyanyu.
When I was studying Mandarin language and T'ang poetry in Taiwan in the summer of 1968, one of my favorite treats at the market place was fengli baobing 鳳梨刨冰. Baobing 刨冰 means shaved ice and fengli 鳳梨 is pineapple.

In those days baobing was generally served in a bowl with sweetened condensed milk over it and for an additional few cents with fresh fruits. My favorite was the pineapple! Pineapples in the market were always at their peak of juicy deliciousness on the day they were being sold. This was a truly refreshing and wonderfully delicious summer time treat that I still think of on hot days all these years later.