DAY 5 SHANDONG TRAVEL: ZHOUCUN ANCIENT STREET & HAIKU 205 : CRISPY
MALAYSIAN HAIKU/SENRYU ECHOES 205:CRISPY
old recipe updated
taste of ancient tale
DAY 4 SHANDONGTRAVEL: TAIAN
MALAYSIAN TANKA ECHOES 50: MANDATE
monarch pleaded at jade peak
mandate at foothills
destiny changes with time
great haven under heaven
We had dinner at Taierzhuan; the shop with lots of large over hanging paper lanterns, with words depicting a rest place in Chinese. After dinner we spent a night at the Grand Barony Hotel at Zaozhuang. It was a five star hotel, but it’s shine was somewhat diminished over the years, judging by lack of maintenance. However the room was large clean and comfortable. After a good breakfast, the bus took us to Taian, a three and half hour drive. It was lunch hour, and we were driven to a Mao Restaurant. Promotion meals were displayed at the entrance, and was real cheap. On entry was a gold plated bust of Chairman Mao, with joss and urn. It inspired me to composed the above tanka after the trip. The restaurant was decorated with Mao’s poetry, calligraphy and quotation. The non-smoking sign with a picture of Mao above was amusing, as the Foundation Father was a heavy chained smoker. Food at Mao Restaurant was fairly good, at least at par with the good image of the leader. He was widely respected by the Chinese people, for, without him, modern China would not be what it was today. I asked the local guide to name me a great Chinese thinker in modern times, and she mentioned her revered Chairman Mao. Well, he was an original thinker, thinking outside the box, but he lacked experience in good governance. Another thinker, Teng, brought China into newer heights, with capitalism in a locality and then the economy spread nationally. Today President Xi brought China to even greater heights. Corruption has been pandemic in China over the dynasties, worsen as the economy arisen. How would China cope, if it’s president, vice presidents , governors, judges, generals, were all corrupt? It would need separation of power, check and balances, and a radical facilitative mind set change; not only for leaders, but also for the people in the street. It’s not an easy task, even America and the West were far from right. History would testify whether the current leaders could achieve this, and that would be the envy for the world.
MALAYSIAN HAIKU ECHOES 202: CUTE CUISINE
Claudia responded to pictures on Lu Cuisine thus:
confront wary travellers
missing home cooking
This is my response:
strange food as a scene
rough ride on odd taste and smell
The peony was in full bloom in Henan. We thought it was a black and white chicken soup, but when the waitress broke the shell, we realised it was a small cooked turtle. Many of us refused to partake that dish, but I drank the soup.
MALAYSIAN HAIKU/SENRYU ECHOES 199: FOOD FOR NON HUNGRY
This is written in appreciation to Claudia and others who liked the post on Shandong Cuisine.
dislike food wastage
hungry does not get the food
saved for own good health
The first picture was taken on the stairs of the restaurant. The second picture was taken from a food vendor in a tourist centre. We are advised not to consume food from the street due to hygiene reasons. Well, this was a pancake friend on a hot plate, with added raw shallots, spices and some crunchy titbits, and rolled over. An egg could be added, but I turned down. It cost about RMB 5. I find hawkers’ food has their own distinctive taste.
DAY 2 SHANDONG TRAVEL: SHANDONG CUISINE
miss thousand Buddha
weeping willows in frenzy
lotus yet to bloom
In the dry heat of Jinan, with the flying fairy wings from eight thousand willows, we walked from Baotu Spring to Da Ming Lake ( Lake of Grand Splendour). All the waters of 72 springs feed into this large lake, occupied 46 out of 86 hectares in area). It was not the season for the lotuses; we missed the grandeur of flowering in the lake and a visit to the Mountain of a thousand Buddha.
We had lunch before the next journey to Qufu, Confucius birth place. Food for customised tours were much better than commercial tours. I have left out five more dishes in order not to overwhelm you.
Shandong cuisine is a major regional cuisine of China. Other than the main Lu Cuisine, the food was not spectacular. They tasted more or less the same in those few days. The portions were too large, salty and oily to our taste and tongue. There were more than a dozen dishes in each meal per table of 12 people. However, fish and sea food were better, and the pork was simply too fat even for me. The buns were hard. Despite lots of onions, fungus, garlic and vinegar, the cooking rarely made use of them, except as a dipping sauce for the meat. I think if you could just enjoy five dishes, that would be good enough. The soup and beer helped the salty taste. I told my group to enjoy Shandong cuisine, the way they cooked, not the way we wanted them to cook. The same principle applied when we visited the West. The westerners served dish by dish, small portions, but the Chinese served appetisers, main courses and deserts all at once, and that could be overwhelming. The pork dish was to show you how fatty they were; the consolation was no beta agonists in their feed. I must comment the pork ribs were good; donkey meat, a local delicacy, was fairly good too.
MY VALENTINE NIGHT
In a bistro, we celebrate our valentine;
My lady happy with the night and dine.
Our second time, she says, over four decades;
We dine outside often, many, she downgrades.
Great discount if you dine with other damsels;
Cancel wrong dates, aware about silly battles.
Strange accounts indeed, bigger sip for stout;
Burnt-out for details, I doubt without fall-out.
At my age, run out of bricks to erect walls;
The beers make one tall, small is my gall.
Cheers, my love, cherish our lovely night;
Good reminder, dear, careful with the bite.
My hairs are all white, not many years to share;
Engross in my poetry, not fair, but care as a pair.
LES AMIS, FRENCH RESTAURANT, SHAW CENTRE, SINGAPORE
Les Amis was affordable for lunch, S65 for two course, S90 for three course; dinner would be S 240, excluding wine. Once a while it was worthy to pamper ourselves, especially in time of rapid falling ringgit. You either spend it or it evaporated to pockets currency speculators. It’s a Michelin two stars; the stars might not made sense, if it’s not at par. The last trip I was a little disappointed, but the prestige was regained in my recent lunch. The décor, ambience and services were excellent, with chandeliers and collectors’ wall paintings; the wine collection (easily 4000 bottles of expensive good French red and white) was stored in their freezer at 4 degree C. I ordered a half bottle, priced at S20, recommended by the sommelier. It was an excellent wine for such a price, and balanced well with the food and cheese.
Les Amis have good reasons to boast its butter, Le Ponclet, the only restaurant in the region serving such high quality butter. The butter was really excellent, handmade from non pasteurised warm (fresh from the cows) milk, and cultured naturally before skimmed. We were told no preservative were added; the cattle were grazed on good grasses, with flowers and natural herbs in the fields. Their breads, soft and hard, matched well.
There was amuse dishes, hot and cold appetisers, main and desserts and excellent coffee. and cheeses. I shall let the pictures speak for themselves.