Half-Way Mark

Friday, October 14th, Day 29

Today I am over half-way through my stay in Chengdu (only 28 days before I fly back to the States.) Both happy and sad.

I did lots of studying today. I’ve found some web sites I like for helping me learn Mandarin Chinese:

https://learnyu.com/ => beginning Mandarin modeled after DuoLingo, which does not have Chinese

https://chinese.yabla.com/chinese-english-pinyin-dictionary.php => pinyin, character, or English dictionary and character stroke order

https://chinese.yabla.com/chinese-pinyin-chart.php => pinyin chart with audio pronunciation

I feel my brain starting to break the logjam of learning the language. Now the secret is practice, practice, practice.

For dinner I made another bean sheet dish (I like that stuff). Here are the raw ingredients: carrot, onion, garlic, rice (side dish), red pepper paste (in the jar), ginger, lotus root, steamed bun (side dish), fermented black bean (in the plastic bag), soaking mushrooms and tree fungus, and the soaking bean curd sheet.


The secret is in getting all the parts prepared before starting to cook, so I can just throw in the ingredients when I need them. Prep time is about 20 minutes. Cooking time is about five minutes. The first thing I do, before doing any prep, is get the rice cooking. Just about when I’m done preparing and cooking, the rice is done, too.

Here are all the ingredients prepared.


Dinner is served! I like to fry my lotus root, browning it slightly, then gradually adding the other ingredients. Besides my main dish I have a black sesame steamed bun, rice, jasmine tea, and a special dessert: the sweetest, smoothest mango I’ve ever had!


And I almost forgot. About half way through my meal I remembered my new huajiao spice. I ground it up in my mortar and sprinkled less than 1/4 teaspoon, like it was salt. What a strange spice! It has a lemony / peppery taste, similar to the California pepper tree pepper.But the main feature is what it does to your lips, tongue, and mouth. Turns out that 1/4 teaspoon was quite a bit. My lips are still tingling nearly six hours after eating!


Grinding huajiao in my mortar and pestle



Close-up of the main dish: lotus root with bean sheet



Deliciously ripe mango



About jamescmarch

A child of the '50's in rural Pennsylvania, an adolescent of the '60's in southern California, and a political activist of the 1970's in northern California, I have been a husband, a college graduate, an expert witness, a banker, a father, a software entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. Today, I follow my heart by writing.
This entry was posted in Chengdu, China, Sep-Nov 2016. Bookmark the permalink.


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