Qingdao is right on the water.. it is known for it’s seafood. I mean, it’s known to me and people that are interested in food, for it’s seafood.. For a historian, or for a traveler, i am sure it’s known for lots of other things. For me, I know about the Tsingtao Beer, i know that it has some connection to Germany but, really, i know about the seafood. There is a spectacular selection in the city and I am a seafood guy.. Big fan of Qingdao cuisine.
I love celery.. This dish was cold celery with sesame oil and these little shrimp. really awesome. the quality of all the seafood in Qingdao is pretty awesome..
My day had started in Newark NJ at 3 o’clock in the afternoon on December 10th, it was now 8 pm on November 11th in Beijing China. After a 17 hour trip, i arrived at a hotel near the airport, in some industrial complex, I would be catching a flight to Qingdao China, just 8 hours from then. No time to unpack, no time to really take the 2 hour taxi ride the center of the city, the best I could do was grab a shower, grab some food and hopefully catch a few hours sleep before my early flight.
With a little effort, i learned there were two restaurants a few hundred yards away from the hotel. We walked up and noticed one restaurant had two people sitting in it, the other had 20 people sitting in it. In this instance, we decided to follow the crowd.
While traveling through China and in terms of eating, there a few things that are a saving grace.
1)Restaurant Menu’s with Photos: While, English and Photos would obviously ideal, sometimes English could mean a tourist trap. Though, it is not always the case.. I have encounter English menus with photos in the most unlikely of places. Places that have never seen an American. But, if you have a menu book with photos or there are photos on the wall, a bit of pointing, a bit of charades, can get you a really nice meal.
2)Fish Tanks: Fish tanks are just like a picture menu. In restaurants in Shanghai, or Guangzhou or Qingdao, or many coastal cities, restaurants often have large fish tanks. Here this allows you to walk around and point at the various fish you would like to eat. There are normally live scallops, clams, oysters, shrimp, fish, frogs, snails, starfish and lots of other things.. You walk around and just point at things.. A little more charades and just see what they bring you.. Most of the time, it works out.
3)BBQ Places: Chinese BBQ Places are restaurants that have lots of sticks with skewered food on. Chicken wings, lamb parts, fish, vegetables and depending on the place, there could be all sorts of seafood as well. Here you can just point and more charades and again, hope it all works out, it usually always does.
4)Look around at other people’s tables: This can be applied at every scenario listed above. Some of the better things i have tried came from just wanting to eat something at someone’s table. As a rule of thumb, if it looks like you want to eat it, chances are, you will want to eat it. Many a time, i have taken a waiter on a quick walk to someone’s table where I would subtly or not so subtly point at a dish and ask for it. The table of eaters, usually get a big kick of it.
Anyway, i digress. Here we are, first night in Beijing, tired, hungry, things worked out.
Here is a chicken dish.. it was served on a dish with a burning fire underneath.. the dish was sizzling. it was chicken, on the bone in a brown sauce with green peppers, hot peppers and a bottom layer of onion. the sauce was had a rich onion flavor, the bottom layer of onion cooked and kept the chicken from burning. it was a really lovely dish.
Cold dark noodles in a spicy and garlicky vinegar sauce
We ordered some sticks. There was lamb, lamb kidneys and chicken wings.
A plate of dumplings
they were interesting as they were filled with egg, mushroom and scallions. really nice.
We also had a plate of greens and a few beers. a smashing start.. Dinner was 172 rmb. Or, like 20 bucks with a few beers.
Bone marrow roasted with this sour cherry jelly sauce
So, I have been making fried chicken lately. There are all sorts of ways to do it. When making fried chicken for a large group, I like to first sous vide the chicken until the internal temp is around 125 or 130 degrees. then all one has to do is bread the chicken and fry it for a very small amount of time. Where as a normal fried chicken may take 18 minutes, one can fry chicken in batches for about 5 minutes. But, I digress.
This post is about normal fried chicken.
Well, one of these days, I am going to start writing down recipes. I am sure it would help me too somewhere down the road.
So, it has been awhile since I posted. Simple dinner last night. Fish store was selling line caught gulf red snapper for $5.65 per pound. My fish guy gave me 2.25 lbs for an even 12 dollars. We are friends. He rounds down.
I simple put a couple of cuts into the flesh of the fish on either side. I salted inside and out, squeezed a few lemons over the fish and let it get to room temperature.
After that, I simply grilled the fish on both sides for a short period of time prior to finishing off the fish in a 450 degree oven.
Bite Club was fortunate to cook the rehearsal dinner for one of my oldest and dearest friends wedding.. The large group of people came to my house where we cooked them a dinner.
First course steak tartare
Second course- scallop cooked in it’s shell with a cube of bacon and a soy butter sauce topped with crispy shallot jelly.
Third Course- soft shell crab cooked in butter, served over fried goat cheese ravioli with pickled ginger beets.
Fourth Course- fried sweetbreads with cauliflower, uni flan topped with uni, sauce gribiche and pickled peppers.
Fifth Course- Sliced duck breast with grilled pineapple, seared foie gras and a cherry demi glace.
Last Course-chomeur pudding with a marscapone lemon granita.
It was a pretty amazing dinner. Was really happy to be able to do this for him and his new bride.
Again, since I don’t take photos of the finished plating, all I can really share are the ingredients and some early prep.
Here is a tray of live soft shell crabs. They were still moving around when i opened the container. you have to cut the eyes out, remove the gills, it’s a lovely process:
Uni: Later became a flan
Fried Goat Cheese Ravioli
These were the Maple Puddings: Later to be topped with the marscapone and lemon granita.
Beginning of a demi: Later became a cherry sauce
Bacon for the scallops:
Here is this weekends menu.
Menu & Location Information
July 28th, 2012
Date: Saturday, July 28th, 2012
Bluefish, Crunchy Paprika Ceci, Cream, Horseradish, Lime
Watermelon and Champagne, Mint, Serrano, Feta Cream
Grilled Peaches, Heirloom Tomatoes, Burrata, Corn, Thai Basil
Potato & Parsnip, Lobster Knuckles, Crispy Shallots, Leek & Corn Jus
Thai Charred Flank, Pureed Fava Beans, House Pickled Cherry Peppers
Grapefruit & Lemon Verbena Granita
Roquefort Terrine, Fig Preserves, Marcona Almonds, Toast
Pavlova, Summer Fruits, Lavender Cream