A Home Cooked Meal in Shenyang

Nothing could complete our time in Shenyang better than a home cooked meal. We were invited to the home of Caroline’s host family for our final dinner in Shenyang. It was our first dinner meal without a Lazy Susan but the table was plenty full.

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By all measures this meal rivaled all of those we had in restaurants and it was prepared by Cindy’s mom! My favorite dish was the short ribs.

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They had this deep meaty flavor, were tender, and had a perfect soy-based glaze.

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This dish was refreshing and meaty all in one. On top of a lettuce leaf was sticky rice topped with beef that was marinated and pan fried. Added was a sprinkling of Japanese sesame shake (sesame seeds, salt, seaweed).

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A pan fried white fish was light and flaky.

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Here is another rendition of mashed yams with blueberry jelly. It was really good in an unexpected sort of way.

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These were fish balls that had a lovely seafood flavor in a bite sized morsel.

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And here are our wonderful hosts who invited us to their home, offered us a delicious meal, and made us feel part of the family. It was a perfect way to end our stay in Chenyang. Xie Xie!

The Golden Arches

Our hosts today asked our group what they wanted for lunch. Actually, the asked the sixteen teenagers what they wanted for lunch. The answer was?

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Yes, the Golden Arches translate into many languages and leave people very happy.

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Look at that happy Griffin.

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It also translates across cultures.

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In China you can order home delivery.

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and ice cream as well.

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Lu and Wang Dinner

Last nights dinner afforded us the opportunity to try some new taste sensations. Our hosts were the parents of Phillip who will be joining us at Episcopal next year. The dad is a physician who now heads a pharma company in China and the mom teaches traditional Chinese medicine. The dinner featured a number of different dishes we had not seen before.

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This was a beef dish with beef and other ingredients pressed into a mold and then sliced. It had a nice beefy flavor to it.

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This was described as meat jelly. Definitely jelly like with a slight meaty flavor.

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Head on shrimp that were very fresh and delicious.

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This was one of the most fun items to date. Basically mashed potatoes with jelly and sprinkles on top. Melissa noted that this might be a good Thanksgiving side dish!

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This was a fried Twinkie with condensed milk dip. It was delicious!

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Here we have meatballs in a broth with noodles. It was briny goodness.

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The last dish was a lovely whole fish (flounder?) that had a slightly spicy sauce. Another delicious meal with terrific hosts who were very kind and generous.

Dumplings Everywhere

This afternoon was all about dumplings. We first learned about the traditional rice “dumplings” prepared for the annual Dragon Boat Festival. This is rice wrapped in bamboo leaves in a specific triangular shape.

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We then learned how to assemble traditional steamed dumplings with both a vegetable and meat filling.

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The finished product.

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Paradise Star was a Star of a Meal

Tonight we were taken to a lovely and casual dinner at a restaurant named Paradise Star in the City Center district. It is one of the few remaining residential districts in Shenyang with low buildings and small lanes. The dinner was another example of beautiful presentation and delicious dishes. A fruit plate lead off the meal along with two salad dishes.

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One of new dishes we had was three cup shrimp. It is called three cup shrimp because it is made up of three different ingredients.

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This was our first curry dish and it was similar to massaman curry and was delicious.

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A stuffed clam arrived next and this preparation had small noodles and string cabbage that tasted like mild sauerkraut.

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This chicken dish had a deep flavor infused with tea. It was crispy, moist, and had some very hot peppers with it.

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Our hosts knew we were from the US and what do you serve Americans…steak! Deliciously spiced and cooked perfectly too.

Spectacular New Times Sea Hotel Dinner

Spectacular is really the only word that can describe our dinner last night. We were hosted by the Mrs. Zong, one of our host parents, at the New Times Sea Hotel, a seafood restaurant in the Hunaan District of Shenyang. As you enter the restaurant, live seafood of all types greet you in their underwater environment. In addition to fish, there were aquariums filled with sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and any number of other live creatures I couldn’t identify.

We were whisked away to a private room where our host welcomed us and asked us to feel comfortable and at home. Then our host and Wei Yang ordered the items from the menu.

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First to arrive at the table was a delicious and beautifully presented fruit tray. Since we have had a bit of a fresh fruit deficit over the past nine days we were very happy.

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Then a whole series of dishes from seafood, to meat, the vegetables arrived.

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This vegetable dish had a light vinaigrette dressing with mushroom, bamboo shoots, and peas.

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This dish was West Lake Dragon Tea Shrimp. The delicious shrimp was cooked in a sauce made with this special green tea. The sweet shrimp flavors combined well with the slightly bitter green tea. Notice the plate with the attached tea kettle. The look of the dish is a fundamental part of the presentation.

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This vegetable dish combined various hearty greens with tomato, dried pork bits, and a tangy sauce.

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Sashimi was next to arrive. This beautiful and incredibly fresh assortment included a mackerel that was to die for, a lovely tuna, and salmon as well. Somehow the chef managed to combine a fluke with roe that appeared as one piece. The combination of flavors was perfect.

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This was a lamb dish that required some assembly similar to Moo Sho dishes. The very thin pancake was the base, followed by a leaf similar to mint, green onions, spicy chili sauce, and then the dried spiced lamb. Once wrapped you were required to eat it in one bite. The spice, fresh crispy veggies, and crunch made for a delicious taste sensation.

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This was a braised beef dish with a deep meaty flavored brown sauce. It provided a nice contrast to some of the other lighter dishes.

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These steamed buns are a traditional treat dating back to dynastic times. There are two kinds of buns, those made with corn (yellow ones) and those made with wheat. They are eaten with bit of green onion and a spicy paste.

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This was a lightly breaded cod dish that was incredibly tender with lemon notes.

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To complete the meal we enjoyed fried yams with a sticky honey glaze. When eating this dish you pull each piece off the pile very slowly to create “silk” threads. It is considered very lucky to have the threads.

All I can say is a sincere thank you to our host for such a delicious meal.