Whether it’s a Mongolian Nana or a Peruvian Mama, homestay cooking, hospitality (and life wisdom) are simply the best.
There aren’t many things left in the world that can be called a genuine Adventure, but this is one of them.
I can’t remember exactly where in China I was at the time, but perhaps it doesn’t matter. My seven weeks travelling through the country had become a bit of a blur anyway. I was on a train, my ass parked on an unforgiving bench with a cup of salty noodles for lunch (again) and a bottle of 2.5% beer to wash it down.
Travelling along the Trans-Mongolian railway was never a dream of mine. But then I stopped and thought about the enormity of it all for a minute.
It’s a funny thing, but there’s really no such thing as Chinese cuisine. Oh there’s Cantonese, Sichuan, Shandong, Fujian, Hunan and Anhui cuisine, but you can’t point to one plate of food and say, ‘Yep, that’s Chinese that is.’
A few years ago I was invited to a friend’s Chinese New Year dinner. I showed up nice and early, hair brushed, stretchy pants on, ready to consume my body weight in spring rolls and Peking duck. When I opened the door, my friend and her parents looked at me in horror.
What is it that’s so irresistible about a dumpling? Putting aside the fact they’ve got the cutest name of all the food groups, dumplings seem to be inherently delicious on a molecular level.
Shakespeare once said, ‘The sauce to meat is ceremony; meeting were bare without it.’ Basically this translates to, ‘Festivals, they’re pretty cool, eh?’ And those Elizabethans really knew how to party, so I’m inclined to agree with his opinion. Ceremonies and festivals are the cultural glue that binds us as people.