« Philippine Duman: An Artisanal Product Par Excellence | Main | In Chengdu Now, as Then, Less is More »

2010.01.07

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c509553ef0120a7af7b60970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Straight Out of the Box:

Comments

Nate @ House of Annie

I can imagine the nose dripping, lip tingling spice in your noodles. You're making me hungry :-)

Ming

My mouth was salivating as I read. i want some of that liang mian!!!

3hungrytummies

It must be quite emotional visiting Chendu again after all these years. Boy you do need the mala food to distract you from the cold!

Dave -nibbleanibble

Warm food always tastes better on a very cool day.

Laura

Hi Robin:

Nice story mixing people and food and great photos - as usual.

Happy New Year to you both!

Laura

Life 2.0

How exciting for both you and Dave to be back again in Chengdu. I love the photo of the both you in a previous post, Mickey Mouse and I think a rock t-shirt for Dave. BTW, who is on Dave's shirt? There was a sex pistols shirt with similar blocked letters on the top, but Dave's is a little different.

Have fun walking the streets and creating a new memory of Sichuan. Does Dave speak Mandarin?

Take Care,

Life

Mr Noodles

I'd love to tuck into that liang mian. But of all the photos, I think that last one says it all !

Katy Biggs

Life - I think on Dave's shirt, it's James Brown and 'I feel good' (blocked letters).

Brian S

I visited Chengdu sometime around 1980 and your posts brought memories flooding back. I don't remember all the streets, but I wrote a book about it, "China off the Beaten Track", and in it I find "there are still an unusually large number of streets lined with the traditional Sichuanese half-timbered houses that look remarkably like Tudor cottages. In the area north and east of West Jade Dragon St are several busy produce markets and teahouses with bamboo chairs on the sidewalk where you can comfortably sit and watch the throng of passersby." I bet those are gone now, replaced by Pizza Huts.

I couldn't have much contact with the people because anyone I visited would receive an unwanted call from the Public Peace Bureau the next day. And there wasn't much in the way of good food either, apart from the Furong and Chengdu restaurants. It wasn't until years later that I found a slice of Sichuan, food and comfort.... in New York City. I wrote a review, and you might find it interesting to read. I hope you have a lovely and very Proustian journey in space and time, and post lots of photos and text.

I just ate at one of the best Sichuan restaurants in New York.

I walked along Main Street [in Flushing, Queens, about 10 miles from the city center] as the sun set, and when I got to 41-28, through a door and down a flight of stairs -- and suddenly I was back in Kowloon, in one of the warrens of food stalls between the huge apartment blocks on Nathan Road. That's what it felt like. If you've been to that mall, you know what I mean. If not, prepare for culture shock major.

The tiny stall named Chengdu Heaven was somnolent, almost empty. A woman carefully sliced a huge lung on a table while her husband ladled out soup. A young man hunched over a soup bowl, a tiny dog begging for scraps. The menu was on the wall. Not a word of English written, not a word of English spoken. I recognized the characters for fish and bean in one dish, pointed to it. And then I waited.

Finally a man emerged carrying a big takeout soup container. Oh no I got soup! I thought. But it wasn't soup. That was the only containers they had. It was a carefully layered masterpiece. On top, fresh cilantro and pine nuts. Below, pillowy cubes of softest dofu were interspersed with nuggets of fish lightly coated with potato flour. Around all, a fiery red oily broth. Oh, it was wonderful. Swirling currents of flavor in every bite. I'd asked for ma la (hot and spicy) and ma la it was, with chili and Sichuan peppercorns and clear sharp flavors I couldn't identify. As I was eating, people going to other stalls stopped and asked the owners what I was eating. I told them, and told them how fantastically good it was. That was fun. But the food was magical.

All too soon I finished and went back up the stairs. And it was the very same feeling I get when I see great art at the museum or a great film at a theatre, and then leave. The magic is over, the harsh light of reality intrudes. And yet... some of the magic stays with me.

Chengdu Heaven
Stall 31 (across from stall with "Happy Family" sign, also across from a shoe shop)
Mall at 41-28 main street, in the basement

Maureen De Jong

I just had a serving of boiled dumplings here in amsterdam but these are more than mouth watering...
beautiful and fascinating writing and photos.
dank u.
grtz Mo

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.