The trials & tribulations of having a live-in chef (or living & feasting in our cottage in Seremban, and now Beijing)

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Food - not so glorious food

Obviously, living with Big Chef, food is a very important part of our lives. I have to confess, we are not exactly ecstatic about Beijing food. Frankly my dears, Beijing food seem to consist of bits and pieces of undecipherable meat, covered in thick oily, salty brown sludge poured over mushy rice. We have been advised by friends to try province food such as Yunnan, Hunan and Sichuan. Will update you on this !

The cheapest dish we have tried in Beijing was a vermicelli noodle soup with quail eggs, quite tasty pork gristle and lots of green jelly-like kelp. Cost RM6.50.

Big Chef's Malaysian and Singaporean colleagues kindly took us to a Malaysian restaurant one night. A very charming old rundown courtyard (Hutong) restaurant near Houhai Lake. The best dishes were those cooked with belachan - kangkong belachan, tofu belachan and long beans with belachan. Oh so nice ! The beef rendang was awful though and unfortunately the peanut sauce on the gado-gado and satay looked tastier than it tasted. A rather expensive meal at RM90 per person.

Tofu belachan


Bejing satay !

To our delight, we have Costa Coffee right next door to our apartment. Very nice expresso, macchiato and cappucino. I love sneaking over for their chocolate muffins which have chocolate chunks on top and ooze delicious gooey chocolate sauce when you bite into the center. It gets a bit too rich sometimes and I settle for a set of 6 mini-muffins (chocolate, almond and blueberry). RM8. Oh oh yummy afternoons in Beijing !

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Liveinchef from Beijing

We have moved to Beijing ! Big Chef is now working for a hotel in Beijing and a whole new world and cultural experience awaits us. We've been there 1 month (touchdown 7 Aug 2011) and boy oh boy, what a difference from Malaysia.

First important lessons learnt :
1) Get a VPN. Without a VPN, you can't get Facebook, can't access blogs, can't get YouTube and Google and Gmail has a habit of freezing. Certain search keywords make your laptops hang ! Pay for a VPN. Free VPNs don't work as well after a while.

2) Beijing is expensive. Much more expensive than Kuala Lumpur and Seremban where food and shopping is concerned. 30% to 100% more expensive with regards to imported foodstuff and body products. A papaya can cost RM10 in the supermarket. Imported butter at RM9 to RM15. A tray of 5 green apples at RM15. Imported body lotion at RM50.

3) Beijing is mostly grey. After a thunderstorm though, the sky is a gorgeous blue. I have learnt to appreciate thunderstorms and blue skies.

We are greatly enjoying Beijing though. It's clean (Malaysian standards), traffic is nowhere as bad as people say (we have experienced worse in Kuala Lumpur), the Metro (subway) is wonderfully efficient and wonderfully cheap - RM1 for a trip anywhere. Sure, during peak periods I rub bosoms with beautiful Chinese damsels, but hey, I'm sure those used to the LRT know that it's better to rub bosoms than 'batangs' (rods) !