Mike Magistro enjoys Chinese cuisine

Mike Magistro, Corresspondent

Since arriving in Beijing, I’ve had the pleasure of trying a wide variety of traditional Chinese food. Some have been tame, others rather extreme.
On the more regular types of food, I’ve taken a chance to eat, jiaozi and baozi. These are very basic foods that are essentially finely chopped vegetables and pork stuffed into dough and steamed. I’ve also tried chaofan and chaomian. These are truly the staples of the typical Chinese diet.
I have tasted the famous Beijing duck and fish-based dishes. A favorite of mine is sucaifan. The dish is comprised of white rice, pickled vegetables, smoked tofu, shredded potatoes, seasoned cabbage, and a soy sauce egg. The meal costs 9 RMB, which is equal to about $1.50.
On the more exotic side, I’ve come across very interesting delicacies, like syrup-glazed scorpions, grasshoppers, spiders, and snakes. These items are very strange to eat, and do not have a pleasant taste. While here in Beijing, I find myself eating a very non-traditional meat by our western standards: horse. Surprisingly, horse meat turned out to be rather delicious.
The Chinese typically cook their food in very uncomplicated ways. Most techniques include frying in sunflower or peanut oil, steaming, or blanching. There are many “hot pot” restaurants here that use the blanching technique so the customer decides how well the food is cooked. This method usually allows vegetables and meats to be thrown into the blancher, which sits on the table, for about twenty seconds.
I can’t wait to explore more Beijing cuisine before my time here is up.