Jesse and I saw a Chinese news report about a huge wholesale produce market open to the public. It seems the locals are going to this market since the food prices had jumped 16% in one month, due to impact of China’s worst drought in 50 years. This wholesale market supplies most of the produce to all of our local wet markets, supermarkets, restaurants and fast food outlets. The prices are a good 20-30% cheaper. This market had pretty much everything, from vegetables to meats to cookware to seasonings. We read that 150 million USD goes through there a day.
We’ve been trying to find skirt steak, from Pine’s to City Shop. “Meiyou” was their answer. So we decided to visit a real butcher. This was Jesse showing the butcher where the skirt steak was. In Chinese, it literally means 牛裙, if they’ve ever heard of it.
“Free range Plymouth Rock chickens. Incredibly tasty. 15 kuai a jin.” 1 jin = 500 grams, or 1.34 pound.
The sign reads “Unique purple skin garlic: fragrant, pungent, do not sprout and full of antibiotic properties .”
These were the BEST ribs, so tender and juicy that the meat slides right off the bone. Jesse’s BBQ sauce is fantastic! He incorporated some Chinese seasonings into his sauce, and the result is the best we’ve ever had. For the ribs, the secret is still going to be a secret! ^.^~
Jesse’s Kick ASs BBQ Sauce
1 slice bacon, chopped and rendered
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 cup Chinese sweet bean paste
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
Seeds of 6 dry red chilies
Freshly ground black pepper
Chop and render the bacon in an 8 quart saucepan. Add the canola oil, garlic, onion and all the dry ingredients, saute for 2 minutes on medium-high heat to open up the flavors. Turn the heat to low, add all of the wet ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes. Reduce the sauce to desired consistency.
At Matt’s house cutting up hickory BBQ pork ribs.
Matt’s incredibly tender beer glazed chicken.
Clockwise: Jesse’s “unknown Chinese green” salad (center front), BBQ pork rib, fresh greens, pulled-pork sandwich with cole slaw and artichoke & potato salad.
Zaozhuang is in the south of Shandong province, neighbor of Jiangsu province in Eastern China. Zaozhuang is a quaint, relaxed, charming traditional little town. We found some really great Shandong chicken, northern style noodles like zha jian mian (my favorite!), scallion pancakes, refreshing cold dishes and oven-baked flatbreads here. Shandong cuisine (Lu cuisine) is considered the most influential in Chinese cooking. The majority of all Chinese cooking styles all stem from this region.
Shandong chicken is rubbed with spices and honey, then deep fried to golden brown. The birds are then stuffed with ginger, garlic, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns and orange peel. Then braised in a broth seasoned with Chinese herbs, rock sugar, soy sauce and rice wine. It’s delicious served with the reduced braising broth, a slightly vinegary sauce and refreshing marinaded cold cucumber.