Known as Huí-GuōPork or double-cooked pork belly, this dish has a long history that can be traced back to the Song dynasty (960–1279). Its predecessor, “Yo Bao pork,” was recorded in the 《竹屿房杂部》, a book on longevity and lifestyle during the Ming dynasty, written by Song Xu.Double-cooked pork is inspired by Sichuan flavours and originally comes from the Sichuan region of China, which is why it’s so spicy. The Sichuan region is known for being humid and lush, an environment that produces many hot peppers and chilis, including the tribute pepper, Sichuan pepper, and Erjingtiao chilli.I first ate this in London’s Chinatown […]
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Chengdu Kung Pao chicken, also transcribed Gong Bao or Kung Po, is a spicy, stir-fried Chinese dish made with cubes of chicken, garlic, peanuts, vegetables and chilli peppers. The classic dish in Sichuan cuisine originated in the Sichuan province of southwestern China and includes Sichuan peppercorns. The first time I enjoyed this dish in Chengdu was in 1987; it consisted of cubes of chicken, whole garlic cloves, peanuts, and red chillis stir-fried together in more or less equal quantities. I had arrived in Chengdu after a 63-hour train journey from Guangzhou. After having to eat the good but plain food served on the train, this was an assault on my senses. After […]
Saigon summer rolls (Nem cuốn) often contain a combination of fresh vegetables, herbs, and sometimes protein, all wrapped in rice paper. Different variations may include the use of different herbs, vegetables, or protein choices based on individual tastes and regional preferences.When Vietnam, opened up in the 1990’s, I was in Hong Kong, so my colleague and I went to Saigon for the weekend. With the help of a photocopy of a hand-drawn map bought in a side alley, we tracked down the address of a building used by my father (then a British army intelligence officer) as his HQ in […]
Having hired a 4-wheel drive vehicle, we were driving around Namibia. One night, we stayed in a remote lodge that only had Kudu meat on the menu. This was a problem as the only meat my five-year-old son would eat was chicken. The greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) is found throughout central & northern Namibia and is the second tallest antelope on the African continent. Kudu bulls bear long, spiral horns which reach record lengths of up to 1.8m. Horns grow to their full length at the age of six years.As we had been travelling all day, he needed to eat […]
Tandoori chicken was one of the first Asian foods I tried to make in the early 1980s before I had travelled to India. At the time, using red food colouring was essential to produce something like the tandoori chicken seen in Indian restaurants. Since then, I have seen tasty chunks of chicken cooked on long skewers in tandoor ovens in India and saw no sign of red food colouring. Tandoori chicken is a popular Indian dish known for its vibrant color and rich, smoky flavors. Here’s a traditional tandoori chicken recipe for you: Enjoy your delicious homemade tandoori chicken! Tandoori […]
After travelling by foot and jeep between Chitral and Gilgit over Shandur Pass, I needed food to regain strength. I had been suffering from amoebic dysentery, which was not the best preparation for a walk of over 100 miles in mountainous terrain. The result was that my weight plummeted. I stayed in the Gilgit Tourist Cottage, where they served a wholesome meaty soup made with fine noodles and fresh coriander, which I ate most days, and gradually, I started to regain body weight. This Yakni soup recipe is the closest I can find to this soup.In the Gilgit-Baltistan region, […]
Taking the train from Bangkok in 1987, my good friend Nitza and I travelled down to Penang, in Malaysia. The journey took us through a verdant landscape dotted with small villages surrounded by paddy fields. One of the most memorable aspects of the journey was the Thai Blue Swimmer crab curry served in the buffet car – spicy, delicious and a million miles away from the ubiquitous stale British Rail cheese sandwich. Cooked in a huge wok in the tiny galley next to the buffet car, this was a symphony of flavours in every bite, with the sweet, spicy, and […]
When I think of jerk chicken, my memory takes me back to visits to Jamaica and also the Notting Hill Carnival, where the smells of jerk chicken cooking on barbecues fill the air. Jerk chicken is a popular dish from Jamaica, known for its spicy and smoky flavor.
Somaliland, a self-declared independent state, is known for its rich culinary traditions, often incorporating locally available ingredients such as camel meat, which is a staple in many dishes. One of the popular dishes featuring camel meat is “Hilib Ari,” a traditional Somali grilled camel meat recipe. My visit in December 2019 also taught me not to try camel milk before a long journey. My hosts suggested it would have had a laxative effect. When we got back from the long drive from Hargeisa to Berbera (and back), I tried camel milk tea and noticed no particular ‘side effects’.