Category Archives: Food

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

Today is the Chinese’s Mid-Autumn Festival! This is the day where Chinese have family reunion and celebrate the traditional harvest day.

This event have been celebrated by Chinese for over 3000 years – started in the Shang Dynasty. It became popular and was spread throughout many parts of Asia (East Asia to be exact). We usually eat mooncakes, lit up lanterns, and watch the moon at this time of the year. If you live in a city full of Chinese, you will usually see dragon dances going around and in the past with firecracker and fireworks – before it was banned.

Chinese traditional mooncakes looks like this:

It has a somewhat thick skin containing salt duck egg yolks lotus seed paste. For me, it is kind of greasy, which I don’t really like. Despite that I am Chinese, I don’t really like eating it at all. Well tradition is tradition, I still usually take 1/4 of it.

In other countries, it may be referred as the Moon Festival or Lantern Festival. Lanterns are another aspect of the festival. When I was a kid, we usually buy those paper folded lanterns and place a tiny candle inside litting it up. It comes with many varieties of patterns and design. Some are big and some are small, while others have unique and unusual shapes.

The festival is actually a moon worshipping event for us. Because the moon is the main attraction of the event, many of the legends that we have about it are always retold during this day. We have tales of the Houyi, the archer that shot down nine suns and his wife Chang’e – where she was eventually “floated” to the moon when she ate the pills (like Pandora in Greek mythology). The Jade Rabbit that lives on the moon making elixirs (also found in Japanese and Korean culture), and the woodcutter Wu Gan – who was punished to the moon and was to cut down the Cherry tree with his axe. However, ever chop he make, the tree recovers and spring back to life instantly.

Back in China, this day will be celebrated with fireworks and lanterns (floating on the water, in people’s hand, and floating in mid-air). This is a big day – only second to Chinese New Year! So head out and enjoy!

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Rice lovers: Should We Wash Our Rice?

“Should we wash our rice?” or “How many times do we need to wash it?”. Many of us rice lovers might have wonder about similar questions some point in life. On the process of finding information, I came across many different opinions on washing rice. Some say you do not need to, others say you do. There are even some that it is needed to wash multiple times!

Here are some views from different sources I came across – people I know, Internet, and reading materials – on the subject:

The YES:

Since my first time for cooking rice, I was taught that I should wash the rice thoroughly. Not just once, twice, but three times. I was told that those particles in the cloudy water are “chemicals” to make the rice look white. Some said it was fertilizer. It was said that by washing rice, you would get the dirt, chemicals, and unwanted things from your rice.

The NO:

After few years of washing rice, I started to wonder myself. Is it really necessary to wash my rice? First, I asked around the people that I know. Most of them told me that I should not wash it too thoroughly. Just a rinse is enough. They said: “by over washing it, you will wash away the proteins, minerals, and the good stuffs that are in it.”

So is there a correct answers to these questions? No. In fact, each methods of cooking rice is your own choice. Everybody has their own ways of doing things and own belief. Asian tends to tell people to wash rice, whereas it is different for others.

Another piece of information was about people adding nutrients back onto the rice in North America. These contain starch. This is probably why if you don’t wash your rice, the textures becomes stickier.