Fuchsia Dunlop - the full interview

 

Fuchsia Dunlop interview

At a relatively early age Fuchsia Dunlop became hooked on China.  She decided to learn Mandarin at evening classes and eventually won a scholarship to study in Chengdu, Sichuan.  It was there that she trained as a chef, the first westerner to attend the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine. As a result she is now one of the foremost experts on Chinese cuisine and has built up a large and devoted following across the world.

At Barshu in the heart of London's Soho, a Sichuanese restaurant where Fuchsia acts as consultant, she talks to Mark Hilton, who also decided at a young age to study Chinese and Chinese culture and has lived in Xiamen in South-East China for 12 years. Discussion ranges from her life in Chengdu to the effect of the country's rapid changes on its cuisine and the, often false, assumptions the west makes about Chinese food.

 

More on Fuchsia...you can see her in conversation with Prue Leith here.

 

Gulangyu Sesame Cakes
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The Ye family have been making award-winning sesame cakes for decades.  They are one of the specialities of Gulangyu Island where visitors and locals alike stop to buy them on a busy corner from a diminutive cart.

A Cantonese Wedding Banquet

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The Year of the Tiger is not considered auspicious  for marriage, so in the last days of the Year of the Ox there was a rush of weddings.  Lily and Wan Li held their wedding banquet in Guangzhou on 31st January - a magnificent event with a 13 course meal.  The dishes are almost always the same and there are hidden, lucky meanings in most of them.
Tieguanyin Tea
Tieguanyin Tea
A visit to Liu Shunli's teashop in Xiamen is a leisurely affair as he makes tea for tasting - not drinking - explaining the process and customs involved.  He talks about the properties of Tieguanyin Tea, one of China's most famous teas, grown in the plantations of Anxi.
Xian Jiaozi

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Xi'an, long the capital of China from the time of Qin Shihuangdi, the first emperor, is not only famous for its history, but also for its dumplings;  one restaurant in particular offering some 120 varieties.

Fenghuang Toffee

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Fenghuang — Phoenix Town — is a town in the west of Hunan Province, 6 hours by bus from the provincial capital of Changsha. It is built on the banks of a river, and the old town is very largely preserved or has been restored keeping its original style.

Fenghuang has a number of sweet specialities, the most common of which can be seen being made in small shops all over the old town: ginger toffee.

 

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Oodles of Noodles

Oodles of Noodles

 

Originally from the north of China, hand-made noodles can be found on street corners across the whole country.  Watch the awesome skill of this noodle-puller as he makes two of the most popular types, Lamian (pulled noodles) and Daoxiao Mian (knife-cut noodles).

Breakfast Lady

Breakfast Lady
Every morning in Xiamen in China, you find people selling breakfast foods from barrows to people on their way to work. The project was set up by the government about 8 years ago to provide employment for the jobless and to ensure that everyone could have a good breakfast.

Beijing Snacks

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The Chinese are great 'snackers'.  Throughout China, in the evenings in particular, street markets offer a huge range of foods.  These snacks from a night market in Beijing prove once again that, to the Chinese, anything is a potential food...

Fuchsia Dunlop - Every Grain of Rice

 

Fuchsia Dunlop 2Fuchsia Dunlop is a world authority on Chinese cooking and her books, articles and blogs are an absolute delight.  

Here she talks about her latest book, Every Grain of Rice, which, unlike her others, is not focused on one province, but is a collection of delicious everyday recipes, mainly from southern China.

Every Grain of Rice

This is an extract from a longer interview and discussion on Chinese food with Mark Hilton of Xiamen University which will follow shortly.