At this time next week, I’ll be getting myself drunk on cheap Chinese liquor on my own goodbye party, cause on Friday morning I’ll be catching a plane that will take me back home; to the Netherlands that is. I will not spend my summer lying on a beach on some tropical island or backpacking in Asia, but I will spend it nice and calm with my family and friends, by baking cakes and in a (much-needed) healthy environment.
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been having these crazy little nausea attacks. This happened to me before I left to spend two summers in Taiwan and it also happened before I moved to Beijing. It is a mixture of adrenaline and fear for the unknown. The weird thing is that I’ll not be going to an unknown place this time, but instead I’m going home.
On the one hand I’m feeling excited; I’ll be seeing my friends and family again, I’ll have all the opportunity to cook and bake whatever I want, I’ll know what is in my food (no pork that is actually rat meat) and I’ll be breathing fresh air (instead of the Beijing Air Quality Index stating something between “unhealthy / very unhealthy / hazardous / more than the index can count”).
But on the other hand I’m feeling a bit uneasy; two months ago, after living in Beijing for about 8 months, my life finally got a bit of a routine and I started feeling more at home: bought a bike, got OCD on my morning swim, started studying more diligently and started tutoring the cutest 14-year-old girl. Now I have to put this all on hold, so when I come back (/home?) I can pick it up from where I left it.
Since chopsticks are the only cutlery that I’ve been using this year, my chopstick skills have improved (although a certain person with some Vietnamese roots will disagree on this) and I became better at eating meat and fish with bones, like these braised pork ribs. But I know that when I make these at home I will not have the patience to fudge around with chopsticks, I’ll just use my hands to gobble these sticky ribs down.
Recipe from Hutong Cuisine.
1 kg pork ribs
2 tbsp oil
200 ml water
a few pieces of sliced ginger
2 pieces star anice
1.5 tbsp dark soy sauce
4 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp Chinese white wine (more than 30% alcohol)
4 tbsp vinegar
Chop the ribs into 5cm long pieces.
Heat a wok until it starts to smoke and add 2 tbsp of oil, the ginger and the ribs. Stir until fragrant, for about 5 minutes, then add 200 ml of water.
Add the star anise, the two types of soy sauce, the sugar, the wine and the vinegar and cover the wook. Cook on low heat for about one and a half hours until the water is gone. If there is still some water left, turn up the heat and cook the pork till there’s no more water left but just a delicious, sticky sauce.