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My Recent Craving

10 Apr

My Recent Craving

About a month ago we went to one of my favorite restaurants in Shanghai: Maya.

Maya is one of the three Mexican restaurants I usually go to whenever I crave guacamole and chips (which is ALWAYS!). The other 2 restaurants serve really good authentic Mexican food, but their guacamole isn’t as good as Maya’s.

I grew up in a house where fresh Mexican food was prepared every day (don’t hate me for this 😉 ) so I know what Mexican food tastes like. Maya’s dishes are very delicious, but I consider them more like “fusion” food/cuisine. They alter the core dishes in Mexican cuisine and add their own personal touch.

Since I haven’t been to Shanghai in a while, I’ve been deprived of my favorite food for almost a month now. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any avocados in town, so I can’t prepare any guacamole :(. But one of the wonderful things about Mexican cuisine is that you can create so many dishes starting from the same basic ingredients: tomatoes, chile serrano, onions, garlic, pepper, coriander, etc.

Another good thing is that I can find all the above in most local markets here in Taizhou. I think I’ll try to do my own homemade Mexican food and see if I can finally satisfy my cravings 🙂

PS.: in case you’re interested in learning more about the restaurants I was talking about, here are the links to:
MAYA
http://www.maya-shanghai.com/
MI TIERRA
http://www.mitierrarestaurant.com.cn/
TEOTIHUACAN apparently doesn’t have an active website 😦

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Hold It Together, You Bamboo!

9 Apr

Hold It Together, You Bamboo!

Bamboo is a very versatile plant, indeed. I’ve always liked bamboo as a decorative plant, for it always looks graceful, elegant and green! (plants in my house don’t stay green for too long 😦 )
But it wasn’t until I moved to China that I actually started seeing how this simple plant can tranform into something very useful: furniture, cooking utensils, food (bamboo shoot is very popular here), and can even be used as building material.
The best part is that bamboos are one the fastest growing plants in the world. This is specially important because as you may know, bamboos are very widely used in Asian countries, both as a food source and raw material.
PS. Bamboo is also used in Feng Shui practices. As I said, bamboo is a very versatile plant, indeed.

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Mandarin Headaches

6 Apr

Mandarin Headaches

I’ve been studying Mandarin for a while now, and I still find it very difficult to grasp certain concepts. I can only read about 5 characters and can only speak and write through the help of pinyin. So, you can say I’m pretty much an illiterate here in China 😦
I speak English, Spanish and Italian. Italian came pretty easy because the structure and grammar are very similar to Spanish, but there’s nothing between Mandarin and these languages that can allow my brain to make some sort of connection.
I keep trying, though. Hard work never hurt nobody 😉

“hao hao xue xi, tian tian xiang shang”
“study hard, make progress every day”

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My New Chinese Stuff

5 Apr

My New Chinese Stuff

I recently bough a book about “Chinese stuff” that can be found in almost any Chinese home. As soon as I started looking at the pictures I started laughing because a lot of those things can be found at my apartment. I must say a lot of them are pretty useful.
For instance, whenever I have a headache I rub a little bit of this green minty liquid that refreshes and soothes at the same time; pretty useful during hot summer days.
Sometimes, unknowingly you start incorporating certain “stuff” to your lifestyle that stay with you for the rest of your life. In my case it’s tea. I starting drinking chamomille tea when I first moved to Italy and have ever since. Every night, we drink a cup of tea because it relaxes us after a hectic day and it helps us sleep better. Now we have added Chinese Oolong and Pu-erh tea to our repertoire, which are said to bring many benefits to our health.
How about you? have you added any new “stuff” into your lifestyle lately?

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Spring Inspo

2 Apr

Spring Inspo

April is finally here! The weather is starting to get better here in Taizhou and the sun comes out almost every day, so it definitely feels more like spring now.
About 2 months ago we moved to a new apartment and we are still trying to figure out how to make it feel more like our own place. When you are constantly migrating from one place to another, you can’t accumulate too many things because you may end up having to throw them away once you move on to your next house 😦 .
I still like to add some details to make our place feel like home. After all, it is our current home.
Flowers, bright colors, lots of natural light, some music and good home made food can always make a place feel more cozy and welcoming.

So, Are You Loving What You’re Doing?

29 Mar

I recently came across this video and thought was worth sharing. I know this question is a bit silly and has been asked way too many times before, but really, do we love what we do for a living?

I think this video strikes a cord with me because I’m going through a process right now. I’m thinking (together with my husband) of starting my own business in China, which scares me quite a lot! But I know that if I don’t do it now, I might never have a second chance at it.
As I always tell my husband, I want to leave this world knowing that I sqeezed the last drop out of it.

I’m pisces, so I’m a heavy dreamer. This is good because I can be very creative and sort of visualize what I want to do, but as a good pisces, I’m also fearful of exposing myself too much and taking big risks. This whole China adventure has been very challenging and gratifying at the same time. I see opportunities and barriers each day, but it makes it all more interesting.

Hope you enjoy the video, and most importantly, hope you enjoy your life with all its ups and downs 🙂
Wish you a lovely day!

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Dumplings with Lots of Green

23 Mar

Dumplings with Lots of Green

Everytime I have to prepare a meal is a bit of a challenge. We normally go for some vegetables, noodles or rice and try to avoid eating any meat or fish due to food safety concerns (just last week, more than 16,000 dead pigs were recovered from Shanghai’s Huangpu river). It is also difficult to find the ingredients that we are used to cooking with, such as tomato sauce, cheese, butter, olive oil, and the one that I miss the most, avocado. In bigger cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing, you won’t experience this problem, because there are several supermarkets that carry “western” foods.
But, I must admit that after a year living here, I actually started to enjoy local Chinese food. It is nothing like the traditional take out that we are used to in the States. Local Chinese food has more depth and variety; it’s healthier and fresher (when no meat is involved).
Today, I prepared one of my favorites: dumplings!