"There is no such thing as Chinese Food", says Toby Chan, 21, from Hong Kong. He is the only regular Chinese European Studies student in the second year. “China is just too big to generalize about its food. My grandma, for example, has lived in many different parts of China. Sometimes, her dishes can be exotic, even for me.” In Hong Kong, food is quite diverse. The city is westernized, also in terms of food. But still, eating is very different in Hong Kong than it is in Maastricht. In China, all sorts of dishes are put into the middle of the table for people to pick from, whereas here, everyone has his or her own dish. Chinese restaurants in Europe are mostly authentic, Toby says, but they are expensive and usually pan-Asian even though they are labeled Chinese. “We eat a lot of rice and noodles, but we don’t have sweet and sour dishes as often as most Europeans think. I believe what is special about Chinese eating culture is that we eat warm, salty dishes at every time of the day, also for breakfast. For example, I like hot soup in the morning.” To cook your very own Chinese meal, here is Toby’s recipe:
涼拌茄子 (literal translation: Cold Eggplant)
1 clove of garlic
2 spring onions
1. Steam/boil the already cut pieces of eggplant.
2. Let the eggplant cool down by putting it into the fridge. While waiting, you can make the sauce. Mix 2 spoons of soy sauce, 1 spoon of white vinegar, some sugar and a little bit sesame oil. It is quite flexible, so keep trying it.
3. Pan fry the tiny pieces of garlic and spring onion a little bit in some oil.
4. Pour the sauce over the cold aubergine and add the pan-fried garlic and spring onions. Mix it and enjoy. Add some more sauce if needed.