Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Almost there but not quite yet
Some of our Chinese friends invited us to their house for dinner the other day. I love going to someone’s house for dinner, there’s simply something about homemade food that restaurant food cannot measure up with. And this time was no exception. My friend made us quite a bit of dishes, including some dong-bei food, plus our all-time-favourite, “fan qie chao ji dan” (番茄炒鸡蛋 egg and tomato stir-fry). It’s a real simple dish, and still I cannot get it right when I attempt it in my own kitchen. Eating it at restaurants is OK, but having my friend’s homemade version was simply outstanding. I also watched her every move while she made it, so who knows, maybe next time I try I end up making an edible version too?
This couple is a real funny one. The guy is from Harbin and the girl is from south China. They are quite “rebellious” compared to some of my other Chinese friends: They live together even though they are not married and have done for a long time. They don’t want to rush into marriage and baby making even though they are in their mid-twenties, and they are both (although especially the girl) super keen on going abroad travelling. Not your average Chinese couple I would say. Also, the guy won some extra laughing points from us when he told us about his minority-religion-dilemma:
-So I belong to the hui minority and apparently we are not supposed to eat pork. It’s like being Muslim.
-Oh! But…. Why are we eating pork then? (the table was full of it)
-Well because it tastes good, hehe.
-Haha, so you’ve always been eating pork?
-Oh no! My parents are strict Muslims. Every time they come to visit we have to empty and clean the fridge to make sure it is 100% pork-free.
-Nah, it’s not too bad. Harbin’s quite far away you know. They don’t come so often.
We were laughing at the guy’s interpretation until he soon reminded us that although he was rebellious in some cases, he was still insanely traditional when it came to other things:
-On the other hand, it’s great when my mom comes to visit. Then she cooks, cleans and takes care of me just like back home.
-Isn’t that weird? Being in your mid twenties and having your mom taking care of you?
-Well if it isn’t her it is my girlfriend.
Yeah, that’s right. Dong-bei men don’t do housework. I almost forgot. And we are back in the Stone Age again.