Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kai Chuang

There's this really cute Chinese phrase that a Jiao Tong student told me about the other day. It has to do with...what else?...food! Specifically, Shanghai dumplings and how to eat them.

Now, we've mentioned before how xiaolongbao and other local favorites come filled with meat and broth. Bit into a hot one and...ouch!

So how do you get around this? And how can you chow down without making a big mess?

The answer? Kai Chuang!

Kai Chuang literally means "open the window." Here's how it works, as the accompanying pictures illustrate.

You use your chopsticks to create a little opening on the top side of the bun. Instant ventilation. Plus, now you have access to the little ball of meat inside and the broth it is sitting in. Toss some vinegar down the hatch, and you are ready to sip and chew.

With the inside cleaned out, the dumpling itself can be enjoyed without fear of burn or spill. The particular version I'm working on here has a crunchy bottom, as it was pan fried rather than steamed.

Kai Chuang...a cool meeting of language and eating...

~Steve

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