Showing posts from 2016

Pig Island 2016

Happy 5th birthday to us!  Another year, another brilliant trip to Pig Island.  As always, we're very grateful to Jimmy Carbone and his team at Food Karma for organizing this event and being gracious hosts.  I would have loved for it to be about twenty degrees cooler and a bit more overcast; it was sweltering and I came home with a pretty gnarly tan!  But no matter, the plentiful food and drink were still enjoyable.

In past years, I've tried to pinpoint a recurring theme or motif that inspired the chefs: last year we saw a lot of chicharrones and pork rinds, whereas past years there were lots of tacos or sliders.  I think this year's theme was a little broader and more international: fusion pork dishes.

One of the standouts was a sandwich from Hudson & Charles of pickled pork shoulder in a banana calamansi BBQ sauce.  We spoke to the chefs, who told us calamansi is a citrus fruit like a cross between lime and orange, commonly used in Filipino cooking.  The pork was s…

China, Part 4: Hong Kong

After seeing more branches of my family tree in Jiangmen than I ever have in my life, we sojourned by bus to Hong Kong. Hong Kong is about a 4 hour bus ride away, considering you have to stop in Shenzhen to go through customs and immigration.  One of the most interesting things I saw here was the groups of commuter students.  And by students, I mean six year old schoolchildren.  While we lugged our suitcases off the bus, into the customs building, and waited on lines, we saw herds of kids dressed in matching school uniforms and bright bookbags and ID badges running through the building to get from the Shenzhen side to the Hong Kong side, and vice versa.  My dad said these were kids who lived on either the mainland China or the Hong Kong side and had to commute to and from school every day on the opposite side. Wild!  I thought it was bad just passing through once and waiting on lines and getting my passport stamped and all that, but these kids had to do it at least twice a day.


China, Part 3: Jiangmen

Chinese geography is still fairly confusing to me, even after I've been to these places.  The next stop on our trip was Jiangmen, which is still part of the Guangdong province about an hour and a half away from Guangzhou by car.  My dad's older brother picked us up in a car to take us to Jiangmen.  It turns out my uncle is kind of a big deal: he is a history professor at Wuyi University, the major university in Jiangmen.  He's been involved with getting UNESCO World Heritage status for several historic villages nearby and sometimes the local TV stations interview him about local history and culture (my dad gets Chinese TV on satellite and he'll sometimes holler at me to come over to see my uncle on TV).
A lot of people from Jiangmen eventually wound up in San Francisco and New York City during the main waves of immigration in the late 1800s and 1990s.

We arrived at the Palace International Hotel in Jiangmen, which conveniently had several restaurants in the same build…

China, Part 2: Guangzhou

There's an old Chinese adage that says a person should live in Hangzhou, marry in Suzhou, eat in Guangzhou, and die in Luzhou.  I think Suzhou girls are supposed to be pretty, and Luzhou has got forests full of trees perfect for building coffins apparently.  The rest of our trip was spent in Guangdong province, which encompasses Guangzhou, Jiangmen, and Hong Kong.  Guangdong's anglicized name is Canton: hence, Cantonese dialect and food and people - represent!
We flew from Beijing down to the city of Guangzhou.  We were picked up at the airport by another of my mom's friends, who was also a classmate and current employee of the illustrious Mr. C.  We were also given a chauffeur, the company driver of Mr. C's company.  Wild!
Our first dinner in Guangzhou was in a fancy restaurant near the Pearl River.  We had a lot of tasty food, which were much more familiar to us.  Whole boiled shrimp, fatty pork belly, steamed fish, roast goose, and tons more.  One of the most memorabl…