October 06, 2011

Real Chinese food part 2

On Monday I posted about an amazing dining experience at a Chinese restaurant in Butte Montana, and a wonderful dinner cooked by a Chinese friend in Madison Wisconsin. Today I'm posting pictures from a memorable dinner cooked for us last spring by one of my husband's doctoral students, who also happens to be Chinese. A couple of the dishes were Western in nature, but with a Chinese twist, except maybe for the elegant dessert. But never having been to China, what do I know.

We started with an outrageously colorful salad. Then came a stunning assortment of vegetable dishes, all of which were vegan.

There was tofu in a fragrant and delicious sauce.

Delicate snow peas.

Fresh asparagus.

Yuba with wood ear, (also known as black fungus or tree ear), mushrooms and peanuts. And maybe other things that I'm not remembering.

A giant bowl of oyster mushrooms, which I loved, and a bowl of okra, which you can see peeking from behind the mushroom dish. Apparently it didn't get its own photo.

And a most elegant poached pear with blueberries and raspberries for dessert. I didn't bring my camera, because although I've become somewhat accustomed to feeling a little odd taking food photos in restaurants, I still feel way too weird showing up at the home of someone I don't know, and proceeding to photograph all the food on the table. It turned out I needn't have worried in this case. The hostess already knew about the blog and was perfectly happy to have me take photos. Too bad I had to take them with my phone, but you get the picture, so to speak.


  1. Great phone pictures, I am glad that the hostess let you do that and wasn't offended!

  2. That salad is gorgeous! All of the food looks so delicious. You have some amazing friends!

  3. Agreed, amazing chopped salad! It's all so even!
    Awesome about the photos too - I'm shy enough about taking photos at family gatherings. It is a weird topic to breach.

  4. Wow, more gorgeous food! I think you know the right people to get invited round by. I love all the different dishes of veggies...so fun to munch your way through a variety of foods, instead of them being all mixed together.

    I agree, that dessert is stunning, and so healthy too!

    Again, I think your phone pics turned out great.

  5. Roxee,
    Thanks. The hostess was so nice, she even offered to take pictures with her camera! I feel bad that it's taken me so long to post the photos. The phone camera has come through for me a few times when I left my real camera at home, but I much prefer taking photos with my camera.

    I think it was the most colorful and perfectly cut salad I've ever seen.

    I could never be a photojournalist — way too shy about taking pictures. sometimes I have to really force myself to get out the camera and shoot, but no pictures, no post!

    At first it was surprising to see all the separate vegetables, but each one had a distinct and fabulous flavor, and it was such a spectacular and beautiful dinner. I loved every bite.

  6. We get the picture, ha! Yeah, it's true; I don't know if I've ever taken pics at someone else's house like that. My family but not non-family. I have no problem taking pics at restaurants (although I fell bad sometimes if it's dim lighting and there's a big flash), but I actually also feel a little embarrassed taking pictures at restaurants when I'm eating with other people. (Again, not my parents/siblings but other people.) My brother always sarcastically says, "Aren't you going to take a picture of this?" about whatever random, plain food I'm eating. He thinks it's very bizarre to take pictures of what I eat. :)

  7. I absolutely love when you post about Chinese food. I tend to eat the same type of food over and over again. I should try to go somewhere authentic and try new things.

  8. Jenny,
    It's not bizarre if you write a food-centric blog, right? Have you ever wanted to write a post but had no photographs to illustrate it because you were too embarrassed to take a photo? When that happens I'm mad at myself for being so self-conscious.

    I think it's hard to find authentic Chinese food in restaurants since they try to cater to American tastes. This food was prepared in someones' home, and it was completely different from restaurant fare. You seem like such a good cook, you should make your own!

  9. I'm drooling all over my keyboard! I never get invites like that with my husband's coworkers. I always find myself nibbling on the token vegetable tray from Costco (yeah, the dairy-based dip is off limits) while everybody else is dining on dead animals.

  10. Christina,
    I've had those, too. The worst was a dinner in Sweden where everyone was feasting on reindeer ... and the veggies were on the same tray.


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