Grace is a new friend of mine. She started working at my office a little while ago. She’s getting her PhD from Clemson in Economics and grew up her first 22 years in China. Today she brought me a cookbook that has Chinese on the top and English on the bottom of each page! It has really pretty pictures too. So she’s letting me borrow it and I’m looking forward to going to the Asian Market and cooking some authentic Chinese dishes!
She took me and another friend Angie to a Chinese restaurant downtown where she knows the owner and gets more authentic dishes than the normal customer. The owner wasn’t there, but one of the workers was able to help us pick some items that were more authentic than Americanized. The first thing Grace ordered for us was Seaweed Salad. I would have never ordered this on my own, but it was absolutely delicious!!
Then Grace ordered the Garlic Beef, Angie got the Garlic Chicken and I got the Mongolian Beef. It was delicious! We all had spring rolls (the smaller ones without meat), and I got brown rice. And, of course, we ate with chopsticks!
Here’s a new ingredient to me: woodear! I saw it in the cookbook Grace gave me, but then I also noticed that it was in the seaweed salad (finely sliced) and in the Mongolian Beef dish (whole). It’s a type of fungus, a mushroom that grows on trees in China. It tastes like a mushroom too, and the texture is not quite as rubbery as some other mushrooms. Here’s what it looks like:
Overall, I was very pleased with our lunch! And it’s always nice to make new friends!