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The untold spy story of WWI

In 1910 a proposed Alliance between Germany and France (See New York Times Article ) worried Britain so they sent someone to 'sniff around'.

The story is a personal journey of discovery set in the vibrant energy that is Zanzibar. Susan finds herself in the palace of the great Sultan of Zanzibar as private tutor to his children. She immerses herself in the heady experiences of that rich island. From making friends with her personal servant, Subira, to falling in love with Asim, a senior member of the Sultan's court. Susan delights in the discovery of Zanzibar and the discovery of herself. The only shadow being that she was recruited by British Military Intelligence as a spy. That compromises her love for Asim and will eventually cut the silken thread that is her journey into the exotic.

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The Eight Styles of Chinese Cooking 


The Eight Great Styles of Chinese Cuisine


These eight styles of cuisine form the cornerstone of Chinese gastronomy.

There are said to be eight distinct styles of cuisine in China known as the 八大菜系’, bā dà cài xì, or literally ‘Great eight cuisines’, which are based in different regions of China. In reality, there are many, many more styles of cuisine than these eight – especially considering all of the different styles of food eaten by minority peoples, the fusion of cooking styles, the influence that other countries have had on Chinese dishes.

 The first style of cuisine is famous all over the world for being spicy – ‘la’ 辣 – and ‘numbing’ – ‘ma’ 麻. Combined, the overall flavor is ‘ma-la’ 麻辣. This is Sichuan food: ‘sichuan cai’ 四川菜, which is shortened to ‘Chuan-cai’ 川菜. Some famous dishes are ‘ma-po-dou-fu’ 麻婆豆腐 or ‘Grandma Ma’s Tofu’, which is very spicy cooked tofu, and ‘shui-zhu-rou-pian’ 水煮肉片 or ‘Water-boiled meat (pork) slices’. In Chinese cooking, the word for meat, ‘rou’ 肉, always means ‘pork’ if used by itself. This is because the most common meat eaten in China is pork. Chicken is ‘ji-rou’ 鸡肉, beef is ‘niurou’ 牛肉, mutton is ‘yangrou’ 羊肉, and pork is ‘zhurou’ 猪肉 OR simply ‘rou’ 肉. Sichuan food gets its ‘numbing’ flavor from a small pepper called a ‘flower pepper’ or ‘hua-jiao’ 花椒. Eat this if you wish to lose some feeling in your mouth!



The next style of cuisine is also famous around the world. It is ‘Cantonese’ or ‘guangdong-cai’ 广东菜. Shortened, this style is called ‘yue-cai’ 粤菜. ‘Yue’ is the old name of the region, and the name of the language ‘Cantonese’ is ‘yue-yu’ 粤语. This style of cooking is notorious for preparing and eating just about anything imaginable: snake, mouse, snail, cat, and so on. An example of this ‘strange food’ is a dish called ‘long-feng-dou’ 龙凤斗 which translates to ‘dragon-phoenix-fight’. It is a soup that is made of snake meat, representing the ‘dragon’ in the name, and chicken which represents the ‘phoenix’. Another famous style of food in ‘yue-cai’ is Dim Sum, or ‘dian-xin’ 点心. This means ‘touch of the heart’ for these are small dishes that come in a variety of flavors and ingredients.



 Perhaps the spiciest food in China is ‘xiang-cai’ 湘菜, which comes from the province of Hunan 湖南. While Sichuan food is ‘ma-la’ 麻辣 or ‘numbingly spicy’, ‘xiang-cai’ is ‘gan-la’ 干辣 or ‘dry spicy’ and ‘suan-la’ 酸辣or ‘sour spicy’. For the ‘gan-la’ style, it’s just lots of red pepper and just… spicy. For the ‘suan-la’ style, there are lots of added pickles to give the peppers a sour taste. Some examples of this are ‘nong-jia-xiao-chao-rou’ 农家小炒肉 which is ‘farmers’ small fried pork’ and ‘la-zi-ji-ding’ 辣子鸡丁 which is ‘spicy chicken pieces’



Fourth on our list is food from Anhui 安徽 which is appropriately known as ‘hui-cai’ 徽菜. This style is well-known for dishes that utilize wild game and carefully cook them in appropriate amounts of oil, such as ‘xue-dong-shao-shan-ji’ 雪冬烧山鸡 or ‘Snow vegetable braised pheasant’ and ‘nai-zhi-fei-wang-yu’ 奶汁肥王鱼 or ‘milk stew fat mandarin fish’.



Next we have su-cai 苏菜 which is a style of cooking found in Suzhou 苏州 province. This food is very mild and tender and sometimes sweet in flavor. Examples of this are ‘shi-zi-tou’ 狮子头 or ‘lion heads’ which are round balls of pork and ‘shui-jing-xia-jiao’ 水晶虾饺 or ‘crystal shrimp dumplings’.



Sixth is food from Zhejiang province, known as Zhe-cai 浙菜. This style of cooking is full of very light and artistic dishes. They are known to be fairly sweet and non-oily. Due to the many rivers, lakes and wetlands found in the province, as well as bamboo forests, they tend to eat a lot of freshwater fish, lotus root, and bamboo shoots. One dish named after Hangzhou’s 杭州 famous West Lake ‘xi-hu’ 西湖 is ‘xi-hu-cu-yu’ 西湖醋鱼 or ‘West Lake vinegar fish’. This fish was originally caught out of the West Lake. Another famous dish is ‘dong-po-rou’ 东坡肉 which is succulent fatty-pork named after the ‘dongpo’ street of Hangzhou.




Food from Shandong 山东 is known as lu-cai 鲁菜 and the dishes are primarily eaten with a wheat-based staple. Shandong is famous for steamed buns, such as ‘gao-zhuang-man-tou’ 高庄馒头 which means ‘High-stacked-buns’. There are also many types of wheat-based noodles, and in Qingdao 青岛, beer! Also near Qingdao and the coastal areas, seafood is prevalent. A popular dish is ‘nai-tang-ji-yu’ 奶汤鲫鱼 or ‘Milk-soup-carp’, which is carp slowly cooked in a very fragrant and mild milky-broth. While food in Beijing 北京 is a fusion of cuisines from all over China, much of Beijing’s food can find its roots in Shandong, which is close to Beijing. Even the origins of Beijing Roast Duck ‘Beijing-kao-ya’ 北京烤鸭can be traced to Shandong.




The eighth and final style comes from the province of Fujian 福建 and is known as min-cai 闽菜, named after the traditional name of the region. This cooking is known for many kinds of nutritious soups such as ‘Fo-tiao-qiang’ 佛跳墙. The literal translation of this dish is ‘Buddha jumps the wall’, meaning that the aroma and flavor of this soup is so strong that even the Buddha would be compelled to hop over a wall in order to get to it! There are also many beautiful and colorful dishes such as ‘xue-hua-ji’ 雪花鸡 or ‘snowflake chicken’.







A Bite of China

A Bite of China is a 2012 Chinese documentary television series on the history of food, eating, and cooking in China directed by Chen Xiaoqing (陈晓卿), narrated by Li Lihong (李立宏) and original music composed by Roc Chen (阿鲲). It first appeared at the China Central Television in May 14th, 2012, and quickly gained much popularity. Having started filming in March 2011, this seven-episode documentary series introduces the history and story behind foods of various kinds in more than 60 locations all around China. The documentary has also been actively encouraged as a means of introducing Chinese food culture to those unfamiliar with local cuisine.