Friday, June 26, 2009

Gratuitous Sexiness: Rice Crisp(ies) Treats


Sorry about the lack of fresh meat on this blog this past week ... I'm still on the job hunt, and so my days are taken up with that painful occupation. Going in and out of the city constantly and trying to spend time with family makes it hard to find the time and focus to write. Ironically, unemployment is seemingly more time- and energy-consuming than one would think!

Anyway, for your weekend reading pleasure, before I'm off to Queens this weekend to check out potential housing (we are technically homeless vagabonds mooching off famiglia at this point), I present you with a bite from Chongqing, a city with a population of 32 million and the carbon footprint (being too hilly for the bicycles that are popular throughout China) of just that amount.

The above photo is of a very interesting rice dish, with fried or baked brown rice cakes in broken patty form, presented on a large white platter. Thinking it was like an appetizer or like a pre-dinner bread dish, some of our fellow travelers reached out to partake, but this crispy rice dish is meant to be presented tableside. The white platter is heated up and the rice is extremely hot, and equally hot sauce with thin-sliced pork, vegetables, and fungus is poured on top for a sizzling, popping sound (snap, crackle, anyone?) that causes oohs and ahhs to erupt around you.

The flavor of this dish was pretty good, although brown sauces had a tendency to be a little bland in comparison to the American iterations. Full of tender, sweet, cooked cucumbers -- like every meal we had, being a fast-growing crop and in-season -- and tree/elephant-ear fungus, the vegetables flop limply, but retain a crunch when consumed. Sweet, crisp, and slightly salty but lacking in savory qualities, the snack-cake texture of the rice was really very nice, since the overall impression of the dish was of neutral, only mildly flavored blandness, great for a hot, sticky summer day in China -- which it was.

Was it something to write home about? Eh, not really ... but the novelty of a popping dish has its appeal. Would I beg my dad to make it? Again, nah, but it was interesting to try.

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