Last Friday, WildChina hosted another Where the Wild Things Are talk in conjunction with Beijing Hotel Capital M. The star of the moment? Chef and food-critic Fuchsia Dunlop. On the menu? Delicious recipes from her latest book, Every Grain of Rice.
For those lucky enough to grab a seat at the (sold out!) luncheon at Capital M, their afternoon schedule was a gastronomic adventure.
First up was an array of cold Chinese appetizers: smoked cucumber in a sharp garlic sauce, preserved duck eggs with sublimely silky tofu, and a dark, wood ear salad spiced with coriander.
After the teasing tastes of the first course, guests were presented with the heart and soul of the day’s feast. Succulent, sweet red-braised pork belly, Sichuanese ‘dry-fried’ green beans, fish-fragrant eggplant (a favorite), and finally, black peppered chicken. All in all, a delightful panoply of the flavors of the Middle Kingdom. As guests were enjoying the fruits and biscotti that rounded out the meal, Fuchsia took to the stage.
In her talk, Fuchsia pulled back the cover on a whole range of food issues–such as the function of food in the medical annals of China. She described the ethos of balance that permeates Chinese eating and consumption, and recounted stories of her experiences taking the upper echelon of Chinese cooks to the royalty of restaurants in the west–French Laundry and Fat Duck among them. Fuchsia’s talk was sprinkled with humorous anecdotes that spoke to her deep love of Chinese food. When describing a Chinese banquet Fuchsia exclaimed, “You could do it every day!” before adding somewhat glumly, “though you probably shouldn’t…” She is a fierce lover of tofu, much maligned by western diners, daring the audience to respond when she pronounced, “Who could ever accuse mapo doufu [a spicy tofu dish from Sichuan] of being insipid?”
Educational, amusing, and thoroughly engaging, Fuchsia’s talk was a hit from the first word to the last. Fuchsia stuck around afterwards to chat with guests and sign copies of Every Grain of Rice–for those who wanted to replicate the Capital M meal at home. The next day Fuchsia left Beijing to lead a WildChina gastronomic tour of China. After the event, one guest noted, “I was honored to hear Fuchsia speak, and am excited to see what she does next.”
If you would like to find out more about our Where the Wild The Things Are series, or have any questions about travel in China send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to assist you.