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Spring Volume: 2017 Issue: 24(1) pages: 29 to 30
Long a gateway city to Beijing, Tianjin is fifty miles
Southeast of the country’s capital city. It is China’s
fourth largest city and a major seaport half an hour
by high speed train. In Tianjin, one boards at Tianjin
South’ main station to get to the capital quickly.
Historically, this was a city of migrants. There were
many foreign settlements here from 1858. It is a major
trading port and a place where British and French were
early power players. Living with them were Japanese,
Germans, Austro-Hungarians, Italians, Russians, and
others in this cosmopolitan city with strong Russian and
Japanese influences that still exist today.
Once divided into nine international concessions, this city
was known for them and for the strong monsoons that
occasionally blew in. Here, blended
cultures existed, ones that mixed
foods from China’s north and south; a
mite more southern than northern.
Tianjin was a busy seaport as well
as a melting pot of peoples. It was a
city with places ancient and modern,
folk and food from all over China, a
place with dry winters, hot and humid
summers, lots of fish, and sandstorms
from the Gobi Desert that could last
for several days.
In Tianjin, temperatures on some
days in July, do range from twentyfive
to eighty degrees Fahrenheit. There are two to
three thousand hours of sunshine in the Fall, mostly
in October, and there is lots of warm rain in July and
August. Air quality here can be thick enough to taste but
no one seems to mind, at least they never say so.
The name of this city means “Emperor’s Ferry.’ It guards
Beijing with people not only of many different cultures,
but also of various faiths. They support many forms of
local art, are known for their great sense of humor, have
lots of tolerance, and frequent many elegant dining and
Many folk come here to enjoy Ancient Culture Street,
the Tianhou Temple dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea,
see the Confucius Temple, the Wang Hai Luo Cathedral,
and more. That church was destroyed several times
including in 1870, during the boxer rebellion of 1900,
and in an earthquake in 1976. Repaired most recently in
1983, people keep coming to see it, the Dabei Monastery
near the market place the Laughing Buddha at its
entrance, see Guanyin, and the Tianjin Eye which is
one of the world’s tallest Ferris Wheels, three hundred
ninety-four feet tall. They oogle at it and at the Frenchbuilt
cathedral called Xi Kai, at the many colonial
buildings on Jiefnang Street. They also go to the Chian
House Museum, and the Tianhou Temple.
People also come here to eat their famous Goubuli
Dumplings filled with delicious pork. They come to
enjoy Stone-grilled Beef, braised Prawns. Crabs with
Seaweed, Corn Thimbles, and many other local and
imported dishes. They love all their snacks including
those steamed buns; they are stuffed with pork or other
juicy fillings, enjoy the Earhole Fried
Cakes that are filled with red beans
and sugar, the Shibajie or Fried Dough
Twists named for the street where
first made, and many more snack
foods. The most famous fillings in
many of their dishes include walnuts,
prunes, and/or sweet osmanthus, all
are very popular.
This seaport city also has other sea
foods, often served in big bowls alone
or with other foods from the land.
Most are salty and fresh, braised
with lots of fresh bean curd or made
with dried bean curd sticks. Some
eat theirs with different kinds of ham, and many flavor
them with southern seasonings.
Local pancakes are popular here, the most loved are
those made with mung bean flour rolled with scallions,
eggs, and fermented bean sauce. Some prefer theirs as
guobacia, made with other ingredients.
Locals and visitors flock to Nashi Street or make a bee
line to Jingyuan, once known as the Garden of Serenity.
Now, it has an exhibition oft Puyi’s life. Others go to
Zhangyuan to see this grand mansion’s exterior at 59
Anshan Road. They can not go inside but can imagine
Dr. Sun Yat-sen and his wife living here. This they did
for some months in this 1915-style building. Others go to
Italiante Street to see the two hundred or so Europeanstyle
buildings on the north bank of the Haine River.
Still others go to Marco Polo Square to see and be seen.
Tianjin once was a small walled city. Now it has more
than sixteen million residents, most of whom know it
was first built in 1404, and that the entire wall is gone
except for small parts from 1860 Many come here to the
concession areas from years ago that no longer exist in
this Hebei former capital.
There were a few rebuilt since the major earthquake
but they are curious about the close to three hundred
‘Fortune 500’ companies headquartered here. Most
come just to enjoy the Grand Canal begun years ago and
opened during Sui Dynasty times (589-618).
The Boxers did seize control of this city in 1900, were
defeated and forced back from where they came
from soon afterwards. Then, this city became the
provincial capital of Hopeh, later fell to Japan in 1937.
and Americans surrendered in December of that year
though the Boxers did remain in control until August
of 1945. World War II ended all local battles and peace
has gratefully taken over since so people can only worry
about their next main dish.
|Prawns Braised Popo Style|
2 pounds large shrimp, shells cut open, veins removed
3 Tablespoons Shao Xing wine
1 cup vegetable oi, separated in two halves
5 slices fresh ginger, minced
3 Tablespoons fermented rice and its liquid
3 Tablespoons mashed ripe tomatoes
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1. Dry shrimp with paper towels, then toss them with the
wine, half the oil, and the ginger, and set aside for half
an hour at room temperature.
2. Heat a wok, then add the other half of the oil, and
when it is hot, add half the drained shrimp and stir-fry
until they are almost pink, then take them out of the oil
and fry the other half of them, each time removing them
to a pre-heated bowl.
3. Dry the wok, add the fermented rice and the mash
tomatoes, and after one minute, return the shrimp and
stir until they are hot, no more than two minutes, then
add the sesame oil, and serve in the same bowl, after
drying it with paper towels.
|Guizhou, Ignored by the Dog|
12 ounces ground pork
2 Tablespoon sesame oil, divided in half
3 Tablespoons ground chicken fat
3 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
3 Tablespoons fresh minced ginger
10 dumpling bun dough
1. Mix ground pork and the chicken fat and two
tablespoons ice water and stir slowly and carefully
until all is incorporated into the meat, then add the
soy sauce, and the ginger, and continue stirring until
it, too, is stirred into the meat.
2. Brush a bowl with very little of the sesame oil.
3. Roll each batch of dough until about six inches, then
wrap it twice around two tablespoons of the meat
mixture sealing all edges of the dough with water
brushing its outside with the rest of the sesame oil.
Steam over boiling water for eight minutes, then
put them on an oil-brushed bowl, and serve.