How does beltfish taste?
When my in-laws come to Shanghai to visit, it's always a small (not just culinary) highlight. This event probably only has a negative connotation in Germany, because at least my in-laws would be best not to let go. They do not speak any foreign languages and Chinese only with dialectical coloring, which accordingly limits the possibilities of communication, and yet I do not learn new Chinese terms, tips and tricks for the household or more about the Chinese mentality from anyone as easily as they do. They really make an effort to integrate me, stupid foreigner, into the family, they are cordial and have no reservations whatsoever. They also make sure that you don't shake hands around the house while they are around. In no way do they let our hosts cook for them, but go down to the fresh market themselves every day to buy the best food, which they then prepare in our kitchen for the rest of the day. Coming home every day becomes an adventure because you never know what to expect - just new dishes, bags of fresh fruit or maybe even a whole army of crabs crawling across the kitchen counter with something planned?
In China, food has a very high priority and is celebrated accordingly. In Germany it already counts as a more upscale meal if there is a starter and / or dessert or at least a side salad with the main course. We got rid of this bad habit years ago because it was far too boring. At that time I was therefore often envied for the versatility of our dishes (nobody else had a lunch box with three to four different dishes), here in China we quietly conform to the habits of the locals. Because as a rule, you serve one dish more than people sit at a meal, regardless of whether you order in a restaurant or cook yourself at home. Accordingly, when visiting in-laws twice a day, a minimum of five dishes are on the menu, which are placed in the middle of the table, easily accessible to everyone. Attention is paid to the diversity of the dishes, e.g. a meat dish, a vegetarian, a fish (or other animal from the water) and a soup - otherwise it would be boring. The good thing: Since the food is way too much for a meal, you can reheat it the next day without having to pull a long face. Because thanks to the variety of leftovers, eating again won't be boring.
Unfortunately, I once again forgot to photograph half of our culinary highlights. But here is at least a small selection of dishes my in-laws served us. In the meantime they have gone home again. How lucky that we will soon have a week of public holidays to celebrate the Moon Festival - of course a trip to Nanjing is planned.
Dinner clockwise: chives ("Jiucai"; top left), meat with celery and nut, a soup made from egg and leafy vegetables that is only grown in Nanjing, meat with "gancai", fish, crabs
Clockwise lunch: belt fish (top left), meat with bamboo tips, duck, fish head, winter melon soup. A vegetarian dish was still in the wok at the time of the photo without my knowing about it ...
Taro for breakfast: the roots are steamed, peeled and eaten dipped in coarse-grain sugar
Dinner clockwise: duck (above), pork with garlic chives, beltfish, crabs and crispy fried shrimp (which you can't see in the photo because the crabs are on top), pork with home-grown gancai, breaded fish, kongqingcai, leftovers from fish head and winter melon soup (middle)
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