Monday, December 18, 2017

That one dinner when I decided to use a stick



Steamed rice with Mongolian beef chinese curry.

Steamed rice with Mongolian beef chinese curry. 

By Tasneem Hassanali

Have you ever googled on how to eat your food? Most likely, the answer is no, perhaps with a moan. I must confess, this one evening, I did so.  I have a ‘so called’ bucket list that I mentally prepared with my better half – that includes perfecting, rather imitating other cultures and experiencing the other side of life.
I decided to check-off one of it last week, practising if not perfecting on how to use sticks like the Chinese to eat a meal. We went looking for two sets of chopsticks in the streets of Kariakoo where culinary shops are plenty. Rarely you’ll find just two sets – it’s usually a pack of six or twelve sets and can cost anything between Sh5500 and Sh8500 per pack.
My cooking skill for Chinese food is undoubtedly above average if not exceptional. Just before dining, we googled videos on the right way to hold and use the Chinese chopsticks. From a muscle spasm to collision – our efforts seemed a fail. It’s surely a herculean task for the beginners.
Chopsticks have been used as a key eating utensil by the Chinese for centuries now. It’s a culinary etiquette that involves equal pair of sticks that have been smoothed and shaped with the thinnest ends used for picking up pieces of food. Most are quite familiar with wooden or plastic chopsticks offered at several Chinese restaurants in the city.
I suggest when buying, go for the wooden or bamboo chopsticks as the plastic ones can get slippery for the beginners.
It surely is a culinary experience that took time to learn, but we managed to finish the steamed rice and Mongolian beef curry platter using the Chinese way of dining. But like they say, if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.
Do you have any interesting culinary experience? If yes, write to me.

Email: thassanali@tz.nationmedia.com

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