Looking for Food

One of the first things I like to do when I go to a different country is to check their supermarkets.

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I love to walk on the aisles, looking at all the different vegetables, fruits and products. I feel like a kid, exploring a new world, full of wonders. I find so interesting, how dramatically  our diets can change depending on the place we live.

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From tropical fruits in Brazil to street food such as fried breaded whole crab in China.  I still have no clue how someone can eat this crab in the middle of the street.

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Today is getting easier to find almost everything, everywhere, but, depending of where you live, you will have more options of that same product or not, it all depends on the popularity of it.

In Brazil for example, we just looove our pão de queijo ( cheese bread). You can find fresh-out-of-the oven ones, almost in every supermarket or bakery in Brazil.

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IMG_9554Little baguettes is a must in every brazilian breakfast table, and we like it fresh as well.IMG_9540

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Manioc bi-products, very popular in Brazil

Most of Brazilians have a very sweet tooth. We love cakes (always moist please), chocolate, pastries, fruits and of course ice cream and popsicles, to help us with the Brazilian heat.IMG_9538

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Brazilians drinks more beer than milk ( for real), and they also love their meat: pork, beef, chicken, you name it, everything they need to make amazing churrasco ( barbecue).

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IMG_2830.jpgIn China it is said, that you need seven necessities to begin a day: Firewood, rice, oil, salt, sauce, vinegar and tea. After learning that I understood why the vinegar/sauce/oil area in the supermarket is soo big.

They have so many types of soy sauce and vinegar that is hard to choose from.

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credit: kschimdt495

Tea is big part of the Chinese daily life. There is over 3.000 teahouses in Shanghai.

Hangzhou Longjing Tea Plantation 9
Hangzhou tea plantation/ credit:Shanghai pathways

 

 

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Tea in China can drastically varies in price, it depends what you are looking for. Here you can find from crappy tea bags to first grade loose leaf tea and also beautiful flowers infusions. They even have tea tastings on supermarkets around town.

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Bottled sweet tea

Dumplings, noodles and buns are on the list of the most popular food in China, no wonder why, I got so addicted to them. They are simply delicious.

Shanghaineses love their meat, specially pork and duck. You can find a lot of take out restaurants around town selling only pork or only poultry with different sauces for every taste. I’ve seen lines that went around the block.

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Chinese diet also tend to have a lot of fruits, dark green leafs, and mushrooms which are so cheap to buy.

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credit: thewoksoflife

IMG_1291IMG_2832Fruits shops  like this one are everywhere in the city.

Which foods do you like best?

 

 

“How do I like my eggs? Umm, in a cake”.

Before leaving São Paulo, my husband’s friends decided to throw a farewell dinner for him. I decided to bake a cake ( chocolate cake flavored with cumaru: an amazon spice, vanilla brigadeiro filling and nutella buttercream)  to take to the dinner. I thought it would be cool to decorated it with a red Chinese dragon made from sugar paste to celebrate our new home: Shanghai.

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What do you think?

 

The search for the best Xiaolongbao

Even though Chinese is not a easy language to learn, I speak food. Therefore it wasn’t difficult for me to pronounce: Xiao Long Bao, which means: little basket dumpling or soup dumplings.

As you could see from my last food post, I am crazy about noodles. Actually I am crazy about any kind of pasta: Gluten free, quinoa, wheat, egg, rice you name it.

When I friend of mine told me about a restaurant that made fresh dumplings, I was quite eager to go there and try. That restaurant was Din Tai Fung.IMG_1265.jpg

I ate there on my second day here in Shanghai, and obviously it was love at first bite.

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After that, every time I walked down the street and saw dumplings, I felt a need to try them, but since I don’t speak Chinese (yet), I thought it would be safer to first do an online research. I found out that there is a xiaolongbao index: A website that sells a list  of the most perfect ( proportion wise: thin skin, fresh meat, abundant filling)  soup dumplings.So I decided to try the first one on their list: Zu ke lai.

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Zu Ke Lai, is a very local place, which mean that they don’t speak english there.IMG_2384 IMG_2382

Because of that, I downloaded an app ( waygo) that can translate written Chinese, Korean and Japanese to english to help me order delicious food in non touristy places.

Before sitting at the table you have to go to the cashier, place the order and pay for it, and since was my first time using the app, and I don’t know what made me more nervous: The Chinese lady looking at my clueless self, my hungry husband or my excitement of being in a strange environment.IMG_2335IMG_2334

I ordered two things a rice shrimp dumpling and pork dumplings. Actually what I though it was pork dumplings. When we finally sat on the table with our number, I looked at the menu again with my app, and realized I had just ordered, and PAID for CHICKEN FEET, yes chicken feet, and I don’t even eat poultry ( which made me laugh). Of course neither me or my husband touched that, we both lacked courage.IMG_2353 On the other hand the shrimp dumplings were delicious, but four dumplings wasn’t going to start filling our bellies.IMG_2357

After those discoveries, I went back to the register and asked for pork dumplings. I wish it was easy like that.I Actually googled the word pork and the word dumpling and showed it to the lady, and she nodded what I understood as a yes. I waited anxiously for the food, and that time it wasn’t chicken feet lol.

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It was a very yummy basket full of very hot, juicy pork dumplings. The dumplings skin was so thin, and the filling, juice proportion was just perfect. IMG_2351IMG_2361

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Sooo hot!!

Flavor wise I still prefer Din Tai Fung, but it was a delicious lunch, and a super fun experience.

 

I Heart Ramen aka Noodles!

I am in Shanghai, mainland China, and one of my favorite things do to here is, to explore the wonders of the different Chinese cuisines this cosmopolitan city has to offer.IMG_1369.jpgIMG_1360.jpg

When I read that ramen (Japanese noodles) was actually introduced by the Chinese in Japan ( which makes sense since was the Chinese the ones who invented noodles.), that meant that they  would have a huge variety of noodle dishes, which made me a very happy gal indeed.

My relationships with noodles and soup are very ancient, strong and I can’t deny it. So when I saw a packed restaurant full of people eating  noodles, swimming in those broths full of yumminess, I didn’t have a choice but to enter the establishment and join them. IMG_1354.jpg

Moian is a very simply and modern noodle shop in Jing’an ( a neighborhood in Shanghai) that made me feel I was eating noodles in New York. IMG_1322.jpgIMG_1323.jpg

When you enter the place there is a couple of computers, which you  can browse the menu and place the order. Once you have printed the order ticket you go straight to the cashier and she will give you a number so the waitress can deliver the food to your table.

First they brought our juices in those cute, look a like mason jars (which I love) with colorful paper straws, and a few minutes later,  heaven on earth.IMG_1331.jpg

I ordered the beef noodles, and my husband the beef noodles with tomato broth, and I couldn’t decided which one I liked better.IMG_1359.JPG

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I will definitively have to come back there to try it again. I am a very happy gal indeed.

D.O.M.

In this past year that I lived in Brazil, I met a lot of amazing people, and went to places that I had never been before. But a time I will never forget is the time that I had the opportunity of working at the only two star michelin restaurant in Brazil: D.O.M., and with one of my favorites chefs : Alex Atala.

IMG_6671Oysters with cupuaçu sorbet and mango tile

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Working there was amazing. I got to work with ingredients from the amazon forest, that I never did before, like ants and spices. Also different herbs from all over Brazil.

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One of the highlights, was working in the kitchen, while the were filming an episode of Chef’s table ( an amazing series about incredible chef’s from Netflix). They filmed me while I was working with the amazon ants, I had to open their legs with tweezers, and place them on top of  pineapple’s slices. I didn’t know what made me more nervous the fact that they were filming my hands so close, or the fact that chef Alex was watching everything happening so close. Maybe both. By the way, the ants taste like lemongrass. Yummy!

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IMG_6836.JPGBut what I enjoy the most, was working with amazing people in there, they became my family, and I will miss them dearly.

IMG_6793.jpgIMG_7033.jpgPirarucu scales IMG_6937Mixed flowers ceviche 

IMG_7124Dandara, my favorite pastry chef, chef Alex and I.IMG_6665.jpg

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IMG_7135Brazilian green pepper sorbet, pink pepper, ginger dust, parsley sprout and cilantro sprout.