Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin
cswallow

Hunchun, China: Week 6, Pt 1 (Hamburgers, the Chinese-American Way)

Ham Bao, they call them. Amazingly, there's no McDonald's in Hunchun. But there's also no movie theatre, and no American chain restaurants at all, so maybe it's not so surprising.

I'd been promising Tony I'd make hamburgers for a while. We brought master's student volunteers in from Beijing Academy of Sciences to help us do the surveys. They only completed 23.. but we got to be friends so it ended up still being worth it! One of them had done a lot of survey work on Prezwalski's Gazelle in Qinghai - he showed us his excellent photos, told us about the people who live there, and I got my own sweet mouthful of armchair traveling.

To make hamburgers, we first had to go to the market and buy a big haunch of cow. Which we then took to another store to have ground. A third store to buy freshly ground pepper and a packet of something resembling ketchup. Yet another store for, amazingly, hamburger buns (like the real thing but sweeter). Tomatoes at another stand, and potatoes from yet another. The lettuce? Right out of our yard.

I smoked the whole kitchen to get the hamburger patties to cook in a thin wok. Zhu Jiawei kept telling me I was burning everything, which wasn't really true. You just can't get a good char with a wok. No grills here, and no oven either. Tony's girlfriend helped cook, and we sliced and fried French Fries together. All in all - a success, and a little slice of America for our friends. It was fun, especially since they'd cooked for us for several days in a row. Even Joshua, who has a rule of never eating in, stayed in to eat hamburgers.

Of course we ran out of buns, and then it became real Chinese-style hamburgers as we substituted Chinese bread for the buns. Still satisfying - I guess things like a big old meat patty can't ever be bad.



Chowing down in the kitchen: Joshua, Li ChunLin, Liu Tong (Tony), Xie Yan (WCS Country Director), Zhu Jiawei, Xiao Wenhong (Tony's very cute girlfriend!)
Tags: cooking, friendship, travel - asia
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