Lets cut to the chase, I did it. I ate grasshoppers, silk worms and scorpions. In the interest of public sanity, this blog post from Yantai, in Shangdong province in China is NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED.
I’m in Yantai, in Shangdong province in China. A costal resort with 9 miles of golden beaches overlooking North Korea, equidistant between Shanghai and Beijing. A beautiful place, the wine area of this global Superpower at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. I’ve been to all of the awards since 2008. Sitting on a bus knowing not knowing the destination with the worlds best food writers is my idea of heaven, the fun, the intelligent conversations about food and more importantly the global networking is my idea of work and a holiday. But Chinese food in China, what is it?
Readers will know how much I love the food and culture from my native Northern Ireland and also how I often travel to China to present TV and launch food products for Great British and Northern Irish brands in China. What a surprise when I stumbled upon a Northern Irish restaurant in China. A Home from home, I was even greeted at the door in my mother tongue of Ulster Scots with a big smile by Eddie the Chinese owner who lives in Belfast now saying in broad Belfast tone ‘bout ya’, slightly different to the ‘Ni Hao’ I have been greeted with the past 10 days. Welcome to the land of BT8 in Shenzhen, just above Hong Kong.
It’s that time of year that is every food writers dream. The kids have gone back to school (not that I have any) so the flights are cheaper and the hotels empty. It’s my time of year to travel and see more of the world of food. This year its Germany. I’ve always loved that country, its beautiful the food superb. And over 10 days I’m going to show you what I have found.
TASTECLUB is a Northumberland-based business which sources, promotes and sells food and drink products, gifts and experiences on behalf of the north’s leading food and drink talents. TASTECLUB connects consumers with the people and the stories which lie behind some of Britain’s greatest food and drink.
Today the sun is shining and as I looked out my window in Clapham I started to sing to myself. “The hills are alive with the Sound of Music”. At times I worry about myself, but then I realise there are two types of people in this world. The sort that feel the Sound of Music is a beautiful story of love and good conquering evil and the sort that love to see the baddies fight the good ones. We may also joke in these times of austerity of some of the outfits featured in the Great British Sewing Bee on BBC that they could have been Von Trapp curtains. But today, I’m discovering Austrian Food in London.
I must admit before I start out today that I know absolutely nothing about food from Ghana. I don’t even know where the Ganahian areas of London are. All I remember from school geography lessons is that the largest artificial reservoir in the world is in Ghana. I’m excited about learning something new today, not sure what, but a willing mind and all of that. On my way to film I do my usual Google routine and find out I’m wrong. Lake Volta is actually the largest lake in the world by surface area. Not by water volume – that would make it the 4th largest. Looking back to school (not that long ago may I add) I realize that facts like this we no longer need to know, in todays world we just need to know how to Google. Does that make life easier? I’m not sure, but what I am sure of is that we need to reply to emails faster than if writing and posting a letter and that we must know how to interpret the information that we can now quickly search for. My interpretation of today is that we must be cooking with fish as I’m taking Lake Volta into consideration.
Finally the sun has started to shine in London. In true British style I left my flat this morning with a t-shirt, shirt and pullover and my winter coat. I did not have breakfast; rather I’ve been up since 5am working. Blogs do not write themselves. I’m thinking about todays shoot as I leave the flat. Waffles. A thing I have been accused of talking too much of. Not the food, more in ‘ing’.
I’m excited by the news on the press wire today. As one of the judges, I can’t wait to see the products. A record number of entries have been received from food and drink producers in Ireland by organisers of Great Taste 2013 – over 2400 in total from the whole Food Isle. From Northern Ireland there are 627 entries (up by 29% on 2012) and in the Republic of Ireland a total of 1806 products have been entered (43% up on 2012).
I’m finding London markets to be treasure troves of the world in terms of food. Real people, real food, real flavours. Simply put, that makes the real experience. However, experiencing the arctic conditions of Deptford market when I’m trying to experience the Caribbean. Introducing a new hero to the London Food Markets – In a Pikkle.