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?
It is not every day you see ‘it’ and for that I’m very glad. The first time I ever saw ‘it’ was perhaps too many years back for one to want to remember, but ‘it’, or ‘they’ were piled high in a steel bin in a chicken factory close to my home in Northern Ireland.
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.
I’m honoured to be a Patron of the Western International School of Shanghai. Giving back is important, to see kids learn and develop and be part of this is special, but when they are from so many different countries and nationalities in one school, all learning together, playing and being happy, surely this model of learning together is something that we all should learn from?
I’m showing my age now. Shanghai Surprise was a movie with Madonna and Sean Penn in 1986. I was 8 then. Angus the AGA City60 was not born then, Dr Thomas was still living in Germany. I was living on the farm in Northern Ireland with a 2 Oven Green oil fired AGA. It had a flue, the days of flues and AGA are long over. Now I have launched AGA in China I’ve flown from Beijing to Shanghai to stay with friends for the weekend and have some meetings. Dr Thomas phoned me with such a surprise about Angus when I arrived in Shanghai…
Angus, my AGA City60 would have been proud of me today as I did the launch demo of AGA and Redfyre cookers in China. As I waked onto stage I realised I was about to teach the Chinese how to cook rice and cook a stir-fry using the Great British Cookers. And AGA and Redfyre cooked it perfectly. This is the first time a range cooker has been launched in China and I for one am so proud to have been a part of it – bringing the Great British cooker to China.
It’s amazing what one forgets about the Far East when they have not visited for a few months. It’s the little things, the sounds and smells that all of a sudden after landing are as familiar as the sight of the fields where I go home to our family farm in Northern Ireland. I’m back in China for a very busy trip, but I wish this jet-lag would go away. It’s 2 am and as Elton sang ‘good morning to the night‘. It’s 6pm at home in Blighty and my body feels it’s there. Continue reading
I’ve been travelling to China since 2009, presenting TV and writing cookery books out there as well as bringing the Best of the UK to China. This week I’m going to launch AGA cookers in China. What a privilege to be the man who launches this Great British product in the Far East. Can I help you with your brand in China?