I want to tell you about my latest discovery in the culinary world of China – pearl (bubble) milk tea. It is what it sounds like: milky tea with sago (like tapioca) pearls in it. It comes in many varieties and flavours such as red bean, matcha, cookies and cream and so on. It originally comes from Taiwan, but it is extremely popular here. There are lots of little shops selling it all over the place. My favourite is pudding milk tea, which contains something between crème brûlée and custard. It also contains little pieces of jelly sometimes. You are given an oversized straw to suck up all the pearls, jelly and pudding. What a revolution! The bubbles bring lovely gooey chewyness and the pudding just takes it to a whole new level. A drink and pudding all in one. I am in love with it.
Since I am on the topic of food/drink I must tell you about our very first tea pot we bought after a dinner of dumplings today. Here it is. It’s a teapot.
Cupping and skin scraping
I wanted to try some traditional Chinese medicine and decided to go for cupping. This is was interesting. We went to a very small place close to our house and arrived as the owner of the place was busy giving a massage to a customer. He soon called for some help and after happily waiting accompanied by a Chinese soap opera, we were lying down on the massage beds.
The name cupping comes from the little glass cups used for this procedure. At first a stick of fire is inserted into the cup for a few seconds and then the cup is placed on your back, wherever you have pain. The suction created by the cups is meant to increase the blood circulation in the area of pain and so make it better. It feels like someone is giving you ten hickeys at the same time. This did not really hurt, but was quite uncomfortable. What did hurt was what happened before the cups were put on my back – scraping. The doctor (he is not really an actual doctor, he is called zhōngyī and knows some traditional Chinese medicine procedures), used a piece of cow horn to scrape skin off my back. This procedure is meant to last about 15 minutes, I could only take it for about a minute, after which little blood blisters had appeared on my back. The aim of this is to get rid of the old skin and let the illness out. Scraping is used a lot for getting rid of a cold. The skin on your throat is scraped off, which will make your skin very hot, which will allow the cold to escape – yīn and yáng.
I think the theory behind cupping makes a lot of sense, but scraping is just torture! I am yet to see whether or not my back pain gets better.
In other news
Chinese kids have started their school holiday, which means we are getting quite busy at EF.
We do manage to squeeze in a few trips to KTV every now and then and lots of trips to various restaurants.
Today I want to introduce you to this wonder – steamed buns with condensed milk. Simple, yet effective and extremely tasty. I would go so far as to say that I prefer this over Nutella.
I have a day off tomorrow, I am planning to write some letters and learn some Chinese. The weather has been much colder for the last two days – only about 34 degrees (words of a Chinese friend).
David says this: ‘It’s a strange old country we live in.’
They do have phenomenal tea, though.