Sea Cucumbers/Beche-de-Mer/Namako/海鼠

Sea Grub or Sea Mice?
Solomon Islands Currency

beche de mer or sea cucumbers

Beche de Mer
Frozen, Chinese Origin

You see them in Asian markets.  They do look like cucumbers, and are typically about six inches long in the fresh state.  Sometimes they are sold dried.  The dried form is usually black and rock-hard, and only a few inches long.Despite the name, they are not a vegetable and are not related to cucumbers.  They are a kind of seafood.

A common name is Sea Cucumbers, from their shape, also Trepang, or Bêche de Mer, from the French word for “sea grub.” Continue reading

Edward Schafer and Berthold Laufer

The Golden Peaches of Samarkand
Chronicles of the Silk Road — Tang Dynasty

Crystallized Ginger

“Without coriander, saffron, mint, ginger and oregano, the foods of the Middle East and China wold be bland indeed.” — Kathie Webber [1]

Kathie Webber is right.  Who could imagine Sichuan cooking without hot red peppers?  And yet they are a fairly recent addition to the Sichuan kitchen. Continue reading

Baked Alaska

The Emperor of Ice Cream
Celestial Chefs’ Invention

Baked Alaska frozen dessert

Baked Alaska

Did ancient Chinese chefs invent Baked Alaska? Trader Joe thinks so. [1]

In promoting a new peppermint Baked Alaska for the Christmas season, Continue reading