- Home-cooking 家常菜
- Recipes 食谱
- Travel 旅行
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Jining, Inner-Mongolia, China — After nine hours by train from Beijing to Jining, I’m happy to say I’ve arrived. Given we left at 9:32am, I thought we wouldn’t need a hard-sleeper and opted for the hard seat. My bottom is still zinging from the pain. We arrived at 6:15pm, on time!
As I stepped out of the station, I hear, “Hello Shanti! Welcome to Jining!” I’m surprised but disarmed immediately by the warmth of my host and new friend, Qiao Xiǎo Yàn. Xiǎo Yàn is an English teacher, orginally from Inner-Mongolia. She brings us to her aunt’s house.
A table is set in front of the kàng, a platform heated in the winter, used for sleeping upon. On the table are melons, apples, apricots, and two salads.
Fāng Āyí 方阿姨 is her third aunt, thus called San Yi. San Yi prepares dāoxiāomiàn (刀削面, knife-cut noodles) in the kitchen, slicing uniformed ribbons of dough in a simmering soup of beef and tomato. Adeline and Xiao Yin explain how in China it is an auspicious custom to eat jiǎozi (饺子, dumplings) when departing by train, then have noodles upon arrival by train.
Fueled by luck and drained from the train, we whip out our sleeping bags and hit the kàng. Recipe lessons begin in the morning.