Chinese Dessert Making

Author: Lovely Mehrotra

“For me, cooking is an expression of the land where you are and the culture of that place.”
-Wolfgang Puck

A visit to a new place, city or country is not complete without exploring and tasting the variety of cuisines and desserts the place has to offer. Trying different cuisines and desserts might be one way of truly experiencing the culture of a country, but imagine if you get a golden opportunity to learn and cook those authentic food items under the guidance of a well-known local chef of the city. Sounds exciting right?

One of the fun activities that Jinhua Homestay Program organized was a Chinese dessert making class for its participants, where everyone got a wonderful chance to try their hand at preparing a simple and delicious dessert called the Double Happiness Pastry.

Preparing this dessert was super easy as just three main ingredients – glucose, flour and white sugar powder – along with little water and raisins were required.

One needs to mix all the main ingredients together by adding a little water and prepare the dough. Next, make sure that the dough has no lumps and that it is as fine as powder. Then add some raisins to it. Finally, the dough was put into a wooden dough press cookie maker and was pressed well to give it an attractive shape. Now the Double Happiness Pastry is then ready to be served.

From cute Doraemon pastries, to small little hearts, participants gave interesting shapes to their dough to make it eye-catching. This exciting experience of donning the chef hat and cooking a traditional Chinese dessert will surely be cherished by all the participants for rest of their life.

Experiences

The traditional dessert making was one of the best experiences I’ve had in the Jinhua homestay program. It was a fun activity and getting a chance to learn traditional happiness cakes gave me immense pleasure as it was a very simple recipe and also delicious one.
– Madhura, India

As a participant of 2017 Jinhua Homestay project I participate in various activity but amoung the best activity that I participate is Dessert making. When my volunteere give me clothes to wear for Desert making I was worried because it is my first time to make Chinese traditional food. Even it was my first time but for a corporation with my fellow participant Dustin Van Sloten it take us only fifteen minute to make delicious Chinese dessert.
– Nassor, Tanzania

As I began to mix and sift the flower and sugar together our eyes met from across the room. Just a moment was enough to know the kind of person she was. She walked over and i struck up the conversation. She smiled and laughed, even at the silly things i said. She then proceeded to help me form the little, Chinese pastries. They were sweet… just like she was. I’ll never forget that experience. The sweets still spike my blood sugar to this day, just like her smile once did.
– Brady, United States of America

Cooking Competition

Author: Dustin Van Sloten

Suoyuan Village was the place to be on July 6 if you loved food, especially Chinese food. A cooking competition/festival was held in the village and it was simply spectacular. Professional chefs from the region showed off their culinary prowess and took part in a competition to see who was the “master chef”.

Judge reaching for food. Source: Dustin Van Sloten

I was fortunate enough to be a judge for the food competition. The food these chefs brought out was quite amazing. The plates kept coming and coming, and I excitingly kept grabbing and grabbing. There were amazing meats, vegetables, and desserts that were delightful to my eye and my palate.

Fatty pork dish. Source: Vicki Hung

Cooking is also an art which makes visual presentation a big key in determining the winner.  These chefs took pride in their work and it showed in the results. I came in a little worried about the different things I would eat, but I came out wanting more. It was a truly enjoyable experience and I learned a lot about food and presentation.

Folk Culture Traditions

Author: Shivani Talati

The best way to know a culture is by experiencing their folk traditions. For a country as large as China it can take a whole lifetime to know and experience their culture, but through excellent arrangements and planning this program provides with everything a person would want to know about China and its folklore. This program arranges a variety of folklore activities like tea making, paper cutting, shoe weaving, flower arrangement, grinding tofu, calligraphy, Wu opera and much more.

If you are a fan of tea drinking China is heaven for you, the masters will give you detailed information about the types of tea and also show you the Chinese etiquette one must observe in making of the tea.

Thabile participating at a tea ceremony. Source: Vicki Hung

The flower arrangement activity may look very simple but once you sit to make it you will understand about how imagination and observance of small details can produce beautiful results.

A flower arrangement. Source: Vicki Hung

You will be grinding tofu using the traditional way which requires some muscular strength but it’s still fun to know how the delicious tofu you eat at your host family’s home is prepared. All these activities are conducted in its most traditional form and by the masters themselves. If you want to know the authentic Chinese culture this place is for you.

A Home Away From Home

Author: Lovely Mehrotra

What happens when you are away from your family in a foreign land working on a project? You miss your home, friends and family, and food the most. But when you are a part of Jinhua Homestay program you don’t miss anything because you get a new home, a new uncle ( shūshu) and auntie (āyí) and a chance of a lifetime to try new delicious Chinese cuisines.

As the name suggests, in the Jinhua Homestay program every participant gets a chance to live with a Chinese family in their home, eat with them, and immerse yourself in their way of life, and make lifetime memories together as you would share with your own family. This program is also an incredible platform to meet people from all around the globe and work together and understand not only Chinese culture and history, but also you get a golden opportunity to know different countries and their culture and how programs like these contribute on a global level in promoting peace, harmony and friendship. All this is set in the charming village of Suoyuan, a place where the historical buildings, serene ponds, and smiling villagers will make you feel as if you’re transported back to simpler times.

In the fifth session of the Jinhua Homestay Program, 36 participants from all around the globe lived for 3 weeks together in Suoyuan village.

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