Tour on Chinese cooking & foods

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Hello All,
I thought this blog not to be only for weight loss and healthy tips, since I live in different countries I guess it is also worth to share different culture from other countries and what people eat here how they exercise what are differences from other part of the world.
Today about food in China, and how people their spend spare time in Shanghai. Recently while family was here for almost a month we had a lot of opportunities to observe & discover Chinese culture.
Unfortunately they just left this week. I want to share a few notes from their stay as during this short stay, I tried to give them a pretty good overview of Chinese cooking, culture and meals. Me and my husband had to be at work we just had a few weekends to enjoy some of the tours they decided to go for. At the same time we had an opportunity to try a different Chinese cooking from different regions.
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I have tried to make the photos from the restaurant, as even us who stays for almost 2 years in China, we visited some places for the first time. Be ready there will be a lot of photos.
Let us have a look how we started on the airport in Katowice.
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We flu Lufthansa thru Frankfurt, and we got pretty convenient seats. After we arrived Shanghai, we all were definitely exhausted. We had no food in the fridge, so decided to go to Yasmine’s SteakhouseYS. This is my friend’s Magie restaurant, name of it is coming from her daughter name.
Peter & Mati took a burger challange, they both thought they can make it, unfortunately it is really tough.
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Mati was much closer to finish it. They had enough the burgers for the rest of the stay in Shanghai, I wonder when they try it again.
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On Saturday the 18th of July I suggested to go to Ashley in Super Brand Mall.

Ashley
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Super Brand Mall is a major shopping centre in Shanghai. Set in the prime location of Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone, Super Brand Mall has views of Shanghai’s famous Bund. As a large scale, international urban family-oriented entertainment and shopping center developed by Shanghai Kinghill Limited, a subsidiary of the Chai Tai Group of Thailand, Super Brand Mall has 13 floors, with a total gross floor area of app. 250,000 sqm. The mall has received ISO9001 certification since 2004.

As one of the most prestigious shopping malls in East China, Super Brand Mall is well-patronized by modern family consumers and is recognized for its outstanding performance by the government and authorities. It has won the Top 10 Landmark Properties in Shanghai 2013 and 2014, Annual Owner Award by Mall China in 2011, Famous Chinese Business Brand Award and Best Shopping Center Advancement Award in 2006.

Ashley is located on the 8th floor so it has indeed a great view.
Ashley’s Steak and Salads Super Brand Mall, is in form of buffet with unlimited wine and bear. You can chooese from a great variety of seafood and other meats.
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As this was a very first experience for my family in such buffet they were delighted. It is almost impossible to try all the dishes, so you need to select what you really like. Most of the time when I am there I eat mainly seafood, lamb as well salads. They also have amazing pastas in different seafood sauce as well with black spaghetti.
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We were lucky with a pretty good weather and view on the Bund.
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The Bund or Waitan (simplified Chinese: 外滩; traditional Chinese: 外灘; pinyin: Wàitān; literally: “outer bank”) is a waterfront area in central Shanghai. The area centres on a section of Zhongshan Road (East-1 Zhongshan Road) within the former Shanghai International Settlement, which runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River, facing Pudong, in the eastern part of Huangpu District. The Bund usually refers to the buildings and wharves on this section of the road, as well as some adjacent areas. It is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai. Building heights are restricted in this area.
It is a great place to walk after the dinner, during the weekend you most probably face a crowd.
The following weekend we went to SheShan.
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The Sheshan Basilica, officially the National Shrine and Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Sheshan (Chinese: 佘山進教之佑聖母大殿; pinyin: Shéshān jìnjiào zhī yòu shèngmǔ dàdiàn) and also known as Basilica of Mary, Help of Christians is a prominent Roman Catholic church in Shanghai, China. Its common name comes from its location on the western peak of Sheshan Hill, located in Songjiang District, to the west of Shanghai’s metropolitan area.

It was previously called Zose Basilica in English (pronounced “Zoh-seh”), using the Shanghainese pronunciation of 佘山 (Sheshan). Inside the shrine, the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Mary Help of Christians is venerated as the patroness of the basilica, along with the recently reconstructed icon of Our Mother of Sheshan, both venerated by Chinese Catholics.
The first church on Sheshan hill was built in 1863. During the Taiping Rebellion, Jesuit missionaries bought a plot of land on the southern slopes of the hill. A derelict Buddhist monastery had stood on the site. The remaining buildings were demolished, and a small building was constructed as living quarters for missionaries, and a small chapel. At the peak of the hill (where the Maitreya hall had stood), a small pavilion was built in which was placed a statue of the Madonna.
In June 1870, unrest in Tianjin led to the burning of churches there. The Shanghai Jesuits prayed at the statue of the Madonna and pledged to build a church to her honour in return for her protection. Subsequently, construction of the church began. Wood was shipped in from Shanghai, and stone bought from Fujian. All material had to be ported to the peak by hand. The church was completed two years later. This first church was in the form of a cross, and incorporated features of both Chinese and Western architecture. A veranda was placed outside the door, with ten columns. Eight stone lions were placed before the church. In 1894, several ancillary buildings were added. These included a chapel halfway down the hill, a shrine to the Sacred Heart, the Virgin Mary, and St. Joseph. Fourteen Stations of the Cross were constructed along the path to the church.

In 1925, the existing church was found to be inadequate, and it lagged far behind other churches in Shanghai in terms of size and ornamentation. The church was demolished and rebuilt. Because the Portuguese priest and architect Ye Zhaochang (叶肇昌) was very stringent about the quality of construction, the whole project took ten years to finish, and the church was completed in 1935.

In 1942, Pope Pius XII ordained the Sheshan Cathedral a minor Basilica. In 1946, the Holy See crowned the statue of Our Lady of Zose at the apex of the tower.

During the Cultural Revolution, Sheshan Cathedral was severely damaged. The stained glass windows of the church, carvings along the Via Dolorosa, the statue atop the bell tower, and various other works of iconography were destroyed.

In the 1950s, Ignatius Kung Pin-Mei the Roman Catholic bishop of Shanghai was arrested and imprisoned for over 30 years and the Chinese government put the basilica under the control of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and Chinese bishops not recognized by the Vatican, and condemned by the papal encyclical Ad Apostolorum principis.

After the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, the damage was gradually repaired. The statue was initially replaced with a simple iron cross, and a replacement statue was installed in 2000.
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Overall we decided to walk from subway and it took us a while, due to an extremely high temperature we were so tired that even did not have enough power to walk in the park on the hill around the church. Overall it is funny that in China we have decided to visit Catholic Church. When we entered inside the church there was a lot of Chinese people listening the recorded guide.
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After this quite long trip we came back to Shanghai Pudong to celebrate my husband’s name day. A Name Day is a tradition in many countries in Europe and Latin America that consists of celebrating a day of the year that is associated with one’s given name. The celebration is similar to a birthday.

The custom originated with the Christian calendar of saints: believers named after a saint would celebrate that saint’s feast day, or in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the day of a saint’s death. Name days are more popular in the Catholic and Orthodox parts of Europe, as Protestant churches generally do not venerate saint.
Traditionally, name day celebrations (Polish: imieniny) have enjoyed a celebratory emphasis greater than that of birthday celebrations in Poland. However, birthday celebrations are increasingly popular and important, particularly among the young ones. Imieniny involve the gathering and socializing of friends and family at the celebrant’s home, as well as the giving of gifts and flowers at home and elsewhere, such as at the workplace. Local calendars often contain the names celebrated on a given day.
My husband name Krzysztof is only once a year on 25th of July. We both like Chinese hot pot seafood buffet.
This Seafood Buffet is in the Plaza at South Pudong Rd opposite the building my office is, so I am frequent visitor there.
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The way how this buffet offers meals, is in form of fresh sea foods that you can boil in the hot pot. Hot pot, refers to several East Asian varieties of stew, consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. I already wrote about this type of cooking in my former post.
Typical hot pot dishes include thinly sliced meat, leaf vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, and seafood. Vegetables, fish and meat should be fresh. The cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce. In many areas, hot pot meals are often eaten in the winter during supper time.
However this Seafood buffet offered different king of meats & seafood, you can boil in your own pot. The variety includes alive crabs, shrimps, and different kinds of shellfishes. You can eat oysters fresh, cooked or baked topped with cheese. There is a see cucumber served in a delicious couscous soup.
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The restaurant staff made also amazing cake. Usually we only have cake to celebrate birthday, but they did not know and have served cake with a candle.
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My husband had to blow out candle. It was a very nice dinner since we got VIP room, thanks to my employee who made this fantastic reservation.
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By the way a funny thing to mention, the Chinese staff was not able to write the wishes in Polish on the cake, so they have asked us to do it. Thanks to Iza, my husband’s sister she has excellent baking skills, she did a great job writing the wishes on the tort.
After the dinner we went to play in the huge game room, which is on the same floor in this building. Our Kids had so much fun, including our Big Kids -Our Husbands. Girls won so much Stuffed Animals. It was a busy day. I recommend this Seafood Restaurant, pretty amazing variety of fishes and seafood they have, and not only. On top of it the drinks non-alcohol and alcohol are unlimited, you can try Chinese White Wine -Baijiu (which basically in Poland would classify to ‘Bimber’ kind of alcohol).
Baijiu (Chinese: 白酒; pinyin: báijiǔ), also known as shaojiu, is a Chinese alcoholic beverage made from grains. It is sometimes translated as “white wine” or “rice wine”, but it is in fact a strong distilled spirit, generally about 40–60% alcohol by volume (ABV).

It is a clear drink usually distilled from fermented sorghum, although other grains may be used. Baijiu in southern China often employs glutinous rice, while northern Chinese varieties may use wheat, barley, millet, or even Job’s tears instead of sorghum. The jiuqu starter culture used in the production of baijiu mash is usually made of pulverized wheat grains.
Because of its clarity, baijiu can appear similar to several other East Asian liquors, but it generally has a significantly higher alcohol content than, for example, Japanese shōchū (25%) or Korean soju (20–45%). It is closer to vodka in strength and mouth-feel.

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Chinese liquor, which has been made for over 5000 years, is characterized by a double semi-solid state fermentation using fungi as the main microbial starter for the saccharification. This is a typical feature of liquors produced in the Far East. The brewing of Chinese baijiu mainly uses grain except for a few that use fruit.
The Chinese traditionally serve baijiu either warm[citation needed] or at room temperature in a small ceramic bottle. They then pour the baijiu into small cups. Baijiu may be purchased as a set of items consisting of bottles of baijiu, a small heater, and four to six small cups[citation needed]. The serving method and containers are similar to those used for sake and soju, though baijiu differs significantly. Baijiu is generally sold in glass or ceramic bottles and consumed in shot glasses, much like vodka. It is traditional to drink baijiu with food rather than on its own, though the latter is not uncommon. In 2007, a report in Time magazine mentioned integrating baijiu into cocktails.
Low grades of baijiu can be quite inexpensive; a bottle of roughly 250 mL (8 Ounces) may be purchased for the same price as a can of beer[citation needed]. However, higher grades, which are often aged for many years, often have prices which are artificially manipulated due to the custom of gifting valuables[citation needed]. The highest grade of Wuliangye retails for CN¥26,800 (US$3,375).Some popular varieties of baijiu include Moutai, kaoliang, erguotou, Luzhou Laojiao, and Wuliangye.
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Unlike huangjiu, which has a wide variety of classification methods, baijiu are grouped primarily by their fragrance. Baijiu has a distinctive smell and taste that is highly valued in Chinese culinary culture. Connoisseurs of the beverage focus especially on its fragrance.

“Sauce” fragrance (醬香, jiàngxiāng): A highly fragrant distilled liquor of bold character, named for its similarity in flavor to Chinese fermented bean pastes and soy sauces. To the Western palate, sauce fragrance baijiu can be quite challenging. It has large amounts of ester compounds, which in combination with the ethanol in the liquor, imparts a sharp solvent-like note. To the initiated, it is quite delicious and is considered the perfect complement for fine preserved and pickled foods (醬菜, jìangcài). This class is also referred to as “Mao-scented” (茅香), after the best known liquor of this class, Moutai.
Thick fragrance (濃香 or 瀘香, nóngxiāng or lúxiāng): A class of distilled liquor that is sweet tasting, unctuous in texture, and mellow, with a gentle lasting fragrance contributed by the high levels of esters, primarily ethyl acetate. Most liquors of this class are made using Aspergillus type starters. An example of this type of liquor is Wuliangye from Yibin.
Light fragrance (清香 or 汾香, qīngxiāng or fēnxiāng): Delicate, dry, and light, with a delectable mellow and clean mouthfeel. The flavours of this distilled liquor is contributed primarily by ethyl acetate and ethyl lactate. An example of this kind of liquor is Fenjiu (汾酒, fénjiǔ) from Shanxi.
Rice fragrance (米香, mǐxiāng): The character of this class of liquor is exemplified by baijiu distilled from rice, such as Sanhuajiu (三花酒) from Guilin. This type of liquor has long history and is made using Rhizopus spp.-type starters (the Chinese “little starter”). It has a clean mouth-feel and is slightly aromatic aroma, dominated by ethyl lactate with lesser flavour contributions by ethyl acetate.
Honey fragrance (蜂香, fēngxiāng): A class of distilled liquor with the fragrance of honey. Liquors of this class are subtle in flavour and sweet in taste.
Layered fragrance (兼香 or 復香, jiānxiāng or fùxiāng): A class of distilled liquors that contain the characters of sauce-, thick-, and light-fragrance baijiu. As such, liquors of this class vary widely in their aroma, mouth-feel, and dryness. An example of this type of liquor is Xifengjiu from Fengxiang County in Shaanxi.
Types of baijiu
Unflavored:
Yanghe (洋河, yánghé): Yanghe Daqu was first made in the Sui and Tang dynasties. It began to flourish in the Ming and Qing dynasties, and was presented as tribute to Qing royals. After the founding of the country, the famous liquor was able to be enjoyed by citizens across the nation. Carrying on millennia of traditional craftsmanship, Yanghe Daqu uses only the highest quality sorghum as a base, and only the best wheat, barley and peas as high-temperature fermenting agents.
Fenjiu (汾酒, fénjiǔ): this liquor dates back to the Northern and Southern Dynasties (AD 550). It is the original Chinese sorghum baijiu. Alcohol content by volume: 63–65%.
Erguotou (二锅头, èrguōtóu, lit. “head of the second pot”) is a strong, clear distilled liquor. It is often inexpensive and thus particularly popular among blue-collar workers across northern and northeastern China. It is probably the most commonly-drunk baijiu in Beijing and is frequently associated with that city. Red Star (红星, Hóngxīng) is a popular brand.
Luzhou Laojiao (泸州老窖): Luzhou Laojiao is one of the most popular liquors within China, with history extending over 400 years. It is famed for the quality of its distillation along with its unique aroma and mouth-feel, the latter of which is due to the unique clay used within the brewing environment, which infuses the spirit with the taste it is so renowned for.
Kaoliang (高粱酒, gāoliángjiǔ): Kaoliang is an old spelling for the Chinese word for a specific type of sorghum. The liquor originates from Dazhigu (大直沽, located east of Tianjin), first appearing in the Ming Dynasty. Nowadays, Taiwan is a large producer of Kaoliang. Alcohol content by volume: 54–63%.
Daqujiu (大麴酒, Dàqūjiǔ): Originally from Sichuan, with 300 years of history. This liquor is made with sorghum and wheat and is fermented for a long time. Alcohol content by volume: 52%.
Shuangzhengjiu (雙蒸酒, shuāngzhēngjiǔ, lit. “double-distilled liquor”) and Sanzhengjiu (三蒸酒, sānzhēngjiǔ, lit. “triple-distilled liquor”): two varieties of rice wine from the area of Jiujiang in Jiangxi, made by distilling twice and three times respectively. Alcohol content by volume: 32% and 38–39% respectively.
Wuliangye (五粮液, Wǔliángyè) is a strong, aged distilled liquor produced in the city of Yibin in southern Sichuan. Its factory includes a Liquor History Museum on its grounds.Wuliangye uses five grains (sorghum, rice, glutinous rice, corn, wheat) as its raw material, hence the name “Five-Grain Drink”. The water which is used to brew Wuliangye is from the middle of Min River.
Jiugui or Sot (酒鬼, jiǔguǐ, lit. “drunk ghost” or “drunkard”) is a clear distilled liquor made from spring water, sorghum, glutinous rice, and wheat. It is produced by the Hunan Jiugui Liquor Co., Ltd. in the town of Zhenwu near Jishou in the Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in the western part of Hunan. It ranges from 38% to 54% alcohol by volume.
Gujinggongjiu(古井贡酒, gǔjǐinggongjiu, lit. “Tradition liqueur from well”) is a traditional Chinese liqueur made from water from a well in Bozhou, Anhui Province. The history began in Southern and Northern dynasty (AD196), people lived in Bozhou found that there was an old well that produced very clean and sweet, so they started use the water to produce the tea and liqueur. Then, it was famous in ancient China so people contributed this liqueur to the king, Xie Liu who is the emperor of Han. It is produced by the Bozhou Gujinggongjiu Liquor Co., Ltd. at Anhui Province. It ranges from 38% to 50% alcohol by volume.
Flavored:
Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (玫瑰露酒, méiguīlujiǔ, lit. “rose essence liquor”): a variety of Kaoliang distilled with a special species of rose and crystal sugar. Alcohol content by volume: 54–55%.
Moutai (茅台, Máotái): this liquor has a production history of over 200 years, originally coming from the town of Maotai in Guizhou. It is made from wheat and sorghum with a unique distilling process that involves seven iterations of the brewing cycle. This liquor became known to the world after winning a gold medal at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, California. Mao Zedong served Moutai at state dinners during Richard Nixon’s state visit to China, and Henry Kissinger once remarked to Deng Xiaoping that, “if we drink enough Maotai, we can solve anything”.Alcohol content by volume: 54–55%.
Osmanthus wine (桂花酒) is a distilled liquor flavored with sweet osmanthus flowers. Its alcohol content is 17–18%.
Wu Chia Pi Chiew (五加皮酒, Wǔjiāpíjiǔ): a variety of Kaoliang with a unique selection of Chinese herbal medicine (including Angelica sinensis) added to the brew. Alcohol content by volume: 54–55%.
Yuk Bing Siu Zau (玉冰燒酒, Yùbīng Shāojiǔ) or roulaoshao (肉醪燒, ròuláoshāo): a Cantonese rice liquor with over 100 years of history, made with steamed rice. After distillation, pork fat is stored with the liquor but removed before bottling. Its name probably derives from the brewing process: in Cantonese, “jade” (yuk) is a homophone of “meat”, and bing means “ice”, which describes the appearance of the pork fat floating in the liquor. Cantonese rice wine breweries prospered in the Northern Song Dynasty, when the Foshan area was exempted from alcohol tax. Alcohol content by volume: 30%.
Sanhuajiu (三花酒, Sānhuājiǔ, lit. “Three Flowers Liquor”):photo a rice liquor made in Guilin with allegedly over a thousand-year history. It is famous for the fragrant herbal addition, and the use of spring water from Mount Xiang in the region. Alcohol content by volume: 55–57%.
Chu Yeh Ching (竹葉青酒, zhúyèqīnqjiǔ, lit. “bamboo-leaf green liquor”):this sweet liquor, produced in Shanxi, is fenjiu brewed with a dozen or more selected Chinese herbal medicines. One of the ingredients is bamboo leaves, which gives the liquor a yellowish-green color and its name. Its alcohol content ranges between 38 and 46% by volume.
To Mei Chiew (荼薇酒, túwéijiǔ) is a Cantonese liquor produced in Xiaolan Town near Zhongshan in Guangdong. It is made from rice wine, with added to mei flowers and crystal sugar syrup. Aged for more than one year. 30% alcohol by volume.
Pi Lu Chiew (碧綠酒, bìlǜjiǔ, lit. “jade green liquor”):[30] From Wuhan, this liquor is infused with Chinese medicinal herbs and sugar.
Imperial Lotus White Chiew (御蓮白酒, Yàlián báijiǔ): This is a variety of Kaoliang infused with twenty medicinal herbs. It was first produced for the Chinese royal family in 1790.
Chajiu (茶酒, chájiǔ, lit. “tea liquor”) is a product of fairly recent origin. It consists of Kaoliang flavored with tea leaves and hawthorn berries. It is usually a light reddish-brown in color (similar to oolong tea) and varieties made with oolong, green, and black tea are available. Chajiu is produced by several manufacturers, primarily in the Sichuan province. Although the strength differs according to the brand and variety, chajiu ranges between 8% and 28% alcohol by volume.

On Friday 31st of July with my Polish friend from work we decided to go to first to have a drink on top floor at Grand Hyatt Hotel:
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We went on top floor and kids had to stay in the Patio Lounge.

Beneath the breathtaking atrium spiraling 33 floors up to the building’s crown, Patio Lounge makes for a spectacular setting for afternoon tea or drinks.

Located on the 56th floor, Patio Lounge at Grand Hyatt Shanghai owes its soothing atmosphere to the warm glow of polished quartz columns and the dazzling display of high-speed lifts in their glass enclosures.

The Grand Hyatt Shanghai is a hotel located in Shanghai, China, in the Pudong area, the financial hub of the city. The 548-room hotel occupies the 53rd to 87th floors of the 88-story Jin Mao Tower. The hotel was the highest hotel in the world until the Park Hyatt opened in the neighbouring Shanghai World Financial Center. The hotel features a dramatic 33-story atrium, one of the highest in the world.

The hotel offers spectacular views of The Bund, a stretch of historical buildings restored to their former glory, along the famous Huangpu River. 18 different room styles are offered, all boasting marble baths, headboards enscribed with handwritten Chinese calligraphy and some with large Terra Cotta replica horses.

Additionally, the world’s longest laundry chute runs down the full length of the tower to the basement, and incorporates buffers to slow down the laundry during its descent. The Hyatt’s famous barrel-vaulted atrium starts at the 56th floor and extends upwards to the 87th. Lined with 28 annular corridors and staircases arrayed in a spiral, it is 27 m in diameter with a clear height of approximately 115 m.

The hotel floors also feature:

53/F: The Piano Bar, a jazz club.

54/F: The hotel lobby and Grand café, served by an express elevator from the tower’s ground floor.

55/F: Canton, a high-end Cantonese restaurant that takes up the entire floor.

56/F: On Fifty-Six, a collection of restaurants including The Grill, the Italian Cucina, the Japanese Kobachi, and the Patio Lounge, which is located at the base of the atrium.

57/F: Club Oasis, a fitness club featuring what was once the world’s highest swimming pool.

83/F: Grand Club

The top floor bar has amazing view, only adults allowed.
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We had some nice drinks there, and actually quite amazing view. Since we planned to go to the restaurant afterwards, we could not stay longer to see sunset. Anyway it was a great experience to have a great overview for Shanghai.
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From the Hyatt Hotel we went to another ZijinShan hotel to dry Chinese Duck.

China is famous of the duck cooking and preparing it in different ways.
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The cooked Peking Duck is traditionally carved in front of the diners and served in three stages. First, the skin is served dipped in sugar and garlic sauce. The meat is then served with steamed pancakes (simplified Chinese: 春饼; traditional Chinese: 春餅; pinyin: chūn bǐng), spring onions and sweet bean sauce.
We have chosen the ZijinShan Hotel:
东方路778号紫金山大酒店3楼
3rd floor, ZijinShan hotel, No 778, Dongfang Road.
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Duck has been roasted in China since the Southern and Northern Dynasties. A variation of roast duck was prepared for the Emperor of China in the Yuan Dynasty. The dish, originally named “Shaoyazi” (燒鴨子), was mentioned in the Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages (飲膳正要) manual in 1330 by Hu Sihui (忽思慧), an inspector of the imperial kitchen. The Peking Roast Duck that came to be associated with the term was fully developed during the later Ming Dynasty, and by then, Peking Duck was one of the main dishes on imperial court menus. The first restaurant specialising in Peking Duck, Bianyifang, was established in the Xianyukou, Qianmen area of Beijing in 1416.

By the Qianlong Period (1736–1796) of the Qing Dynasty, the popularity of Peking Duck spread to the upper classes, inspiring poetry from poets and scholars who enjoyed the dish. For instance, one of the verses of Duan Zhu Zhi Ci, a collection of Beijing poems was, “Fill your plates with roast duck and suckling pig”. In 1864, the Quanjude (全聚德) restaurant was established in Beijing. Yang Quanren (楊全仁), the founder of Quanjude, developed the hung oven to roast ducks. With its innovations and efficient management, the restaurant became well known in China, introducing the Peking Duck to the rest of the world.

By the mid-20th century, Peking Duck had become a national symbol of China, favored by tourists and diplomats alike. For example, Henry Kissinger, the Secretary of State of the United States, met Premier Zhou Enlai in the Great Hall of the People on July 10, 1971, during his first (secret) visit to China. After a round of inconclusive talks in the morning, the delegation was served Peking Duck for lunch, which became Kissinger’s favourite. The Americans and Chinese issued a joint statement the following day, inviting President Richard Nixon to visit China in 1972. Following Zhou’s death in 1976, Kissinger paid another visit to Beijing to savor Peking Duck. Peking Duck, at the Quanjude in particular, has also been a favorite dish for various political leaders ranging from Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro to former German chancellor Helmut Kohl.
It is amazing to see how the duck is cut and served. We again had a chance to sit in VIP room where the waiters came with whole duck to cut it in front of us and serve it.
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On Saturday we went to see water city in Zhujiajiao, some kind of Chinese Venice. Another one is Zhouzhuang.
We visited Zhujiajiao.
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Zhujiajiao is an ancient town located in the Qingpu District of Shanghai. The population of Zhujiajiao is 60,000. Zhujiajiao is a water town on the outskirts of Shanghai, and was established about 1,700 years ago.
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The village prospered through clothing and rice businesses. Today, old historical buildings such as rice shops, banks, spice stores and even a Qing dynasty post office can still be found.
Zhujiajiao has many sights of historic interest, such as Fangsheng Bridge, Kezhi Garden and the Yuanjin Buddhist Temple.
However, recent overdevelopment threatens the village’s authenticity – most notably the current (2012) conversion of its people’s square into shops and the large-scale shopping and entertainment complexes being constructed in and around the Old Town.
This was really great trip, we had time to walk thru the small, tiny streets, and chance to see great amount of Chinese souvenirs. We stayed in the cafe to have some tea & coffee, as well the cold drinks.
At the end we decided to try local Chinese food.
The town is also famous for its cuisine, particularly green soy beans, Zarou, lotus roots and other foods.[
Because of its large number of waterways, much of Zhujiajiao’s transport is by boat.
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On the way back we found a great shop with bras. We could not pass by, so we spend some money there, unfortunately not enough since we were time limited and had to run to catch up bus.
Overall we noticed that prices in Shanghai are much higher than in small villages even tourist ones.
So almost the last week, of our family stay in China.
Mati had birthday on 4th of August, so we planned the birthday in as we name this unique restaurant -‘Mask Restaurant’ because of show it has.
地址: 浦东新区 东方路738号裕安大厦3楼(近张杨路)
电话: 021-58209866 021-58207668
We all dressed into the traditional Chinese clothes for that day.
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Bian Lian (simplified Chinese: 变脸; traditional Chinese: 變臉; pinyin: Biàn Liǎn; literally: “Face-Changing”) is an ancient Chinese dramatic art that is part of the more general Sichuan opera. Performers wear brightly colored costumes and move to quick, dramatic music. They also wear vividly colored masks, typically depicting well known characters from the opera, which they change from one face to another almost instantaneously with the swipe of a fan, a movement of the head, or wave of the hand.
Face-changing, or “biàn liǎn” in Chinese, is an important subgenre of Chinese Sichuan opera. The secret of the face change has been passed down from one generation to the next within families. Traditionally only males were permitted to learn Bian Lian, the theory being that women do not stay within the family and would marry out, increasing the risk the secret would be passed to another family. Controversially, a Malaysian Chinese woman named Candy Chong has become a popular performer after learning Bian Lian from her father. Another female performer is Du Li Min, who teaches a workshop in Kuala Lumpur with her Husband Bian Jiang.

In a 2006 interview, Sichuan Opera performer Wang Daozheng said the secret of Bian Lian leaked out during the 1986 visit of a Sichuan Opera troupe to Japan. Wang laments the leak of this Chinese traditional secret performance art and is concerned that non-Chinese performers in Japan, Singapore, South Korea and other countries are not well-trained. Wang argues that Bian Lian is one of the traditional arts protected by Chinese secrecy laws but officials of the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China have stated that this is not true.

In 2003, Hong Kong pop star Andy Lau allegedly offered to pay Bian Lian master Peng Denghuai 3,000,000 yuan (ca. US$360,000) in order to learn the techniques. Although Lau did learn the techniques from Peng, both deny any money changed hands. Knowing the secret does not make it easy and thus far, Andy Lau has only learned how the masks are changed so quickly, but has not yet mastered the technique.

Historically, Bian Lian had rarely been seen outside of China because non-Chinese were not permitted to learn the art form, but since the mid-2000s it has been performed occasionally in international mass media and at Chinese themed events. Juliana Chen performed on The World’s Greatest Magic television special with a brief black-light performance of Bian Lian. Michael Stroud, (as The Magique Bazaar) performed Bian Lian on America’s Got Talent. Bian Lian was also featured on Penn & Teller’s Magic and Mystery Tour. In San Francisco, Bian Lian was featured at the China Town Autumn Moon Festival 2010–2012 and at the Miss National Asia 2011 and 2012 beauty pageants. United Airlines presented Bian Lian to celebrate their inaugural flight to Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan province where Bian Lian originated.

Since the cultural basis of the opera are not well known outside of China, international performers have been making efforts to inform and increase the entertainment value for Westerners who do not know the context and meaning of the different faces.
Four ways of face-changing::

Blowing Dust (simplified Chinese: 吹脸)
The actor blows black dust hidden in his palm or close to his eyes, nose or mouth, so that it obscures his face.
Beard Manipulation (simplified Chinese: 髯口功夫)
Beard colours can be changed while the beard is being manipulated, from black to grey and finally to white, expressing anger or excitement.

Pulling-downing Masks (simplified Chinese: 扯脸)
The actor can pull down a mask which has previously been hidden on top of his head, changing his face to red, green, blue or black to express happiness, hate, anger or sadness, respectively.

Face-dragging (simplified Chinese: 抹脸)
The actor drags greasepaint hidden in his sideburns or eyebrows across his face to change his appearance.

The Change Mask Show is mostly common to be presented in Sichuan Restaurants.
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Sichuan cuisine, Szechwan cuisine, or Szechuan cuisine (/ˈsɛʃwɒn/ or /ˈsɛtʃwɒn/; Chinese: 四川菜; pinyin: Sìchuān cài or Chinese: 川菜; pinyin: Chuān cài) is a style of Chinese cuisine originating from Sichuan province in southwestern China. It has bold flavours, particularly the pungency and spiciness resulting from liberal use of garlic and chili peppers, as well as the unique flavor of the Sichuan pepper. There are many local variations within Sichuan province and the Chongqing municipality, which was part of Sichuan until 1997. Four sub-styles include Chongqing, Chengdu, Zigong, and Buddhist vegetarian style.

Sichuan in the Middle Ages welcomed Near Eastern crops, such as broad beans, sesame, and walnuts, and starting in the 16th century its list of major crops was lengthened by New World newcomers. The characteristic chili pepper came from Mexico, but probably overland from India or by river from Macao, replacing the spicy peppers of ancient times and complementing the Sichuan pepper (huajiao). Other newcomers from the New World included maize (corn), which largely replaced millet; white potatoes introduced by Catholic missions; and sweet potatoes. The population was cut by perhaps three quarters in the wars from the Ming to the Qing dynasty and settlers from nearby Hunan province brought their cooking styles with them.
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Sichuan is colloquially known as the “heavenly country” due to its abundance of food and natural resources. One ancient Chinese account declared that the “people of Sichuan uphold good flavor, and they are fond of hot and spicy taste.”Most Szechuan dishes are spicy, although a typical meal includes non-spicy dishes to cool the palate. Szechuan cuisine is composed of seven basic flavours: sour, pungent, hot, sweet, bitter, aromatic, and salty. Szechuan food is divided into five different types: sumptuous banquet, ordinary banquet, popularised food, household-style food, and food snacks. Milder versions of Sichuan dishes remain a staple of American Chinese cuisine.

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Sichuan’s geography of mountains and plains and location in the western part of the country has shaped food customs. The Sichuan Basin is a fertile producer of rice and vegetables, while a wide variety of plants and herbs prosper in the upland regions, as well as mushrooms and other fungi. Yoghurt, which probably spread from India through Tibet in medieval times, is consumed among the Han Chinese, a custom which is unusual in other parts of the country. Unlike sea salt, the salt produced from Sichuan salt springs and wells does not contain iodine, leading to goiter problems before the 20th century.

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Szechuan cuisine often contains food preserved through pickling, salting, and drying and is generally spicy owing to heavy application of chili oil. The Sichuan pepper (Chinese: 花椒; pinyin: huājiāo; literally: “flower pepper”) is commonly used. Sichuan pepper has an intensely fragrant, citrus-like flavour and produces a “tingly-numbing” (Chinese: 麻; pinyin: má) sensation in the mouth. Also common are garlic, chili peppers, ginger, star anise, and other spicy herbs, plants and spices. Broad bean chili paste (simplified Chinese: 豆瓣酱; traditional Chinese: 豆瓣醬; pinyin: dòubànjiàng) is also a staple seasoning. The region’s cuisine has also been the source of several prominent sauces widely used in Chinese cuisine in general today, including yuxiang (魚香), mala (麻辣), and guaiwei (怪味).

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Common preparation techniques in Sichuan cuisine include stir frying, steaming and braising, but a complete list would include more than 20 distinct techniques.

Pork is overwhelmingly the major meat. Beef is somewhat more common in Szechuan cuisine than it is in other Chinese cuisines, perhaps due to the prevalence of oxen in the region. Stir-fried beef is often cooked until chewy, while steamed beef is sometimes coated with rice flour to produce a very rich gravy. Szechuan cuisine also utilizes various bovine and porcine organs as ingredients, such as intestine, arteries, the head, tongue, skin, and liver, in addition to other commonly utilised portions of the meat.

Rabbit meat is also much more popular in Sichuan than elsewhere in China, with the Sichuan Basin and Chongqing estimated to consume some 70 percent of China’s rabbit meat consumption.
We wanted to try the rabbit dish but unfortunately was snot available. Instead my husband ordered Yak Penis and he did not tell us until all of us had a try. For those who does not know what is Yak. The yak is a long-haired bovid found throughout the Himalaya region of south Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia and Russia. Most yaks are domesticated Bos grunniens.
Yak
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Overall we have ordered a lot of dishes but as Sichuan is very spicy some of the dishes were imposible to eat. I like spicy food, but some of the dishes served were even for me very spicy.
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We brought with us Birthday Cake as no option to order from menu.
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Some other sweet options were not suitable, like the one on pictures here:
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Mateusz had a great Birthday I guess. We were singing Happy Birthday in 3 langauages -Polish, Chinese & English.

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with the Mask Show at the end of our dinner.
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On 7th of July, Friday our friend Michael, offered to make for us Gumbo.
Gumbo
Gumbo is a stew or soup that originated in southern Louisiana during the 18th century. It consists primarily of a strongly-flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and the vegetable holy trinity of celery, bell peppers, and onions.
He cooked so delicious that no leftover.

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Gumbo

On Saturday I cooked shrimp risotto. On Sunday we went for lunch to try sushi & sushi-mi.

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The last dinner we planned in my favorite restaurant I love you.
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I love I love you! Why? Because this restaurant serves North China meals, which are very close to Polish dishes.

Northeastern Chinese cuisine (simplified Chinese: 东北菜; traditional Chinese: 東北菜; pinyin: Dōngběi cài) is a style of Chinese cuisine in Northeastern China. Many dishes originated from Manchu cuisine. It relies heavily on preserved foods and hearty fare due to the harsh winters and relatively short growing seasons. Pickling is a very common form of food preservation, and pickled cabbage (suan cai) is traditionally made by most households in giant clay pickling vats. Unlike southern China, the staple crop in northern China is wheat and it supplies the majority of the starch found in a northern Chinese diet where it is found in the form of noodles and steamed bun.

Northern Chinese food is dominated and set apart in China by wheat-flour foods: noodles, dumplings, steamed buns, pancakes. Rice is still eaten as a staple in the north, but not as singularly as in the south where wheat is not grown. Shandong Cuisine is the closest to Northern Cuisine among China’s Eight Classic Regional Cuisines.

Dumplings are nothing else but very close to Polish Pierogi, we also use sour cabbage and pickles. We do make ‘Flaki’ which is done from cow stomach, and we also make Polish Golonka -pigs leg, were in this restaurant they are served with potatoes and sour cabbage.

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The North is also known for its plainer and more limited range of foods, due to limits in what can be grown in the colder climate, which is similar to northern Europe or Northern USA/Southern Canada. Northern food is starchy, with root vegetables, and beef, lamb, duck, scallions, leeks, and garlic featuring strongly. The range of fruits is much less than in the South.

Northern Chinese cuisine is often split into Northeast cuisine and Northwest cuisine, but though each has its particular foods, the overall theme is the same, so they are covered together here. The major differences are the pulled noodles, made only in the Northwest, and the steamed buns and dumplings, which are more a specialty of the Northeast.

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Dishes like pickled cabbage and other pickles show a Korean influence in the Northeast. The Manchu people, China’s northeastern minority, who controlled China during the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), have contributed many dishes and snacks to the Northeastern style, including sachima a Manchu sweet that can now be found packaged in cuboid bars in shops all over China.

Xinjiang’s Muslim dishes feature more and more prominently the further northwest you go in China. Gansu is the province around which the halal cuisine style and Northwest Chinese cuisine style meet.

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After this great dinner we went to my office to play a billiard.
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As you can see the billiard table can be used in many different ways.
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After this big dinner me & Iza decided to walk back home around 7km. We actually were walking both ways that day > 14km.
During their stay I encouraged Iza to walk a lot and she lost over 4 kg while we were not dieting at all. She just stared to walk instead of going by taxi. She admitted that just walking every day around 7 -10km helps to loose weight.
I was also walking quite a lot during last month, when checking on my health apps. daily average I did 9.5 km during the last week, and 8.3 km is my monthly average.

Coming next in my post actual tips how to monitor weight & calories in take and stay fit …

Impossible to stay fit during holiday in Poland

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Hello All,
I am back a long time did not post anything but I was on vacation in Poland and now I have my family visiting us in Shanghai.

Finally wanted to write a few words about my trip to Poland. It is extremely difficult to keep the same pattern and habit while being on vacation and I am pretty sure most of you know about that. But those who have never visited Poland and do not know Polish hospitality cannot imagine the amount of food we were served by our family and friends. Everyone wanted to entertain us the best as they could. Polish culture is to spend time while dining & drinking, and gather with friends and family.
We flu Lufthansa thru Frankfurt to Katowice airport and after we landed there we stayed in my mother in law apartment in Bytom.
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As always she wanted to serve the best Polish food. I finally could enjoy Polish white cheese and kefir as well Polish buttermilk (in PL –maślanka). I was missing semi sour cucumbers, homemade pickles.
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From Bytom I went to Płock, my hometown, where I visited my closest family who I have there –my sister and my aunt.

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We spent lovely time there. They both have the same attitude to healthy, organic food. My aunt Elisabeth sensational cooks, and from very healthy organic ingredients. I was enjoying duck and fresh tomato soup, which is my favorite one. She made beetroot cooler soup based on buttermilk. I was eating a lot there, without any activity. We used that time to talk and enjoyed time spend together.
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We were drinking a very nice wheat beer not pasteurized, something impossible to find in China.
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We bought our favorite organic red wine and Schlumberger white sparkling wine, do not confuse with the company name I work for.
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We all agreed we did not have enough time together. From there I went to see my friends in Kalisz, we stayed at their house and the weather at that time was so crazy hot that we drunk significant amount of beer.
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We have been in a few pubs and they invited us for a really excellent Beef Carpaccio in Antonio restaurant in Kalisz downtown.
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On top of ANY standard food I had a wish for like a white cheese, they had for us excellent wild boar sausage, Poland like Germany is famous of the best sausages, I could easily say in the world. Unfortunately sausages are not lean at all as they usually have a lot of pork fat. Not being able to enjoy Polish specialties not being there for a 2 years, would be insane. So as you can imagine most of the time I was eating, drinking and eating again, over and over with no exercising. During the whole stay in Poland I did not want to check my weight not to stress myself that I gained a few pounds. During the whole stay, I was only one in Aqua Park and twice horse riding.
My friend with whom I had participated since 2002 the horse Jumping competition invited me for his training. I kept my horse in his stable which was pretty close from my office.
In the past we had our horses with skills to Jump from L to P. Now he has a great 2 horses and we can go very high with Jumping computation. Not only horse skills but he improved his riding significantly.
I told Mariusz that since I do not have opportunity for a horse riding now in China, so his skills are incomparable to made right now.
As you know I was a professional Equestrian Vaulting Riding & Eventing rider a very long time ago, actually I almost which I had to interop my sport career due to study. Now I know I remain an amateur ridder. Any sport needs money, especially equestrian sport.
During his training. I started to ride on the nice calm horse and later he gave me to try and even jump on his horse. It was amazing and much different from my ride on a calm horse.
I wish I could have a horse like he has. He is seeking for horse worth 100K EUR, and explained it is difficult to find the right one.
In Kalisz we were able to see all our old friends and my husband family. I had been working there at Pratt & Whitney for 8 years. I started in 2000 and met my husband in 2001. We married there. It is difficult to satisfy everyone as due to limited time we were able to jump from one place to the other for a few hours to see closest friends.

Pila

From Kalisz we went to Pila, my father lived and died there, there and I wanted to see his grave. I have not been in Pila since I was on his funeral, it is always a sad time for me, as he went away too early, same as my mom. It is always too early for our Parent to go away.

I stayed in our friend’s house in Miasteczko Krajenskie, close by Pila.
In Pila my friend from Philips, Ania, was taking me for a horse riding in amazing nature thru the forest and little hills. I was enjoying a lot this trip, and was amazed by Ania’s skills, she was afraid of horses before and now she was countering together with me.
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The day before my departure I visited my friends in Kaczory, they have the most famous factory in Europe, that renovates old Mercedes.
http://www.almar.oldtimer-mercedes.net/
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The old cars looks amazing I could not resist to make some pictures, as well with new sport one.
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This is a very quick snap shot from my trip to Poland. No doubt I gained approx. 3 kilograms, not much but still, something to take care of in China and loose. In my next post I describe my fight to loose what I gained weight. It was extremely difficult as my sister in law who cooks also very well arrived to China with us and her whole family, we also were trying Chinese food in different restaurants, so apparently I will focus on weight loss after they leave.
Now after quick Polish vacation another look for a great foods I discover every day in China.
Before I gave you insight about Lotus Tea now …
About Lotus Seeds
Nowadays on the street people sell the lotus seeds.
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Lotus seeds are obtained from the lotus flower. They are a versatile food and can be eaten raw or cooked. The dried lotus seeds can be popped like popcorn and eaten. The seeds are harvested in the months of August and September and are then dried under the sun. There are two types of lotus seeds, white and brown peel. The shells, membranes and bitter germ of the seed of the white lotus seeds are removed during harvest. Brown lotus peels, which get their color from the ripened seed which attaches to the membrane, are cracked in order to remove the germ. Dried lotus seeds are sold widely in Asian markets. They are hardy and rough in texture and hence must be soaked in water overnight. They can be added to various dishes such as soups. Fresh lotus seeds are sold with the seed heads. They must be broken to remove each seed and then eaten. The shell of the fresh seeds should be removed before eating. Crystallized lotus seeds are made by cooking the seeds in syrup and then drying them. One of the most common uses of lotus seeds is lotus seed paste which is used in Chinese pastries and in Japanese cakes and desserts.
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How to eat, you pull the fresh seeds, and take of green skin, and can eat directly fresh or buy dry seeds. The dry one can be a bit bitter in taste, so fresh one are much better.

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Lotus seeds are a rich source of phosphorus, protein, potassium and magnesium. They may also contain zinc and iron. The seeds contain low levels of sugar, sodium, cholesterol and saturated fat. One ounce of raw lotus seeds contains approximately 94.3 calories.
Lotus seeds are popular for their nutritional benefits and healing properties. They are commonly used in Chinese medications and also in various recipes.
• Lotus seeds contain L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase, an enzyme with anti-ageing properties. It is known to help in repairing damaged proteins.
• The seeds contain kaempferol, a flavonoid known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is known to help in repairing aging gum tissue.
• The astringent properties of lotus seeds make them beneficial for the kidneys. They help to regulate the energy levels of the body.
• Some studies indicate that lotus seeds may be used to treat various sexual conditions.
• Lotus seeds are used in Chinese medicine to relieve the problem of diarrhea. They are also used to improve the health of the spleen.
• Traditionally, lotus seeds were used to treat people with sleeping disorders such as insomnia. They are also known to be effective in alleviating restlessness. This is due to the natural sedative and calming effects of the seeds.
• The center of the lotus seed is known to be beneficial for the heart due to its cooling properties. The bitterness of the seeds comes from isoquinoline alkaloids which are believed to induce a calming effect and are also anti-spasmodic in nature. They cause dilation of the blood vessels and thus help in controlling blood pressure levels.
• Some medicinal researchers believe that lotus seeds help to strengthen the digestive process and relieve diarrhea.
Lotus seeds also contain a powerful anti-aging enzyme which researchers are now trying to add to various anti-ageing products and cosmetics. The dried seed heads are sold for decorative purposes across the world. These seeds are commonly used in dried flower arranging.
In China I also discovered leaves that can be a great replacement of sugar. For those of you suffer from diabetes or must control sugar intake. I was offered in Chinese tearoom leaves that are natural sweetener used in China but not only. I am sure you can easily find them on-line in your country. I do not use sugar, but know many people who cannot survive without sugar, using it for tea or coffee.

Stevia plants

I introduce Stevia.
Stevia is not only a great replacement for sugar, but versatile medicinal plant
Stevia used in dietetics as a natural sweetener has more and more supporters. Its popularity this plant is due primarily to very low-calorie (some even claim that stevia has no calories at all). Stevia is a plant of the Asteraceae family (Latin name – Stevia rebaudina), coming from South and Central America. Already in the sixteenth century, interest in stevia physician and botanist from Valencia – Pedro Jaime Esteve. Natives of Paraguay – Guarani Indians – called it a sweet herb and used it for centuries to sweeten foods and treating many diseases.
As the first stevia sweetening properties used Japanese, who already in the 70s started its industrial cultivation and have developed a method of obtaining the aqueous extract from the leaves of the plant.
The European Commission only in November 2011, found stevia as a safe food additive (E960 was given its symbol). It was also found acceptable daily intake stevia, which is 4 mg per kilogram of body weight.
The leaves of stevia glycosides contains valuable minerals and trace elements: calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, selenium, silicon, zinc, B vitamins, vitamin C, beta-carotene. Many of biologically active substances contained in the Stevia is still unidentified.
Stevia has the healing properties. In folk medicine, Paraguay, stevia is used in diseases of the heart, circulation, stomach pain, hyperacidity. Also confirmed the positive impact of stevia in the treatment of hypertension and type 2 diabetes works antibacterial and antifungal. Stevia is used in the treatment of periodontitis and dental caries.
Properties of Stevia used in the treatment of acne and ulcers. Stevia in the cosmetic industry is a component of firming masks and dental pastes. As a low-calorie product is widely used in dietetics.
Stevia is the perfect replacement for sugar – is sweeter and almost no calories

Stevia sweet leaf
Stevia is primarily the addition of flavor to the dishes. Stevia has a sweet taste, is about 300 times sweeter than sucrose, we eat in the form of ratified sugar beet or cane. One-fourth teaspoon of stevia extract, replace one cup of sugar. And when ingested by eating one teaspoon of sugar we consume 20 empty calories, that stevia is almost devoid of them. It is therefore a valuable product for people who care about the line or want to lose weight.
I was offered the sweet leaves in my tea store in Shanghai, but I am quite sure you can get it in every country, afeter knowing it name and do not afraid to use, my 9 yo daughter is using it and loves by its sweet taste.
Coming in the next post … How I used to enjoy Chinese & Polish food and manage to keep my weight under control.
Check out next week.