Travel | Zhang Family’s Garden, Dali, China
Zhang Family’s Garden is someone’s house open to the public. No one currently lives there, and the place is entirely commercialized with the sale of silvery jewelry and other souvenirs. Still sporting a fever, I managed to enjoy the architecture but eventually sat around for awhile until the show started.
The small theater in garden features a show about old marriage customs in Dali. The old tradition involves a lot of pinching of the bride on her wedding day for good luck. That alone would convince me not to get married.
—seriously though, what a twisted message! 自相矛盾！
Something special for breakfast this Sunday morning: my own rendition of the Chinese-inspired New Orleans street food known as Yaka Mein, a dish which is a regular feature at Second Lines and after long nights of boozing. This dish tells a story of Chinese laborers who were brought to Louisiana after the Civil War to work on sugar plantations. They formed a once-thriving but now-extinct Chinatown centered around Tulane Avenue. There were over 50 Chinese businesses listed in New Orleans in 1897, but Chinese Exclusion Laws and The Driving Out took their toll and Chinatown gradually faded away. Yaka Mein, however, has remained.
Being a Chinese American guy making an African American dish which has Chinese origins is particularly funny and poignant. It’s traditionally made with beef broth and spaghetti noodles, so I braised brisket in the slow cooker overnight in beer and water with ginger, scallion, carrot, a dash of soy sauce and worcestershire sauce, a bit of cayenne pepper and star anise. This morning I sliced the brisket and strained the broth, and poured it over pasta noodles with scallion, a boiled egg, hot sauce and soy sauce. It’s normally not served with the braised carrot so that was my one departure. Yaka Mein is sometimes called Old Sober because it’s good for hangovers, and I can see why. Soothing, warming, easy on the stomach, economical and satisfying.
U.S Ambassador to China Gary F. Locke, a 1972 alumnus of Yale College, visits Yali Middle School in Changsha.
The Yale-China Association founded the school in 1906. The first Chinese-American to serve as U.S. Ambassador to China, he is one of many distinguished Yale alumni to serve as ambassadors to China in recent years.