Phase 3: Interpreting Information

Updated 4 years 3 months ago

So far, I have completed 3 phases. Phase 0, Phase 1, and Phase 2. In Phase 0, I came up with a topic idea. In Phase 1, I assessed my knowledge at the time, researched, and posed questions. In Phase 2, I found sources within, and out of the village with whom to learn from. In phase 3, I will be interpreting the information gathered in Phases 1 and 2.

Background Research (from Phase 1):

Yunnan food is generally very spicy, because Yunnan is right next to Sichuan [1,5].

Aside from the Xizhou ba ba and noodles, Yunnan, and Xizhou, are home to many to many other foods. In Yunnan some more famous foods are, Guoqiao rice noodle, Qiguoji, and Dali earthen-pot fish. They also eat spiced squab (young pigeon meat), and local fungus. [1,2,3,4,5,6].

Guoqiao noodle is basically rice noodles with broth made from boiled chicken and pork bone, with toppings of sliced raw meat (liver, kidney, chicken pork, and pickled beef) which is cooked in the soup and seasoned. This dish comes from a story where a wife took her husband bowls of soup while he was studying for exams. Qiguoji is chicken steamed for hours with medicinal herbs. Dali earthen pot fish is fish cooked in an earthen pot with herbs and vegetables [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

At Chinese New Year, Yunnan cuisine features glutinous rice cakes, Shizitou (meat balls), Qiguoji, and layers of salted meats and salted vegetables. They also eat many different soups in which they boil vegetables and cook meat, in the hot pot style [3].

In Yunnan, they also have famous duck dishes. One such would be Yiliang stewed duck which as it says, is stewed duck. Yunnan food also has a dish called Xuanwei ham, which is strong in smell and taste, and apparently very tasty. They also, unlike other areas in China, eat dairy products, such as Rubing, which is an acid set, non melting cheese made from goats milk. In the spring, because of the moisture, green beans and mushrooms are largely eaten [3, 4, 5].

Crops that are indigenous to Yunnan include rice, corn, canola, wheat, beans, and tobacco so they use the first 5 in their cooking [6].

Information from 3-5s:

Cecily:

Most people are open, and are willing to talk to us because we are not potential challengers or rivals in the food business.

Information from Local Contacts:

April 23 2015: Sources (8,9)

Today I interviewed Ms. Zhong and Ms. Yang, both people who have grown up in Xizhou, about how to make Sha Guo Noodles. I learned how to make the vegetables and prepare the noodles as well as the toppings. A bulleted list will be below.

  • To make two vegetables that are essential to the dish, 泡菜(pao cai) and 野菜 (ye cai), you have to:
  1. Put soured water, cabbage, chili, vinegar, salt, pepper together and pickle them. When ready, you can add heat.
  2.  Do the same to make the other one, just substitute cabbage out with mountain herbs.

You also have to make the soup and cure the meat but I have not inquired about these yet. (the meat is pork chest).

  • Toppings:
  1. Radish
  2. Garlic
  3. Spinach
  4. Chinese Chives
  5. Chinese Cabbage
  6. Soy Sauce
  7. Chillies
  • Preparation
  1. Heat empty ceramic bowl as well as soup with noodles for 3-4 minutes. 
  2. Put noodles into ceramic bowl with soup and add the 2 main vegetables.
  3. Add toppings.

This is relevant to my questions because it answers my nth question, how do I make Xizhou/Yunnan specialties?, and my 9th question, how do I prepare the foods before cooking?. It moves me to the answer of how to make foods that are local to Xizhou. It does agree with what I have known before that Xizhou and Yunnan have noodles and that people use very local ingredients to make them. This does not disagree with anything I know because so far all I know about how to make these foods are from what I gathered today. The questions that have arisen are how do you cure the pork? and how do you make the soup?

April 24 2015 Sources: (10 ,11, 13)

Today I went back to Ms. Zhong and Ms. Yang to ask them about how to prepare the meats and the soup in the dish. 

The preparation of these two are very interconnected. To cook the meat you boil pig chest meat in water and then this water becomes the soup. You then put the meat, after cutting it into small portions, into a sauce made of Soy sauce and chili, with salt, and put it on the stove until aromatic.

  • The Preparation now is quite simple. After making all the ingredients, you heat an empty ceramic bowl, then the noodles with Chinese cabbage and Chinese chives and soup are put into another bowl are heated. You pour this into the ceramic bowl and then add the meats and two vegetables said above, and then you add toppings.

I also discovered from this that Ms. Yang actually does not like what she cooks (Sha Guo Mi Xian). Ms. Yang also said that the Chef does not buy the food, nor the owner, but the manager of the restaurant, their restaurant has only 3 staff members.

After this I went to Ms. Zhao, the owner of Old Town Snacks, another restaurant in Si Fang Jie, to interview her about making these noodles. For the most part, these are similar, but due to Ms. Zhao learning in Kunming and Ms. Yang learning in Xizhou, there are different ways of preparation.

Ms. Zhao uses bone soup instead of meat flavored soup. She boils a pig's thigh bone in water to get the flavor out. She then prepares it differently. She starts by putting the soup and the cabbage with the chives inside the ceramic bowl. She then adds heat, noodles, and toppings. She uses thicker rice noodles in her cooking too, and the meal is heavier due to a heavier soup.

Ms. Zhao also reveals that in Kunming, they are given spaghetti to make this dish with. She, on the other hand, does not really like spaghetti and went back to using rice noodles after coming back to Xizhou. She also said that in Kunming they serve it in larger bowls with an inverted lip and this is very inconvenient. Ms. Zhao also does not know the origin of this dish, and she says that when she was younger, she would never eat this dish. It was not commonly served in Xizhou. Ms. Zhao also met her husband while she was studying in Kunming.

This information is relevant to my questions because it answers questions 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. It taught me that in Kunming, foods are prepared and made in different styles or by different ways than they are in Xizhou. It taught me that in Xizhou, they do not use really out of the ordinary utensils while cooking but use common place bowls, pots, and pans, but serve some dishes on unique bowls or plates. It taught me that people eat different foods at home than at restaurants because Ms. Zhao did not remember ever eating this noodle dish at home. Other than these, it taught me how people learn recipes, who buys foods at restaurants, how to prepare foods, and how to make foods. Other than this, the interview with Ms. Zhao taught me that because she learned to cook in Kunming and met her husband while doing so, there must be memories of each other that arise while she is cooking. This information drives me to the answer of most of my questions, as said above. This information confirms that foods are different in Xizhou than in Kunming, and other ideas I had about my questions. It disagrees with the fact that I thought people learned to cook from their parents. This information gives one question. Are there other foods that have differences if the recipe is learned in Kunming? Is it true with Xizhou Ba Ba?. I think this because there are >3 Xizhou Ba Ba places in Si Fang Jie, so I wonder if there are differences about the recipes.

April 27 2015 Sources (14, 15, 16, 17)

Today I went to Si Fang Jie to interview Xizhou Ba Ba vendors about how to make Xizhou Ba Ba. I went to two of the 4 different Xizhou Ba Ba vendors in Si Fang Jie. A shop owned by Mrs. Li and Mr. Yang, and a shop owned by Mrs. Yang and Mr. Wang.

Mrs. Li and Mr. Yang make both savory and sweet Xizhou Ba Ba. They have been making it for 18 years and used to live in Li Jiang. They were taught in Da Li by a relative of Mrs. Li, her aunt. 

To make the dough for Xizhou Ba Ba, you mix together flour and canola oil. You then knead it, and cover it with flour again so it does not stick. 

To make the savory filling you put a dab of fried pork fat on top of the dough, sprinkle pepper, add cut green onions, and then add a mixture of ground pork and pork fat on top. To make the savory Xizhou Ba Ba you then fold it over itself and cut in some indents to get air circulation, and knead it again. You then flatten it. After this, you brush egg yolk, canola oil, and pork oil on top and put it into a pan with oil to fry it for 5 minutes.

To make the sweet filling you mix together brown sugar, red bean, and rose scented sugar. You put this on top of the dough and fold it in on itself, and flatten it. Brush egg yolk on top and fry it in oil for 5 minutes.

Mrs. Li says that both flavors get great business. She makes 12 kilograms of dough a day, and makes all fresh ingredients.

I then went across Si Fang Jie and to the right to go to the shop owned by Mr. Wang and his wife, Mrs. Yang. 

They do most things in a similar fashion, but there are some minute differences. In some savory ones, Mrs. Yang adds scrambled egg into the Ba Ba. Also, Mrs. Yang makes the dough less thick by adding water into it. She learned from her father's mother, her paternal grandmother. She makes 12.5 kilograms of dough a day, and also uses fresh, newly made, ingredients. They sell their Ba Ba for 8 yuan.

There are two other Ba Ba shops in Xizhou. One is unique because it cracks and egg overtop the Ba Ba when putting it into the frying pan, and the other I do not know much about.

This is relevant to my questions because it shows how the people learned to make the foods, and how they make them. It also shows how they prepare the foods before cooking. This information does move me towards answers to my questions, and it does give me information to add into my cookbook. This confirms what I believed before, that people learn to cook from their relatives. It also confirms that Xizhou Ba Ba is very unhealthy, with all the oils. It does not go against anything I know or believe. Also, this does not really bring up new questions except, Is there a great variation of prices between the 4 Xizhou Ba Ba Vendors?.

April 28 2015: Sources: (18, 19)

Today I asked about and watched two people making Xizhou Ba Ba. These were Mr. Yang, and Mrs. Lia. They, however, have some different techniques in the process of making Xizhou Ba Ba. 

Let us start with Mrs. Lia. She has been making Ba Ba for 17 years. In their restaurant on the road to Si Fang Jie near the Muslim district of Xizhou, they add more pork fat. They add a more than generous scoop of it while preparing the Ba Ba, and then add it again when just about to fry it. Previously when I talked about the sweet Ba Ba with the rose scented sugar, I got it wrong, it is actually rose petal jam. To make the pork fat, it is basically pork fat mixed with cornstarch. Ms. Lia also said that with the rose jam, you know it is fresh by the lush dark purple coloring. As well as this, Mrs. Lia's husband cracks an egg on top of the Ba Ba before frying it. She also puts the meat on top of the Ba Ba, not in it. She and her husband make 50 kilograms of dough a day and fries Ba Ba in batches of 6. The oil used to fry is canola oil.

With Mr. Yang, he uses generous amounts of egg. He brushes egg yolk on the top and bottom of the Ba Ba so it is cooked through. He also adds egg on top. Just before frying, Mr. Yang breaks an egg on top of a Ba Ba, and then he breaks the yolk so it spills out over the egg white. To do this, he opens up the Ba Ba so it is larger than usual, and the egg will not spill out. Mr. Yang also adds egg on sweet Xizhou Ba Bas. He also puts pork fat on the bottom and top of the Ba Ba.

This answers two of my questions. Questions 1 and 10. It shows me that how to make food differs if made by different people who were taught differently from one another. It also gives me different insights in how to make Xizhou Ba Ba. This information does move me towards an answer, and that answer is that it brings me closer to the completion of my cookbook. This information does agree with what I know about making Xizhou Ba Ba, and does not disagree with anything I know or believe. The questions that this information raises are, Do I think I am ready to make Xizhou Ba Ba by myself, and, Is there one other food that I would like to research? and if so, what would it be?

May 2 2015 Sources: (24)

Today I tried to interview Mr. Yang, in the Golden flower restaurant at around 13:30. However, it is currently the May holiday, and tourist are swarming Si Fang Jie. Also, it was lunch time and he was busy, extremely busy. However, I did learn an important lesson. I learned that I should take schedule planning more to heart and plan ahead for holidays and for tourist seasons before leaving to interview people. I should look farther ahead in the process of planning. 

I also learned that on busy days, everyone, the owners, the chef, even some family members of those previous two help to run the restaurant.

May 3 2015 Sources: (25)

Today I went to the Golden Flower restaurant in Si Fang Jie to learn how to make their beef fried rice. While there, Mr. Yang told me to ask his wife, Mrs. Dong, about this topic. She told me:

First you dry the meat, and then put it in a pot to fry it. You add oil and fry it, and then add more oil, pepper, salt, and another ingredient whose name I am not sure of in English.

After adding these fry the meat again, take it out of the bowl, put in the rice, fry that.

After this, add cut up some Chinese chives, add those, the meat, and oil into the rice to fry again.

She said it is a very, very easy process, and the foreigners like her beef fried rice, while the locals like the egg fried rice.

Before this, I had seen 7 students inquiry projects from previous groups. I found the most interesting one was Jeffery Z., whose project was on earthquake proof architecture. He had showed change over time, and in the end used his knowledge to design his own, best, earthquake proof wall. Also, I worked on my hanger and hooks, where I identified three areas within my work that I could write three supporting paragraphs about in a 5 paragraph essay. These were, the ingredients in Xizhou cooking, the preparation, and the actual cooking. 

This only confirms my 9th and 10th question. How to make foods and how to prepare foods before cooking. It confirmed what I already knew on that there are many ways to make fried rice, and that there is lots of oil in fried rice. It brings me towards the answer of how to make fried rice. It does not go against anything I know or believe. It did teach something new. This did teach me that you fry the meat before adding it to the rice. It raises one question. Could I make this dish on my own?

May 4 2015 Sources: (26, 27)

Today I visited Ms. Dong at the Golden Flower Restaurant to examine the kitchen in action, pick up a few skills and also ask some clarifying questions. 

Firstly, I started by asking about unclear words from yesterday, such as YeBa and CaoHuoMian. It turns out that YeBa is actually YanBa, and it means salt, so the problem was just in my ability to understand accents. Also, CaoHuoMian is just another type of pepper.

Secondly, I learned one recipe using Chinese cabbage and green onions. It is a simple recipe, a vegetable dish served in the Golden Flower restaurant.

For the one with Chinese cabbage and green onions, you put these into a bowl and then mix them up. In a wok, add oil, and chili peppers. Wait one minute and then pour in the vegetables. After this, add MSG, pepper and salt. Stir fry these and pour in a bit more oil and then add in more pepper and stir fry some more. Pick it out of the wok and put it on a plate.

I also learned that the kitchen is operated by 3-5 people at a time. One is taking and reading orders, two are cooking, one is preparing, and one person is washing.

After this, I went over to Ms. Li who owns a restaurant in Si Fang Jie called the Yard Entrance, or Yuan Zi Kou. While there I learned two recipes of snacks, and a cool technique for making a certain soup. Yuan Zi Kou is a fusion restaurant, serving a fusion between Sichuan and Yunnan foods. Their kitchen is operated by four people. One is taking orders, one washing, one cooking and one preparing. 

The two recipes I learned are very simple yet quite unhealthy. One, you take tofu, add pepper and flour, and then put them in a wok to fry. However, you can also deep fry them. It depends on your preference. 

The other one is with pea noodle and you add flour, put oil in a wok and fry it. I do not know how exactly to make the pea noodle, but I can learn to do that with some of my time remaining. 

This answers questions 9, 10, and another question, which was, how do kitchens function in Xizhou? It teaches me how to make some of the smaller, fast food dishes or snacks, and also gives me a deeper understanding of what spices and maybe chemicals are used in the food. It brings me closer to the answer of comprising my cookbook and also of maybe a side project of a journey over what I learned in terms of food and cooking during my time in Xizhou. It confirms the idea that there is lots of oil used in Xizhou cooking, and goes against what Ms. Zhao from Old Town Snacks said about Xizhou cooking not using MSG. The question that has arisen because of this information is, How can I make pea noodle?

May 5 2015. Sources (28,29,30,31)

Today, during lunch, I ate at the Golden Flower restaurant and conducted a bit of unassisted inquiry work. Mrs. Dong showed me how she makes her fried rice, while making it for me, Alex W. and Alex L. 

Firstly, you cook eggs. You crack two eggs in a bowl and then scramble them in oil. After this, put them on a plate. Put more prawn oil and then wait. During this wait, you put the meat, beef, in a bowl, and then add a couple sauces. Mrs. Dong adds in two types of pepper, salt and MSG. Stir this together and then pour it into the wok with the oil and fry it. Take this out and put it on a plate. After this. You have to put in more oil, wait, and then add cut up Chinese chives. Add in the egg, the meat, cooked white rice, and then fry them. After this, you can either add soy sauce and fry some more or you are done. 

After this, during inquiry time, I researched a bit about pea noodle in response to my question from last time. I visited Ms. Zhao at Old Town Snacks, Ms. Zhong at the ShaGuoMiXian shop, and a new interviewee, Mrs. Ma, who is a cold noodle vendor. 

Ms. Zhao told me:

  • Massage the pea powder, and add cold water.
  • Heat it to 80/90C and add a bit of salt
  • Stir
  • Open the pot and cool it
  • Do this at night, and it would be solidified in the morning

Ms. Zhao, however, uses pea powder and not the genuine article, peas.

I then went to Ms. Zhong. Her and the restaurant's boss said they did not make the noodle themselves, but guessed at how it is made. 

For the most part, everything was the same as what Ms. Zhao said. But I will display it below. 

  • Massage the peas into powder
  • Scoop it into a pot of cold water
  • Take the cold water out and add hot water
  • Let it stew
  • Remove the hot water and let the peas re-solidify
  • Cut into chunks.

I then went to Mrs. Ma, a cold noodle vendor. She starts her work at 10:00 am each morning. 

  • Mash the peas into powder
  • Put it in a pot of cold water
  • Stir while adding heat
  • Add starch
  • Take it out and let it cool and solidify.
  • Use good quality peas.

This answers numbers 9 of my 10 big questions, how do I prepare foods before cooking. These cold noodles are used for making noodle dishes, and also are used at Ms. Li's Yard Entrance restaurant in the creation of a deep fried snack. This brings me closer to having more recipes to add into my cookbook, and stories as well about my personal journey throughout the process that I can use in my final product of my inquiry project. I did not know anything on this topic before so it does not confirm or go against what I already knew/believed. A question raised is, How do pea noodles taste? I say this because at this point of the trip, I have not tried a bowl of them.

May 6 2015 Sources (32)

Today I went to Old Town Snacks to interview about making Tafel fried ErSi.

Ms. Zhao directed me to her husband, Mr. Kang, and he taught me to make the dish and in the end gave me the dish. Basically, I had a second lunch.

To make Tafel fried ErSi you:

  • Cut up carrots and onions
  • Pour canola oil in a wok
  • Add the meat into the pan,
  • Add the noodles
  • Add the carrots and onions
  • MSG and Salt
  • Add bone soup
  • Fry
  • Add soy sauce
  • Add Chinese chives
  • Add MSG and Salt
  • Keep frying

To make the meat you boil ground pork, add soy sauce. Add water and stir it in a pan full of oil while it is being heated.

To make the soup you boil a pigs thigh bone in water.

This answers numbers 9 and 10 of my questions. This brings me closer to the answer of the completion of my cookbook. It does not confirm nor go against anything I knew previously, except what Mr. Kang's wife, Ms. Zhao, said that MSG is not really used in cooking. No questions are raised by this information. 

Answers to Previous Questions (from Phase 1): 

1) Do Yunnan specialties differ if made in Xizhou or if made in Kunming? How big are the differences between them?

Yes, foods do differ if made in Xizhou against Kunming. For example, take ShaGuoMiXian. In Kunming, ShaGuoMiXian is made using wheat noodles, they also use a bone soup, and have a different method of preparation. They add the vegetables and soup into the bowl before the noodles. However, in Xizhou, they use rice noodles, and just have a lightly, and meat flavored soup that is very interconnected with the preparation of the meats. Also, the noodles, soup and vegetables are all mixed before being added into the bowl. Overall, Xizhou foods differ from those in Kunming in mostly the preparation, but also use different soups to prepare some noodles. 

2) Does Xizhou cooking use specific utensils that are different from those used in Shanghai? (pots, pans, plates, etc.)

Not really. In Xizhou, many foods use similar utensils and pots to those in Shanghai. The only major different pot/pan used in Xizhou is for the creation of the Xizhou Ba Ba. They cook the Ba Ba on a much wider and a much flatter kind of wok. Other than this, for certain dishes, Xizhou chefs serve them on traditional plates or in traditional bowls that have always been used in harmony with the creation the dish. 

3) Would my inquiry project have yielded different results and discoveries if I visited in the winter, as opposed to the spring?

Yes, it would have. If I went during winter, the rice and garlic would have been imported. Because we came during harvest season, the rice and garlic are being harvested, so the rice is being used to make fresher, better bowls of rice and rice noodles. Also, garlic, despite being rarely used in Xizhou cooking and mostly being used for exports, brings in more money to the Xizhou economy and more foods that are not indigenous to Xizhou are imported and used in Xizhou cooking. During the time I have been here, from April to May, there is a greater tourist season than in the winter.

4) Is the food at a Restaurant different than what people eat at home?

Yes, it is. According to Ms. Zhao from the Old Town Snacks restaurant, people rarely eat ShaGuoMiXian at home, and she never ate it during her time as a child. They also do not really eat Xizhou Ba Ba at home. Mostly, people eat simply at home, and eat all the famous Yunnan/Xizhou delicacies at restaurants.  

5) What is, on average, the most highly rated dish in Xizhou?

To the tourists, the favorite dish in Xizhou is the Xizhou Ba Ba. However, I asked a woman who owned a spice vendor at the market in one of the first days in our time in Xizhou whose name I did not keep track of and all she said was that it depended on the person. Also, in the domain of fried rice, foreigners like the meat, beef, fried rice. However, locals like more egg, and other flavored fried rice

6) How do the chefs learn the recipes that they use to cook with?

They either learn it from relatives or from teachers. Ms. Zhao, for instance, went to study cooking in Kunming at a school. However, Ms. Li learned from her aunt in Li Jiang. Overall, you can chose. Mostly, your relatives will teach you some recipes at one point, but then you could also learn from a teacher or a school.

7) Do the foods have significance or memories behind them for the chefs who make them?

I did not really know how to phrase this question in Chinese, and I only got one response. Ms. Zhao from Old Town Snacks met her husband at cooking school in Kunming. Now, they run a restaurant together in Xizhou. Because of this, while making the recipes that they learned in Kunming, they most probably remember the times they had together there.

8) At a classic Xizhou Restaurant/food vendor, who buys the food? where do the ingredients come from exactly? (locations in the village)

Mostly, the Chef is too busy to buy the food. The owner and/or another employee buys the food. At the noodle vendor Ms. Zhong and Ms. Yang work at, Ms. Zhong, who prepares some foods, serves, and also deals with monetary interactions and seat placements, buys the food. She is not the owner nor the Chef. At Ms. Zhao and her husband's restaurant, her husband buys the food. They are both the owners and he helps cook on busy days. It all depends on the restaurant. Many foods are vended at the market, and some foods are imported into Xizhou before being vended there.

9) How do people in Xizhou prepare the foods before cooking?

It depends. Before cooking, many foods are prepared the night, evening, or afternoon before this when the business is tuning down. For Xizhou Ba Ba, the dough is kneaded, the meat is mixed and ground, the jam is made, the beans turned into paste, etc. During working hours, they compile all these onto Ba Bas and cook them. At ShaGuoMiXian vendors, the rice noodles are bought, the meat sliced, boiled, and put to simmer in the sauce, and the vegetables pickled. The soup is also made to prepare the night before. 

10) How do you make all the Yunnan specialties? recipes?

Look above at my information gathered over the span of a couple days in the Information from Local Contacts section.

I know that I am ready to move on to Phase 4 because of many reasons. I know that I am ready because I have enough, maybe more than enough, information to organize and form into an appealing final project. I have information for all topics that I wanted to know about for my project. Overall, I am ready to move on and start thinking about making a final product.

Sources:

(NOTE: I used my interviews as sources, and not each person. I used each interview because each interview yielded different information and the interviews are where I got my information from.)  

(1) Online: Yunnan Minority Travel. <http://yunnanminoritytravel.com/whyyunnan/traveling-yunnan/cuisine> accessed Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
(2) Online: China.com. <http://english.china.com/zh_cn/gourmet/food/11020891/20040930/11901175.html>. Accessed Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
(3) Online: China Culture <http://www.chinaculture.org/gb/en_chinaway/2003-09/24/content_29539.htm>. Accessed Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
(4) Online: Echinaromance.http://echinaromance.com/customs/local%20food.htm Accessed Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
(5) Online: China Kindness Tour. <http://www.chinakindnesstour.com/Chinainfo/food/cuisine/Chinainfo_497.shtml>. Accessed Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
(6) Online: Linden Centre. <http://www.linden-centre.com/autodraft-3/yunnan-cuisine/>. Accessed Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
(7) Online: Nipic. <http://pic33.nipic.com/20131007/7755640_115128098000_2.jpg>.Accessed Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
(8) Cecily Zhang. Linden Center. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on April 20 2015
(9) Hai Sam Mai. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on April 20 2015
(10) Craig Tafel. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on April 21 2015
(11) Brian Linden. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on April 21 2015
(12) Ms. Zhong. Sha Guo Mi Xian Shop. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on April 23 2015
(13) Ms. Yang. Sha Guo Mi Xian Shop. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on April 23 2015
(14) Ms. Zhong. Sha Guo Mi Xian Shop. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on April 24 2015
(15) Ms. Yang. Sha Guo Mi Xian Shop. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on April 24 2015
(16) Online: Bing <http://www.bing.com/knows/search?q=砂锅米线&mkt=zh-cn> Accessed April 24 2015
(17) Ms. Zhao. Old town snacks, Interview conducted by Cameron W. on April 24 2015
(18) Ms. Li. Xizhou Ba Ba Vendor. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on April 27 2015
(19) Mr. Yang. Xizhou Ba Ba Vendor. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on April 27 2015
(20) Ms. Yang. Xizhou Ba Ba Vendor. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on April 27 2015
(21) Mr. Wang. Xizhou Ba Ba Vendor. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on April 27 2015
(22) Mrs. Lia. Xizhou Ba Ba vendor on road to Si Fang Jie. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on April 28 2015
(23) Mr. Yang. Xizhou Ba Ba Vendor next to Shaoguomixian shop. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on April 28 2015
(24) Mr. Yang. Golden flower restaurant. Interview attempt conducted by Cameron W. on May 2nd 2015
(25) Mrs. Dong. Golden Flower restaurant, Interview conducted by Cameron W. on May 3rd 2015
(26) Mrs. Dong. Golden Flower restaurant, Interview conducted by Cameron W. on May 4th 2015
(27) Ms. Li, Yuan Zi Kou Restaurant. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on May 4th 2015
(28) Mrs. Dong. Golden Flower Restaurant.  Interview conducted by Cameron W. on May 5th 2015
(29) Ms. Zhao, Old Town Snacks, Interview conducted by Cameron W. on May 5th 2015
(30) Ms. Zhong. ShaGuoMiXian/cold noodle vendor. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on May 5th 2015
(31) Ms. Ma. Cold noodle vendor.  Interview conducted by Cameron W. on May 5th 2015
(32) Mr. Kang. Old town Snacks. Interview conducted by Cameron W. on May 6th 2015

Comments

Splendid

Wow. This is excellent work. First hand experiences are always the best. Its really nice that you showed us how to cook the food you had learned to make. I understand how you were unable to interview Mr. Yang, but I would really be interested if you expanded a slight bit on the section about tourism. Maybe interview other people who also know a bit of information on restaurants during tourist season. Still, this is great work. Good luck in your last 2 weeks. Make the minutes count!

Really solid.

Leonard

This is so interesting,

This is so interesting, Cameron! You have clearly learned a lot and talked to a lot of people. I'm sure they have enjoyed sharing their information with you and were happy to help because you showed an interest in what they do.  Aside from the cooking techniques (do you think we can try making some of these things at home?), I found 2 things really intruiging: 

1. That one of the cooks doesn't really like the food she makes! It's so interesting that people don't necessarily make the same foods in their restaurants that they would eat at home too.  I would have thought that they cook it because they love it and want to share it but I guess that's the influence of celebrity chefs talking in the media about being passionate about cooking. More likely, especially in Xizhou, restaurant owning is not a passion but a business decision about what does that person know how to do and want to do every day all day long in order to make money. A question I have from this is what kinds of things do people eat at home? What are the simple meals that they make and eat? And when (on what occasions) do they go out to eat these other "fancier" foods at restaurants?

2. That there is a regional difference between places as close as Xizhou and Kunming in the way similar dishes are cooked. I totally expected that you would find regional differences between places like Yunnan and Sichuan (on a larger geographical scale) but I find it interesting that even towns that are pretty close together tend to do things very differently. I guess because Western cooking is usually taken from cookbooks where it is written down exactly how to do something, there tends to be less regional variation in techniques.  While in a culture where cooking is taught experienctially by one person to another, it makes sense that there are regional differences because it's all about "this is how my aunt taught me" or "this is how it was made at the restaurant I liked to visit when I was a kid." 

Very good work Cam!!! Loved reading this!

Now we have left Xizhou and are back in Shanghai. You can look through my inquiry project, service learning, and journals and see what work I did during my time in the wonderful village of Xizhou. While In Xizhou, I researched food and cuisine and ultimately made a cookbook. I was part of the Limitless group in May 2015, and was 13 years old on that trip. I enjoy martial arts and water sports.