52 States in 8 Months


Posted in Meals by Ulf on April 8, 2009

Some weeks ago I told you that Wednesdays are my Chinese food days. Here we go, this was my second Chinese meal: Mapo doufu!

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(Oh no, once Caro sees how I hold those chopsticks in my hand she’ll laugh and ask me if I really want do the eat-quickly-with-chopsticks competition.)

The characters in “Mapo doufu” stand for:
麻 = Pock-Marked
婆 = Old Lady (completely left-out in the inscription on the box)
豆 = To
腐 = Fu (whoever wrote the name onto the box was also a bit lazy when drawing this character…)

Once you read the first two characters you’ll notice: I ate an old, pock-marked lady. Wikipedia has a story behind it — whether it is true or not. At least the translation itself is correct, because when Chen Xi wanted to explain what “Mapo doufu” means, he also talked about an old woman with “many little flawy spots in her face”.

And the last two letters stand for “Tofu“. Ok, but what on earth is tofu? Actually, all I knew so far is that vegetarians like Moritz eat it because they’re afraid of real meat. Nothing I really have to care about. I’ve heard about “tofu würstchen“, but I never had so take them serious.

Tofu is made from soy milk. What is soy milk? Actually, all I knew so far is that some people drink it instead of real milk. Vegans, I guess. The totalitarian vegetarians. Well, nothing I really have to care about ;-). Anyway, soy milk is made from soybeans. All I knew about soy beans so far is that they are a great playground for genetic manipulation and that soybeans can be used to make oil which can be burned in internal combustion engines. But that’s off topic today, let’s find out how soy beans look once they are converted to soy milk, tofu and finally mapo doufu:

Chen Xi said that tofu would be very common in China, and mapo doufu would be one of the most well-known tofu meals. Actually, it is not vegetarian. The tofu was mixed with real meat. Tofu basically tastes very much like nothing, but that doesn’t matter since there is enough sauce around. In fact, the tofu bits reminded me a lot of the German “Eierstich” (something made from eggs which goes into a traditional German “Hochzeitssuppe“, but I didn’t find any translation which didn’t turn out to be ambiguous).

And apart from the tofu, how does the meal taste? I would say that is tastes like every other Chinese meal :-). I lot of chili sauce which makes it spicy, and much rice so you’ll be full after the meal. Oh my god I’m so bad at describing how food tastes :-(.


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