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2018年3月

2018年3月20日 (火)

The secret to great wonton noodles

Wonton noodles. [Photo/CGTN]

If you've ever had Chinese food, chances are you've tried wonton before. Perhaps you slurped them from a savory soup, or enjoyed them deep-fried and drowned in chili oil. These little dumplings are so versatile you'll find dozens of recipes for them, yet in Guangzhou, one version reigns supreme: Wonton noodles.

But in a city that's famous for food, how do you make your wonton noodles stand out?

The secret is two-fold: First, the broth must be without equal. Most shops provide additional servings of soup for free, but restaurants that've spent hours cooking their stock always charge for extra portions. When done right the broth should be rich, yet light and refreshing; savory with a hint of the sea, and positively swimming with umami.

 Restaurants offer a bewildering number of ways to eat wonton. [Photo/CGTN]

And then there are the noodles. The best chefs mix fresh duck eggs into their dough, which make the noodles so al dente they verge on being undercooked.

However, when you combine the soft, slippery texture of the wontons with the umami richness of the soup, and the bouncy, yet firm bite of the egg noodles, you'll know for sure you've found the perfect recipe.

2018年3月 8日 (木)

30+ Cuba Travel Tips You Need to Know Before You Go

I had barely put down my fork after finishing a Cuban meal prepared in a privately owned restaurant called a paladar when someone grabbed my hand and pulled me to my feet. Live music accompanied our meal, and turning down an impromptu salsa dance just isn't acceptable — so dance I did.

Light-footed from sips of Havana Club rum and ready to try out the moves I learned at a lesson earlier in the week, I couldn't help but smile at my situation. Traveling to Cuba as an American means a lot of things. It means navigating a rather complicated system of rules, restrictions, and politics. It means dealing with the reality of a president who is currently making it harder by the day to experience all this country — just 90 miles off the United States coast — has to offer. It means understanding and respecting the harsher realities of what Cubans and Cuban-Americans have gone through and are still going through — something tourists should be aware of.

I was able to travel to Cuba with Backroads, an active travel company that made a biking trip through the country launching in January 2017 — full of logistical complications and red tape — look like a breeze and seem like a complete dream.

The trip began in Havana, a city with crumbling historical homes juxtaposed beside colorful structures and shiny, newly reconstructed buildings. We biked daily through towns along the northern coast, by farmland, over hills, and past parts of lush jungle and forest. Experiencing a trip like this, in the open air rather than closed up in a tour bus or car, was like nothing else I've ever done. After eight days, a thousand answers and even more questions, new friendships with Cubans, and yes, a few cigars and sips of Cuban coffee and rum, I learned a thing or two about a place that is in some ways a bit of a mystery to many Americans, due in large part to the embargo and the nature of US-Cuba relations for the past 50+ years.

These takeaways and tips will help you plan your Cuban trip and will hopefully help make your time on this Caribbean island as wonderful and informational as my own experience. I'm already counting down the days until I can return.