I had some time spare yesterday amidst the stream of meetings and appointments, so went on a hot date with myself to a bookshop. Of course after drooling on Iain Banks’s latest novel I found myself in the cooking section, first in awe over a book devoted solely to Sichuan cooking. I’m going back to steal the recipes for Suan Cai Yu and Shui Zhu Niu Rou to see just how authentic it is, and maybe the Mapo Doufu that all the recipes I’ve tried have been … you get the idea, but mostly it’s just taunting that Chengdu is so far away.
Next was a book devoted solely to the best best best cooking utensil ever invented, the wok. I miss mine dearly but after discovering that Foshan is one of the few places where you can still buy a hand-beaten wok, I think I’ll be making a side trip there. So when I turned the page and saw such a familiar sight, the old red motorbike taxi with attached chicken cage and plenty of chickens, the yellow 粤 licence plate, I was overcome with homesickness for Guangzhou. Oh the food. This is one of the rare, special cities in the world. Canton is where you go to eat.