Culinary History Mystery 6 – Tomato Eggs

Tomato Eggs is a home-cooked Chinese dish that reminds students, travelers, and those living abroad of home. Just a whiff of this cooking and folks will tell tales of sitting in or near the kitchen as a kid as a parent made this dish – and how good it tasted! it is simple, elegant, and savory, and less than 10 – 15 minutes from wok … Read more

The Silk Road in the News #2: A Silk Road Shipwreck

The contents of a sunken Chinese ship estimated to be more than 1000 years old will be coming to auction soon according to a spokesman from the Government of Indonesia. The contents of the ancient ship has been salvaged and curated over the last few years will soon be available for public sale. The bulk of the material salvaged was fine Chinese white or green … Read more

Tales Told by an Old Vessel

This interesting object recently found its way into our home.  It’s a jade vessel dating from China’s Yuan Dynasty.  It appeared on the breakfast table one morning at the end of January.  To be honest, at first I wasn’t so sure about it, but the more I consider it, the more I’m taking a shine to it. We’ve got to clean it up a bit, … Read more

Shizi, Singh, Gangs Sengemo – A Lion by Any Other Name

Skilled dancers from Xiiang, Persian masks and lion masks. The heads are carved of wood, The tails are woven with thread. Pupils are flecked with gold And teeth capped with silver. They wave fur costumes And flap their ears As if from across the drifting sands Ten thousand miles away… – Bo Juyi, 9th Century   With Chinese New Year, rapidly approaching, a post about … Read more

Birthday Dim Sum

Asians love to stuff things. They love to stuff little things into bigger things, or roll leaves, dough or meat with all manner of minced vegetables, cheese and meat. From Georgian hinkali to Philippine lumpia with Indian samosas and Tibetan manti in between, dumplings, rolls, fritters, turnovers and tricorners are ubiquitous throughout the Asian continent. These morsels are eaten largely as appetizers in the west, … Read more

The Jews of the Great Silk Road

In previous posts I’ve extolled the virtues of Arab traders in keeping the engine of global commerce and subsequent cultural exchange alive along the Silk Road. Although the Arabs were indeed an important part of trade along the Silk Road, many other nationalities and ethnicities were as well. There were Chinese, of course, Greeks, especially along the maritime trade routes, Europeans, and Jewish merchants situated … Read more

Silk and the Early Silk Road

A recent article in the journal Archaeometry tells of a new discovery of ancient silk in Pakistan’s Indus Valley. The ornaments that contain the fibers have been dated to 2450 – 2000 BC. The really fantastic thing about the find is that analysis of the fibers by electron microscope suggest that the fibers were produced by Antheraea moths indigenous to South Asia. In other words, … Read more

Welcoming the Year of the Ox

With a loud drumroll and a crash of cymbals the two enormous lions careened up the marble stairway, and paused to survey the lay of the land before continuing into the courtyard. One golden like the summer sun, the other as black as a new moon night. Both bedecked with mirrors and a single horn in the middle of their foreheads, they looked left and … Read more

East Asian Market Day

Yesterday, the rain poured down, sometimes in a light wisp, and at other times in a torrent more like the rains brought by the visitation of Hurricane Ike. What better to do on a rainy Friday than to go shopping, right? But unlike most women, I didn’t head to the local department store or luxury mall. Instead, I went to the local East Asian Market, … Read more