Culture Salon: Culture and Cuisine Cooking Class

On 15th December YCA scholars and staff members gathered together for a cuisine cooking class at Shaoyuan restaurant. The students learnt the recipes for two traditional Chinese dishes: Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁) and Sweet and Sour Fish (酸甜鱼柳).


The lesson began with instructions on cooking Kung Pao Chicken. Mr. Wu Junlin, a Chinese cuisine chef from Shaoyuan, explained the history and culture behind this well-known dish, as he taught the students how to make the dish at home. The students watched the chef prepare Kung Pao Chicken in front of them and asked questions during the cooking. When the chef was finished, the students tried their hand at making the dish on their own. Although the students had seen the dish prepared for them, it was still difficult for some to make on their own so Chef Wu was nice enough to help them along in the process.


The next dish was Sweet and Sour fish. This dish was a favorite of scholars because of the "sweet and sour" flavor. In the same manner as when the Kung Pao Chicken was made, the students watched the chef prepare the meal, then tried to make it themselves.


After the chef prepared the two principle dishes, four students prepared dishes that are unique to their culture. Van Cao from Vietnam prepared "nem", Vietnamese fried spring rolls. Maria from Pakistan prepared Chicken Karahi. Luclia, a student from Argentina, prepared empanadas, and Erin from the U.S. prepared banana bread.  


After all dishes were prepared, the students gathered around the table to taste each dish and discuss the importance of the dish in their culture. The Shaoyuan Western restaurant staff even joined in for a try.


In all, the students enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about cooking and learn more about one another's cultures.


By Alexandra Williams