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Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Chinese Thanksgiving Dinner


China doesn't have Thanksgiving, but I cooked a special Thanksgiving dinner with my boyfriend anyway. Behold!

For the turkey: Actually, China doesn't have turkey. Well, I heard a rumor that there's some kind of foreign grocery store that will sell you a fully-cooked Thanksgiving turkey with a side of gravy for 800 kuai (about $130) but, yeah I'm not doing that.

So I got a chicken.


This is China, so when I opened up the packaging, I discovered the chicken still had a head and feet. (The feet were actually tucked inside the body of the chicken.)

So, content note on the next 4 images. If you don't want to see a dead chicken head, then skip them.

Yeah Chinese culture is a lot less shy about the fact that meat comes from dead animals.

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Here's a dead chicken:





My boyfriend decided to boil the chicken head and feet and give them to his cats. (But people in China totally eat chicken feet. Probably the head too.)


We followed this recipe, put a ton of butter, salt, pepper, and onion/garlic/ginger powder on it, and put in the oven.



Someday I will tell you more about ovens in China. For now, I'll just say they are SO not part of Chinese cooking, so you won't find one already installed in your apartment. You have to buy one. And it's really just a giant toaster oven. Here is mine, with a cat for scale:


Next were the sweet potatoes. I followed this recipe, and they turned out fantastic. However, the only marshmallows they had at the imported grocery store were these:


With pastel colors and slight hints of fruity flavors. Excellent. Didn't affect the taste of the sweet potato dish though.

Anyway, here are the finished sweet potatoes:


And the mashed potatoes (using this recipe):


I bought dinner rolls from the bakery section of the grocery store. They were just normal [to an American] dinner rolls, which is incredibly lucky; usually when you buy something in China that just looks like regular bread, it has an odd sweet flavor, or a secret hotdog inside, or red bean paste... it's always something.



And a pumpkin roll for dessert (this recipe):



So, to sum up*:

*your mileage may vary based on luck and what part of China you're in

Things that are used in Chinese cooking and therefore very easy to buy:

whole chicken
salt
pepper
potatoes
sweet potatoes (China has both orange and purple sweet potatoes. Purple, huh? Who knew?)
celery
milk
flour
eggs
pots/pans
oil
sugar

Things that aren't part of Chinese culture but still reasonably easy to find at a big store like Walmart or Carrefour (a chain that's similar to Walmart and comes from France):

oven
butter (couldn't find margarine though)
cream cheese
dinner rolls
cinnamon
nutmeg
baking powder
baking soda
fork

Things that I really had to look for:

measuring cups
measuring spoons
vanilla extract (paid over $10 for a little bottle, ai ya)
brown sugar
powdered sugar
marshmallows
canned pumpkin (bought it from Taobao, which is the Chinese equivalent to ebay or amazon)
electric mixer

Things that I could not find:

turkey
meat thermometer
cloves
wax paper (is this not a thing in China? I used aluminum foil instead, for baking the pumpkin roll, which was fine)

Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving! ^_^

1 comment:

  1. I had chicken for Thanksgiving too! :) And sweet potatoes! It was just me and my fiance, so we had a smaller version of Thanksgiving dinner, I guess. Then he had to go to work. :P

    Also you have no idea how excited I got when I heard they have Carrefour in China. I first encountered it on my trip to Spain! Happy Thanksgiving!

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