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Top Chefs' Humble Cooking

31 May 2008

At a time when 1.3 billion people have swung into action in an united effort to help the quake victims, China's 100 top chefs, including those from the world-renowned Beijing Quanjude Roast Duck, are busily stirring their stir fry in heated woks over high heat, not in their polished kitchen, but under the sky in the quake ravaged area in Sichuan. And the best part? All those yummy dishes produced in these yucky conditions are given away for free.

It is reported that Beijing Gourmet Association (北京美食联盟) has donated 3 million yuans to set up three giant outdoor kitchens providing free gourmet meals three times a day to the most needed in the quake hit regions.

One of such outdoor kitchens is set by roadside in Pengzhou. On the ground stoves large woks and pans and pots are boiling and steaming and simmering, filling the air wet with whiff of vapour caused by constant heavy rains with appetising and soul-uplifting aromas.

However, although the chefs are the creators of the world class gourmet dishes, when they just arrived in Wenchuan, they couldn't come up with anything that were reasonably eatable. So the village women - the quake victims whom the chefs are aspiring to help - helped the chefs to learn some basic cooking skills, teaching them, for instance, how to make fully cooked rice.

The chefs studied hard and learned fast, now with their masters - the village women - working as their volunteer kitchen hands, and village kids stationing around to act as their cheer squad, they are able to offer thousands quake victims not so gourmet, but quite delicious home-taste meals, such as chicken dice dry braise winter melon dice, pork dice stir fry hot cucumber dice, and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

The village kids like the diced free meals very much, as they reportedly told the reporters. (Source of info and original photo: 杨杰, 中国新闻网)

Delicious Steampots Dropped from Sky

A Chinese journalist recently visited a quake ruined village on a hillside, and found a group of people still living there.

When asked why they don't go down the mountain to the quake relief centre for a free accommodation, they replied serenely, "Why move around, sooner or later our new home will be rebuilt here anyway." And they further invited the journalist to stay with them as well, not forever, but for a meal.

They indeed had a decent meal to share with the journalist: a steampot. To be honest, it wasn't a full featured pot that seams which one may find at restaurants all around in Sichuan; instead, they only had vegetables and tofu to steam, but still, the tofu and veges are hot and spicy as those from a proper steampot.

The journalist was quite curious about the source of their fresh supply of the tofu and veges. Dropped from the sky, he was told by his hosts. "The military helicopters come quite often," they informed him, "and if you dine with us, you may have a chance to see them yourself."

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Since It's Free of Charge for Those in Uniform, Now They're Ordered to Free from Uniform

Recently all Chinese military personnel in the Chengdu and other quake affected areas are allegedly ordered by their headquarters to take off their army uniforms when go shopping. The reason is not that they might be feared or hated by the locals, but they have been loved too much as heroes to the point that the shop owners frequently refuse to accept their payments for their purchases.

Wenchuan County before Earthquake

A rural scene in autumn

Terrace farmland

A bridge



A heritage building


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