Haw Berries & Kumquats

Posts under ‘shops’

Introducing the Guide to Bread Baking in China

Five-grain multigrain sourdough from Hamelman

I have been baking sourdough bread for more than a year now, and it occurs to me that I’ve learned an awful lot in that time. Not only how to knead dough by hand, or how to shape a loaf using minimal counter space, or how to take care of a starter – but also [...]

Mooncake Review: A little chickpea in your red bean?

xibei mooncakes (黑三宝 in foreground)

Like it or not, mooncake season is upon us: Wednesday, Sept. 22, is Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节), celebrating the roundest, most golden full moon of the year. Westerners may call it the harvest moon, but for China this moon is all about being together with one’s family. The word for being together, 团圆 tuanyuan, literally means [...]

Tomorrow, when the apricots come


Hawberries & Kumquats is overwhelmed with moving house and will be taking a short break. (The complexity of apartment hunting in Beijing could be an entire blog subject.) In the meantime, here are a few tidbits to mull over, and I’ll be back in a week or two.

Awfully Chocolate

awfully chocolate in takeaway container

Awfully Chocolate is known for their decadent chocolate cakes, but they also make some of Beijing’s best dark chocolate ice cream.

Therese’s Organic Farm, and a very large loaf

hamelman's pointe-a-calliere

…So now we receive weekly deliveries of organic vegetables of our choice, which can sometimes backfire as I like to order the unheard-of and un-tried specimens. In late spring we dabbled in not one but two kinds of thistles, which taste about as tough and prickly as they look.

Cat’s Ears Noodles (猫耳朵), or pasta, Chinese-style

cooked maoerduo noodles

It is a popularly held truth in China that Marco Polo introduced Italy to Chinese staples such as noodles, dumplings, and flatbreads (饼 bing). Only Mr. Polo didn’t get the recipes down quite right, so the dumplings became square and flat, the noodles got all out of shape, and the flatbreads acquired new and exciting fillings on the outside. Without Marco, so the story goes, Italy would be lacking of some of its most popular foods.

Baking bread in China, and a country sourdough

chad roberston country sourdough crumb

People are always surprised when I tell them that I bake bread in China. It shouldn’t, though, come as a shock, because flour, water and yeast are integral parts of north China cuisine. To me, there’s even more incentive to bake bread while living in China: the challenge is exciting, and the rewards – delicious bread and a new skill – are priceless.

Hitting the sesame paste

bagel with sesame paste

“Hitting the sesame paste” (da majiang 打麻酱) is what we Beijingers say when we go and buy sesame paste. We also hit our soy sauce, vinegar, oil, and even sometimes the hard liquor. No, we’re not abusive toward our condiments; just resourceful and unwilling to waste a single container. The mark of an old Beijinger [...]

Lemons in Beijing

Meyer lemons

I had been looking for China-grown Meyer lemons everywhere, ever since I found out that they originated from China. But while I saw imported lemons (your typical pointy yellow specimens) at most larger fruit stalls and markets, the local Meyer was nowhere to be found. Then one day I found them right in my neighborhood…

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