Cooking with a #Wok – 3 of my favourite #ChineseFood #recipes for my February @AlbertaAtNoon column

This post will share three of my favourite Chinese recipes and a primer on how to cook with my favourite kitchen tool – my wok. Continue reading

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#HotPot for #ChineseNewYear – #recipes for my February @AlbertaatNoon column

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I had the good fortune to travel throughout China in 2007 and enjoy authentic Hot Pot in Lijiang in Hunan Province. There are a couple of fun places I like to go for Chinese Hot Pot in Calgary’s Chinatown listed here. To be honest, though, my favourite way to enjoy the Hot Pot dining experience is at home with friends. This post will give you tips and recipes so you can do the same. Continue reading

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My Favourite #Chinese cookbooks, kitchen tools and pantry staples

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The ever-so-versatile wok – street food in China – photo credit – Karen Anderson

This week I’m getting ready for Chinese New Year (#CNY2016) which happens on February 8, 2016. I’ve talked about the #CNY2016 festivities happening around Alberta and this post is for people who are interested in doing some Chinese cooking. You’ll find a list of cookbooks to get you up and running, my three most important Chinese kitchen tools and a long list of my favourite Chinese and Asian ingredients.

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Notes on #ChineseFood and #ChineseCulture – Background info for my February @AlbertaatNoon column

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Food in Chinese culture is part necessity, part art and a lot of enjoyment. 

China has always had a large population to feed and Chinese cuisine is filled with imaginative ways to preserve food during years of abundant harvests to prepare for the lean years that might follow.  I once attended a talk by Anthony Bourdain and when asked if he could only eat one cuisine what would it be? he replied, “I would choose Chinese food because the Chinese know more ways to preserve, cook and present food than any other culture”. So what is Chinese food anyway? This post will answer that question and explore the vital link between food and Chinese culture. Continue reading

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A little history of #ChineseCanadians and #Calgary ‘s #Chinatown plus 6 #CalgaryChinatownRestaurants to enjoy

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The Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre – photo credit – Karen Anderson

Calgary is home to Canada’s fourth largest Chinatown after Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. It celebrated its 100th year in 2010. The Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre ( 197 First Street, SW, 403-262-5071) is the beating heart of the neighbourhood. It cost 10 million dollars to construct in 1992 and is credited with keeping the historic area alive when it was threatened by Bow Trail extension through downtown in the 80’s.

This post will share what you can find if you explore the cultural centre as well as more about the history and current state of affairs of this not well known part of Calgary. There’s also a list of six restaurants that are definitely worth a visit. Continue reading

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#ChineseNewYear Festivities for 2016 in #Calgary and #Edmonton

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2016 – Year of the Monkey as depicted by Canada Post

The Lunar New Year doesn’t happen until February 8 but the festivities that it brings for Alberta’s Asian communities (Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese in particular) have already begun in both Calgary and Edmonton. Traditionally, the events were all held on two weekends but this year, according to a Calgary Herald article by Taylor Lambert, they’re being spread out over four weekends to allow more people to participate and to enjoy the Chinese culture for the 150 years plus part of Alberta’s history that it is.

I’ll be writing more about the food traditions that go with Chinese New Year for my Alberta at Noon column this week but until then, here’s a listing of upcoming events. This is The Year of the Monkey and monkeys are curious and playful so be like a monkey and go on out and join in the fun.

Chinese New Year Events in Edmonton can be found here.

Chinese New Year Events in Calgary can be found here and here.

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#Calgary and #Italy – Women and #Wine

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One of the reasons I love dining in Alberta is because of the wine that’s available here. Did you know that there are more wines available in Alberta than in any other province in Canada? It’s true. We have access to over 20,000 labels and many are among the world’s best.

The reason? In the 1980s a few Calgary business people pioneered the privatization of wine, beer and liquor sales in Alberta. We started with a few wine merchants but now have many private wine and liquor boutiques. Most provinces still have government run liquor control boards. Usually, Calgary’s wine merchants tour the world to visit vintners in their natural habitats but sometimes the best pay a visit to Calgary.

Every other year Italy’s best winemakers come to Calgary for The Great Italian Wine Encounter. This event has raised millions of dollars for a particular kind of cancer and autoimmune diseases treatment known as Apheresis. I’ve had the good fortune to attend the event a few times and tomorrow, I’m going to meet, for the fourth time (pinch me),  Italy’s Women of Wine.

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