I chose this one-day project because I like food. Especially Chinese food.
Originally, I voted for the Yunnan food, since I could not eat the spicy food of Sichuan. However, more people voted for Sichuan food. I kinda dreaded the day that we made the Sichuan food, since I had an image of a Sichuan dish, sprinkled with chili and pepper, searing to the mouth, in my mind.
This was what i I imagined.
However, I was really interested in the tea. I really love drinking tea, to smell the thick aroma of the fragrant leaves. Slowly unraveling in the clear water, unleashing its dark colors to paint the water dark red and green. Though I already knew how to make tea, I still wanted to see how others like their tea. Sadly, my little bubble fantasy was pieced through and popped.
Apart from the tea, I was not that satisfied with the food making, though we made great beef stew (bit too spicy and cooked the meat a bit too much).
I think our biggest success was the noodles (Ji Si Liang Mian).
It may have taken a while to get to my mouth, but I’ve found the best noodles on the planet. The ingredients were freshly prepared by our instructors, and we had set to making it as soon as we were told!
The dish looked absolutely stunning when it was set on our tables. I could not believe that I was the maker of this dish. I felt like I was in my family’s kitchen again, eating the food that I made. The noodles went fantastically well with the soy sauce! With the peanut that we chopped up, it was soft and crunchy at the same time and the addition of soy sauce, vinegar and sugar made the slightly bland taste much more colorful.
That, I could say, was the better part of our culinary experience.
After eating, we made tea packages. We made our own tea and designed its packaging. However, I did not think that the price for the tea packaging was reasonable. We had paid 120 RMB for this. And all we got was some stickers, a bag and some tea!
Now, I am not a professional of tasting tea, I have searched up at numerous websites for the prices of the tea that they provided us.
for each 500 grams:
- ￥215.00 for honeysuckle
- ￥596.37 for black tea (https://shop.dilmahtea.com/tea-types/black-tea/black-tea-pure-darjeeling-single-region-600g-leaf-tea)
- ￥350 for the dried lily flower (https://www.teasenz.com/lily-tea-orange-flower#.XFObgs8zbpA)
- ￥330 for the white chrysanthemum (https://www.amazon.com/GOARTEA%C2%AE-Organic-Premium-Chrysanthemum-Natural/dp/B010SQH0EE/ref=pd_lpo_vtph_tr_img_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=B7WR4E66ZPFMF1KVY4FN)
- ￥93 for the goji berry(https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BSD9C5M/ref=sspa_dk_detail_3 psc=1&pd_rd_i=B00BSD9C5M&pd_rd_w=hZxAT&pf_rd_p=21517efd-b385-405b-a405-9a37af61b5b4&pd_rd_wg=gEXjS&pf_rd_r=JBF9ENS6XY2NT1KTETQB&pd_rd_r=74f1be4f-25bc-11e9-9ef7-8b5dde2c9ca4)
- ￥1 for the sugar
However, we were only allowed to take a little bit of the tea.
- 2 teaspoons of black tea (4 grams)
- 3-5 flowers, (5-6 grams)
- 3-5 flowers, (5-6 grams)
- 10-15 goji (8 grams)
- 2 sugar cubes (6 grams)
Say that you chose the most expensive flowers, so that the tea will be made of black tea, 5 dried lilies, 5 dried white chrysanthemum, 15 goji and 2 sugar cubes. The total cost would be￥4.7 (black tea) + ￥4.2(lilies) + ￥4 (white chrysanthemum) +￥1.4 (goji) + ￥0.012 (sugar)= *drumroll please*
￥14.312! Which is a ￥105.7 difference from the 120 we paid.
Well, you might say that the shop gave us stickers and markers to draw.
well, the markers barely had any ink and the stickers are sold in rolls, so taking 2 stickers for each person amounts to almost no decrease in the sticker roll. (https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Blank-Direct-Thermal-Adhesive-Label-Sticker_60744591682.html?spm=a2700.7735675.normalList.15.AOzK6V&s=p)
I have learnt in this one day, aboutthe lengths people take to make money. I am appalled. It is my hope that our school does not engage in the Hutong one day activity again. It is a great rip-off.
The expectations that I had were switched to disappointment.
Some difficulties I faced was the sanitary issues. Some people in our group were not considerate at all. One wiped his nose and then started tearing up the chicken for our noodles. Another carelessly threw the lettuce into the cooking stove, so that some fell to the ground. Couldn’t they realize that they were sabotaging the safety of our food?
Another challenge was the number of stoves. I had expected us to work in small groups on our own stoves. However, that was not the case. We only had four stoves, to be shared by two groups of about 10 people each. There were some people in our group ( two or three) that could not eat that much spicy food. And because we had only two stoves for our group, we could not eat non-spicy food.
One stove was for extremely spicy food, and the other was for slightly spicy food. I had suggested that we can have one stove for non-spicy food, but the instructor disagreed, saying that it was “for the greater good”. WELL, couldn’t the people that like food of middling spice just mix the spicy and non-spicy stew up!