My flatmate is a brilliant cook. I admit, my awe of other people’s cooking-abilities is influenced by my complete lack of imagination when it comes to making foreign dishes. Or any kind of dish for that matter. But still. She’s educating me in the ‘art of cooking’. When we’re not out eating insanely cheap Chinese food from a street restaurant in our neighborhood, we turn on our rice cooker and heat up the wok. We stock up on meat from the Carrefour at the beginning of the week, but the vegetables that accompany our mǐfàn (white rice) are bought from the little local markets that are dotted around the area. Walking around these markets has been one of my favorite experiences so far. Shopping here is completely different from shopping at the Albert Heijn or Tescos, where everything comes pre-washed, packaged, and labeled. Here, 5 different types of crabs claw at you as you walk past, fish squirm and flip out of their pails, shrimp flop up and down the boards they’ve been dumped on, and living snakes are curled up in wire cages. There is no such thing as ‘free-range’ or organic, as chickens and ducks are stuffed in cages, ready to provide fresh eggs or be plucked once bought. I have no idea where the vegetable and fruit comes from, nor do I know what half the stuff is that we buy. So far, however, it’s all been delicious. And unbelievably cheap.
It’s safe to say that even cooking here is an adventure. I quite fancy becoming the next Jamie Oliver/Gordon Ramsey (but then less teary eyed and nicer). So, time to experiment some more and practice my Chinese with the local vendors at the same time!