Back to the markets…

Hey folks, before I start a ‘real’ job (ugh, I can’t believe I just did that), I am doing a little bit of events work and blogging for one of my favorite local city magazines in town. Not that I’m biased or anything.

Fruit Stand

Check out my recent entry on…surprise! Market finds!

By the way guys, fresh raw dates are my new favorite fruit. Do these exist in the U.S.?


Guys! Big news.

I found roma tomatoes on the vine at the market this week. What, you thought I was going to make some other sort of announcement?!

Seriously though, if you’re in Guangzhou, put on your shoes now and run to your nearest wet market, I want to know if you find them, too.

I bought a couple pounds worth, a total impulse purchase, but one that was far wiser than other impulse purchases I’ve made in the past (read: Richard Nichols pants, books on how to code CSS, a dog). The tomatoes were so perfectly ripe that I almost refrained from cooking them. Almost. I decided instead to give them a nice slow go in the oven. Slow roasting tomatoes creates an extra flavorful tomato that is ten times tastier, and a perfect compliment to summer pastas or salads…or simply slathered on a piece of crunchy toast.

In my case, I was looking forward to creating some breakfast meals in my new cast iron skillet pan. The tomatoes are sitting in my fridge now, ready to dance with some potatoes or eggs. I’ll let you in on how that works out, sometime in the next few days…

Slow Roasted Tomatoes


  • 1-2 lbs. small tomatoes (cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, etc)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Dried Herbs (Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Parsley, or Sage)


  1. Cut tomatoes in half. Sprinkle with a generous helping of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and whatever dried herbs please you- in my case, I used oregano and rosemary. Peel and crush a few cloves of garlic and toss into the pan. Douse with a good amount of olive oil, enough to coat the tomatoes and then some.
  2. Roast at 275 degrees F for 2 hours. Tomatoes should be shriveled but still moist. Allow to cool to room temperature, and store in a air-tight container along with all the extra juices, olive oil, and garlic.

Pretty Lady at the market


Despite all the posts about being in the Bay Area, I’m actually back in Guangzhou. It’s  been quite a good “home”coming back to China. For the past three weeks, I’ve quietly passed my 29th birthday with loved ones, celebrated a belated and wine-heavy Passover Seder in good company, saw all the friends that I’ve missed for the past two months (making me realize how hard it will be when we actually move in two-and-a-half-months, eep!), drank too much for B’s 31st, wrote a few pieces for Honest Cooking and eChinacities, re-acclimated to humidity, copy-edited like a maniac, and generally have been getting back into the Guangzhou groove.


Part of the groove includes going back to the markets and visiting my old vendors I once frequented on a weekly basis. I often wonder if they think about me like I think about them. The ladies I buy greens and leeks and scallions from is the most friendly with me, and the first thing out of her mouth when I returned after my hiatus was,

“Were you back in America again?”

I guess they do think about me!!


The Chicken Lady, though less friendly, gave me a nod of recognition as she always used to and offered me the freshest chickens she had. And the Mushroom Girl, despite my enthusiasm for the basket of asparagus she had this time, did not give one lick about my presence. Even though I know she must recognize me, her feigned ignorance makes me wonder if she does not. At least it’s a familiar ignorance.


Left and right, these vendors greet me with the term “Pretty Lady” (美女). Technically, this is how the Cantonese address young women, much like we call young ladies “Miss”. To my ears, the direct translation always throws me off a little. “Pretty lady, would you like some spinach today”? “Pretty lady, which of these chickens do you want, the freshest one”? “Pretty lady, long time no see!! Those cucumbers in the front are the best.” Everyone calls me a pretty lady (everyone except Mushroom Girl).

It’s nice being back in Guangzhou.


Things change.

No matter how much I like things to be the same, no matter how much I like things to be planned out, things change.

Take, for example, my sudden affinity for noodles. When the DiploMan was gone in Beijing last week, I made myself noodle soup every day for lunch, and sometimes for both lunch AND dinner.

There’s always a stand or two at the wet market selling all sorts of noodles- fresh if you’re cooking for that evening, and dried to replenish your pantry stock. There are more kinds of ramen than I even know what to do with, and I’m not quite sure how to distinguish this block of curly thin yellow dried noodles to that block of curly thin slightly less yellow dried noodles.

Good thing I like noodles now, because I’m sure I’ll have a chance to try them all out.

Sometimes, change is a good thing.