If I hadn’t come to China, I probably wouldn’t have learned to make Jamaican food.
That being said, I happened upon an ad for a cooking competition hosted by the Crowne Plaza in Beijing. The ad said that we should send in a list of ingredients that we would need and then show up on Friday, November 7 at 2:00 PM to teach the restaurant chefs how to make our dish. Then, for 1 week, they will put all our dishes on the restaurant’s menu and whoever’s dish gets sold the most, will win a trip for two to the Maldives. With the help of a friend, I decided to make Escovitched Fish and Rice and Peas.
When I turned up, there were only 5 contestants from Jamaica (me), China, Morocco, France and America. I was a bit nervous because everybody loves French food, and Moroccan food is exotic, plus I had never made Escovitched Fish before. My plan was essentially to wing it.
When I started the nerves melted away. The chef that was assigned to me said that there is a similar style of pickled fish in China and the rice seemed like Asian risotto. It could very well be possible that escovitched fish is actually a Chinese dish that we adopted years ago but I was still a bit skeptical not because of ‘bad mind’ but because of a trend that I’ve noticed. It has happened several times when foreigners in China talk about a specific aspect of the their country’s culture, if a Chinese person is present, they can almost always find some part of that person’s culture which is inherently Chinese. So, I’m not saying he’s wrong, but I’m not saying he’s right.
After we were all done, we had a tasting session where we all tasted everyone’s dish. They were all really good. Now I’m just excited to find out how the dishes do. They will be on the menu between November 14 – 21.