The Silk Road’s Green Pearl

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someonePrint this page

Stef got curious with the Chinese green raisins I used for my embutido. I still have half a packet and took a photo for her.

As you can see, the raisin is wrinkly and translucent, made from soft, seedless white grape. It is said to be a 2,000-year-old snack in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. (Yeah… the silk road). Also known as West China’s green pearl, it is cheap and everyman’s staple up north.

Above is a photo of those famous grapes from agricultural oasis Turpan in Xinjiang Province. Green and pearl-like and sweet. (The ones I have may not be the best hehehehe but I promise to share a better photo.) By the way, Xinjiang is located at the same latitude with California; good for high-quality grape growth.

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someonePrint this page
I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

3 thoughts on “The Silk Road’s Green Pearl

  1. Reminds me of when we were in Kuqa. We stopped in to a little banmen shop to get some dinner. They were very friendly and a guy approached us for an english lesson. So we went through basic English greetings and the like with him. After about half an hour he pointed to one of those deliciously fake 1970s posters showing delightful air-brushed food so popular in restaurants in Xinjiang. Being vegetarian the only thing on the poster we could eat were the grapes. So I said I like the grapes.

    I didn’t realise he meant the question as a way to decide what to buy us as a present for teaching him. His brother was dispatched and came back with a bunch of grapes for us. Being mid-winter they wore frozen, and I guess something of a scarcity.

    His kind gesture is one of our great memories of the kind hospitality in Xinjiang.

  2. hi psymeg! thanks for visiting my site. actually ive never been to xinjiang but our friend and enterpreter is from that part of the world. she brings us some goodies from urumqi from time to time. goodies include those above!

Leave a Reply to iska Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge