"Wish You Happy Every Day": An Expat's Life in China

Eating from the Wild
August 29, 2015, 8:45 am
Filed under: daily life in china, food | Tags:

“Allison! Come out here!” came the shrill command of my mother-in-law. Lipeng had already met her at the front door, but I’d been lagging behind. I shuffled out sleepily in my nightgown, not in the mood for what I anticipated to be another reminder that we should carefully organize our new life together, cook healthy meals, make money, that kind of thing.

I did not expect to see this:

mao haiyen1

Because Lipeng’s parents live near the beach, his mother makes a habit of going swimming every night. She’s not alone–the whole neighborhood is out there enjoying the cool refuge of the ocean. It doesn’t seem to matter that the city is erecting a bridge over the water, and that grime from the construction has been reaching the shore. Rain or shine, pollution or no, every night these Dalianren flock to sea.

So during her swim, she managed to catch wild seaweed–a rarity these days.

“When I found it, I yanked it out from its roots–like this!” She hunched her shoulders together, lifted her leg like a baseball pitcher and yanked the air. 

Filled with the power of her victory, like a hunter enjoying her spoils, she hurried/hopped to the kitchen to dump the tangled mess into a pot and start cooking it. And that’s what we ate for breakfast the next day: fresh seaweed braised in garlic and vinegar.

I’m sorry to say that the seaweed was largely neglected in favor of other, more flavorful dishes. OK, so I’m not the only one, I thought, who doesn’t like seaweed! To be more accurate, I hate seaweed in all its incarnations. Even my love of vinegar and garlic was simply no match for this hate. We did nibble at it out of politeness, but . . . but . . . there was so many other wonderful dishes on the table, like fried fish and eggs with tomato . . . I hope our reluctance to eat didn’t damper her sense of accomplishment!


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