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China boasts one of the world's most sophisticated and varied cuisines,
and for the gastronomically adventurous it's paradise.
In this programme, a taste of the huge diversity of food on offer
from morning through to night.
A look at how to order and say what you like,
and a flavour of home cooking during the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.
At this countryside B&B just outside Beijing,
breakfast is traditional and filling.
Literally, morning food.
Corn porridge and rice porridge
are the main dishes here.
They are accompanied by pickles, beans, onion pancakes and spicy scrambled eggs.
In cities, many Chinese eat a fast breakfast on the way to work.
Dough sticks. The top favourite.
Patties filled with meat and vegetables.
Sweet bean paste parcels.
They all make tasty morning snacks.
Literally midday food.
So important is eating to city dwellers
that even canteen food can be excellent.
Students at Beijing University are spoilt for choice, and quality.
I like to eat...
I like eating tofu.
Wo xihuan chi doufu, mifan, haiyou jirou.
Wo xihuan chi biandou, bu xihuan chi bocai.
I don't like to eat...
Wo xihuan chi yangrou, haiyou shuijiao, bu xihuan chi mifan.
Wo xihuan chi Zhongguo jiaozi, bu xihuan chi yangbaicai.
In Beijing, one of the most traditional lunchtime places,
with much of its original character, is the Old Beijing Noodle King.
As guests arrive, waiters shout out how many you are
and rush to look after you.
For ordinary people in Beijing, lunch is generally a hearty meal,
and chunky northern-style wheat noodles fit the bill.
They're quite different from the very fine noodles of Southern China.
It's the multitude of sauces, pickles and spicy vegetables
that make the noodles appetising.
It all adds up to cheap and tasty family food.
Or even a convivial business lunch.
One of Beijing's finest restaurants, the Quan Ju De,
offers a wonderfully traditional setting in which to savour the city's most favourite dish,
Ducks are force-fed before slaughter,
so that they are plump and fat.
They are coated in honey, water, and vinegar
and roasted in wood-fired ovens.
To order duck, you can say...
Please bring one roast duck.
The waitress asks...
What would you like to eat?
Nimen chi dianr shenme?
Qing lai yi zhi kao ya.
Nimen you shenme qingcai?
They decide on beans and mushrooms.
Qing lai yi pan chao doujiao, yi pan mogu.
A plate of fried beans.
Doujiao - beans.
A plate of mushrooms.
Mogu - mushrooms.
Then the pancakes arrive,
along with spring onions and sweet soy bean sauce,
to accompany the duck.
Once it was only the city's elite who could afford this delicacy,
now it's a popular choice for all kinds of people.
When you're ready for the bill, say...
The bill please.
Yi bai, er bai, er bai jiushi wu yuan. Gei nin.
If you visit China on business you may well be entertained by your hosts in style.
At the Grand Capital seafood restaurant,
you'll be offered some of the most authentic Cantonese cuisine to be found in Beijing.
Seafood is one of the main ingredients of Cantonese food.
Canton's capital, Guangzhou, is a port,
and many foreign influences have found their way into the cooking.
The result, elaborate mixtures of flavours and textures.
The haute cuisine of China.
When the head chef arrived here,
he brought his whole restaurant crew up from Guangzhou.
He's been passionate about cooking since the age of 15.
On a good day, there can be as many as 500 guests to feed at one sitting.
But he relishes the challenge.
If you're being entertained by Chinese hosts,
they're likely to do the ordering and simply ask you for your preferences.
Do you like to eat fish or prawns?
Ni xihuan chi yu haishi chi xia?
Wo xihuan chi xia.
Wo xihuan chi yu.
Ni xihuan qingzheng haishi hong shao?
Cooked in soy sauce.
Next they decide how to have their rice.
Women chi bai fan haishi chao fan?
Chaofan is fried rice.
Restaurants catering for business clients offer more seats in private rooms
than in the open area.
These formal lunches often turn into banquets,
costing thousands of yuan.
It's the done thing to offer guests far more than they can possibly eat.
Designed, it seems, to make you
savour every morsel.
Yen Ying is well versed in cultural differences.
In China, guanxi - connections -
help to oil the wheels in business dealings.
And often these connections start over a meal.
For many Chinese, a fun night out
means eating good food in good company.
At this Sichuanese restaurant,
traditional hotpot provides the best of all worlds.
Sizzling spices and a friendly atmosphere.
Most people order a double hotpot, yin and yang, mild and hot.
Beware of yang.
The main ingredient is meat.
You can also have fish and vegetables.
Literally fish meat.
Lotus root slices.
The process of cooking your own, the way you want it,
is half the fun of hotpot dining.
Zhe jirou zhen haochi.
The chicken is really good.
Everyone has their favourite ingredients.
Wo xihuan chi niurou, xihuan chi jirou.
Wo bu xihuan chi jirou. Wo xihuan chi yu.
Wo xi huan chi niu rou. Wo bu xihuan chi qingcai.
Eating out on the streets is what many Chinese enjoy.
In Beijing, people flock to snack street for the tastiest morsels in China.
Grasshoppers, frogs, not everyone's taste maybe.
But there's plenty to choose from,
and it's cheap, around five yuan a portion.
To order you can simply say...
I want one portion of fried noodles.
Wo yao yi ge chao mian.
Wo yao yi ge mogu, liang ge xilanhua.
A portion of mushrooms.
Two portions of broccoli.
Out in the countryside China's Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is when
families traditionally come together to enjoy the fruits of the earth.
Everyone expects a good spread.
Moon cakes are the centrepiece.
Rich, heavy pastries filled with fruits or meats.
There are nuts, dates and plenty of other locally-grown delicacies.
Traditionally people gather and philosophise under the full moon.
And there are poems extolling its magic.
One legend has it that the moon is inhabited by a hare,
endlessly pounding the drums of immortality.
At his side is a beautiful woman, transported there with the help of a magic potion.
She's achieved eternal life, but at a price.
When the autumn moon is full, she gazes out on the world she's left behind.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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Real Chinese is an up-to-the-minute introduction to Chinese life, culture and language. This ten-part series is for anyone travelling to China for holidays, study or work - and anyone else who simply wants to find out more about this fast-changing nation. The programmes are set in and around Beijing, with visits to mountains, countryside and a popular beach resort.
The series covers the language essentials needed to get the most out of a trip and explore beyond the usual tourist trail: how to greet people in Chinese, order food and drink, ask the way, travel around, hold simple conversations and enjoy sports and nightlife. Each 15-minute programme also offers insights into the culture, both past and present, from ancient arts, architecture and beliefs to current tastes in shopping, fashion and entertainment.
In this episode, a taste of the huge range of food on offer in Beijing from morning through to night, a look at how to order and say what you like, and a flavour of home cooking during the mid-autumn Moon Festival.