Xinjiang was our final stop on the Silk Route, thus concluding our two-week long (pre-covid) trip that began in Xi'an and passed through three uniquely beautiful provinces. But perhaps more interesting than the scenery were the people themselves, a diverse and hospitable group who truly treasured their heritage, and their lifestyles.
As with everyone else this quarantine, I have definitely on a baking rampage this weekend (more like, every weekend): after buying some on-sale cookie butter, I figured I'd try one of the many recipes that involved cookie butter. The easiest? These cookie butter brown sugar cookies!
And now we're on the last segment of our (pre-covid) trip...welcome to Urumqi, Xinjiang! Now, Xinjiang is the largest province in China, almost 1/6 of the entire country. Additionally, it's also the most ethnically and culturally diverse area in China. Out of all our stops along the Silk Road, we spent the most time here, yet could only explore a tiny, tiny portion of the province. Hopefully, I'll be able to visit again later!
Although the brunt of summer has passed us, it’s always fun to have an indoor activity to take me away from the extreme Texas heat (that lasts until mid-December...). One of my favorite things to do is to explore new and easy recipes for healthy snacks that I can snack on the rest of the day or after a sweaty workout -- and not feel guilty!
Today I start my first day of my PhD program halfway across the country -- halfway from my friends, my family, my partner and best friend, and the place I called home for more than 20 years. I came to UT, to Austin, not knowing really what to expect, but knowing that in four years, I was going to come out older, hopefully smarter, and a bit wiser. Four years later, I'm definitely older, smarter at studying, and I'd like think -- a tad wiser too.
Salty Sow has quickly become one of our favorite happy hour locations. As they advertise themselves, Salty Sow is an American Gastropub that serves contemporary farmhouse fare located fairly near campus on Manor Road.
As we get ready to leave Gansu, it's inevitable that we pass through the city of Dunhuang, which is a city right on the edge of the province. Strategically located at the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road and the main road leading from India, Dunhuang also controls the entrance into the heart of China.
Wontons are a classic Chinese dumpling variation: instead of like their semi-circle cousins, wontons are made from a square wrapper and usually have less filling (but of course, this just means you can eat more of them in one sitting). They're literally a soul-warming meal, especially if you eat them alongside the hot soup, with a generous dollop of spicy chili crisps and green onions.
Gansu was, to me, the best part of our adventure along the Silk Road. Lying between the Tibetan and the Huangtu plateau, Gansu is incredibly dry (so bring lotion!) yet contains so many treasures that attest to the power, beauty and reputation of China during the days of the Silk Road.
Dim sum is a huge part of Chinese (especially Southwest Chinese) culture -- there's early morning dim sum, afternoon dim sum, late night dim sum, so growing up, we were always on the lookout for good dim sum in the area. Here in Austin, there aren't that many places that have good, authentic dim sum, but fortunately, Lin's is one of those few.