WBEZ | Ching Ming http://www.wbez.org/tags/ching-ming Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Life, death, and dumplings http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/life-death-and-dumplings-106530 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8627974560/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/qingtuanxihand.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Qing tuanzi: wild grass, glutinous rice, and red bean dumplings for Qingming Festival in Shanghai, China (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p><p>Like billions of Chinese worldwide this weekend, I&#39;d hoped to observe <em>Ching Ming</em> (Cantonese), or <em>Qingming</em> (Mandarin), to pay my respects to ancestors by visiting gravesites with family for a bit of spring cleaning, as well as leave offerings of food and drink.</p><p>But with the current bird flu scare, travel is noticeably down, while authorities destroyed more than 20,000 birds in live markets, though <u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/chinas-poultry-passion-persists-despite-bird-flu-blues-106432">poultry is still being eaten</a>.</u></p><p>In Chicagoland, most locals now celebrate the holiday in the Chinese section at Mt. Auburn cemetery in southwest suburban Stickney, as I mentioned last year.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8607880503/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/shanghaixiaolongbao.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Xiaolongbao with black vinegar and ginger in Shanghai, China (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><p style="text-align: left;"><span style="text-align: left;">I was just leaving Shanghai, my father&#39;s hometown, not that it mattered. My grandparents were once buried in one of the cemeteries that no longer exists, dug up during the Cultural Revolution, now developed into modern high-rises. My uncle&#39;s ashes were buried at sea, which is increasingly preferred.</span></p><p style="text-align: left;">One consolation: I told my dad I was bringing home not only&nbsp;<em>qing tuanzi</em>, but from Godly. The vegetarian restaurant open since 1922 and recognized for its intangible cultural heritage in China, was once a favorite of his mother, the grandmother I never knew.</p><p style="text-align: left;">My dad said, &quot;What are&nbsp;<em>qing tuanzi</em>?&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8627974560/" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/qingtuanxipackage.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Qing tuanzi: wild grass, glutinous rice, and red bean dumplings for Qingming Festival in Shanghai, China (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><em>Qing tuanzi</em> are distinctively bright spring green glutinous rice dumplings filled with sweet red bean paste. Their color comes from wild mugwort juice. They&#39;re now found throughout Shanghai, but are a specialty of&nbsp;Suzhou, about 60 miles west of Shanghai, an hour and 30 minutes drive or only an hour by high speed bullet train.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8607912649/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/shanghaifacetime.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="FaceTime over tea, mangosteens, and mandarines in Shanghai, China (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">Clearly they&#39;re not nearly as famous as&nbsp;<em>xiaolongbao</em>, Shanghai&#39;s iconic soup dumplings. The green dumplings may look like mochi but my first bite revealed something completely different. They&#39;re firmer in texture, with a tart almost effervescent flavor, like the white<em> nian gao</em> (steamed sweet sticky rice cake) that my maternal grandmother used to make.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">You can actually <a href="http://item.jd.com/1016996018.html"><u>order <em>qing tuanzi</em> by Godly </u></a>online. I&#39;m not sure about the shipping, but in our world, old meets new and it seems anything is possible.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><a href="https://twitter.com/louisachu"><u><em>Follow Louisa Chu on Twitter.</em></u></a></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8627964264/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/qingtuanxiinterior.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Qing tuanzi: wild grass, glutinous rice, and red bean dumplings for Qingming Festival in Shanghai, China (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div></div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 08 Apr 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/life-death-and-dumplings-106530 Ching Ming, Chicago-style http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-04/ching-ming-chicago-style-97861 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/chingmingincense_Chu.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/chingmingincense.jpg" title=""></p><p style="text-align: left; "><span style="text-align: left; ">The first tastes of spring may be marked by <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/louisa-chu/2012-03-22/which-we-call-ramp-97543">ramps</a>, smelts, or even <a href="http://www.wbez.org/event/2012-04-27/road-food-exploring-midwest-one-bite-time">food trucks</a> these days, but for thousands of years, for billions of Chinese around the world—including the diaspora in Chicago—they're heralded with the aroma of incense.</span></p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/chingmingfire.jpg" title=""></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; "><span style="text-align: left; ">This year Ching Ming falls on April 4, as it follows the lunar calendar. It's a day of ancestor worship, when families visit cemeteries to clean gravesites and offer favorite food and drink.</span></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; ">&nbsp;</div></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/chingmingaltar.jpg" title=""></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">Despite the setting, it's not a solemn day, but one to gather and hopefully enjoy the weather outside. One of the idiomatic translations for the day is to literally "walk the mountain". In the greater Chicagoland area there are a few cemeteries with Chinese sections. One of the most notable now is Mt. Auburn, southwest of the city.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/chingmingdrinks.jpg" title=""></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">Traditionally families might picnic at their family tombs, or you might see an influx at Chinese restaurants in nearby Westmont—like <a href="http://www.katysdumpling.com/">Katy's</a>, famous for their hand-pulled noodles.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/katy%27snoodles.jpg" title=""></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">You'll see a wide variety of food and drink offerings, usually including oranges which symbolize gold and luck. What food or drink would you want on your tombstone?</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/chingmingcemetery.jpg" title=""></div></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 03 Apr 2012 08:51:32 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-04/ching-ming-chicago-style-97861