German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in China yesterday at the invite of Premier Li Keqiang and her very first stop was in Chengdu, where she learned how to cook kungpao chicken from a Sichuan chef.
According to China News, Merkel showed great interest in the recipe behind kungpao chicken, a traditional Chinese dish in the region (and a favorite among laowai). She bought her own ingredients from an agriculture trade market in the city and learned how to cook the dish at the Chengdu Yinxiang Restaurant, where Chef Zhang introduced the “secret” to concocting the perfect sauce.
“The main seasonings are Chinese prickly ash, hot pepper and bean flour. The flavor is sour-sweet,” Chef Zhang explained to Merkel with the help of an interpreter.
Zhang told reporters that “She was very interested in Chinese prickly ash and how the ‘sour-sweet’ flavor was made. When I told her that I put Chinese prickly ash in the dish, she seemed suddenly enlightened. I’m sure she loved this lychee-flavored kungpao chicken, the essence of Chuan dishes.”
Merkel’s proficiency in using the chopsticks impressed Chef Zhang. “It’s very fluent and it looks like she has learned the skill for a long time,” he complimented.
Merkel seemed to win over a lot of Chinese fans online as well.
“(She is) a kind DA MA,” user 贰两包子 said.
Web user fafafge added, “After she goes back to Germany, she can make a German style of Kung Pao Chicken!”
火星养小强 joked, “Merkel Da Ma is also a foodie?!”
“We should learn the drainage skills from Germany,” said 学府文化.
真裁缝 seriously pondered “I wonder if kungpao chicken is really a Sichuan dish. Why do we put sugar in the dish? After putting sugar in it, why does it taste worst than without putting sugar in it?”
跟帖局CEO said, “Congratulations! Germany wins the champion of World Cup 2014.”
This is Merkel’s 7th visit to China since she took office as Chancellor in 2005, although it’s her first time to Chengdu, where she was scheduled to meet participants of 2014 Sino-Germany Dialogue Forum, unveil for the Urbanization Forum, and visit an assistance project for children of migrant workers, according to CRIEnglish.
The Chancellor reportedly left for Beijing last night, where she’s due to meet with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Zhang Dejiang. Probably not quite as much fun as kungpao chicken.
By Lucy Liu
[images via 163news,video via Chinenews video ]