38 episodes

A fortnightly chat about techniques and dishes from a professional Chinese kitchen, their history and their cultural setting

andrewwongandmuktadas.substack.com

XO Soused Andrew Wong and Mukta Das

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 11 Ratings

A fortnightly chat about techniques and dishes from a professional Chinese kitchen, their history and their cultural setting

andrewwongandmuktadas.substack.com

    XO Soused S2 E4 - Song Dynasty recipes

    XO Soused S2 E4 - Song Dynasty recipes

    How do contemporary cooks interpret historically researched cookbooks? How relatable to contemporary dining are Song era historical recipes, and how far do recipe writers, cooks and chefs have to do this translation work? Andrew talks through a present day book of Song era recipes that he has been reviewing and researching as both he and Mukta explore how these recipes reflect Song dynasty social, economic, cultural and philosophical life.

    How do these recipes draw from and sketch out the luxury markets that defined the era, as well as the clean-eating philosophies that developed in reaction to these rich diets? And, equally importantly, how does this cookbook - a complicated culinary snapshot of Song era cooking - capture the evolution of Han majoritarian cuisine against which all other Chinese cuisines have become ‘ethnic’, or ‘other’?

    Intro and outro music: 遊子 [wanderer] by mafmadmaf.com

    XO Soused is a fortnightly audio and video newsletter. We’d be grateful if you can share XO Soused with your friends!

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit andrewwongandmuktadas.substack.com

    • 28 min
    XO Soused S2 E3 - Eating bitterness

    XO Soused S2 E3 - Eating bitterness

    How does a chef cooking Chinese cuisine incorporate bitterness into their dishes? Is bitterness truly necessary as sweetness, sourness, pungency and saltiness in Chinese gastronomy? Or is it trapped in a traditional medicine cul-de-sac? What did key Chinese gastronomic thinkers and writers think about bitter tastes and how did this thinking shift in recent centuries? What ingredients and techniques layer in bitter tastes and how have these changed over the course of Chinese food history?

    XO Soused is now available as a video - watch below

    Further reading on drinking bitter tea: Mei, Yuan, circa 1790. Wuyi tea [武夷茶] in Suiyuan Shidan [隨園食單], translated by Sean Chen, Way of the Eating, 2019

    Intro and outro music: 遊子 [wanderer] by mafmadmaf.com

    XO Soused is a fortnightly audio and video newsletter. We’d be grateful if you can share XO Soused with your friends!

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit andrewwongandmuktadas.substack.com

    • 22 min
    XO Soused S2 E2 - bear paws and other exotic banquet dishes

    XO Soused S2 E2 - bear paws and other exotic banquet dishes

    What are braised bear paws doing on a (likely) imperial banqueting menu from the 1700s? What does the appearance of this exotic meat, and other dishes like steamed camel hump, tell us about the changing categories of ‘wildlife’ and ‘livestock’ in global food history, and about how Chinese heartland foods and peripheral cuisines are constructed?

    Are there more to the names of these dishes than straightforward description, or can these names signal less about the central ingredient and more about the look of the dish?

    As the skills and knowledge to cook such dishes remain accessible to Andrew and his chef network, how can he bring such complex ideas of edibility to his diners without crossing certain lines? What cross-cultural encounters about edibility and etiquette does his banqueting menu already contain and where else will he push out the envelope?

    Further reading: Yue, Isaac, 2018. The Comprehensive Manchu–Han Banquet: History, Myth, and Development. Ming Qing Yanjiu 22(1):93-111

    Intro and outro music: 遊子 [wanderer] by mafmadmaf.com

    After an unexpected hiatus, XO Soused is back to being a fortnightly audio newsletter. We’d be grateful if you can share XO Soused with your friends!

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit andrewwongandmuktadas.substack.com

    • 37 min
    XO Soused S2 E1 - The banquet experience...from the other side of the pass

    XO Soused S2 E1 - The banquet experience...from the other side of the pass

    We kick off season 2 of XO Soused with an update from Andrew about the swap he has made to his evening menu - from à la carte dining to a fixed banquet menu - at his restaurant A. Wong. This has meant changing from catering for a variety of guests who bring different appetites: ‘some people eat more, some people eat less, some people…. have five or six different dishes, others just want to have a duck in the middle’ to serving 19 different dishes to every guest across four or five courses.

    What do these changes now demand from Andrew’s kitchen brigade and how has this changed Andrew’s role at the pass? Is this different from the organisation of banquets in Chinese history? Can Mukta’s analysis of Qing-era banqueting menus help Andrew with new ideas for preparation and for dishes that buy his kitchen the time and fluidity it needs? How will Andrew integrate Mukta’s analysis into his future banqueting menus?

    XO Soused has been a fortnightly audio newsletter. Intro and outro music: 遊子 [wanderer] by mafmadmaf.com

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit andrewwongandmuktadas.substack.com

    XO Soused Festive Special - Awesome Chinese banquets

    XO Soused Festive Special - Awesome Chinese banquets

    Andrew is taking his restaurant in a new direction in 2022. Gone is his à la carte menu and in its place will be a a dining experience akin to some of the historical Chinese banquets written into court records and novels, and painted on to silk. In this special festive episode Andrew and Mukta discuss why Andrew has taken this direction, what historical recipes are inspiring, and what underlying rules and rituals shape flavours combinations, the dishes that are served and to who, and even where dishes are placed on the table.

    Download Dr Isaac Yue’s excellent chapter on the Qing-era Han-Manchu banquet to access the translated dishes that Andrew reads from during the episode.

    This episode of XO Soused is a festive special. XO Soused will return for season 2 in January 2022.

    Intro and outro music: 遊子 [wanderer] by mafmadmaf.com

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit andrewwongandmuktadas.substack.com

    • 47 min
    XO Soused - Beginnings

    XO Soused - Beginnings

    As we come to the end of the first season of XO Soused, we share a rough cut of a recording by Andrew and Mukta as they look back on almost 8 years of working together —from the very first research Mukta did for Andrew for the launch of his basement bar the Forbidden City to almost ending it all over their presentation at SXSW - a presentation they didn’t even deliver as a result of COVID travel restrictions.

    Andrew and Mukta pick out key moments and summarise the lessons they have learned. They end with some advice for chefs and anthropologists/academics looking to do similar kinds of cultural-historical research together.

    XO Soused has been a fortnightly audio newsletter. Andrew and Mukta will be back in mid-December 2021 for a festive special before returning in Jan 2022 for season 2.

    Intro and outro music: 遊子 [wanderer] by mafmadmaf.com

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit andrewwongandmuktadas.substack.com

    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
11 Ratings

11 Ratings

a1ic3m33p ,

My favourite podcast!

This is very special

kpw888 ,

Interesting insight into Chinese food

Came to this podcast after hearing Andrew on Jessie Ware’s Table Manners.
A really interesting insight into various aspects of Chinese cuisine, particularly Cantonese. Andrew’s enthusiasm really shines through, making this engaging and informative.

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