All About Beijing Duck

OK so you've climbed the Great Wall, wandered through the Forbidden City, taken photos in the Temple of Heaven, walked through the gardens of the Summer Palace and completely ignored Wangfujin street. Now it is time for you to eat Beijing's most classic dish, the Beijing Duck.

Beijing Duck is famous, has a distinguished history, an exquisite taste and is a culinary icon SO before partaking in this mouth watering dish, pause your chopsticks and first develop a well deserved appreciation of the delicacy you are about to feast on.

History

The origin of roasted duck can be traced back to Northern and Southern Dynasties period (420-589) when these hapless birds where roasted in the Jinling area where modern day Nanjing is located. The Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368) were gourmets and took the custom of roast duck with them when they packed their bags and set up house in Beijing.

The Inspector of the Imperial kitchen (what a job!) Hu Sihui listed roast duck among the imperial dishes in the "Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages" that he wrote in 1330. This early cookbook even included the cooking process.

Up until the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) ducks were roasted in a conventional convection oven where the duck was hung from the oven ceiling and roasted over burning wood. Duck cooked this was said to be crisp and golden brown with tender and tasty meat. After the Qing came to power they changed the method of duck cooking to hanging the ducks over a flame in an open oven. These two traditional methods of cooking duck are the foundations of the two modern methods of cooking Beijing Duck.

Roast duck was so popular during this period that poets and schools where inspired to roast duck poetry. Personally I think the large quantities of alcohol consumed with the duck were the main inspiration for these wasted poems and bookworms.

Peking duck as it was first called b foreigners taste so good, it is credited with being instrumental in the rapprochement between China and the US in the 70's. All because Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon kept returning to China for more duck. Just imagine how different history would be if the Havana Cigar had the same effect on US politicians!

In summary, that juicy piece of duck you are about to eat has a royal history of over 1500 years. Chew on that!

How to eat Beijing Duck

Your Beijing Duck will be served with steamed pancakes, sweet bean or plum sauce, cucumber and spring onions.

Place one pancake on the palm of your hand, dip a slice of duck meat in the sauce then place the meat on the pancake, add several pieces of cucumber and spring onion, wrap up the pancake, close your eyes and bite. Control yourself, chew slowly and savor this ancient delicacy.

How to cook

First you need to prepare the ingredients. Here is a list of all the ingredients.

Ingredients

2.0 to 2.5 kilogram of duck

8 liters of water

1 slice of ginger

1 Spring onion

50ml of honey

20ml of white vinegar

20ml of cooking sherry

25ml of corn starch dissolved in 50ml of water

Spring affairs for garnish

Directions

1. Clean duck then wipe it dry and tie a string around its neck.

2. Hang the duck in cool and ideally windy place 4 hours.

3. Fill a large wok with water then bring to boil. Add ginger, spring onion, honey, vinegar, and sherry. Bring to boil again and pour in the dissolved cornstarch. Stir constantly during this step.

4. Place the hung duck in large strainer over a larger bowl then scoop the boiling mixture over the entire duck for about 10 minutes.

5. Hang the duck up again in cool, windy place for 6 hours until it is thoroughly dry.

6. Place the duck breast side up on a greased rack in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.

7- Place a pan filled with 6 centimeters of water in bottom of oven to collect the drippings then roast 30 minutes.

8- Turn duck and roast for 30 more minutes.

9. Turn breast side up again and roast for 10 more minutes.

10. Use a sharp knife to cut off the crispy skin then immediately serve meat and skin on a warm dish

11 Eat and enjoy.

Simferopol, the Capital of Crimea – Simferopol City Guide

Simferopol is known as the capital and biggest city of Crimea. Every year millions of tourists go through this city to the Crimean resorts, such as Yalta, Sevastopol and Evpatoria. Today Crimea belongs to Ukraine and is its most southern region. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, former Soviet Republics declared their independence, new countries emerged and Ukraine was one of them.

Simferopol is a pretty old, ancient city. Different civilizations occupied the area where the city is now situated over centuries. Finally, the city of Simferopol was founded by Russians in 1885. In old Greek Simferopol means a city of common good, or city-collector. The city was involved in many wars and battles during its long history. During the Second World War the Crimean region was tormented by the Nazi Germany. They took occupation of the city and used it as a strong base to withstand many attacks. Really, the history of this city is so rich! There is a number of historical attractions and artifacts which makes Simferopol a popular tourist destination for many tourists visiting it every year.

At present the total population of Simferopol is reported to be around four hundred thousand people. Administratively, the city is divided into 3 divisions. Due to its central location on the Crimean peninsula, it is a convenient place for many industries and facilities. Food and engineering industries are the two key ones that were developed in the city years ago, in the Soviet time. However more business is being established here today and the economics of the city keeps growing.

Simferopol has always been a cultural and educational center of the Crimea region. There are several Universities and many more colleges in the city. It is not surprising that Simferopol is called a student city sometimes. This city is also known with its famous theaters, such as the Crimean Academic Russian Drama Theater, Simferopol Puppet Theater and Crimean Ukrainian Music Theater. The city’s main public transport system consists of trolleys and buses that run throughout the city and connect the central area with suburbs. The Simferopol International Airport in the only one in Crimea. Different Ukrainian and international airlines have daily flights to Simferopol from Kiev, Moscow, Istanbul, and in summertime Simferopol is also connected with Germany, Israel, Armenia, Latvia, Uzbekistan and other countries. The majority of tourists get to Simferopol by train through. This transportation remains the most popular one in Ukraine due to affordable prices and a decent level of comfort the trains provide.

Since Simferopol is the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the city is responsible for the administrative duties related to the special administrative status of Crimea within Ukraine. The Parliament of Crimea as well as the Cabinet of Ministers and other administrative institutions of the Crimean Republic are situated in Simferopol. Although Crimea has the status of a republic, the Crimean Parliament is subordinate to the Supreme Parliament of Ukraine which is situated in Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine.

Today Simferopol is a political, administrative, educational and cultural center of Crimea and of the whole Southern region of Ukraine as well as a popular tourist destination.

Introduction to Teaching English in Japan

Would you like the chance to spend some time in Japan but feel turned off by whistle-stop package tourist trips? If so, teaching English may be the answer. There is no better way to get to know a country than by living and working there. By teaching English you become a part of Japanese society, rather than just an observer looking in.

Teaching English is big business in Japan. Despite the collapse of the so-called bubble economy Japan remains one of the richest and most sophisticated nations on the planet, and this status is largely due to its success in overseas trade and investment. Thus, to get ahead in Japanese society, proficiency in English is a significant advantage. Add to that the fact that being able to speak English is simply considered cool and the huge demand for English teachers becomes clear.

Don’t Japanese people learn English at school?

Yes they do. Usually for 6 years or more. The problem is that, unlike most of the school curriculum, English isn’t taught particularly well. Japanese schools tend to follow traditional teaching methods in which the teacher stands at the front and lectures the class. Students are expected to absorb rather than question. The method produces excellent results for subjects like history and mathematics, but not for communicative, participative skills like language. School English education is likely to consist of lots of reading and writing, lots of grammar practice, but very little – if any – spoken communication.

Do I need to speak Japanese?

Not at all. Of course, if you can pick up a little nihongo (Japanese) it will make your daily life easier, but it won’t help one bit as a teacher. The reason is that the most effective way of teaching language is to use only the target language. Thus the only language used in English lessons is English.

How do I start?

Well, you could simply buy a ticket to Japan and start looking for work. Unfortunately, without a work permit, that strategy is illegal. Unless you have a Japanese spouse you need to find a job that will sponsor you for a visa. It is possible to travel to Japan as a tourist and approach a few of the numerous schools advertising for teachers asking if they are prepared to sponsor your visa application.

It helps to undergo some TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) training before looking for work. Not only will this give you some basic teaching skills and confidence, but it also shows potential employers you are serious about teaching and not just a backpacker looking for some financial re-fuelling.

TEFL courses are advertised in most English speaking countries. The more useful ones are provided by working English schools and offer face-to-face teaching practice with real learners.

Accommodation

If you are employed by the JET program or one of the big English school companies they will more than likely arrange accommodation for you. You are of course free to find your own housing if you so wish.

Living in school-found accommodation has the advantage of an English speaking contact to sort out repairs or other problems. The disadvantage is that it’s difficult to quit a job that may not be for you while living in their accommodation. I have also heard of at least one school that charges its teachers a significant premium over market rental rates for use of its accommodation – so beware!

There are several English speaking accommodation agencies advertising in the free English language press, and these generally provide decent accommodation, but at a price.

An alternative favored by many single English teachers are the so-called “gaijin houses” (literally foreigner’s house). These are basically hostels that rent out basic, but adequately comfortable, rooms mainly to non-Japanese clientele. Usually bathroom, kitchen and sometimes communal sitting room are shared. Gaijin house advertisements are to be found in the free English language press.

Why Weight Loss Surgery is Not What You Expect

If you think that a weight loss surgery is your answer to no effort slimming – think again. Surgical weight loss is not another quick fix to lose weight and look attractive without even trying. It is in fact, a commitment that is undertaken by a patient to limit his or her food intake, observing a healthy diet and exercising regularly after surgery – for as long as you shall live.

Weight loss surgery is an option for overly over-weight people to become healthy again and reduce their risk of developing weight-related disease such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and heart complications. Many of surgical weight loss patients turn to surgery after they have exhausted conventional weight loss methods that usually involve repeatedly losing and gaining weight over and over again.

Being overly heavy can effect quality of life and one’s self esteem, not to mention health. Surgical weight loss can be a viable alternative to be in control for people who have excess weight of 1/5 from their ideal body weight. In fact, according to large-scale studies, weight loss surgery can significantly lower the risk of premature death in obese people by as much as 40%.

The outcome of weight loss surgery can vary from one patient to another. It all depends on how well the body adapt and how disciplined you are when following post surgery diet and workout program. Evidently, surgical is not a set and forget short cut to deal with excess weight. However, by joining a support group, you will be able to discover yummy recipes that you still get to enjoy.

Your diet will change forever as your body have. For example, if you have a lapband surgery, your calorie intake perday is only limited to 1000 to 1200. Since there is only so much food you can tolerate, choosing nutritious food over empty calories become very important. You’ll also need to take supplements for the rest of your life to ensure that you get proper nutrition.

It is also important to know that you may not be able to tolerate certain kind of food post surgery. Any junk food that carry empty calories are completely prohibited. Although there are no guarantees, on an average, patients usually lose about 60 to 80 % of their excess fat in 18 months following surgery.