2011年5月30日 星期一

Nara eateries get shot at fabled Michelin Guide

Nara eateries get shot at fabled Michelin Guide


photoKakinoha-zushiphotoAsuka nabephotoChagayu porridgephotoBernard Delmas, president of Nihon Michelin Tire Co., announces the addition of Nara Prefecture restaurants to the Kansai edition of Michelin Guide on April 13. (Wataru Kishigami)

While Nara Prefecture has long attracted tourists to its ancient capitals and historical sites, the food here has always been just an afterthought.

That could change in October, when the Kansai edition of the fabled Michelin Guide will include Nara Prefecture restaurants in its ratings for the first time.

Many Nara Prefecture residents and restaurateurs say they cannot wait to see how their local restaurants will stack up under the scrutiny of the world's top authority in the gourmet world.

Junichiro Horie, owner of the Italian restaurant Ristorante i-lunga in Nara's Kasugano district, said the prefecture's tourism has been characterized by a passive business approach targeting tourists who visit the Great Buddha in Todaji, Nara Prefecture.

"The Black Ship has finally arrived in Nara," Horie, 40, said, comparing the Michelin Guide to Commodore Matthew Perry's arrival in a Japanese port in 1853. "I hope the upcoming Michelin Guide will help revitalize the city."

According to the Michelin Guide secretariat, about 200 restaurants in Nara Prefecture had been tagged before the French editor in chief and seven Japanese inspectors started researching them last fall. It is not known if the new guide will cover restaurants in the prefecture or in Nara city.

The news had local restaurateurs searching their memories to see if any inspectors may have dined in their restaurants.

Rating restaurants is conducted by Michelin inspectors who go undercover as customers. Their identities and methods are secret.

In early April, Obana, a Japanese restaurant in Nara's Takahata town, had a middle-aged woman in a suit as a customer, owner Minoru Shindo said.

She ordered a "kaiseki" Japanese set course meal priced at 3,900 yen ($48.28). While dining, she took pictures of the dishes and asked questions such as "Where is this from?"

The level of her questioning was quite high, Shindo, 60, recalled.

"She was apparently not an ordinary customer," he said with great interest. "Maybe we were being graded."

Previously, a survey by the Nanto Economic Research Institute in 2003 found that Tokyo residents did not expect much of Nara food when they visited the city. Asked what they looked forward to in Nara, "food" ranked only 10th.

But an official said times have changed.

"Before, there may have been restaurants which offered tourists' dishes, thinking any which they were prepared was OK," said Miho Kakuyama, a marketing official of the prefecture. "But it is no longer so."

The prefecture has hosted the Nara Food Festival since 2009, inviting noted chefs from across the country and having them prepare dishes using ingredients produced in the prefecture, such as Yamato vegetables.

About 100,000 people showed up to the month-long event during the festival last fall. An event attended by local chefs also attracted many visitors.

"Nara Prefecture meets the standard as a candidate for the Michelin guidebook," Kakuyama said proudly.

On April 13, Bernard Delmas, president of Nihon Michelin Tire Co., was in Nara to announce that the prefecture would be added to the Michelin Guide's Kansai edition, and said at the news conference, "I enjoyed the 'chagayu' porridge I had for lunch."

That surprised Yoshinobu Hasegawa, a 69-year-old "minshuku" inn owner, who said he did not think chagayu was popular among foreigners.

Four to five groups of foreigners stay every month at his Hatago Hasegawa inn, known for its local specialties, and many are from France, where Michelin is based, but most of them do not even try chagayu, he said.

"Westerners are not familiar with rice gruel, and the yellow color may make them refrain from even trying it," he said.

According to Hasegawa, one popular dish among foreign guests is Asuka nabe, a traditional pot cooking method using a broth made from milk, soy bean paste and chicken.

He said since milk is an internationally common drink, it is liked by people from all over the world.

Hasegawa is circumspect about Michelin's upcoming book, saying, "While I am grateful that the guidebook appreciates our tradition, I am worried on what scale the high-end oriented Michelin will grade us."

Michelin's guide for the Kansai area, which was first published in 2009, has ignored Osaka's trademark regional specialities such as "takoyaki" (octopus balls) and "okonomiyaki" pancakes.

Yoshihisa Masui, deputy secretary-general of a Nara-based NPO to study food culture in Nara, said, "As far as I have read, the guidebooks have been edited under the supervision of foreigners. I have not come across any review that has insights into popular food culture."

(This article was written by Daizo Teramoto and Masaaki Yashiro.)


Content Number:20644

This traditional rice broth of the Kumano region has the flavor of tea. It is easy to digest, and known locally as "okaisan." In the cold winter people eat it hot, and in the summer, when it is hard to work up an appetite, it is eaten cold.

2011年5月23日 星期一

創意肉干派對Jerky Party

譬如說有數十攤 與會者繳約180美元 可以任意吃 並評選
前一陣在NHK 看到報導美國的創意肉干派對

肉干的种类繁多,有猪肉干、牛肉干、羊肉干、马肉干、兔肉干 鹿肉乾......等,这类产品的水分活度很低,大多数细菌已经不能生长,故保质期较长,这类产品的蛋白质 ...




What the Hell is a Jerky Party?!

On June 30th, 2010, hundreds of people flowed through the doors of Brooklyn Fireproof East to enjoy handfuls, mouthfuls, and beer-mouths full of jerky; and there was much rejoicing.

I won't bore you with the heroics that made the night possible. No, really, I'm not going to. Seriously, I've got-- fine.


Though the jerky was center stage, it was nearly overshadowed by the mind-melting music party that simply had to break out, given the number of acts we booked. We had some body-humpin' beats from Trifling Mental Soundsystem, a palate cleansing opening act by Dexter Scott, and an historic appearance by the highly regarded but totally un-beefy (except jake) Freelance Whales.

Accommodations were provided by the always host-pitable Brooklyn Fireproof East (thanks Leslie, Thomas and Sean, and of course James for hookin us up), copious PBR by the all-giving Rachel Lennon and Her Fruitful Connection, exquisite snapshots Liz Vidyarthi, and [jerky] tacos by the dudes of Tacolada Taco Truck. We are also severely indebted to our creative-photoshop consultant, Brenna Powers, who supplied the art work.

And of course, the SlantShack Jerky girls (photos to come):

Alyson Baker
Mai Teshima
Elif Muyesser
Lizzie Olson
Sarah Millsaps
Megan Edwards
Julie Maddox
Christen Currie
Nina Mahjoub
Debbie Williams
Brigid Abraham
Ashley Kurose
Gina Grinstead
Ailie Jenkins

If you missed it, I'm sorry. There may be more, there may not. We can't say for sure. Jerky makes its own rules...our job is to oblige.

2011年5月22日 星期日

sushi roll

photoSumida Ward "bento" maker Koichi Shindo, center, and his sushi roll that won the ward's official seal of approval (Louis Templado)photoCloseup of the Sumida Chanko Roll (Louis Templado)

Sumida rolls out specialties ahead of Tokyo Sky Tree tourism surge


The tower attracted nearly 40,000 visitors to the ward during the Golden Week holiday from April 29 to May 5, which is quite a feat when you consider it isn't even finished yet.

Come next spring, it will open to the public as the world's tallest tower, measuring a height of 634 meters.

But Sumida city hall isn't waiting for the finishing touches to cash in on the tourism bonanza.

Long in the shadow of famous Asakusa district across the river in Taito Ward, Sumida Ward is making moves to raise its profile and find things to fill the tower's souvenir shops once Tokyo Sky Tree finally opens.

"Sumida has always been known as a place where people make things, real things," explains Kazuhiro Kashimada, chief of the ward's economic affairs division.

"But unlike regional tourist spots, we don't have a definitive product, such as towels, for example. We have many workshops and factories producing very different products. We want to make that diversity the our selling point," Kashimada says.

Last year, the ward created its own seal of approval, Sumida Modern, which it bestowed on 28 items deemed the best in the ward.

Ranging from hand-chiseled calling card cases and copper water sprinklers to water-repelling swimsuits and giant rolls of sushi with the diameter of a CD-ROM, the items were chosen from nearly 150 local businesses.

At the end of April, the ward restarted the long selection process, with an eye to creating a lineup to show off in a 650-square-meter tourism showcase to be set up inside Tokyo Sky Tree.

The ward itself is the product of samurai minds turned to handicrafts, according to historian Mitsuhiro Seki.

After the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate, when the warriors were no longer needed, they moved from the precincts around Edo castle to land across the Sumida river. There they were urged to take up trades to support themselves.

During the Meiji Era (1868-1912), they produced uniforms, shoes and buckles, as well as mechanical parts for Japan's modernization. After World War II, small factories settled in, giving the area its vanishing working-class vibe.

Selling the Sumida Modern brand means product-placing some of that history.

The whopping, ward-approved Sumida Chanko Roll, for example, is themed around sumo because the sport's Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan is located in the district. The sushi roll's 15 ingredients are all things that grow above the soil or have no hands to touch the ground (because that means defeat in sumo), or they have names that pun on the word "victory."

"I didn't really believe that design and presentation would help make money" until ward officials teamed up designers and food coordinators with his product, Shindo says. The attractive and amusing packaging draw the eye.

At a test run of the extra-large sushi roll at a ward-sponsored event, he sold out of all 300 pieces he'd brought in a single day.

Shindo's "bento" (box-lunch) factory employs 50 people and makes 1,600 lunches a day for offices in Tokyo's central business district. Although the firm produces just eight pieces of the Sumida Chanko Roll in a day, making it a culinary collector's item, plans are to ramp production way up.

The sky's the limit, says the businessman, once Tokyo Sky Tree reaches its pinnacle.

2011年5月21日 星期六

談「懷疑一切」"De omnibus dubitandum"


筆記:談「懷疑一切」"De omnibus dubitandum"

De omnibus dubitandum. (You must have doubts about everything). ---Marx's favourite motto. -- 【懐疑主義 ( かいぎしゅぎ scepticism, skepticism)

馬克思最喜愛的箴言:「懷疑一切。」 "De omnibus dubitandum. "

(" You must have doubts about everything." 意味は「 Everything should be

doubted (全てに疑念を持つ べきである)」)

[ ] 戴維 ‧麥克萊倫(David McLellan )『卡爾‧馬克思傳』(第 3 版),王珍譯,北京;人民大學出版社出版,2005 p.430 )。


( "Introduction to Philosophy --Study Questions for Final Exam" 問了一系列的哲學考題:http://www.homestead.com/mscourses/files/spring04finalstudyQ.htm

其中第 31-4題為:(希望這篇「多少」能解答第 34問題)

  1. What were the elements in Hegel's philosophy that Soren Kierkegaard found unacceptable?
  2. What was the original title for Kierkegaard's short novel Johannes Climacus?
  3. How is Johannes described at the beginning of the novel Johannes Climacus?
  4. What is meant by de omnibus dubitandum est? )


"De omnibus dubitandum." - Rene Descartes

這當然要談一下笛卡爾將許多預設懷疑之、擺開來的方法,不過他的目的是證明物理世界可以用數學來描述。( 17世紀中)

"…..However, Descartes maintained that the Scriptures were true. This would appear to make a divide between different kinds of truth. How did Descartes, after all, come to know the veracity of the Scriptures? Why were the Scriptures not the object of his scrutiny? His explanation for not appealing to an a priori acceptance of Scripture is that it would appear to unbelievers to be a circular argument. This might make it appear that his "method" was solely for unbelievers. Whether Descartes' nod to Scripture was also designed to satisfy the Church, I cannot say….."


羅素在 1914年之作品

10)Cf. Russell, Our Know1edge of the External World as a Field for Sceintific Method in Philosophy(London; G. Allen & Unwin, 1914), pp.70-72.

 【中文翻譯本北京商務,約 1995

「知識の確からしさの程度」にかんしてラッセルは,1914年に発表した『外界にかんするわれわれの知識』 10)において,デカルトの "de omnibus dubitandum" の方法を用いて,この世で最も確かな知識は何であろうかという問の答として,知識の確からしさと疑わしさの程度をきめている。それによれば,心身ともに健康な人ならその確からしさを疑いえないような所与を 硬い所与」(hard data)と名付けている。


這也是祈克果 Søren Kierkegaard 1842 之作品:英文本: Kierkegaard's Writings, VII: Philosophical Fragments, or a Fragment of Philosophy/Johannes Climacus, or De omnibus dubitandum est. -- 這,有人說是小說。 (Two books in one volume) Edited and translated by Edna H. Hong and Howard V. Hong


參考 D. Anthony Storm's Commentary On Kierkegaard - Johannes Climacus
Johannes Climacus, or De omnibus dubitandum est. A Narrative;



Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil:


他主要說形上學家固然知道『懷疑一切』這句話,不過他們的基本信仰是相信: the faith in antithetical values.p.16 , Penguine


Inside Hong Kong’s Private Kitchens


Choice Tables

Inside Hong Kong’s Private Kitchens

Christie Johnston for The New York Times

At Ta Pantry, one of Hong Kong's private kitchens, the model-turned-chef Esther Sham welcomes up to 10 guests at a time, who choose from set menus that combine Eastern and Western flavors. More Photos »

ON little Star Street, a sliver of a lane in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai neighborhood, a group of hungry friends and I walked up and down the same block, iPhone maps in hand, a handful of times before pausing before a quiet apartment building. “Is this it?” I asked, triple-checking the address before pressing the buzzer.


After a quick elevator ride, we landed in a tiny, dank alcove before a nondescript apartment door. Before doubt had time to set in, the door swung open and a smiling woman in a powder-pink chef’s uniform cheerily ushered us in. Just inside lay an elegant and modern dining room lined on all sides with crates and racks of pricey wine bottles.

We had just arrived at Ta Pantry, one of Hong Kong’s many private kitchens that have taken a turn toward the upscale and inventive. These kitchens — speakeasy-like restaurants usually in residential buildings — first popped up years ago as a way for cooks to open a restaurant without dealing with high commercial rents. They have long been places to get relatively inexpensive, delicious and somewhat homespun Sichuan or Cantonese meals in off-the-beaten path settings. In recent years, however, these supper speakeasies have become hubs for inventive young chefs.

I was curious to see what the city’s new incarnations would bring. Armed with a list of fairly new private kitchens with intriguing menus, I set out hungry.

Zone-D Ristorante

Planning to dine at Zone-D Ristorante is a little bit of an adventure in itself.

When you call for a reservation, Lew Low, a co-owner, gets right back to you, taking your e-mail address so he can send you menu options for the five-course dinner and asking you to choose your dishes so the staff can shop and his kitchen can prep. We took this attention to detail as a sign of a good meal to come.

The restaurant can be hard to find — it is in a building on one of the busy streets in Causeway Bay, near a warren of lanes filled with fashionable boutiques. Be prepared, too, for a little hike; the four-floor climb to the plain black door, flanked by a small Chinese altar, can be an invigorating predinner exercise.

Once the door shuts behind you, however, the candlelit, curtained dining room filled with tables draped with starched white cloths and the mellow sounds of songs like “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” is transporting.

For appetizers, we were served tiger prawn salad and foie gras, and the size of the prawns impressed us even before we took a bite. They were served three to a plate, on a bed of greens tossed with sesame dressing. They tasted incredibly fresh. And the slab of foie gras, at more than four inches long, was almost as large as the slice of bread that came with it. It was perfectly seared, with a lovely layer of crust.

The lobster risotto, grilled lamb rack and pan-fried barramundi with fresh tomato salsa were delicious, though somewhat pedestrian. What did wow us was the mushroom cappuccino, a frothy, creamy soup that came with large cubes of buttered toast for dunking. This incredibly rich and umami-packed soup created a hush at our table in the few minutes it took for every drop to vanish.

By the time our crème brûlée and warm chocolate puddings arrived, we were stuffed. But this place does dessert well — the pudding, oozing with liquid chocolate, being the far better of the two — and we were determined to let not a morsel go to waste.

Zone-D Ristorante, Room 16, Fourth Floor, No. 16 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay; (852) 9802-5504; zone-d.com.hk. A five-course dinner is 350 Hong Kong dollars, or $46 at 7.61 Hong Kong dollars to the U.S. dollar. Some dishes, made with more expensive ingredients like lamb or beef, may cost a little extra.

Club Qing

At first glance, this restaurant, in the tourist- and expat-infested Lan Kwai Fong, can come across as a Chinese gastronomic Disneyland.

Its Qing Dynasty-inspired dining room, filled with traditional wooden Chinese furniture and an array of old teapots and cups, seems a little too precious, as do the waiters dressed in Mandarin-collared Chinese outfits to match the Forbidden City décor.

This restaurant’s modern Chinese fine dining menu is lovely, however.

Though we arrived for lunch not too long after breakfast at a dim sum restaurant, once our first dishes arrived, we were too intrigued to not eat. Golf-ball-size tomatoes arrived beautifully perched on Chinese soup spoons, speckled with white chunks of litchi sauce. Our waitress gestured for us to place the whole tomato in our mouths before biting, which proved to be sound advice: the tomato turned out to contain a little litchi within, and the juices from each squirted out right away. The combination of sweet and tangy was lovely.

Juxtaposing unlikely flavors is popular here: a crispy deep-fried “chicken stick” was stuffed with chunks of lightly sweet pears and served with a passion fruit and mango dipping sauce. This kitchen’s weak spots were its traditional dishes, surprising given its carefully composed theme. The Chinese soup with cucumber and Hokkaido clams and steamed egg white and soy bean milk in XO sauce were forgettable. But the unusual dishes that did delight were as memorable as the glasses of tea we received with tiny floating rosebuds.

Club Qing, 10/F, Cosmos Building, 8-11 Lan Kwai Fong, Central; (852) 2536-9773; clubqing.com/english.html.

Six-course lunches cost 250 Hong Kong dollars per person; eight-to-t10-course dinner menus range from 360 to 1,480 Hong Kong dollars.

Yin Yang

The best way to describe the Yin Yang experience is simply this: Your meal will blow your mind.

The former advertising agency executive Margaret Xu Yuan started cooking as a hobby and turned it into her career. She opened a 30-seat private kitchen in 2008 in the bustling Wan Chai neighborhood, using ingredients from an organic farm in rural Hong Kong where she grows mustard greens, kumquats, bok choy and lemons. Ms. Xu’s quirky style and sensibility are reflected in her setting: a three-story, 1930s colonial-style town house filled with antique kitchen equipment and utensils.

From the moment you walk in, you feel as if you’re stepping into ancient Hong Kong — old Shanghainese ballads fill the air and lace curtains shrouding the windows keep the city’s neon lights at bay. Ms. Xu’s food is just as carefully orchestrated — in fact, she said she chose to open a private kitchen instead of a restaurant because she wanted to make her dishes by hand.

The meal began with a large plate bearing appetizers and house-made dipping sauces that took up almost the entire table. The wagyu beef and egg tart — a creative take on the staple of Hong Kong dim sums — came drizzled with truffle honey; a large chunk of sea urchin was embedded in a clear jelly made with broth from simmering chicken bones, combining salty and savory in a bite that has a delightfully creamy and crisp mouth-feel. Her roast chicken — juicy, yet with a beautifully crunchy skin — is a must, as are the house-made roast pork with sweet kumquat sauce and the “ironpot rice” studded with bits of earthy stingray liver. But the dish that you will be thinking of for months to come is Ms. Xu’s “Soup Without Water,” an intensely rich broth that she makes by dehydrating vegetables and collecting their juices.

If you have time for just one private kitchen meal in Hong Kong, Yin Yang should be it.

Yin Yang, 18 Ship Street, Wan Chai, (852) 2866-0868; www.yinyang.hk. Four- to five-course lunches range from 228 to 280 Hong Kong dollars; nine-course dinners start at 560.

Ta Pantry

Of all the private kitchens I visited, this is the one that felt most like someone’s home.

It has just one large dining table that seats a maximum of 10 — and model-turned-chef Esther Sham invites you into her kitchen when you walk in so you can discuss wine options as her sous chef chops and her effervescent Shih Tzu nips about your legs. Ms. Sham — or, as she calls herself, Chef Tata — is self-taught. She opened Ta Pantry with her brother, Andrew, a wine distributor, in 2008. She chose to start small, “in case people didn’t like my cooking, I thought at least my brother can sell his wine.” The kitchen appears to be doing well, however; it can take weeks to get a dinner reservation.

The look of Ta Pantry is modern, and the set menus, each bearing names and themes like “Le Japonais” or “Le Shanghainais,” combine Eastern and Western flavors. The “melting onion duck,” which is slow-cooked and smothered with soft onions, is a specialty, and is delicious. But it pales in inventiveness to Ms. Sham’s other courses. Wontons served in a clear, rich broth turn out to be filled with foie gras. What looks to be a traditional Chinese tea-smoked egg has a soft molten yolk, reminiscent of the soft eggs that have been appearing in expensive New York restaurants. Slender Shanghainese noodles are entwined with a creamy crab and egg white ragout and topped with black truffles and a perfectly seared scallop encrusted with sesame seeds.

Each course far surpassed the previous, and the meal ended on a high note that was a surprising take on a Chinese dessert. Ms. Sham’s glutinous “Po Po’s Red Bean Dumplings” — inspired by her grandmother’s red bean cake — come immersed in a light rice wine jelly spiked with osmanthus honey.

The dessert sums up Ta Pantry — and these latest incarnations of Hong Kong private kitchens. Expect the unexpected, and you won’t be disappointed.

Ta Pantry, Apartment 1C, Moonstar Court, 2D Star Street, Wan Chai; (852) 9403-6430; tapantry.wordpress.com. Lunch is 2,200 Hong Kong dollars per person; dinner is 4,400 dollars Monday through Thursday and 5,500 on Fridays and Saturdays.

2011年5月14日 星期六



2011-05 天下雜誌471期 作者:劉秀英
圖片標題 圖片來源:楊俊嶢


這會兒你看,春天來了,春天的桃李舞著春風;夏天前的鮮黃鳳梨酸溜酸溜帶著濃郁的香氣,可以打果汁也可以切塊吃;接下來是閃著黃金光 芒,澄黃的芒果就鮮艷欲滴的登場了。艷紅的西瓜,那種嬌艷欲滴的色彩把夏天變溫柔了,冰冰涼涼的、沙沙的,比冰淇淋還香、比冰沙還爽口。熱得要死的時候, 正是甜得要命的荔枝龍眼上場,又香又甜,像是賞味用的珍珠,簡直讓人甜上了天。台灣的水果──不由得讓人大叫: 我愛你。

留住水果的美味 封存停格的絢麗


果 醬,可以讓我們冬天回味夏天,夏天溫習冬天,時序顛倒,讓人生的甘甜可以重來。我呢,喜歡果醬的理由,是果醬的製作還蘊含著對食物的珍惜。因為當令水果 「對時大出」的時候,就是水果風味最好的時候。對農家而家,最多最好的時候,就是水果成熟得快要接近尾聲的時候。當水果產量太多,或是家中有多餘的水果, 最好的保留方法就是做果醬。


送禮自用兩相宜 吃過以後會上癮


沒 有時間自己DIY的朋友,那麼現在有幾位有志之士,挑起了做果醬的任務,無論在選材或者製作上都讓人為之驚艷,像是「台灣紅心芭樂果醬」,我有一次宅配到 家,被家裡兩位號稱不吃果醬的男性,在一天之內吃個精光。天啊,他們一天嗑掉一瓶還說不愛;另外像「草莓玫瑰」、「芒果鳳梨」果醬,我買來在家做蛋糕時, 當成內餡,無論吃起來或看起來更是美不勝收。


有兩本書推薦給大家,買回家照著做,你就是達人。一本是四塊玉出版,到法國學習的于美瑞寫的《果醬女王》, 另一本是日本的五十嵐路美所寫的《甜蜜日日.我愛果醬》,由布克文化出版,她們的果醬書,讓你變厲害。



水果洗淨削皮切丁,依砂糖水果「1 : 2」、現榨檸檬汁「一公斤水果配40g檸檬汁」,先醃一夜。芒果的話保留果心風味會更佳。

所有材料進厚鍋煮,最好是銅鍋,煮時不停攪拌不能沾鍋,並不斷地將浮起的泡泡撈掉,煮到約半小時,水果熟透整個呈濃稠狀時關火裝瓶,如果更精準的話,請準備溫度計,最終溫度要達103 -105度。

玻璃瓶需先消毒,瓶子放入鍋中滾後15分鐘,果醬熬好立刻裝瓶封罐時間要掌握好,裝罐後倒立,放入鍋中再煮滾關火,取出自然冷卻。前後消毒可以讓果醬自然真空保存一年或以上。如果配方採取水果與糖是1 : 1,那可以存放二至三年,不必冷藏。

2011年5月1日 星期日


<美味中味>鐵漢沒輒的醋芹  ■朱振藩
《2011/05/1 》

 味香辛而強烈的中國芹菜,雖風味別具,但口未同嗜。好之者喜不自勝,惡之者避之 唯恐不及。在《列子》這本書中,載有一則故事,甚有趣,道出其中差異。原來有位農夫,特別愛吃芹菜,認為它的美味,好到無以復加,於是到處宣揚。村中的豪 紳信以為其,嚐了一次芹菜,卻「螫於口,慘於腹」,根本無法下嚥,大罵農夫無知,以後碰都不碰。出身田家的唐代名臣魏徵,超愛醋芹這味,或許其來有自。

  醋芹始於何時?而今已不可考,它能流傳至今,正與魏徵有關。魏徵本是個「太子黨」,唐太宗於「玄武門之變」即位後,不但未加罪罰,反而擢升他為諫議大夫。 魏徵不辱使命,向以骨鯁著稱,每每直言敢諫,頗為太宗畏憚,也因而針砭己過,成就了史上所艷稱的「貞觀之治」。其君臣相得的程度,甚至到了魏徵拜相時,有 人告他謀反(註:這是《唐律》中十惡不赦的大罪,應下有司詳鞠),但李世民聽後,居然說:「魏徵昔吾之讎,祇以忠於所事,吾遂拔而用之,何乃妄生讒構?」 連當事人都沒問,隨即殺了告密者。

 即令是鐵石心腸,難免也會有好惡。據柳宗元《龍城錄》上的記載:魏徵有天退朝時,太宗含笑對左右侍臣說: 「這羊鼻公(註:魏曾當道士)啊!朕不知給啥玩意兒才能讓他動心?」侍臣回道:「魏徵最喜吃醋芹,每食必喜形於色,且欣然稱快,可見其真態。」翌日一早, 便召魏徵賜食,內有醋芹三杯。魏徵一見,眉飛色舞,食未竟而芹已盡。太宗這回逮到小瓣子,龍心大悅,笑著對魏徵說:「卿常言己無所好,朕今天可見著了。」 魏徵反應甚快,馬上跪下謝罪,但仍不忘進諫,立即趁機表示:「君無為,故無所好。臣執計從事,獨癖此收斂物。」太宗聽罷,沈吟不語,心中一再玩索這番 話。

 古時醋芹的製法不詳:根據興起於二十世紀七○年代末期的「仿唐菜」,其製做之法為:先把芹菜瀝乾,投入罈中蓋嚴,發酵三天取出;與嫩薑、 冬筍、雞肉等,一起切成小段,再以芹葉捆紮。另將發酵湯汁,連同醋、酒、鹽、胡椒等,用旺火燒開,把主料汆燙,接著撈入碗中,淋澆湯汁即成。其做工滿繁複 的,應非魏徵所喜食。