Day 5 – Children’s Village-Food for Thought

By: Paul Leung

Jeremy, Adrian Lee, and I were tasked with the special privilege of preparing a home cooked meal for the youth at the Children’s Village. Jeremy comes from a large family and often has to make portions for many people; Adrian was our translator; and I am a food network junkie. Scouter John Wong and Hazel Wong also helped us with the menu and preparing.


Although, we had a good grasp of southern Chinese cuisine due to our Cantonese heritage, northern Chinese cuisine is quite different. Since we have only been to the northern parts of China so far on this trip, we have have noticed that they feature glutinous rice over long grained rice, they have a great affinity for red chillis (in everything) and, according to our tour guide, northern Chinese people prefer using wheat (noodles and man tou’s) as a staple of their diet.

We had heard from Principal Wu, Hai Li that the youth at the Children’s Village are fed simple meals, with the main objective of keeping full and relatively healthy. We have joined them for two meals. We noticed that it was mainly rice and vegetables, and very little meat. Our goal was to spoil them with some quality meat, but to still feed them something they are familiar with.

Normally, an elderly couple prepares the meals for the children, but the couple graciously allowed us to use their kitchen for the afternoon. After a few hectic hours of waiting for the groceries to arrive, the team finally got the chance to prepare a hearty meal for the children and the contingent.

The menu contained cabbage with smoked salmon (carried here from Canada), homemade chicken and leek soup, eggplant and pork loin stirfry, and for dessert, which they very rarely have a chance to enjoy (no candy is allowed), we made tong sui with sesame balls.

It was a great honour for us to work in a traditional kitchen, with very few modern amenities, and to prepare a meal for these wonderful children. The cooks who work day in and out definitely have a tough job. It was a humbling experience to be able to step into their shoes for a day. From the cleaned out bowls and smiles on the children’s faces, I think our team did a good job and learned a great deal from the wise cooks who watched over us.

Take care and keep reading.

You can read all of our articles by following the links below!

Day 4 – The Children’s Village
Day 4 – Some Help from New Friends
Day 4 – Learning by Playing
Day 5 – Dancing and Singing with the Children
Day 5 – Children’s Village:  Food for Thought
Day 5 Feature –  Our Very Own Great Wall in China


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