~*Le Petit Gris

30 Jan

We can all be very different in our traditions, lifestyles and ages but I personally believe that we all have a common passion in life or let me express that with more ascertainment; we all have in common, a way to celebrate and memorize each event by gathering around a table and eating! Food, is one of the most defining forces in all societies. It brings people together and spices up each one’s life with new discoveries of tastes and flavors…Enabling new social bonds that are the core of new partnerships and friendships…

Le Petit Gris restaurant

In similar fashion to that description, I got the chance to discover during one of my epicurean experiences at a wine tasting session, the owner and concept developer of a notable French Bistro: “Le Petit Gris”, Makram Rabbath. Apart from sharing the same passion for food and wine, we cherish the importance of cooking from scratch using fresh and natural ingredients concurring that good food should be at the heart of every restaurant and every good restaurant should be at the heart of every street in Beirut and other Lebanese cities. Makram, graduated from the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne and after 15 years of combined experiences in the restaurants business and events management he decided to open his own restaurant.Having worked wih a big Chef at Caviar House in Geneva in 1996, and having had a great affinity towards French cuisine he decided to focus on it. However, his big concern was the large amount of butter and fat used while cooking and thus decided to revisit some traditional recipes by eliminating fatty substances without denaturing them and succeeded at doing that! His partner Mazen Chehab who shares the same passion for food and wine joined him in this adventure a couple of months after the project’s birthdate!

Le Petit Gris gemmayzeh

Le Petit Gris is in reality a type of snails as there are more than 100 categories of snails in the world; in Paris two main ones are consumed: Le Petit Gris and L’escargot de Bourgogne. And several weeks, before the opening of his restaurant (in 2011), Makram was on a business trip in Paris and had consumed one night for dinner at a famous restaurant snails of the Petit Gris category… A couple of days later his spiritual DNA, sent him a message of naming the restaurant: Le Petit Gris after this bountiful meal! The snails are Today one of the bistro’s most famous specialty and the bistro is everything but: “Petit” (which means small) and “Gris” (which means Grey).My successive lunches and dinners leave nothing but buoyant memories of a vibrant atmosphere.

Le Petit gris snails

On my first visit to Le Petit Gris, located in Gemmayzeh, i gorged myself on several entrées, specialties, and main courses that I happily shared and truthfully enjoyed. As they say “Simple is beautiful”, I’d say “Simple is genuinely succulent”! There are no secret ingredients or magic weapons inside the kitchen in the chef’s hands… There is just the flare of freshness and the use of organic ingredients (upon seasonal availability) that just makes the whole difference and leaves your taste buds fully satisfied and joyfully satiated!

Delicious food at Le Petit Gris Restaurant

Contrary to people’s beliefs, the organic agriculture isn’t a recent trend… However, it is the product of the development of the biochemistry field before the second world war that gave birth to synthetic fertilizers that started being used in agriculture.

Interesting fact: Knowing that the main purpose of using fertilizers and pesticides is to increase the production rate; The Soviet Union used to provide Cuba with half the food importations as well as all the necessary fertilizers and pesticides for their agricultural productions. Within the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba became independent, producing half the agricultural production … their daily caloric intake decreased from 2800 calories to 1800 calories due to the lack of resources for their food production and thus started with the idea of farming without using fertilizers and pesticides and thus induced organic agriculture!

Souk el tayeb organic

Reasons for buying/consuming Organic

1-It’safer since it is pesticides and insecticides free especially for pregnant women since studies have shown that insecticides and pesticides are toxic when ingested and can easily penetrate the tissue of the placenta and negatively affect the growth of the newborn.

2-It’s a healthier alternative for kids whom organs and cells are still growing. Thus, any load of toxic pesticides and insecticides will accumulate in their bodies affecting their neurons, brains development, nervous system and hormones that will negatively affect the growth of the child.

3-Comparative studies have shown that organic fruits or vegetables have 50% more nutrients than non-organic ones. Therefore, eating at least once per week organic products would definitely be beneficial.

4-It is another way to strengthen the sector of the Lebanese farming encouraging Lebanese farmers to remain in the field.

The Food experience at LPG:

Being a Dietitian and a foodie might sound controversial to many but have always entailed me to enjoy life in all its forms.The first rule to eating right when eating out is to apply the concept of sharing food as I always recommend it: ‘Always share food, never eat alone’.Secondly,always begin your meal with salads and vegetables as they provide enough fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fills up the stomach, leaving a little space for the main course. The ideal portioning of the plate should always be: 50% salad, 25% Carbohydrates and 25% Proteins.

~*Salads that You must try

Exquisite, unique in flavors and organic “Salade de Chèvre Chaud” (warm goat cheese salad)

Salade de chevre chaud

Another mouthwatering “Organic salad”:

Organic Salad

Le Petit Gris salad:

Salade decomposee Le Petit Gris

Fresh artichoke salad with organic greens, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, mustard and truffle oil vinaigrette… A true delicacy!

Organic artichoke salad

~*Entrees to be shared 

One of my all-time favorite salmon tartare that’s rich in proteins, omega-3 and is tremendous.. It’s picture is just worth a thousand descriptive words..

Salmon tartare

Oeuf cocotte facon Mamie Manette is a definite must try! And I insist on that for a certain reason! Order it and share it with your loved ones… You will surprisingly detect the natural taste of an organic egg with a cream of fresh mushrooms mixed to mascarpone cheese and chives with a hint of hazelnut oil..

Oeuf cocotte

Croquilles d’escargots! (Recipe found in the video below)

Croquilles d'escargots

In the beginning of the middle ages, snails enjoyed the advantage of being considered neither fish nor meat hence making them an ideal food to be consumed during the lent period! They are low in calories ( 70Cal/100g) and are rich in proteins (75% proteins) and low in fat (15%fat).They are a great source of Iron, Calcium, Phosphorus, Copper, Magnesium, Potassium and Lectin that possesses anti-cancer properties and helps in boozing the immune system…

Interesting Fact: the snails slime is extremely rich in allantonin collagen and elastin, beneficial for the treatment of skin diseases and broken bones! In addition, a copper peptide found in the secretion is used for creating creams that are useful in minimizing scars and wounds!

~*The main course 

I never recommend the daily consumption of red meat and always focus on seafood but I do occasionally indulge and have a burger my way… That’s what Flexitarianism is all about! (A Flexitarian is a flexible vegetarian that could enjoy consuming red meat occasionally). Reducing the red meat consumption to less than 500g per week is recommended by the National Cancer Institute in order to reduce the risk of developing cancer…

At Le Petit Gris you will find one of the best burgers you’ll ever try… The secret in my opinion lies in the meat composition that’s at 99% purely meat without the fatty greasy white cheap substance that you find elsewhere at 50% to 60% of your burger’s meat composition..

You can remove the upper bun to save a couple of calories (around 120) and enjoy 10 to 15 fries…

Burger Le Petit Gris

Other delicious main courses can also be found and are all based on the same concept of preparing food from scratch using natural ingredients… And, soup lovers there’s a great section for you too! And a bonus recipe in the video found below!

You can also find at Le Petit Gris a wide range of local and French wines that please your palate! Remember that moderation is the key! 

LPG Wine bottles

As today’s new definition of this bistro’s cuisine is “Bistronomie” that combines genuine methods of cooking to lighter alternatives based on freshness, natural and organic ingredients, I strongly hope that many bistro and restaurants that serve divergent cuisines will follow the same vision and belief in order to serve healthier food and rely on the use of natural and simple ingredients…

Nicole Maftoum and Makram Rabbath cooking

My affinity for this tendency motivated me to prepare and present an episode (on November 27th,2015) filmed at Le Petit Gris during my weekly TV segment on OTV (every Thursday at 9h10am). You could watch the details of a fun and enjoyable experience cooking with Makram and sharing recipes that could be easily prepared at home to be part of an exquisite lunch table or a warm and cozy dinner one! 

Dietitian Nicole Maftoum

~*It’s the Labneh Bûche Season!

23 Dec

After last year’s great selling success, I decided to repeat the same homemade production experience of my unique Labneh Bûche de Noël!

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If You are bizarrely scared of the Labneh idea don’t jump into conclusions :) The bûche is sweet and so is the Labneh coating making it a true delicacy with all its fresh and natural ingredients …

Ingredients: Labneh•Cranberries •Almonds •Cashew Nuts •Walnuts •Goji Berries •Macadamia nuts

The labneh red berries bûche is good and tasty at the same time: Delicately prepared with Taanayel les Fermes labneh light cream, pure at heart (7times less caloric and 20 times less fattening than butter) to keep your heart healthy! Walnuts with their highest Omega-3 content amongst all other nuts will help You become smarter and keep your brains alive! Almonds are packed with proteins, calcium and fibre. Goji berries, also known as longevity fruits all along with cranberries will strengthen your immune system with their high antioxidants content. Cashew and Macadamia are those rich flavorful nuts packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals that will also contribute to a healthier You when consumed moderately.

Source: http://www.nogarlicnoonions.com/healthy-and-light-logs-do-exist-nicoles-labeh-buche/
Copyright © 2012-2014 NoGarlicNoOnions

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Just like an ordinary buche wrapped in a 40cm long cylinder, this buche is delivered in a transparent box that shows the rich, colorful and mouthwatering piece of heaven inside. Covered with acidic free Labneh cream, prepare yourself for a balanced culinary experience like no other. A red visual festive delight to look at, every bite will enjoy a light layer of labneh cream, soft tender dough and just the right feel of sweetness released from the berries jam. As you start appreciating the ingredients, your palate will wake up to crunchy almonds, walnuts and macadamia nuts mixed with sweet taste of dried berries. What a creation! The richness and different textures of the ingredients is breathtaking and trust me once you start you will not be able to stop.

Source: http://www.nogarlicnoonions.com/healthy-and-light-logs-do-exist-nicoles-labeh-buche/
Copyright © 2012-2014 NoGarlicNoOnions

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It’s light, it’s fluffy, it’s healthy and it’s only for 100.000 LL and serves around 20 persons!

Feel free to place your orders by calling this number (70-635540) during this whole festive season!

Happy Holidays’

Dietitian Nicole Maftoum

~*The times they are-a changin’

27 Nov

A great throwback to my childhood birthday celebration with unforgettable school friends and authentic natural homemade cakes by my lovely mother… When I look today at cakes and birthday tables of children I see nothing but colors and artificial flavors bought/ready made and never homemade…

Mothers, take that day off and say Happy Birthday to your beloved kids with a homemade natural cake that you would have proudly baked… This will serve as a great memory after years framed in pictures they will rejoice…

And it’s that day of the year where I can’t stop singing Bob Dylan’s famous lyrics…

“Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.”

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~*Happy Halloween!

5 Nov

Eat, Drink&Be Scary! 

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Back in the days, they symbolized abundance, fertility, prosperity and good health … Nowadays, they simply remind us about our childhood where we first saw them in one of Walt Disney’s classics ‘Cinderella’ or in the decorative sets of the yearly celebration of halloween… Their color can be orange, yellow, light green, white, red and gray and can weigh between 0.5kg and 450kg… Although the fact, you may have only perceived them as an oversized vegetable, You will be surprised to discover their hidden benefits; Pumpkins are extremely versatile in their uses for cooking and when consumed properly they energize your body with vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients!

The word pumpkin originated from the Greek word Pepõn which means large melon.They are believed to have originated in Central America. Seeds from related plants have been found in Mexico, dating back over 7000 years to 5500 B.C.

Pumpkins’ use on halloween

To light their way from house to house, the Celtic priests wore turnips cut into face shaped ones, where a candle made ​​with human fat would be displayed and used to burn previous sacrifices. These turnips represented the spirit that would clear their curses .
In the 18th and 19th century, when this custom came to the United States, turnips were replaced by pumpkins. The name given to the spirit who lived in the pumpkin was “Jock” which became “Jack who lives in the lantern”, hence the name “Jack-o-Lantern”, taken from a story in which a famous man named Jack, was driven from both heaven and hell. Forced to wander the earth as a spirit, the devil would have to comfort him a live coal fired furnace that Jack put in a hollowed turnip to light his way in the night.

Pumpkin’s health benefits

Pumpkin contains antioxidants whose main compounds are carotenoids. Beta-carotene, which contributes greatly to its orange color and Lutein and zéaxanthine.The consumption of foods rich in carotenoids that neutralizes all harmful substances (free radicals) present in the body is linked to a lower risk of developing certain cancers.

Pumpkin is a good source of fiber. A cup of pumpkins contains 3g of fiber.Fiber is needed for the proper functioning of the digestive system and plays an important role in reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

They are also rich in Vitamins A, C and E as well as potassium, magnesium and Iron.

129g of boiled and drained pumpkin cubes contains 26 calories.

A study conducted in 2007 in China indicates that taking extracts from pumpkins helps to lower blood sugar in animals and even in humans and may help protect the cells of the pancreas from the ravages of type 1 diabetes.

Pumpkin seeds, contain a wide range of traditional nutrients. They are rich in magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, and a good source of iron, copper, protein and zinc. Snacking on a quarter-cup of pumpkin seeds will provide your body with 46.1% of the daily value for magnesium, 28.7% of the DV for iron, 52.0% of the DV for manganese, 24.0% of the DV for copper, 16.9% of the DV for protein, and 17.1% of the DV for zinc.

The recipes as seen during my live segment on OTV (every Thursday at 9h10am): 

Roasted pumpkins salad 

Pumpkins salad

Ingredients:

2 cups of pumpkin cubes

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp Italian herbs

Rocket leaves

fresh basil leaves

Lettuce leaves

7 walnuts

For the dressing: 

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp moutarde a l’ancienne

1/4 tsp honey

Method of Preparation: 

Place the pumpkins cubes in a tray with a tablespoon of olive oil and Italian herbs and roast them in the oven for 20 minutes or until they become soft from the inside (you can check that by inserting a fork).

Top the pumpkin cubes on a bed of greens mixture (rocket, basil, lettuce) with the walnuts and serve with the dressing.

Serving 1                                                                                                                   Calories per serving 240 calories

Dark Chocolate pumpkins 

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Ingredients:

1 cup of pumpkins shaped triangularly

Cooking spray for baking

230g dark chocolate

Method of Preparation: 

Place the pumpkins in a tray with cooking spray and roast them in the oven for 20 minutes or until they become soft from the inside (you can check that by inserting a fork).

Meanwhile melt the dark chocolate in a double-boiler (bain-marie).

Coat each triangle with melted dark chocolate and decorate using coconut and pumpkins (eyes and nose shapes).

Serves 15                                                                                                                   Calories per serving  70 calories

Pumpkins Chocolate balls

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Ingredients: 

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup sugar powder

3 eggs

1/4 tsp vanilla

11/2 cup of pumpkins puree

1/2 cup skimmed milk

1/2 cup cacao powder

2 tsp baking powder

200g dark chocolate

Method of preparation: 

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray the bottom of a 9-inch
spring form pan with a non-stick cooking spray. Dust lightly
with flour.

In a large mixing bowl, place the eggs with the vanilla. Add the sugar powder, pumpkins puree, flour and skimmed milk.Followed by the cacao and baking powder.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre of cake comes out clean. Place on cooling rack for 5 minutes.

Melt the dark chocolate (bain-marie) and add to the mixture.

Once the cake has cooled, crumble it by hand.Place the cake crumbs in a large bowl and add the melted chocolate.

Gently pat the mixture into balls

Decorate each ball with triangles cut from fresh coconut and pumpkins

Serves 30                                                                                                                   Calories per serving 95 calories

Pumpkins Muffins

Pumpkins muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup sugar powder

1 egg

1/4 tsp vanilla

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 cup pumpkins puree

1/2 cup skimmed milk

3/4 cup dried blueberries or cranberries or chocolate chips

Method of preparation: 

In a large mixing bowl, place the egg with the vanilla. Add the sugar powder, pumpkins puree, flour,  skimmed milk, baking powder and dried blueberries.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full.

Bake in a pre-heated 400 degrees oven for 20 minutes.

Serves 24                                                                                                                   Calories per serving  120 calories

Nicole Maftoum

“Eat Like Nicole’s” pumpkin that was broadcast live on air, made it on the racks of the Fruits&Vegetables market Abou Abdo in Mansourieh…

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And, on a weekend filled with “Halloweenish Celebrations” another pumpkin spiced up some friends’s birthday celebrations!

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Don’t perceive the pumpkin as a simple oversized vegetable; it is extremely nutritious, highly versatile and greatly decorative when emptied and consumed properly!

Dietitian Nicole Maftoum

~*Happy Breakfast!

5 Nov

Consuming two eggs in the morning twice per week helps you eat less throughout the day! Hard-boiled eggs laid on a bed of spinach leaves with 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds, 4 halved raisins, 5 hazelnuts and 1 walnut… A
1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds provides
your body with 46.1% of the daily value for Magnesium, 28.7% of the daily value for Iron, 52% of the daily value for manganese, 24% of the daily value for copper, 16.9% of the daily value for protein and 17.1% of the daily value for zinc! Spinach leaves are a good source of vitamins A,C,E as well as calcium and Iron ! #eatlikenicole #breakfast

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~*Cooking with La MaMa!

26 Sep

I grew up in a house where the passion for cooking wasn’t just inherited from my parents but was highly contagious as I started helping my mother at the kitchen and cooking with her at the age of 12 Years!

I would observe and absorb every single cooking technique she’d use that I would apply later on when she leaves the house to surprise her when she comes back…

From my childhood memories, I can recall tons of recipes, endless moments of pleasure while cooking a great dish and sharing it with my family and friends and most importantly is the ability of being able to live these moments again and again whenever my involuntary memory is triggered by the smell of a cake baking with love in the oven or the sound of a warm dish boiling on a cold windy day…

While a picture speaks a thousand words, this short movie summarizes chapters of my life with the person who taught me the true values; of life and cooking…

~*吃像妮可在上海

1 Jun

China… Home to 1 in 5 of the planet’s population… The superpower the world fears, but few really know, was my destination a few months ago… Excited and thrilled, like a child I flew into Shanghai to explore a culture I have always been fascinated about and as the fastest way to the heart of a country is through its food, my taste buds and curiosity helped me squeeze the most out of this trip …

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Shanghai is the largest Chinese city by population and the largest city proper by population in the world.The two Chinese characters in the city’s name are ‘上’ (Shàng – “above”) and ‘海’ (hǎi – “sea”), together meaning “Upon-the-Sea”.

Shanghai is a well known city in history and culture, and the financial trade and shopping center.

The architecture in Shanghai is another landscape; The bund, Shikumen houses and various Shanghai-style buildings, modern facilities represent all kinds of architectural styles which are the products of the combination of Shanghai local culture and foreign culture.

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As you may be walking in a fascinating district with captivating sceneries and luxurious aspects it could take you a few minutes to cross the street and find yourself in a poor area where you can actually see nothing but clothes hung over the streets to dry on ropes and bamboo pipes in narrow alleys… A scene reminiscent of Shanghai’s poor life with harsh conditions to survive in small spaces or perhaps a simple spirit of hosting a green event, featuring clean technologies… Just imagine the amount of energy conserved to dry clothes for a nation of 1.3 billion people !!

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The must see

Huangpu river, The Bund, Nanjing road (the first street of China – Pedestrian/shopping), Xintiandi, Yu Garden area (street food to be tried there), Tian Zi Fang, Shanghai Museum, Jade Buddha Temple, Longhua Temple, Xujiahui (foodie’s paradise), World financial center, Oriental Pearl TV tower (the third tallest TV tower in the world (with 458 meters in height) and is the first tallest tower in China.You can have a nice panoramic view of the whole city when you are in the 236-metre-high- observation ball.The Oriental Pearl Revolving restaurant is the highest revolving restaurant in Asia (267-meters-high ball))., Dong Tai Lu (Flea market where all you have to do is Bargain and bargain!)

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Shanghai cuisine

Shanghai cuisine also known as Hu Cai, includes two styles of cuisine: Benbang Cuisine and Haipai Cuisine.It is not considered amongst the 8 major cuisines of China which are: Shandong cuisine, Guangdong Cuisine, Sichuan Cuisine, Hunan Cuisine, Jiangsu Cuisine, Zhejiang Cuisine, Fujian Cuisine and Anhui Cuisine.

Benbang Cuisine: means local cuisine and is in reality the traditional “family style” cuisine that appeared in Shanghai over 100 years ago. It relies on the use of fresh fish, chicken, pork and various vegetables as the main ingredients, in addition to oil and soybean sauce.

Haipai Cuisine: is derived from the cosmopolitan culture formed in Shanghai in the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is an inspiration of foods from other regions of China that have been adopted to fit local tastes. Fresh fish, shrimps and crabs are the main ingredients of Haipai Cuisine.

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Cooking techniques have many variations; They include steaming, braising, stewing, stir-frying, quick-frying, deep-frying, boiling, marinating, smoking and roasting. In a nutshell, they could be considered healthy when steamed, boiled, marinated, etc. and unhealthy when deep-fried! The freshness of the ingredients is really fascinating especially when it comes to seafood that’s my favorite! I realized how much the cuisine in Shanghai relies on various seasonal fresh ingredients whether it is vegetables or fruits. I could simply see that everywhere not only inside restaurants but mainly on the streets where Shanghai is widely known for its street foods incredible diversity.And, when enjoyed they become one of the daily joys of living in Shanghai!

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The Little Emperor Syndrome

The Little Emperor Syndrome is an aspect of China’s one child policy (introduced in 1979 to alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems in China), where only children gain seemingly excessive amounts of attention from their parents and grandparents. Frequently, as parents would be at work, children would spend most of their times with their grandparents that wouldn’t refuse anything they ask for specially that they had witnessed the great depression in China where food was scarce which pushes them to always express a great desire for their child to experience the benefits they themselves were denied.

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This phenomenon is generally considered to be problematic since Chinese children are blindly bewitched by Western Fast Food chains that are known to offer foods that are highly caloric, rich in fat (saturated and trans fats) with high amounts of sodium,  cholesterol, sugar and carbohydrates… Highly processed foods with little nutritional density when compared to Chinese rural diet that’s based on natural ingredients with a high consumption of vegetarian proteins and some dietary fat…

Unfortunately and sadly, China’s youth are at risk of developing chronic disease… “A 2012 study in Obesity Reviews Journal compared the risk of chronic disease in China to other countries including the U.S.The researchers found that approximately 12 percent of Chinese children and adolescents aged seven to 18 were overweight and about 1.7 million children under 18 suffered from diabetes. Additionally, the rate of diabetes among Chinese adolescents aged 12 to 18 was about four times that of American teenagers.”
The Chinese department of health decided to take an action and put into practice a campaign “Eatsmart@school campaign” (http://school.eatsmart.gov.hk/en/template/home.asp) where education about nutrition and health would help increase China’s youth awareness and guide them into healthier food choices that started being offered at schools in order to be able to learn effectively and grow healthily!

On another note, it’s impressive to see women engaging in physical activities on the streets such as dancing while exercising rather than being seated drinking tea and socializing … It’s a sign of  their increased awareness to opt for healthier habits and modify their lifestyles…

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My food discoveries

Doujiang or soybean milk in Shanghai is consumed salty mixed with dried small shrimps, minced pickled mustard tuber, minced chive, laver, Youtiao pieces, chili oil and other ingredients.The beans are completely soaked in clean water and then crushed into slurry for filtration.After boiling the essence from filtration with adequate water, the soybean milk is done!I had the courage to taste it but disliked it! Prefer to stick to my vanilla flavored soy milk with my bowl of bran flakes!

 

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Smashed bean steamed bun is also another Chinese traditional food item consumed throughout the day for Breakfast, lunch or Dinner! It has a sweet taste, beans are mixed with sugar and a bit of oil in order to get the texture of a paste. It is extremely satiating as beans are a great source of fiber and proteins!

IMG_1837_2Also another bean paste filled dough is the delicious red bean roll! Moderation is the key as the dough is caloric!

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Chinese dim sum is one of the common food choices for breakfast and lunch The term “dim sum” first appeared in Tang Dynasty, and it generally refers to all common Chinese-style snacks.There is a wide range of Chinese dim sum such as steamed buns, steamed salty dim sum, steamed rice-roll, pan-fried and deep-fried dim sum, rice and noodles, boiled vegetable and desserts. The ingredients used for making Chinese dim sum included different types of cereal products, meat and poultry, seafood, vegetable and condiments. Chinese dim sum is mainly prepared by steaming, and some of them are prepared by pan-frying and deep-frying. The use of lard and monosodium glutamate (MSG) is believed to be quite common in the preparation of Chinese dim sum.

Hence, although the fact you may read that dim sum are steamed they may contain fatty substances and be highly caloric (a dim sum could contain between 90 to 200 calories)! Always choose dim sum that contain low fat fillings and start with a fiber rich source of food such vegetables/salad and avoid consuming the soup of rice-in-soup and noodles-in-soup.

I also tried this steamed vegetable bun for Breakfast and was surprised by its exquisite taste!

IMG_1812Another traditional “Shanghaien” food for breakfast is the Zongzi or traditional Chinese rice pudding! It is wrapped in bamboo or red leaves.The sticky rice appears to by pyramid-shaped, reason for which it is called zongzi (meaning pyramid).Rice is mixed with meat and is steamed.The scent of the bamboo leaf can be brought out by white sugar and the meat stuffed zongzi balances the oily meat with light rice!

IMG_1833You may also find tea eggs; another  typical Chinese savory food commonly sold as a snack, in which a pre-boiled egg is cracked and then boiled again in tea, soy sauce and/or spices.

IMG_1707IMG_1713I also fell on the millet congee and tried it with sunflower seeds, watermelon seeds, dried tangerine, raisins and banana crisps! Millet is one of the gluten free grains that i often praise about its high nutritional value! It is rich in proteins, fiber and is satiating.

IMG_1701Snacking on fruits is crucial even when on vacation!Opted for watermelon, pineapple and pitaya or dragon fruit! The dragon fruit is cultivated in tropical regions around the world. The flowers of the dragon fruit plant only bloom at night and usually only live for one night. Pollination happens at this time to allow the fruit to emerge. The flowers of the dragon fruit give out a very beautiful scent, and the smell can fill the night air wherever the plant grows. It is rich in Vitamin C, fiber and flavanoids!

IMG_2094The Hot Pot experience!

With nearly 2,000 years’ history, hot pot is a great creation by Chinese and has spread to many other countries. It is extremely favored by Chinese people. Especially in winter. There are many kinds of hot pot in different regions of China; however the dining customs are similar. Usually there is a copper pot in the center of the table containing a simmering soup base. Various food materials are placed into the pot, including sliced mutton, beef, chicken, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, glass noodles, frozen bean curd, and seafood. The foods are cooked only a few seconds after placing into the boiling soup. Then they can be eaten with a dipping sauce.

IMG_2070IMG_2057IMG_2072Being a Pescetarian and in Shanghai, couldn’t stop me from ordering seafood dishes and tasting all types of shellfish!

 

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Shrimps shanghaiSeafood is of an extreme freshness and tastes so good! Sashimi and maki rolls are outstanding!

IMG_2020_2Also in season were the hairy crabs! Delicious tender meat that’s low in fat, rich in proteins and omega-3!

Hairy crab

 

IMG_1634_2IMG_1742Sashimi salad …

IMG_1747And IMG_1750_2 black cod that has the highest amount of proteins amongst all animal protein sources and is definitely much lower in fat than red meat!

 

Also, I didn’t miss eating grilled calamari that’s rich in proteins and low in fat!

IMG_1756One of the unforgettable dining experiences I had in Shanghai was at Mercato Restaurant by Jean Georges!

The food was literary out of this world! And i can say that I had the best salmon tartare ever! In addition to extraordinary scallops, black cod with mussels and squid!

IMG_1907_2Jean Georges is a famous chef and restaurateur, responsible for the operation and success of a constellation of three and four star restaurants worldwide.

IMG_1908 “His signature cuisine abandons the traditional use of meat stocks and creams and instead features the intense flavors and textures from vegetable juices, fruit essences, light broths, and herbal vinaigrettes.”

IMG_1924Finally, You can’t be in China and refuse to try green tea based desserts! Although they might not taste as good as they look, trying them is a must! I actually enjoyed eating a green tea cheesecake!

IMG_1651And disliked the green tea sorbet!

IMG_2109Last but not least, trying in moderation Shanghai’s walnut mooncake, sesame seeds cake, radish cake and red beans sesame cake is inevitable!

IMG_1702And if you happen to be in China and decide to go to the bank, don’t be surprised if you see a stand of vegetable oil for sale with a special offer on each container! Some things happen “Only in China”!

IMG_1839“Travel is the only thing You buy that Makes you richer”!

P1080850Looking back I realise that, in just seven days, Shanghai filled my senses with flavors, colors, sounds, scents and smiles… With a language barrier and unusual rituals and habits you cannot spend a day in Shanghai without saying: “It’s all Chinese to me”!

IMG_1855If You ever think about traveling to Shanghai remember to …

P1080900Dietitian Nicole Maftoum

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