18 comments

  1. Susan H says:

    September 14, 2016 at 5:39 am

    Thank you for these wonderful recipes. I’m looking forward to trying them but I would like to find the authentic products at my Super H store. Am I likely to find them there? If so, would you please post pictures of the tianmianjiang and dried shrimp products you use? Thank you!!

    • tworedbowls says:

      September 14, 2016 at 10:49 am

      Hi Susan, thank you so much for commenting! Here is a brand of tianmianjiang, and while I don’t have a recommendation for an exact brand of dried shrimp (they tend to vary from store to store), this is a good up-close photo of what they should look like — unshelled, very small, and just slightly orange-pink.

      Assuming that the Super H is a Korean supermarket, I’m not sure that you’ll be able to find tianmianjiang there, since it’s a fairly Chinese-specific ingredient. You might be able to find dried shrimp (though I usually see shell-on at the Korean markets, rather than unshelled) but I don’t think I’ve ever seen tianmianjiang. Still, when I haven’t been able to find it, I’ve mixed equal parts Korean chunjang (which you should definitely be able to find at Super H — they come in little black or brown tubs like these, labeled “fermented black bean paste” or “chunjang”) and hoisin sauce, with very good results — hoisin sauce is very close to tianmianjiang in flavor, just a bit thinner and sweeter. You can also use minced fresh shrimp in place of dried shrimp. I hope that helps!

      • Susan H says:

        September 14, 2016 at 1:07 pm

        Thank you for your wonderful detailed reply. This will help me immeasurably. I do have access to a large Chinese market as I live in Northern Virginia just outside DC, The Great Wall. If there is another product you also recommend, please point me there! This is great fun learning what to look for in the markets in order to create these delicious dishes. Thank you for sharing your families recipes.

  2. says:

    September 14, 2016 at 5:45 am

    Very beautifully and honestly written. I think for me the very issue you talk about has been the biggest part of my own debate, “should we do this? When?” I think you adapt to having the extra little one around. And when life is good you can’t imagine it getting better but it can. I think it’ll bring out new beautiful parts of both of you. Thanks for your honesty and these beautiful homespun dishes. You guys are going to be great.

  3. says:

    September 14, 2016 at 10:49 am

    You are the sweetest and most loving wife and mama to be. This post moved me to pieces. And I totally missed the announcement that you moved to California (unless this is the announcement, lol). That’s wonderful for you both. All my love all the time, Cynthia! xxx

  4. C says:

    September 14, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    In the zhajiangmian, when do you add in the shrimp? I see the step to soak it but am not sure at what point during cooking you’d put it in.

    • tworedbowls says:

      September 14, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      Thank you so much for catching this! The dried shrimp should be added along with the pork. My mistake — I’ve updated it now. Thanks again!

  5. says:

    September 14, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Congratulations on B3 🙂 As someone hoping to start a family soon, this strikes a sweet note for me. As does the adapting of family recipes–my family’s Chinese, so while these dishes are unfamiliar to me I love the idea.

  6. says:

    September 15, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    This post was so, so beautiful–I soaked up every word of it! It also testifies to what I love most about your writing–the ability to tie your love for food, narrative, and personal life together so seamlessly. Nostalgia is never a bad thing, as long as it doesn’t lead to suffering or detract from the joy that you take in the present. I love the idea that there can be many different narratives that each of us leads–none of them any more a part of us than the other, but just distinct enough that we can recognize when one ends and a new one begins. Here’s to the best-case scenario and lots of wonderful days to come, filled with nostalgia and new memories, for you and your two wonderful bowls!

  7. says:

    September 15, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    Omg Cynthia, these noodles are everything. I also kind of love that there’s not 10 different Chinese spices and sauces to add because that section in my pantry is completely packed… and can I just say again how much I adore your writing in these kinds of posts – my heart feels oh so full reading this and I am so so so happy for you and B2 and little B3 on the way!!!

  8. says:

    September 21, 2016 at 10:24 am

    I can related to this post so much. Beautifully written. It captures a lot of the thoughts going through my head these days as we try to decide if we want to start a family or not. We love our together time so much and adding a third would be a huge, though exciting, change. Thanks for writing this and the noodles look delicious! The difference in my household between the dishes would be the noodles. I love the wheat noodles, my husband is more of a fan of lighter rice noodle dishes.

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