Friday, November 30, 2012

The Netherlands - Brain Tonic Mushroom Soup

I forgot to include this interesting story about finding a brain tonic herbal soup mix in Den Haag's China Town. 

I can't read Chinese characters, especially when they are too fancy. I can only read a word that means "monkey head mushroom" and "brain". The rest looked like some encrypted ancient language to me. Lucky enough, I was there with a friend from China. She translated almost everything on the package, and it says that it can improve your brain and also make you smarter. Ha!

The only ingredient I recognize was monkey head mushroom and golden mushroom. And it's actually pretty weird they didn't include goji berry in the ingredients list even though I clearly saw goji berries (on the first picture, the red seed-like dried fruits at the bottom of the package). The rest of ingredients can actually be found in Google and Wikipedia (and I'm actually quite surprised I was able to find good information about those ingredients).

All of the ingredients for Chinese herbal soups are normally preserved by drying. In this case, I have to rehydrate the monkey head mushroom (above) separately in a bowl of water for 10 minutes, then squeeze out the water from the mushroom. They call it monkey head mushroom because when it is at its original or rehydrated state, if you rub the caps, you feel like rubbing a monkey's hairy head :)

The ingredients were nicely and individually packaged. It made me think that this herbal soup premix is actually of high quality. The goji berries also look fresh (they are bright red; some poor quality goji berries look pale orange and are shrunk too much).

In the English instruction, they only said "add lean pork meat" into the soup but when my Chinese friend read the instruction written in Chinese, it actually said "add lean pork or chicken meat" into the soup. Why would they change the instructions? Is pork meat better for English speaking communities? LOL. Lost in translation.

I simmered the soup in low heat for 3 hours. It's very delicious (to me, who is used to drinking herbal soup since young). It's slightly earthy but also sweet because of the goji berries.

Do I feel smarter? Well, you tell me. I left my favorite gloves in an iceskating rink 1.5 hours away by car from Wageningen during an iceskating rink event organized by Thymos, a sports association in my university, a week after I drank this soup. It definitely doesn't improve my short term memory. But hey, it tastes great. I don't mind eating this soup again :D


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