Camping in Nantou, Part Two

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Geotagged Photos by MJ Klein, including DUTCH OVEN COOKING PHOTOS!

Camping in Guoxing

I left you in the last installment with a shot of this fire pit, and after talking with the campground owner I decided to build a fire in this pit and cook here.  When I rolled down the window as the owner approached our van, he froze and gave me the “foreigner stare” until I spoke Chinese to him.  He said that no Westerner has ever been to this campsite before.  Can’t say that anymore!

Camping in Guoxing

I took the rear seat row out of our VW Caddy, and it served us well when camping.  I also want to mention out that the Caddy is a nimble climber, with plenty of torque from the diesel engine, and it’s narrow track makes it ideal for mountain roads.

Camping in Guoxing

The wood was smoldering from a previous fire, but there wasn’t enough spark left to ignite anything else.   I dumped a bag of charcoal out and lit it with a torch.

Camping in Guoxing

In the meantime, Hui-chen and Phoenix settle in our room for the night – in a traditional Taiwanese home (we didn’t use the tent on this trip).

Camping in Guoxing

I like the ceiling.

Camping in Guoxing

Phoenix, of course, fits right in wherever she is.

Camping in Guoxing

Once the fire got going, I put on the 12″ Dutch oven and started some bacon.

Camping in Guoxing

Next I added ground pork.

Camping in Guoxing

Now come the chopped onions.

Camping in Guoxing

The campground owner was selling some food right next to where I was.  One thing that surprised me was how many people were interested in watching what I was doing.  The only way I could describe the style of cooking was to say “cowboy food” in Chinese.

Camping in Guoxing

The meat and onions are coming right along.

Camping in Guoxing

Beauty shot!

Camping in Guoxing

I added 2 types of beans to the pot: black beans, and red kidney beans.

Camping in Guoxing

This is what the dish looked like right before I put the lid back on and settled in for some slow cooking.

Camping in Guoxing

I put the 10″ on the fire next, to burn it out.

Camping in Guoxing

Once cleaned, I added bacon to the 10″

Camping in Guoxing

I wanted to cook this bacon down to crispy pieces.  This dish is Dutch Oven Cheesy Potatoes.

Camping in Guoxing

After the bacon was cooked, I added sliced potatoes, onions and cheese (5 types mixed!) in layers, with bacon.

Camping in Guoxing

It got dark fast, but I kept on cooking until everything was done.

Camping in Guoxing

This is the cheesy potato dish, shot in unnatural light at high ISO.  It tasted a lot better than it looked.  Now for some reason I did not get a shot of the bean dish, but it was quite good.

Camping in Guoxing

People were posing for a photo, so I took the opportunity to shoot this shot at the same time.

Camping in Guoxing

This is the area of the fire pit under a mercury-vapor lamp.

Camping in Guoxing

Camping in Guoxing

The boss lady wanted to introduce us to a local Hakka dish, so she set up 3 tables with stuff and called everyone inside the screened enclosure.

Camping in Guoxing

“What is this stuff?”

Camping in Guoxing

And what is this stuff?

Camping in Guoxing

I honestly don’t know what this is.  When I find out I’ll update this article.

Camping in Guoxing

Rice flour.

Camping in Guoxing

First order of business is to break down the lumps in the flour.

Camping in Guoxing

Camping in Guoxing

Camping in Guoxing

I have to find out what this stuff is.

Camping in Guoxing

Next comes pork fat.

Camping in Guoxing

The idea is to knead the pork fat and rice flour into a dough.

Camping in Guoxing

The boss lady gives some instructions.

Camping in Guoxing

Leaves to be used later.

Camping in Guoxing

3 groups of people were doing this activity.

Camping in Guoxing

Finally we have something that looks like dough.

Camping in Guoxing

But the boss lady told us it wasn’t kneaded enough.  She brought some dough over from another table where it had been kneaded by an energetic man.

Camping in Guoxing

Now the boss lady personally demonstrates the next step.

Camping in Guoxing

She deftly rolls out some dough in her hand,

Camping in Guoxing

Then stuffs it

Camping in Guoxing

Camping in Guoxing

Expertly closing it up into a type of dumpling,

Camping in Guoxing

and places it on a leaf, and onto the pan.

Camping in Guoxing

Everyone copies what she did.

Camping in Guoxing

Camping in Guoxing

Camping in Guoxing

Meanwhile, Phoenix takes it all in.

Camping in Guoxing

Closeup of the results.

Camping in Guoxing

Pretty soon there are several steamer trays of these things,

Camping in Guoxing

and they go into the steamer for about 10 minutes.

Camping in Guoxing

I couldn’t resist this shot in the weird light.

Camping in Guoxing

While the things were cooking, the older gentleman (father of the owner, I take it) invites me for some tea.

Camping in Guoxing

One tray comes out, and another goes in.

Camping in Guoxing

Sorry to say, they don’t look very appetizing to me.  The truth is, I don’t think they tasted very good.

Camping in Guoxing

But I like to try new things, so after that I sat by the fire and enjoyed the opportunity to actually have an open fire.

Camping in Guoxing

Camping in Guoxing

Camping in Guoxing

Shots of the campground in the immediate vicinity of the fire.

Camping in Guoxing

A nice way to end the day.

Camping in Guoxing

The obligatory group photo.  Please note that by this time Hui-chen and Phoenix were already in the car, so they’re not in this photo.

Thanks for reading!  You know what to do!

 

Articles in series Camping in Nantou:

  1. Camping in Nantou, Part One
  2. Camping in Nantou, Part Two
  3. Further Camping Adventures in Taiwan
  4. More Camping At Yuchi
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12 comments

    1. hey there Malcolm, nice to see you in our comments section again. i’d like to see some photos of what you cook up with your Dutch ovens in Thailand! it’s a great way to cook and relax for the whole afternoon. it’s still very new here in Taiwan. i had a rather large crowd gathered around watching me. it sure beats being in the kitchen! take care Malcolm and thanks.

        1. hi Stefan. hey, the dish looks great! but you made a small grammatical error: in English we never use the words “too much” when it immediately precedes the words “bacon” “garlic” or “whiskey” 😉 thank you for the link to the photo. i recommend everyone clicking on that link, immediately! thanks Stefan!

  1. With the first dish you were making in the dutch oven… you had me until you added the beans…. ewwww… yuck.

    I’ve never liked any type of beans… including the infamous Boston Baked Beans… and I’ve lived all my life in Boston 🙂

    The second thing you cooked in the dutch oven seems better… no beans 🙂
    mike01905´s last post ..2014 New England International Autio Show in Boston

    1. hi Mike. hmmmm i guess i didn’t know that you don’t like beans. so just put your hand over the monitor to screen out the photos with the beans. lol take care and thanks.

  2. i believe that yellowish filling in those steamed buns is shredded preserved (pickled) radish. not sure about that black stuff; could be sesame

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