Chinese kitchen vs Spanish kitchen
Since I started working from home I am cooking more (and eating healthier, I hope). But cooking in China is not the same as cooking in Spain… first of all, there are often some ingredients in recipes that I cannot find because they are not commonly used in China, so I have to cook without them or find replacements. For example, when I run out of the chorizo I bring from Spain every year to cook lentil and chickpeas stews, I replace it with salty meat and powdered paprika. It’s not the same, but it does the trick. But today I wanted to write not about the food itself, but about the things you can find in the average kitchen in China vs the things you can find in the average kitchen in Spain.
The most obvious difference when you step into a Chinese kitchen is that there is no oven, which is an essential part of a Spanish kitchen. No oven means no roast chicken, fish or veggies, no pizza or lasagna and of course no baking cookies, cakes or anything like that. There is, however, a small kind of toaster oven, the size of a microwave, that many young Chinese are using nowadays. But our usual big oven is very, very rare. I am very lucky to have one, it came with the apartment, but this is the first time in China that I have a real oven.
Something that all Chinese kitchens have but I have never seen in Spain is the rice cooker. As the name suggests, this appliance is for cooking rice! It can also serve as a slow cooker and a steamer. Apart from cooking white rice, we normally use it to make congee and steam buns or sweet potatoes. If I had to move back to Spain, I would seriously consider bringing one!
Another thing present in all Chinese kitchens is the electric water boiler, to make tea and also because Chinese people like drinking hot water. I got used to it too! Now I can’t drink water straight from the fridge, like I used to do before. The water boiler is not super common in Spain, but not that rare either. My parents got one recently because my dad started drinking tea. In Spain most people are coffee drinkers, not tea drinkers.
Something that all Chinese kitchens have but I haven’t bought yet is a wok! I manage to cook Chinese food with my normal, flat bottom pans. I have never used a wok so I don’t miss it. Also, I don’t really have any space left to put it, as it is quite big…
Both Chinese kitchens and Spanish kitchens have a stove, obviously, because it’s the basic appliance to cook food. However, most stoves in Spain have 4 burners, while in China they commonly have just 2. This has to be related to the different types of food made: Chinese food can usually be prepared very quickly, so 2 burners are enough. Back in Spain, my mum sometimes uses 3 burners at the same time, depending on what she’s cooking. Also, in Spain the glass ceramic hobs are very common, but in China all stoves are gas powered, unless you live in a very small apartment without a kitchen, then you probably will have a small electric stove.
I recently bought a yogurt maker, although this is not a common appliance anymore in China or in Spain. My mum told me they had one when she was a child, but nowadays everybody buys factory-made yogurts in the supermarket. I decided to finally buy the yogurt maker because in China it is very difficult to find yogurts that don’t have added sugar. I managed to find two brands, but they are ridiculously expensive. Making my own yogurt is very easy and way cheaper!
For my next kitchen buy, I am still deciding between two things: a bread maker or a hand blender. I will probably get the hand blender first because it is smaller and cheaper, and also something commonly used in Spain to make vegetable purée. A bread maker sounds like a good investment, taking into account how many weird ingredients the bread I buy here contains, but the appliance is not small and I am running out of space in the kitchen. Maybe I should try doing bread in the oven first? Is it very difficult? I have no idea!
Do you have a favourite kitchen appliance?