Almost one year has passed since I posted my last episode. As more and more people started to use Facebook to update their news to share, this blog has nearly been abandoned. However some of my friends have no intention to sign up for Facebook. By this very reason, I try to continue writing about my experience in foreign countries on this blog. I hope some people enjoy it.

If I remember correctly, my last visit in China was 2005. My Portuguese friend and his girlfriend at that time (now she is his wife and they have two children) were there, visiting her family in Shanghai. That was almost a decade ago. It seems to me that the city has developed rapidly with a steady economic growth. I witnessed that hundreds of Chinese people were bustling along the high street of the Bund where Western countries had opened banks on the riverside between 1920s and 1930s. Now, the place has turned into one of the main tourist spots for foreigners and shopping zone for wealthier Chinese citizen. Luxurious boutiques and restaurants are housed in those buildings. People enjoy a dramatic night.



Frankly speaking, I had not enjoyed food in Shanghai in my last visit in Shanghai. Compared to Chinese dishes at a famous Chinese chef’s restaurant in Japan, I had previously found the food in Shanghai was awful. However, I believe this is something to do with a social status in people and society. In those days, China was still considered to be a poor country. I suspect that not many people cared about tastes in food. Time of cooking and amount of seasoning were not adequate. So, it was just good enough to fill stomachs but it was far from tastiness. Ingredients were chipped roughly into very different sizes and bigger pieces were not cooked sufficiently. So, heat did not reach the centre. Many dishes were almost impossible not to get hands dirty.

However, due to economic growth, people now have more disposal income. More people dine out to enjoy atmosphere and taste in a fashionable restaurant. The restaurant where I had lunch with my Chinese friend is a good example. The delicacy and quality is in dishes which we had. Maybe in a growing city of Shanghai, I won’t be disappointed with food again. I was thinking of going to some branches of famous Taiwanese and Hong Kong restaurants in Shanghai before I arrived there. But she chose a proper one. (I had a bitter experience of some of my friends’ selection from an infamous guidebook called “Lonely Planet” when I stayed in HK.)


Here I introduce one famous Shanghai dish called Huangzhou(紅焼肉/ホンシャオロウ) which is more widely known as dongporou or dongpo pork. Pork belly which contains a large portion of fat is chopped into 4 or 5 cubic centimetres and then pan-fried.

Afterwards chunks are simmered in a soy- based sauce for many hours until it gets soft and tender. Good Huangzhou is not very fatty. (Extra fat is removed during a long-hour cooking.)

Compared with Japanese-style Huangzhou, the colour is very dark and it is almost black. (Sorry about my poor photo skill. It doesn’t look as tasty as it actually is!)


My Swiss friends

My first really adventure was a trip to Australia in 1994, where I studied English and made friends through a three-month course. I studied hard to get an English certificate called "First Certificate in English" (highly appreciated exam in Europe run by Cambridge University) . We had seen each other for ten years since then.
My purpose of this trip is to visit some of my friends after ten years. My Swiss French friend, Frederic lives in a lovely city of Neuchatel. We visited a cheese dairy of Gruyere, a famous Swiss mountain cheese. There are some cheese daires who keep their tradition of making cheese manually. But the factory applies the latest technology to make it possible to produce efficiently by only three workers.
After that, we hiked a few hours, enjoying a typical rural landscape like the picture below:

In the evening, I was invited to dinner at his parent's house to have a typical Swiss home dish called "Racrette".

First of all, the cheese is heated.  Once it melts, the surface is removed by a knife and served on a plate.

 This cheese dish is accompanied with boiled potatoes, pickled cucumbers and cured jam.

Zopf, a traditional Sunday Swiss bread made with white flour, plenty of milk and butter. It is my favourite.

Laveux is the wine growing area situated on the hill beside a lake, designated by UNESCO World heritage. We went there to taste some white wines and it was a beautiful day.

In the evening, we came back to a lovely Neuchatel and we had dinner there. What I had was Saucisson Neuchâtelois, a traditional Swiss sausage.

After leaving Neuchatel, on the way to Zurich, I went to visit another friend, Daniela. She picked me up at the station near her house and invited me for dinner. Even though it was a short visit, while she was preparing pizza and bruschetta (toast with chopped tomato) and having dinner, we talked a lot about our old days and what happened last ten years in Italian and English. This time, I had a chance to talk to her elder brother (who looks quite alike their father) and her son.




Luzern, Switzerland

Ten years has passed since I last visited Switzerland. Nothing seemed to be changed, looking at the scenes changing at the window on the train to my destination. Switzerland has a combination of cities with historical buildings and rural landscape with farming and livestock animals, namely cows. There seems to be no big building project which changes some cityscapes drastically. In Japan, when you have not visited a place for such a long time, you no longer feel you are actually in the same place. This illusion does not apply to Switzerland, I would say.
 My first destination was Luzern - a beautiful historical town beside a lake and is famous for a wooden bridge. I stayed at a youth hostel and in the next morning, I climbed up to the wall built around the town to enjoy looking over the view of Luzern.

The hightlight of tourism in Luzern is to visit this bridge and to walk it across and spend time along the lake.
Here in Luzern, you can have a traditional Swiss dish, "Wienserschnizel" at the restaurant called "the Old Swiss House". I would say the dish and services are the best in Switzerland. Since there is no wide range of traditional dishes in Swiss cuisine, I found it quite difficult to come across a restaurant where tourists can enjoy a typical and national dish in such an excellent quality. It is odd because the country produces a great variety of fresh vegetables, fruit and dairy products in high quality. The consumption rate of organic food in Switzerland is one of the highest in Europe. When it comes to dining outside home, many people tend to choose French, Italian and other country's cuisines. Probably, by this reason, there are not many restaurants specialized in the country's cuisine.
Anyway, the restaurant that I introduce here has a long history and have kept their tradtions for three generations. I am sure having a meal at the Old Swiss House will give a good memory.
 "Wienserschnizel" is a beef cutlet. Firstly, you prepare ingredients for coating a slice of beef. The picture below shows breadcrumbs and a mixture of beated egg and parmigiano reggiano cheese.

 Veal is pounded to become a thin layer.
 Butter is placed and a pan is heated. Butter melts gradually in a low heat.
 New the veal is first soaked into the egg mixture and then into breadcrumbs.

 When the pan is ready, the veal is placed onto the pan.
 When one side is down, the veal is turned upside down.


Name : Old Swiss House
Address : Löwenplatz 4, 6004 Luzern
Open : Tuesday to Sunday
Closed  : Monday
Phone : +41 (0)41 410 61 71
Email :
Website : http://www.oldswisshouse.ch/

There are two car parks opposite our establishment.
Bus Nos. 1, 18, 19, 22 and 23 stop right in front.