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Chinese Ingredients - Just Like Blighty
Tomatoes or Fan Caer
Called Fan Kai in Hong Kong, Fan Caer in Mainland Cantonese, or Tomatoes are very common in China and available all year round. They come in both English, and sweet cherry versions, and occasionally 'Beefeater' types can be bought in late summer.

China does not do Italian style Plum Tomatoes, except as imported canned food (Incredibly expensive).

Image: Tomatoes - Click to Enlarge
The standard Chinese tomato is not particularly palatable, with the inner flesh normally being a dry off-white and disgusting. Most will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days, and by day 4 have turned into a pile of brown goo. This is not good! We suggest you try many suppliers and do a refrigerator test. If they behave as expected in the West, then use that supplier only.

Outside any wet market you may find local traders offering tomatoes, which may be far better quality, and home grown. Bare in mind they may use 'Grey Water' to water them and provide extra nutrients, so unless you are known to the source, washing and removing the skin would be a sensible precaution. This applies equally to modern supermarket produce; be warned and be careful.

In Toisan this is not a problem, but it was a serious problem in Foshan, both in supermarkets and wet markets. I presume they were irradiated and nearing the end of their shelf life?
I now buy these normally in Toisan wet markets, and judge them mainly by smell and trusted vendor. Obviously I do not by ones with discolouration, and those that are not firm to the touch. It is possible to find tomatoes very similar to standard ones bought in UK supermarkets = tasteless, but intrinsically ok.

I only use Chinese grown standard tomatoes in a salad or sandwich. Forget about trying to cook with them, as they are totally hopeless.

Cherry tomatoes are very sweet, and a usual ingredient of Chinese fruit salad. Yuck! I use them only for eating, or for decoration.

Beefeater tomatoes are excellent for eating, especially with a little salt. They are quite expensive and the season is short, so I haven't tried cooking with them yet. They are probably the best of the bunch.

Chinese Recipe

The Chinese do use tomatoes in cooking, and in an extremely odd way. I once made the grave error of asking for an omelette in a chinese tea house, and this is what I got served with:

Wash the tomatoes and dice into small pieces. Break some eggs and put into a wok with a little oil, stirring frequently until scrambled. Turn out the eggs onto a serving dish which is twice as large as it needs to be. Throw into the wok the diced tomatoes and add more oil if required. Take a stick of Chinese honey (Pictured right bottom) and chop or grate about half of it into the tomatoes (That is a lot of honey!) Stir on full heat for a couple of minutes until all the hard honey has been absorbed into the juice and the whole thing looks like a writhing reddish mass of goo. Tip out the entire contents of the wok onto the scrambled eggs, and serve to table (Cold if possible).

The results are truly disgusting!

This information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably supported by our friends and various internet portals.
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