Chinese people believe that certain foods have specific energies, or “chi”. This factors into the whole Yin/Yang thing. Papaya, Goji berries/Wolfberries, and Chinese Almonds have cooling properties so it relaxes you, perfect for summer.
On the streets of Hong Kong and China, you can find Chinese medicinal shops on every block. They sell all sorts of things… what we consider “normal” stuff and weird things. Here are some “weird” things…
- Black Ant paste – it turns your grey and white hairs to black. Black sesame paste is also good for this.
- 冬虫夏草/Caterpillar fungus/Yartsa gunbu/Vegetable Caterpillar (Cordyceps sinensis) – I’ve actually had this before. It is disgusting. I couldn’t bring myself to drink the broth and then eat the half grass-half caterpillar thing. I’m not a Pacific Islander, bugs are not my thing.
- Dried seahorses – I always feel sad when seeing all those seahorses in a huge bin. Seahorses are used to treat a variety of disorders, including asthma, arteriosclerosis, incontinence, impotence, thyroid disorders, skin ailments, broken bones, and heart disease.
- Shark fin soup – OMG… I love it. **edit, as of December 26, 2010, I no longer eat shark fin soup**
Anyway, these ingredients are not weird.
- ½ papaya; unripe is best, all green skin
- 6 cups water
- ¼ cup dried Goji berries
- 2 TBS 南杏 Chinese almonds
- 2 TBS 北杏 Chinese almonds
- Sugar (optional)
Boil 6 cups water in a pot with the Goji berries and Chinese almonds on high heat. Remove and discard the seeds from the papaya, chop into large chunks and put them into the pot. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes. You can add sugar if your soup isn’t sweet to your liking. I didn’t add any.