Chinese language students learn to make Kung Pao Chicken

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Chinese language students at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University were given a hands-on lesson in the Chinese culinary arts, learning to make the famous dish Kung Pao Chicken.

Students met in the afternoon at the MBA Parfait restaurant at Wenxing Plaza, and were given a step-by-step demonstration of how to cook the dish by chef Shuai Xu. They then formed smaller groups and tried their hand at the classic dish.

Kung Pao Chicken is a spicy dish originating in Sichuan Province and popular throughout China with many regional variations. It is made by stir-frying chicken, vegetables, chili, and peanuts, and is thought to be named after Ding Baozhen (1820-1886), a Qing Dynasty official.

The activity was organized by Xuanying Shen (or ‘Shen Laoshi’ as she is known by her students), Chinese language tutor and Manager of languages other than English at XJTLU’s Language Centre. She has planned other activities for her class in the upcoming weeks, including a trip to the cinema to watch a Chinese film.

“Shen Laoshi is so energetic,” said Andrew Bankole, a visiting student from the University of Liverpool studying engineering. “She’s very active in class, and she’s very good at encouraging everyone to speak and take part.”

Chiara Castellini, a visiting student from the University of Venice completing a masters in Oriental Languages, said she really appreciates these sorts of activites:

“I’ve tried to cook Chinese dishes before, but the ingredients were not easily available in my hometown. I’m interested in all aspects of Chinese culture so I really appreciate this opportunity to learn more about Chinese cookery.”

The Language Centre at XJTLU offers a range of courses for Chinese learners. International undergraduate students are given intensive Mandarin classes in Year One, and masters students are required to take Chinese language classes as part of their Additional Learning Activities. Intensive summer school classes and a part-time Autumn Course tailored to different learner levels are also available.

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