And Finally

Cooked goose

Shenzhen culinary scheme sees surge of interest


On the menu

The internet is overflowing with get-rich-quick schemes. But learning how to braise geese has to be one of the odder ones.

All the same, more than 50,000 people signed up for a cooking course to do just that this month, after the Shenzhen government offered a subsidy of Rmb1,700 ($266.82) towards the costs of learning the lu wei technique, a Guangdong specialty. Lu Wei (or Lou Mei in Cantonese) means ‘brine flavour’ and the culinary skillset creates a complex, spice-infused stock which is then used to cure meats, vegetables and tofu.

The subsidy was offered to anyone willing to learn the skill as part of the city’s drive to develop local Cantonese cuisine. Payment of the bonus was promised to anyone who could pass the exam at the end of the course – a test that was already rumoured to have a 97% pass rate.

The claim led tens of thousands to sign up for the course – forcing Shenzhen’s Department of Human Resources and Social Security to halt the application process as it tried to determine who was genuinely interested in pursuing a cooking career and who just wanted the cash payout.

The authorities also cautioned that the art of lu wei was a complex one and that people shouldn’t think that watching a few online tutorials would be enough to prepare for the test.

The main challenge, pointed out, is in the brine preparation. Restaurants spend years perfecting their salty stock and then work tirelessly to make sure the flavour doesn’t fluctuate. In addition, fatty birds like geese need to be cleaned and prepared carefully before being braised. “You need to give the goose a full massage to ensure that every pore on the bird is opened up to absorb the essence of the brine,” the website explained.

Furthermore, precise knife skills are required to make the meat look attractive on the plate.

“Most chefs either focus on making the brine or cutting the meat,” said.

Meanwhile in other news, another kind of goose has been causing a stir in China – in this case the jacket brand Canada Goose, which has been accused of violating consumer laws by refusing to accept returned products.

The latest round of complaints centre on a woman in Shanghai who tried to return items she deemed to be faulty – only to be told that goods sold in China were “strictly non-refundable”.

Chinese law allows for customers to return good within 14 days if they have quality concerns.

“No brand has any privileges ahead of consumers,” the government-backed China Consumer Association (CCA) warned in an opinion piece posted on its website on Thursday morning.

“If you behave arrogantly and in a superior way, adopt discriminatory policies, be condescending or bully customers, you will surely lose the trust of consumers and be abandoned by the market,” the CCA added.

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