Thursday, June 4, 2015

Fiona Meng Xiao

It’s crazy to think one of my closest friends grew up on the opposite side of the world as me in Chengdu, China and even though we are from completely different cultures we share a deeper friendship than the many of my American friends.

Fiona and I met my junior year right before I took off for my summer study abroad in Hangzhou, China. She was asked to join the trip as a group leader and translator to those like myself who knew only a few words in Mandarin. I remember talking to her during our study abroad welcome party and just having unending interest in her culture, customs, and thoughts.

When Fiona graduated from UNL she went on to get her master’s degree from Boston College and now works as a public accountant in the Bay Area in California. Not only am I extremely proud of how hard she worked to get sponsored to work in the US, but I am really glad she went to school in Boston and now lives in San Jose because I love visiting new cities.

I am also happy the table turned this week, and she came to visit me in KC! I had the best two days off of work; going shopping on the Plaza, having a picnic at the beautiful Nelson Art Museum lawn, listening to local KC jazz over lemon drop martinis, and learning how to make authentic Chinese dishes.

Fiona’s hometown is located in a Southern Sichuan region of China and is famous for the birth of hot pot and super spicy food. Hot pot is just what it sounds like – a hot pot of water, oil and spices that the table congregates around to cook raw meat, veggies, and noodles. It is a ton of fun! Of course, we had hot pot during her visit but she also taught me how to make two very popular Chinese dishes – Coke chicken wings and a Chinese pan fried egg and tomato dish. The recipes are listed below!

Coke Chicken Wings


12 chicken wings

Fresh ginger

3-5 tablespoons Shoa Xing cooking wine

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons peppercorn

5-6 tablespoons soy sauce

2-3 teaspoons chicken broth powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1 ½ cups Coca-Cola

Wash and cut slits into both sides of chicken. Cut about 10 pieces of fresh ginger. Add cooking wine, sesame oil, soy sauce, chicken broth powder, sugar, and ginger to a bowl with chicken. Mix and let marinate for 20--30 minutes. To cook, heat canola oil on high in wok and add 2 tablespoons of peppercorns. Add 1 ½ cups of Coca-Cola. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is brown and most of the coke is evaporated.
Chinese Pan Fried Tomato Egg Dish


2 tomatoes

5 eggs

4 tablespoons canola oil

Fresh ginger


Green onion

½ teaspoon chicken broth powder



Cut tomatoes into small pieces and set aside. Whisk eggs and add a pinch of salt. When ready to cook, heat wok with 4 tablespoons canola oil on high. Add egg. Cook and move to separate dish. In same wok, heat another 4 tablespoons of canola oil on high and add garlic, tomatoes, ginger, chicken broth powder. Add eggs back in add a pinch of salt and green onion and stir until fully cooked. It should only take you about 5 minutes from start to finish to cook. A super quick and easy side dish!