Asian cuisine from V-ZUG

«In China, we call it the breath of the wok» Tina Wu

When the wind blows in from the Gobi desert, it brings another layer of sand and dust to add to the smog in Beijing. Here, in a city of 20 million people, Daniel Wu and Ni Xiang Ping met. The son of Chinese parents, Daniel grew up in Switzerland and was in the city to learn Mandarin. Ni Xiang is from Henan Province in central China and works in sales. The pair are now together. The culture shock that Daniel Wu experienced during his time in Beijing was similar to Ni Xiang Ping's experience when she first visited Switzerland. «The language was a particularly big hurdle. For the first two months, I couldn't understand a thing. I couldn't even understand the writing,» she explains. Nobody could remember her name and tried to avoid saying it out loud, which is why she now just introduces herself as Tina. These days, she is able to laugh about it. It was the lush green landscape and love that inspired her to visit Switzerland for a second time – and why she never left.

All the best food comes from the wok

She packed all her eating habits and brought them with her. While her husband primarily cooks European food at home, she is in charge of the Asian dishes. «In China, we cook everything in a wok. My parents cook everything in two huge woks over an open fire – meat, vegetables, even the rice,» explains Tina Wu. Heat plays a crucial role when you are cooking with a wok. «It is very important to make sure you prepare all the ingredients properly because everything has to be very quick when you're cooking,» she explains. Every ingredient is cooked separately and quickly in the wok, making sure it is nice and hot. This is the only way to create this unique, authentic taste experience – known as «Wok hei» in Cantonese. «In China, we call it the breath of the wok,» she says with a smile. Your Toptronic hob can't fully replicate the traditional open fire. «But induction is ideal for cooking with a wok – the hobs heat up quickly and stay nice and hot, which is key for the ‹Wok hei›,» she says.

The best of two cultures

If she is only cooking for herself, she just whips up a big plate of vegetables. «Chop up some fresh vegetables, fry them with a bit of garlic. Done. That's my favourite,» says Tina Wu. If they are having friends over, then she usually cooks Chinese food at her guests' request. «I always make my own spring rolls. I don't like shop-bought ones,» she explains. For specialist Chinese ingredients, like spices, noodles and certain vegetables, she has to go to an Asian shop in Zurich. She gets the fresh meat and fish – typical Swiss ingredients – from the wholesalers. Thanks to the support of her husband, their two daughters, all of their friends, and FaceTime, Tina Wu now feels really at home in Switzerland. And it's no surprise: the Wu household gets the best of two completely different cultures.

«In China, we call it the breath of the wok» Tina Wu

Chop up some fresh vegetables, fry them with a bit of garlic. Done. That's my favourite» Tina Wu