Won-ton soup, beef in oyster sauce, and egg and tomato: Rong’s menu for Cooks on Campus gives you a taste of what Chinese students generally eat – and she tells us what really helped her to survive her first semester at LMU.
“One seldom finds traditional Chinese food in Chinese restaurants in Germany,” Rong says. That is one reason why she wanted to show us in Cooks on Campus the kinds of dishes that are normally eaten in Chinese homes. Fried egg and tomato, for instance, is a typical Chinese dish, but hardly anyone in Germany would identify it as such. And yet, as Rong explains: “Egg and tomato is to China what noodles with sauce is to Germany. And it is usually the first thing that students cook when they move out of their parents’ home.”
For Rong (26), however, the won-ton soup comes first. Its preparation above all requires nimble fingerwork: Rong rolls out the won-ton wrappers, puts a spoonful of minced pork and chopped spring onions on top of each and carefully wraps it up by folding the four corners so that they meet in the center. In the end, they look rather like tortellini. “But the Italians obviously adopted the idea from us,” Rong remarks.
Rong came to Germany from Nanking seven years ago to study at LMU, and she is now doing her PhD. She chose LMU largely on the basis of its high rating in world university rankings: “In China, rankings are taken very seriously when it comes to choosing where and what to study,” she explains. “And in my case, it was certainly the right decision – although of course the early days of living in an unfamiliar country weren’t all plain sailing.” Now, however, she can turn her early experiences in Munich to good use in her part-time job: She works for AMIGA, a project designed to help migrants find work in Munich by, for instance, coaching them for job interviews.
As we eat, Rong recalls what helped her most to understand lectures given in German: She simply recorded them live, so that she had an opportunity to listen to the difficult passages again at home. “Now, of course, LMU offers online lecture courses or MOOCs – and that helps foreign students enormously,” she says. She herself no longer needs to take her recorder with her to lectures. For her doctoral thesis, she is exploring the traces of Chinese influences on German literature. “After all, even Goethe was inspired by China,” she points out.
If you are an international student at LMU and you enjoy cooking, you could become one of our Cooks on Campus. To find out how, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!