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Secrets of the Chen family revealed

In every culture, secrets are passed down from generation to generation for cooking, health and general life hacks or anything that our ancestors passed down on how to make life easier. Here are some of Chinese life hacks that are passed down in Xing Chen’s family!

Keeping things harmoniously together

Growing up, all of my glue came from a bottle or tube. It was easy to go to the nearest stationery stores to get one, but I remember there was one night I ran out of glue midway through my homework and my grandmother came to my rescue by making me a bowl of homemade glue from rice flour.


  • ¾ cup of rice flour

  • 2 tablespoons of sugar

  • ¾ cup of water

Mix the flour, sugar and water in a medium size pot and stir until smooth. Bring it to boil over low heat stirring constantly. Heat and stir until the mixture thickens and you are good to go! You have to use this homemade glue when it is warm though as it tends to gel as it cools down.

Photo by Zoë on Unsplash

Cooking Uncle Roger approved texture rice

This is definitely one of the famous Asian hacks that everyone has heard of. Getting your rice just right doesn’t require any fancy measurements, numbers, cups or fancy gadgets. Simply add as much rice as you wish into the rice cooker, place your index finger upright just touching the top of the rice, then add water until it reaches the first joint on your finger.

Tip: do not use saucepan, get a rice cooker!

Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

Testing the heat in the kitchen

To tell if the cooking oil is hot enough when you are deep frying, simple stick a WOODEN chopstick in the work. If the oil sizzles around the wooden chopstick, that indicates that it is time for you to start frying the food. Oil should be allowed to overheat as it will give the food a bitter taste.

How grandma always managed to look good in jeans

In many Asian countries, it is believed that the girth of a person’s neck is equivalent to half the girth of their waist while the wrist is half the neck’s girth. To find out if your jeans will fit without having to try them on, just the waist around your neck. If it goes all the way around then it will fit your waist too! This is very especially useful when you go to some stores that do not provide fitting rooms.

When grandma trash talks me

Those scraps from kitchen and dining table like shrimp shells, fruit seeds and groundnut shells look gross on the table and are messy. My grandmother used to teach me to fold this handy paper trash box from old newspapers or junk mail papers! These are so useful when you have food scraps at the dining.

Removing odours

In Chinese cooking, dishes are cooked with love, MSG and garlic. But opening the fridge and catching a whiff of garlic, mixed with the scent of leftover fish and the smell of Musang King durian is an unpleasant reality of life in a Chinese home.

In this case, my grandmother would put a piece of charcoal in the fridge to absorb the unpleasant smells.

Or if you have some leftover coffee grounds but not enough to make a full cup of coffee, place them in a bowl and put them in the bottom of the fridge. Coffee grounds can soak up any stubborn smells in the fridge in just a couple of days more effectively than a hungry ghost can eat food!

These are just some of the ancient wisdom that the ancestors have passed own over the generations for a harmonious household and XingChen will definitely keep you posted when her family sifus reveas more to her as she passes each test!

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