Tuesday 9 October 2007


goji berry & lychee jelly
Hey, this ain't no ordinary jello. All the Dim Sum houses in the Metro Vancouver area are currently into making this particular sweet offering for Dim Sum. It features goji berries and (canned) lychee fruit in an agar based jelly. The texture of the jelly is very firm, bordering on "crunchy".

This particular version of the jelly I had was at Spicy Court, located at Cambie and 41st. I thought the goji berries were pretty but quite indistinguishable in the jelly. The prominent flavour was the lychee. I suppose that's a good thing anyway because I don't particularly enjoy goji berries for their medicinal flavour. I just know they're good for you and uber-trendy right now in the health food markets. They also have high price tags (and unbeknownst to most of the granola crowd, they have long been used in Chinese cuisine and can be purchased at most Chinese herbal markets for a fraction of the price).

I thought this jelly was refreshing and so did Bebe. In addition, it meets my "health food" criteria in that one of its elements is deemed good-for-you...so I'm going to try to make this particular jelly at home. I'll be researching this and testing out batches to see if I could replicate it.


The Colors in My Head said...

Hi. I just had this dessert at a Chinese restaurant and thought it was refreshing. I was wondering if you were able to replicate the recipe?


Cakebrain said...

Yes, in fact I did experiment with a recipe for this jelly. I put way TOO MANY goji berries in it and it tasted too medicinal for my liking. I used an agar powder from T&T market and used lychee from the can (chopped up) with the syrup too for sweetening. It was good...in every respect except for the goji berries. I think if I only put 1/4 of what I actually put in, it would have been perfect. Just follow the recipe on the agar powder box. Use the syrup as a part of the liquid measurement. Hydrate the berries first in hot water, but don't use very many. Try a tablespoon first.

The Colors in My Head said...

I'm going to give it a try this week. So excited. Thanks!

Goji berries said...

Tibetan Goji berries typically are not Chinese wolfberries and it is not right to call the Chinese wolfberry 'Goji'. The ancient Tibetan Lycium berry is a more fullfilling plant then the Chinese wolfberry

Cakebrain said...

Dearest Goji Berries author,
thank you for trying to correct me. However, I do not agree with you.
I assume you sell Tibetan Goji Berries? A little linguistics lesson: I'll have you know that "Goji" is the Chinese transliteration of the word into English. To the Chinese, there is only one berry (of which there are different species). Similar to how "Bok Choy" is today called "Bokchoy" (but there are big leaved ones and shorter varieties). So, as well as being an English teacher, I'm Chinese and I'd say that I am correct to use the term "Goji". You are using a term Chinese have been using for thousands of years. Goji does not mean a specific berry from a specific place. Health food stores merely capitalized on the term because it sounds less mundane than wolfberry. English-speaking people have co-opted "Goji" and are trying to change its meaning to something entirely different. That's fine, but it isn't correct. It's just being commercialized and capitalize on the term Goji to indicate that the berry is superior in quality of special in some way. A common misconception is that "Goji Berry" is in fact a different berry...it's actually the same berry of which there are different varieties. Just check Wikipedia.
goji berries
In fact, all health food stores have "stolen" the term "Goji" and gentrified it; elevating it to mean something they think is of higher quality. The term Gau Ji has been around for thousands of years in China. Just like bok choy.

My mother calls the berry "Gau Ji" which of course is what the Goji berry is. You can find all the different varieties of the Goji berry in China. You need to look at the history of the term "Goji" and if you want to be correct, you merely need to indicate that the particular berry you are selling is "Tibetan Goji Berries". You would be equally correct to say that you're selling "Tibetan Wolfberries". This is of course different from "Chinese Goji Berries" or "Chinese Wolfberries". I personally just look at the label to see where it was grown and produced to figure out where it's from. Price is a good indicator too. Attaching the word "Goji" to the label seems to rationalize an exorbitant price. Chinese Goji Berries/Wolfberries are dirt cheap on the other hand.

As well, it has only been in the 21st Century that the "grown in China" problem has been an issue with produce from China as it wasn't as polluted in the 20th Century and prior as it was primarily agrarian in nature and I imagine that's why many health food stores want to stigmatize the word "wolfberry".
My mom actually grows Goji berries in our backyard in Vancouver. She picks the tender leaves and uses it in an herbal soup. Since we don't use pesticides, I think I can call them Tibetan Goji berries too then.


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