In China, quarantine forces cooks to get clever

Li says their local grocery store gets a fresh shipment of vegetables just once a day, but most of the highly sought-after items, like cilantro, scallions and leafy greens, are snapped up just a few minutes later. Hearty staples like broccoli and yams always seem to be available, Li says.

“You start to approach cooking a little bit differently. You’re not going into the kitchen thinking, ‘OK, this is kind of what I have a hankering for.’ You really kind of look at what can you do to really make the best possible thing out of that,” Thomas says.

They recently paired a Chinese vegetable stir-fry with homemade flour tortillas, Oaxacan cheese and fermented soybean chili sauce. “Kinda like fajitas,” Li wrote on Instagram. “It was so great! We accidentally discovered something awesome! Restaurants should totally do this kind of meal.”