Most expats have things they miss from home that just cannot be replaced, no matter how hard they try.Whether it be the cosy log-fire warmth of a local pub or a jar of Marmite, we all have a list of things that we’ve had to just learn to live without here in China. Other things, however, can be replicated in some fashion - albeit with a slight dip in quality, authenticity and taste perhaps.You can buy cheese here for example, but it’s more the American variety than the smelly French stuff you really crave. This dish falls into a new category altogether; it’s something that is missed from home (especially by us Brits) but something that is actually better here in the People’s Republic. It’s a staple dish that the Chinese have actually improved on, making it their own in the process. Jiaoyan tuduo is basically the roast potato of your dreams; a super spud; a top-tier ‘tater’. When I first came to the Middle Kingdom, my own middle kingdom soon began craving potatoes, but not the slimy string variety commonly served up in restaurants around Hangzhou.What I really needed, especially in those harsh winter months, was a potato that was fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside and tastier than a boat full of beans. I need something I could sink my teeth into, something that would line my stomach ahead of a bout of expat excess and boozy banter. Enter, then, jiaoyan tuduo, the king of potatoes. I first became aware of the dish when I spotted a guy eating it on a table opposite me at my local restaurant. I immediately asked him what the dish was called and, after some misunderstandings and confusion (myYorkshire accent sometimes renders my mandarin unintelligible to local ears), I finally thrust my finger towards the man’s potato pile and yelped, “yao, yao, yao” at the flustered fuwuyuan.When the dish arrived I was instantly smitten. Obviously fried instead of roasted (I seriously doubt that the tiny hole that this particular restaurant calls a kitchen has anything even remotely approaching an oven) the potatoes are seasoned generously with a kind of spicy salt, dried red pepper flecks and a fistful of scallions. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is no show-stopping centerpiece - it’s just some fried potatoes - but sometimes in life, a fried potato is exactly what you need and, in China, this is as close as you’re going to get to the real thing. And, what’s more, the unusual seasonings really give these spuds a kick.Yep, potatoes have rarely tasted so good - just don’t tell your mother you’ve found better than her own roasters!