Monday, January 07, 2008

Chinese Food I Ate


The food in China was superb. Being from California, I've had a lot of good, and plenty of bad Chinese food. But almost everything I ate on this trip (once the plane landed) was delicious. Every lunch and dinner was a family style pig-out fest. That was the only problem, the sheer amount of food. We'd think we were done, then they'd bring out a couple more plates. A few days in and I started limiting the amount I ate. No more full English for breakfast at the hotel, just a bowl of bran flakes and some fruit. And cutting out the beer at every meal helped.

Cutting out the beer?

You got that right. Everything was Tsing Tao. I've disliked Tsing Tao since high school... and we drank some shitty booze back then. Mad Dog 20/20 or giant plastic bottles of vodka were fine. Tsing Tao beer was not. But hey, if you like an after taste that tastes the way morning breath smells... be my guest.

But in Guilin we were treated to the local brand, which was much much better. And in Shanghai I had a draft beer, Mei Wei I think it was called, that was simply beautiful. Golden and cloudy, almost like a good Hefeweizen.

The pomegranate wine was 110 proof. Word.

Food in China differs by region. Shanghai cuisine was noticeably sweeter, while some of the food in Xian was red hot spicy. Here's some photos of relatively normal food. (weird stuff to follow)

Now the weird.

Lets go chronologically. First in Beijing. We saw this huge row of vendors selling street food.

Meat on sticks, steamed dumplings, and fruit looked great. Scorpions, seahorses, and various insects looked questionable. Tripe looked... well... like tripe. We had just eaten, so unfortunately didn't have room to sample much. But we did try one thing.

Delicious deep fried scorpion! Tasted like french fries.

More shots of the street market in Beijing.

Randomness! We saw seahorse for sale. When I was looking at it, the seller started yelling "Big Penis! Big Penis!" to me. He was screaming and pointing at my cock. I guess seahorse is used like an ancient viagra.

In Xian we went to a dumpling restaurant.

At the end of the meal, there was dumpling soup with little tiny dumplings in it. Depending on how many you get, that's your fortune. I got 2... double happiness!

Awww... a fishy.

Awww... a ducky.

Awww... a taco.

On the Guilin river boat ride we got a plate of river snails.

You had to pick out the meat, then rip off the pooey intestines. No one got sick. How did it taste. Meh.

An 11 year old girl working at the golden arches served me this delicious slice of home. But, wtf... that ain't apple!

Finish the meal with possible the worst red wine ever. The 100 yen bottle of red "American" wine from 7-11 in Japan is better.

And some desert.

If you find yourself in China, make sure you sample the local fare. Every dish had such distinct flavors. Dietary restrictions might be hard. We had 2 people in the group who couldn't eat pork. A couple dishes I was 90% sure had pork, even though they waitress said it didn't. And very rarely did a dish not at least have the essence of some meat.

Are you hungry 15 minutes after eating Chinese food? Maybe back in the states, but not in China.

Next: Shopping in China fucking sucks. It's like a big cosmic joke.

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