Monday, May 07, 2007

China Part 6: Food!

Alright, food in China is generally salty and oily. By the end of the tour, I was all bloated up (retention of water) due to salt overdose (and MSG I supposed). I did eat/did not eat some intersting stuff though. Since most of our meals are ten course meals, I didn't really take picture of what we ate.

A typical buffet breakfast consists of congee and all the side dishes to mix with the congee, finger food, western breakfast, noodles, soy sauce eggs, yu tiao/yau char kuey (my cousin calls it dogbone), dumplings, bao (meat and vege filling), sweet black glutinous rice shaped like a cupcake (my favourite!), other types of pastries and fruits. One thing odd. I don't see "mihun/maifun/rice noodles?" around at all. They serve orange juice (some even serve WARM cordial orange juice), water and tea but no coffee. They aren't very fond of drinking coffee, I think. At least my tour guide isn't. They are mostly tea drinkers. We were told to bring our own coffee there if we can't live without coffee (if you DO want to drink coffee, I think it's quite expensive).

And then, the odd part is, they even serve stir-fried vegetables early in the morning. Bleah! (I still ate some though :D) And...we seem to be eating the same vegetable over and over again. For breakfast and lunch it's normally, and almost always, cabbage. For dinner, it's cucumber. Fortunately, their cucumber ain't bitter like ours here, so I ate a lot :D I kinda miss their cucumber...(PLEASE, do NOT imagine something else). Dessert is usually, and almost always(again), watermelon. I got so sick of watermelon.

Jyrenze was telling me that the prawns they serve in China looks really pathetic compared to ours. I didn't believe her at first. Now I do. They look absolutely miserable. I DID eat one or two, which looked fresh and slightly larger than what they normally serve. Otherwise...I just ignored the prawns. Ain't worth the rashes I'd be getting the next day. Now, the FISH they serve. They serve freshwater fish. It's really...hen nan chi (so difficult to eat!).SO MANY TINY BONES! I gave up eating fish at China. Fish are friends. At least in China. However, at Lake Tai (Taihu), they have this boneless fish which is qutie popular. Can't remember the name though.

Most of our meals also had two types of soup, but we were only given one small bowl and one small plate...

China Tour Guide @ Xiao Chen (XC): I can't help noticing something strange...
Tour Member (TM): Yeah?
XC: Why do you scoop the rice onto the small plate instead of the bowl? I see quite a lot of you doing that...
TM1: Oh...hahaha, ah well, we are used to scooping rice onto plates at home.
XC: Oh, eat rice on a plate with chopsticks?
TM2: Oh, no, no! We normally eat with spoon and fork (Steffi: something that can't be found easily at the restaurants I ate at. Actually, I didn't even try asking)
XC: Then...
TM3: Ah, you see, the bowl is for the soup, if we use the bowl for rice, then we can't scoop the soup into the bowl...
XC: Oh, ok, ok.

She must be thinking that M'sians are weird, or retarded. HAHA! But anyway, I'm not too happy with most of the restaurants' services there. Getting the waitresses to do something for you is like pulling out their tooth. Can vomit blood ah! The waiters were alright, though.

So anyway, here are the pictures...

Black waxed duck (I think). This was taken at one of the restaurants where we had our dinner at Hangzhou. Didn't eat that.

Lunch at Shi Le Restaurant, Green Town, Dragon Plaza, Hangzhou. Very nice and posh looking restaurant.

Other dishes served at the above restaurant.

Phoenix over Dragon, yeah! That's the way it should be...

So THIS...

is where I went, to buy...

this, grilled beef on stick (there's cuttlefish, lamb and chicken too. I really got hooked onto these), AND...

THIS! ARGH! SMELLY TAU FOO! HAHA! I must say that it's quite an experience eating it. I got fooled by it. When my mom passed it to me before running off (I was buying the grilled beed), I was thinking, "Eh, not smelly also..." So I placed it under my nose and SNIFFED it.

I GAGGED IMMEDIATELY! A nearby local saw and couldn't help laughing while calling out to me to put chilli sauce on it. I looked around helplessly while pinching my nose. I really couldn't decide which was worse, the toilet which I passed by (REFUSED to go in) earlier during the day or the smelly tau foo. My mom, who was standing a few foot away, was yelling out at me not to go near her. How nice. So, while pinching my nose, I ran back to the stall to put chilli sauce on it, but therein lies the problem. I'm no octopus. I have one hand holding the smelly tau foo and another pinching my nose. How am I going to pour the chilli sauce?! I asked the same local which one to put. It's odd...upon discovering that I'm a foreigner (due to my atrocious Chinese), she was less...friendly. Ah, well.

I took a deep breath (through my mouth) and quickly rubbed (yes, with a BRUSH) the chilli sauce onto it, before taking off. I stood at the side of the lampost, staring mournfully at the smelly tau foo while building up the courage to eat it. Finally, after licking it a little, I took a bite...and...actually, it really wasn't as bad as it smelled. Somehow after eating it, the smell just...diminished. It won't be something I'll crave for, but I certainly wouldn't mind eating it again.

Since I was tired of standing around, I sat down at the side of the building while my mom walked off to buy a bottle of water (the coward still refused to come near me). I realized I was getting weird stares. Then I knew why...I looked like a homeless wanderer, wearing a beige trenchcoat, sitting down a the side of the building eating hot food out in the cold with my mom's new luggage next to me...the only thing missing was a fisherman's hat. Great.

ALRIGHT! Next dish...

Nanjing's Salted Duck. Apparently, in Nanjing, guys love to eat the duck's butt (yucks). This is all because of their weird tradition. To make it short, if his girlfriend's parents accept him, they will give him the duck's butt for him to eat. If there's no duck's butt, it means he can forget about marrying his girlfriend. Simply...weird. So the guys in my tour group were warned (jokingly) not to eat any duck's butt given to them, otherwise they won't be coming back to M'sia!

And finally, dinner at Wuxi:

I love this dish! I'm not sure what it's made of, maybe sweet potato with something else(haha). The white part is defintiely whip cream mixed with a bit of lemon juice (I think) It's not too sweet and tastes awesome! Fortunately, the other table didn't like that so we had two of this! So full...

And as a side note:

Your travel type: Travel Yup

The Travel Yup likes exotic and adventurous travel, but prefers big cities with fast paced life. He has a keen interest in other cultures and always brings home a few souvenirs.

Shopping in Bangkok, getting a tailor made suite in Kuala Lumpur, that's the kind of thing the Travel Yup is into. Even though he likes to get away, he prefers his travels to be comfortable.

top destinations:

Alice Springs

stay away from:

Darien Gap
get your own travel profile
NOT TRUE AT ALL! What do you mean by I should avoid going to Tokyo...That's the first place I wanna go to! Bah...

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At 11:59 AM, Blogger Darke Shard said...

Well, if you ever want any more cucumbers, I'm happy to provide you with some. :D

I'm not a big fan of the food you're talking about, but man, that phoenix-dragon looks great.

At 12:14 PM, Blogger Jyrenze said...

top destinations:
Hong Kong

stay away from:
Ciudad Perdida
Darien Gap

I got this... no idea what are the last 2 places. haha

the china food does look interesting, hehe

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Eng said...

consider lucky you only have 10-course meals... when I was in China... I think I had at least 20-course or more all the time... it just kept coming... couldn't even finish the food...

and yupz.. had the same experience with the buffets, coffee, and orange juice... it's warm and diluted...

and the taufoo... keep that away from me...

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Steffi the Numbnut said...

Darke Shard: No thanks, just feed it to the dogs. Maybe even they will reject it.

You SHOULD try the smelly tau foo. At least once (just remember to wear a gas mask).

Jyrenze: Yeah, I guessed as much that you'll end up with modern cities equipped with high-tech toilets. *smirks*

NOT as interesting as those found in Beijing. At Shanghai, we didn't find any weird food (scorpions, bugs, etc...)

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Steffi the Numbnut said...

Eng: Hahaha, aiyah, we had slightly more than ten sometimes. Depends on the place lah, sometimes they complained that not enough food. I don't mind the food coming in all the time, what I don't like is that they just stack them on top of one another and their reluctance, when asked, in removing empty plates.

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Eng said...

Steph: I didn't get to try to 'weird' food as well... it would have been interesting to try them. And pls, having 10-12 dishes is more than enough for a table of 10. And I'm getting at least 20... so won't that be a waste if we couldn't finish them...

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Steffi the Numbnut said...

Well, you see, if that ten or twelve dishes is big then it's more than enough, which is the case sometimes. but's too little. it's like one of that something for one person. The other group members complained not enough sometimes.

Too much is definitely a waste, but too little oso no good. Cold weather, get hungry faster.


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