Eating Chinese Food - Part 7

Go Back to Part Six: The Bathhouse or Begin with Part One: The Call

Eating is an adventure in China. I tried everything, well, almost. When I was offered the 1,000 year old eggs, I declined. They’re not really 1,000 years old, of course. They’re only one-month old eggs that have been chemically fermented. The white looks like a clear, brown jelly and the yoke is green. UGH!

Chinese ice cream is neat. They have corn ice cream with raisins in it and pinto bean ice cream. They have mango ice cream and pineapple ice cream. They even have ice cream that’s shaped like a foot and one that’s shaped like a violin. The best part is that you can buy it for a nickel or a dime. And, in the winter, it’s sold in cardboard boxes on the sidewalk.

I like the squid and the octopus. The first few times I ate it, I tried to figure out what kind of vegetable it was. Then I realized that there were suction cups on it. In China, squid and octopus are flavored with chili powder. Very good.

On the street, I can get a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables: including bananas, Fiji apples, crab apples, hawthorn apples, sunflower seeds, kiwis, tangerines, mandarin oranges, eggplant, tomatoes, bean sprouts, mushrooms, red onions, leeks, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, pears, bell peppers, cayenne peppers, cinnamon, hot peppers and a lot more.

In the meat market, you can get lamb, beef, pork, carp, white fish, sardines, dried anchovies, crab, dried or fresh shrimp, chicken, duck, donkey, horse and a few other kinds of meat. Speaking of meat, having only rudimentary language skills can make normal things quite interesting. Mongolian hot pot, for instance. You are seated at a table with a pot of boiling water as a centerpiece. There is a buffet of raw meats and vegetables from which you select your food. You then carry it to your table and cook it yourself. Sarah sent her husband John up to the buffet with me. His English is better than my Chinese, but we still could not quite communicate. I had learned the names of the meats: zhurou is pork, niurou is beef, jirou is chicken and…well, what was lamb? Of course, lamb was the one I wanted to remember. No problem. “John, which rou is…baaaaahhh?”

For those of a less adventurous nature, I could also buy Coke, Sprite, and Pepsi. It is sometimes difficult to find Diet Coke. American brands are very popular. In the large stores, I found Dove chocolate (Oh, yes!), Skippy peanut butter, Colgate toothpaste, Bayer aspirin, Tylenol Cold Remedy, regular Tylenol, Tang, Kodak film, Duracell batteries, Avon, Kotex, Maybelline, Prell, Head and Shoulders, VO5, Clairol, Suave, Johnson and Johnson, Oreos, Ritz crackers, Folgers and Nescafe coffee, and so much more. I was so surprised by all of the familiar products.

However, in the land of tea, I found the choice of tea limited. In the tea shops, they have twenty or more types of tea to choose from, but mostly it is different grades. They have jasmine tea, hyacinth tea, chrysanthemum tea, bitter melon tea and a few other flavors. But I couldn’t find orange and raspberry and some of the other flavors from the US. I guess I’ll have to take tea to China.

My favorite Chinese foods were the winter melon pickles and the spinach and garlic dish. And the tofu. I am a tofu nut now. They fixed it in so many different ways. They had tofu noodles made from dried sheets of tofu. But my favorite tofu was the Japanese tofu. It was softer and had a milder flavor than other kinds of tofu.

Chinese food is the best food in the world. Every meal has to have a food from each flavor group and must have lots of color.  A Chinese meal is not only flavorful, but it is also aesthetically pleasing. Usually.

Go Forward to Part Eight: Country Living in China
Daily Proverb

Proverbs 17:20

He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.