A Travellerspoint blog

Chinese Take-Out?

rain 18 °C

Lovers of Chinese food will just love the food in China, and everyday can be a culinary adventure, especially when the menu offers such intriguing items as…
Most restaurants have no English menu and there are few waiters who can say more than “Hello”, but fortunately Sheila has a good smattering of Mandarin and we have easily managed to get what we want.
It is no exaggeration to say that we could eat very well in China on $10 Cdn.(£6.50) each a day, although there is a considerable price difference between establishments primarily catering to the locals and those attracting finicky foreign tourists. We are not finicky and we enjoy the experience of eating like the locals so, for example, for $5 each we had: spicy lamb kebabs, noodles with peanut sauce, some strange (but nice) vegetables, exquisite custard tarts, and both beer and endless lemon/ginger/honey tea.
Eating on the street can be a whole lot cheaper, but much more exciting, although we can’t help wondering if some of the foods are just intended to freak out foreign tourists. These are live scorpions waiting to be toasted…
Snakes, snails and spread-eagled frogs are common…
As are locusts, centipedes and starfish…
Though we wonder who would really want to eat tiny week-old barbecued ducks…
Peking Duck is a must for any visitor to Beijing and for just $15 a head we had a whole Peking Duck dinner, complete with wafer-thin pancakes, in an upscale Beijing restaurant…
The supermarkets offer a Pandora’s Box of both unrecognizable and everyday products, including many straight off the shelf in Safeway or Waitrose, and prices are about 30% of what we pay at home. We are used to seeing tanks of live lobsters and crabs in Canada, but the Chinese love to make eye contact with most of their food before they eat it so it is common to find numerous kinds of live fish, crayfish, terrapins, turtles and frogs.
The range and quality of food on offer in both restaurants and stores is impressive and we have been struck by the cleanliness. Even most street vendors wear plastic gloves, hair nets or hats, and some even wear facemasks…
Good food is everywhere here, but this ad-hoc cabbage market in Beijing took Sheila back to the 1980s when everyone stocked up on cabbages to get them through the lean winter months…
Cabbages are still popular, and incredibly cheap, but most Chinese have everything they want today – including some of the biggest radishes in the world…
We are now in Shanghai collecting recipes for our next Chinese New Year dinner, but James is worried that he won't be able to get live scorpions or snakes at home.

Posted by Hawkson 17:57 Archived in China Tagged food

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Snakes are hibernating and no scorpions but we do have lots of starfish. Grubs are readily available and I've seen the odd frog but the locust season will have passed.

by R and B

Mmmmmmm...can't wait. Hey, if people here can eat geoduck, then anything is "on the table" so to speak. hugs Sharron

by Sharron

The choices are obviously huge and I do remember Sheila talking about cabbage all winter with maybe a bit of fat pork mixed in. Looks like you have enjoyed all the best bits and skipped the freaky ones. We still have red legged frogs in the big pond if you want to try a few for New Years. xxoo

by joyce

Jim, did you make a mother of a rose with that radish??

by joyce

Slugs perhaps?

by Ramblingon

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