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A Chinese Buffet

sunny 15 °C

Although we are currently above 6,000 feet on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau and it's early March, the garlic pickers are hard at work in the fields surrounding Lake Erhai...
The next time you buy Chinese garlic think of these ethnic Bai women working in all weathers – but don't stop buying it. Agricultural workers are poorly paid everywhere but without them we would not be enjoying all the fabulous food here. This Bai lady was frying Chinese style fish and chips on the banks of the lake at Xizhou...
Western food is available pretty much everywhere today. There is a KFC and a Starbucks even in the ancient city of Dali. In Kunming we stayed in a smart modern hotel which had a breakfast buffet that would put any North American or European hotel to shame. But in Dali we stayed in a very Chinese hotel unused to many western guests. The only concession to a western breakfast was the inclusion of a fried egg. Beware - eating a fried egg with chopsticks is not easy...
We eat local food wherever we travel and don't always get what we want. For example: all the restaurants in Dali have fabulous displays of vegetables laid out on the pavement from which patrons can make their choice before entering...
James was keen to try as many different things as possible for our first meal and enthusiastically pointed to a wide variety of vegetables assuming that they would be combined in some kind of stir-fry sufficient for the three of us. This was a huge mistake. We soon realised that things had gone awry when large platefuls of each individual vegetable began arriving. This was just the start.....
We tried unsuccessfully to staunch the flow of vegetables from the kitchen but ended up with enough food for ten.. Live and learn.
So what do we eat? Chicken, pork and fish are common, but all contain lots of bones. The whole chicken, including neck, feet, intestines, gristle and bones, is chopped into small pieces and served in a spicy sauce. We eat it all except the bones.

Perhaps our biggest problem is that none of the menus have any English and the pictures can be very misleading. Many dishes in Yunnan are very spicy, but we've managed to eat most of what we ordered. Inexpensive food is sold on almost every street and in Dali the range and quality is impressive. This lady is making and baking fresh bread...
Quails' eggs in mushroom caps are delicious and will no doubt be appearing on the menu at Bliss Café at some point...
Some less appetizing items include snakes, live frogs and tiny day old quail chicks, (presumable eaten with the bones)...
However, there is plenty of choice for us at this noodle stall where you simply choose your favourite noodles, meat and veg, and in no time at all it's freshly cooked for you.
Judge for yourself, but we think the food in China is just fabulous.

Posted by Hawkson 04:29 Archived in China

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What an overwhelming variety. Glad to see nothing goes to waste! Your stomachs are stronger than mine!!
Fabulous photos and insights as always thank you! Still pretty frosty on Gabriola!

by Alison fitzgerald

Live frogs!!!! Even soaked in soya sauce that would be a hard swallow. Quail eggs and mushrooms--good assignment for your sous chef.

by R and B

we have live frogs here ... somewhere ... perhaps they're sleeping

by Janet

I love the story about all the plates of food coming out of the kitchen. I hope the price of the meal did not tip you over the edge for the day.
Take out?? Love the food pictures and the freshness of the meals to be.

by Sue Fitzwilson

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