17.07.2010 - 17.07.2010 28 °C
As you may have noticed, I've given up on trying to document every day I'm here, I just don't have the time- don't worry though, it's mostly because I'm studying, so you're not missing out on too much exciting stuff.
Anyway, today's topic is FOOD! When I was planning for my stay over here, I was expecting a long, painful process of getting used to the various new tastes and chemicals present in Chinese food, but the reality of it is quite different.
I _love_ it. In the States I was a really picky eater, because I simply don't like the condiments and seasonings we put on most of the food (ketchup, salad dressing, table pepper). Here on the other hand, the food tends to be rice (or noodles), meat and a few vegetables adorned with some combination of soy sauce, spices, and MSG. I've discovered that this is really all I've ever wanted to eat.
That said, I've been trying everything and everything since I landed here. Not five hours after I left the airport I had my first bite of starfish.` A couple days later it was a fried scorpion,`` and not too long ago I ate a few pieces of cow intestine```. The most famous dish from Beijing is the kaoya, or roasted duck, which I've had at a couple of different places. I had duck once in the States and thought it was awesome, but here I wasn't particularly amazed by it, possibly just because my expectations were too high.
`Not worth it
``Tasted like a potato chip
```The first weird thing I've eaten here that actually looks and tastes much better than it sounds, but I still wouldn't want to eat too much of it.
The single most delicious thing I've eaten here was a few pieces of candied yam some friends and I had when we went to a kaoya place for a classmate's birthday. I can't say it tops the french beignet I had at Downtown Disney or the bacon-and-pineapple-burger I had last time I was in Hawaii, but it's definitely in the hall of fame for best-things-ever.
So, food here tastes really good, but I'm also a big fan of the style of presentation, that is to say, in the states when you go to a restaurant you get a bunch of food together on a plate for yourself, all organized and ready to eat. Here it's more often the case that a group of people will order a group of dishes that get placed in the middle of the table (if it's fancy there will be a turntable so you can spin whatever you want into arms reach), and everyone takes what they want in a sort of mini-buffet. Like I said I'm not as picky about eating here, but I do like the fact that if I don't like something I won't have it sitting there on my plate the whole meal. At lots of places you can even get something called huoguo or hot pot, which is literally a pot of boiling water along with some strips of meat, vegetables, and sauce that you combine for a sort of DIY soup!
The third great thing about eating in this country is the price. I'm afraid I'm going to hate buying food when I come home just because it will seem so drastically expensive! In general, a full meal will cost me less than two USD at most restaurants, slightly less than a dollar at the dining commons, and a little more than three if I decide to splurge and go to KFC.
All this talk about food reminds me that I haven't eaten breakfast yet, so I'm gonna head out for now. 'till next time everyone!